Online Program

Reaching Small Residential Contractors and Influencing their Safety and Health Practices

Monday, November 2, 2015

Kelsie Scruggs, MPH, Labor Occupational Health Program, University of California, Berkeley, Berkeley, CA
Robin Baker, MPH, Center for Occupational and Environmental Health, UC Berkeley and CPWR, Berkeley, CA
Eileen Betit, Research to Practice, CPWR - The Center for Construction Research and Training, Silver Spring, MD
Background and Objective(s) 

 Residential construction accounts for a disproportionate number of worker injuries where barriers to safety and health include a high concentration of small employers, a decentralized structure, and persistent pressures related to cost, time, and productivity. While efforts have been undertaken to reach small residential contractors, most have not been published and lessons learned have not been systematically collected to identify promising strategies. This study was conducted as part of CPWR – The Center for Construction Research and Training’s Research to Practice effort to identify innovative approaches to engaging hard-to reach audiences in research dissemination efforts.


We conducted an online qualitative survey with stakeholders in the U.S. who have been involved in activities targeting residential contractors to improve worker health and safety. Twenty-one respondents completed the survey, and nine participated in follow-up interviews. The survey involved several focus areas: 1) experiences with outreach to residential contractors; 2) influential organizations or players; and 3) promising dissemination strategies. Findings from the survey and interviews were analyzed for lessons learned.


Respondents reported that project owners and workers’ compensation insurers have the most influence over residential contractors. Policy approaches and outreach through retail outlets were indicated as the top two most promising dissemination strategies. Stakeholders discussed barriers to engaging residential contractors including lack of buy-in, lack of incentives, and challenges of partnership.


Lessons from the survey will provide important information on reaching and influencing residential contractors’ safety and health practices and reduce the risk for the workers they employ.

Learning Areas:

Occupational health and safety

Learning Objectives:
Discuss 3 promising dissemination strategies to improve safety and health in the residential construction industry Identify top influential entities with regard to residential contractors’ health and safety practices Describe 3 challenges in reaching and influencing residential contractor

Keyword(s): Labor, Communication

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: As part of my work with the Center for Construction Research and Training (CPWR) R2P Team, I developed the survey used, identified stakeholders to participate in the survey, and conducted key informant interviews. I also analyzed the qualitative data and developed a CPWR report of the findings.
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.