Online Program

Perceptions versus reality: Leveraging worker perceptions to design effective outreach

Wednesday, November 6, 2013 : 1:30 p.m. - 1:45 p.m.

Rebecca Reindel, MS MPH CPH, Standards and Guidance, Occupational Safety and Health Administration, Washington, DC
For occupational safety and health professionals, workers are our looking glass. They provide us the inside perspective to identify and mitigate workplace hazards. In turn, knowledge is power. Improving worker knowledge of their working environment can have a positive effect on decreasing the incidence and severity of unexpected hazards. Research among different worker populations illustrates that worker perceptions – even of larger societal issues – play an important role in addressing health and safety issues at the root. This is especially true for occupations that require critical behavioral responses, such as workplace violence. This session uses workplace violence as a case study for targeting worker perceptions, and leveraging that knowledge to mitigate workplace violence incidence and severity through a different approach. Studies have shown differences in violent attacks against workers who were aware of local crime statistics and those who were not. Others show that targeting worker response can improve response. This session will explore the possibilities of using worker knowledge as a starting point to mitigate responses, and turning these observations into designing more effective outreach methods in targeted populations. The area of workplace violence struggles with limited regulation, and violence hazards cannot be completely eliminated due to unpredictability by the public. Therefore, a combination of mitigation approaches is critical; effective education and outreach is key. Accurately capturing worker perceptions can achieve effective outreach methods that can be expanded across other workforces.

Learning Areas:

Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Occupational health and safety
Public health or related education
Social and behavioral sciences
Systems thinking models (conceptual and theoretical models), applications related to public health

Learning Objectives:
Describe best practices for leveraging worker knowledge to mitigate hazards. Design effective outreach methods based on worker perceptions.

Keyword(s): Workplace Safety, Outreach Programs

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have a professional background in community outreach. In particular, I've conducted outreach related to environmental health issues, as well as with taxi drivers. I've documented my work with taxi drivers elsewhere (and at past APHA meetings).
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.