Online Program

Field tests of a toolkit for participatory healthy workplace programs

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Suzanne Nobrega, M.S., Department of Work Environment, University of Massachusetts Lowell, Lowell, MA
Laura Kernan, BS, Department of Work Environment, University of Massachusetts Lowell, Lowell, MA
Bora Plaku-Alakbarova, BA, Department of Work Environment Kitson 200, University of Massachusetts Lowell, Lowell, MA
Andrea Bizarro, M.S., Department of Industrial and Organizational Psychology, University of Connecticut, CT
Clark Calabrese, MS, Department of Industrial and Organizational Psychology, University of CT, Mansfield, CT
Michelle Robertson, PhD, Liberty Mutual Research Institute for Safety, Hopkinton, MA
Nicholas Warren, ScD, Division of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, University of Connecticut, Farmington, CT
Robert Henning, PhD, Department of Industrial and Organizational Psychology, University of Connecticut, Mansfield, CT
Background: Traditional workplace health promotion programs often lack attention to working conditions contributing to poor health and are often implemented without authentic involvement of front-line employees. Prior workplace studies demonstrated effectiveness of participatory interventions; however, the instruments and protocols were labor intensive, rendering them impractical in real world settings. Objective: Develop a practical toolkit for a participatory program and field test it in four varied employer organizations to assess feasibility, ease of use, and effectiveness for engaging front-line employees in designing integrated health protection/promotion interventions. Methods: Prototypes of program materials and short survey instruments were used at study sites by program facilitators with prior experience in worksite health promotion. Program start-up included evaluation of employee health/safety issues, program committee formation, and training activities. Facilitators used program tools with management and front-line employees to design interventions incorporating root causes analysis a business case approach. Process data were gathered continuously to assess needs for materials revisions and additional training. Surveys, interviews, and focus groups were collected one year after program start up. Results: Participants reported improved management health/safety awareness, communication, problem-solving, professional confidence, and accomplishment. Additional results will be shared regarding interventions developed, utility of materials, and barriers/promoters of program success. Conclusion: Field tests of a health and safety workplace participatory program toolkit demonstrated the program tools and protocols are feasible, acceptable, require modest time commitment, and can be adapted to a variety of site characteristics. Program materials were judged as useful for facilitating intervention planning and employee participation.

Learning Areas:

Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Occupational health and safety
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Systems thinking models (conceptual and theoretical models), applications related to public health

Learning Objectives:
List two key features of the Healthy Workplace Participatory Program that was field tested. Describe the benefits of a two level committee structure for engaging line-level workers in designing health and safety interventions. Explain the overall process flow used in the Intervention, Design, and Analysis (IDEAS) tool for creating integrated health protection/health promotion interventions. Name a web resource for accessing the Healthy Workplace Participatory Program materials.

Keyword(s): Health Promotion, Interventions

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I served as the Project Manager of the field test study for the Healthy Workplace Participatory program being presented in this abstract. I coordinated all aspects of the study, including start up, implementation, evaluation, and data analysis. During the study I also served as the program facilitator in two of the four study sites. I have gained knowledge and experience with the program toolkit in different settings.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.