A primary mission of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) is to inform the public about various occupational health and safety issues by disseminating information on preventing workplace disease, injury, and disability. To accomplish this mission, NIOSH conducts research on the full scope of occupational disease and injury ranging from lung disease in miners to carpal tunnel syndrome in computer users. The Education and Information Division (EID) of NIOSH draws from the diversity of scientific and medical sources within NIOSH to focus information on specific occupational safety and health problems. This information is disseminated through print, electronic and other communication channels to various health professionals and others who rely on NIOSH as a credible information resource. Through user feedback, EID assesses whether the information disseminated has been useful in bringing about changes that will lead to reductions in occupational injury and disease. The purpose of this paper is to describe the process for developing and administering the customer satisfaction survey for NIOSH publications. Each year the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) develops and disseminates about 35 primary "numbered" publications, along with one hundred or more annual "series" publications. The NIOSH publications inventory contains nearly 4,000 scientific and educational documents relevant to occupational safety and health issues. In collaboration with four professional organizations, the American Association of Occupational Health Nurses, (AAOHN), the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, (ACOEM), the American Industrial Hygiene Association, (AIHA) and the American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE). NIOSH is conducting a survey to evaluate their members' satisfaction with these publications and other communication products developed and disseminated through NIOSH since 1995. The survey was designed to determine: (1) to what extent NIOSH publications are perceived as credible, useful sources of information about occupational safety and health issues, i.e., a product evaluation, (2) to what extent is NIOSH successful in distributing its occupational safety and health information products to the appropriate user audience, i.e., marketing evaluation; and, (3) to what extent (and in what ways) have NIOSH publications influenced workplace safety and health program practices, i.e., impact evaluation. The project can be divided into three phases: development, implementation, and analysis. This report describes the process and method for developing the survey instrument and how the survey was implemented. A focus group methodology was chosen to gather preliminary ideas for constructing items that would be suitable for a customer satisfaction survey. The focus groups were formed by drawing upon members of four key occupational safety and health associations, AIHA, ASSE, AAOHN, and ACOEM. By definition, members of these organizations would have basic knowledge and expertise in occupational health and safety, and more than likely, be familiar with NIOSH publications. A general questionnaire was administered to the focus group participants seeking their opinions, concerns, beliefs, awareness, and experiences related to the survey questions. The focus group method was chosen because it allows for discussion and group interaction to assist individuals clarify how they think and feel about an issue, product, or service In this study, participants were allowed time to complete the survey and to discuss both general issues and specific questions issues within a relatively brief time frame. Their opinions were used to revise, modify, and improve the final survey that was administered in the second phase of the project. The second phase, or implementation stage, of the project involved administering a questionnaire survey that aims at gathering more specific information that would be used to measure program effectiveness by gathering information on specific variables related to program effectiveness. A sample of 1200 respondents was randomly drawn from the list of member of the four collaborating professional organizations. The goal was to determine the extent to which they rely upon NIOSH-numbered publications, as an informational resource, in reducing workplace injuries and illness and to seek information on how NIOSH performance might be improved. Each organization provided a mailing list of its members and a random sample of about 300 names was selected for the survey. To ensure a reasonable response rate, a reminder card was sent to all participants after a two-week period and two weeks later a second mailing was done. An electronic version of the questionnaire was also developed giving respondents the option to fill it out electronically. This e-version is easily completed and can be electronically submitted to a secure NIOSH server. Lessons learned from this survey will direct future NIOSH communication efforts aimed at these customers regarding their preferred publication format, design and delivery systems.
Best Practices in Occupational Safety and Health, Education, Training, and Communication: Ideas That Sizzle, 6th International Conference, Scientific Committee on Education and Training in Occupational Health, ICOH, In Cooperation with The International Communication Network, ICOH, Baltimore, Maryland, USA, October 28-30, 2002