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Personal safety for social services providers: "working safe, working smart."

Griffin W
NIOSH 2000 Dec; :1-40
The goal of this project was to produce and evaluate a video-based training program on personal safety for social services providers, the Staff Safety Awareness and Knowledge Inventory (SSAKI). The intent of the program is to heighten awareness to areas of risk and to reduce dangers related to threats and violence. In Phase I, a 30-minute video was developed and produced that introduces social services staffs and others to basic personal safety issues. In Phase II, program content was expanded to include a full two and Y2 day training program with four additional 20-30 minutes videos that provide in-depth examination of the wide range of issues introduced in Phase 1. Content is focused on all aspects of delivery of social services. Video and companion training curricula provide high-quality skill-based training, and is being marketed as a key segment of comprehensive on site training and as stand alone videos with accompanying manuals for training participants and curriculum trainers. The programming includes a Unit on Introduction of Safety, and Units with specific concerns in relation to Field Safety (Unit 2), Office Safety (Unit 3), Interviewing/Dealing with Individuals (Unit 4), and Post Incident: Victimization and Trauma (Unit 5). Presentation of the videos and other training activities occurred in three North Carolina County Department of Social Services and one county government office. Two counties were large with respect to population, with mixed urban and suburban (and some rural) populations. Each of the two large counties contained a large metropolitan area with more than 500,000 persons. The other two counties were medium sized with large proportions of their population residing in suburban or rural settings. One of these counties had an urban population of about 150,000, and the other had an urban population of about 80,000. All training sessions were held in county office buildings. Five sessions were held at each site, and were spread over a 2 Y2 day period with each of the five training units being allocated Y2 day. Staff development personnel employed by the County Division of Social Services coordinated registration for three training (Mecklenburg, Wake, Durham), and a county government personnel office (Orange) coordinated the fourth training. In summary, there is sufficient evidence to continue the development of the SSAKI, and apply it on a larger scale with a participant pool more closely resembling the intended population. There is insufficient evidence in this study to support the idea that the Pretest is instructive in its own right, although that idea was supported theoretically in the Phase I study. Additional work is needed on item content and item distribution across varying content in the training modules. More testing of the SSAKI is required. There is also evidence that the worker safety training is effective in increasing participants knowledge and awareness of personal and coworker safety, and that the videos that accompany the training substantially increase the effectiveness of the entire curriculum. The data from the SSAKI are supported by very high self-reported ratings of increasing knowledge and by the ways participants suggested that they could be more attentive to threatening circumstances or change their behavior in order to increase personal safety and the safety of their co-workers.
Safety measures; Safety practices; Training; Safety programs; Occupational hazards; Occupational safety programs; Workers
Independent Living Resources Inc., 411 Andrews Road, Suite 230, Durham, NC 27705
Publication Date
Document Type
Final Grant Report
Email Address
Funding Amount
Funding Type
Fiscal Year
Identifying No.
NIOSH Division
Priority Area
Research Tools and Approaches; Intervention Effectiveness Research
Source Name
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
Performing Organization
Independent Living Resources, Inc., Durham, NC
Page last reviewed: April 9, 2021
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division