Expanding Reasearch Partnerships Webinar Series

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Presentation Date: November 14, 2018

Utilizing Partnerships to Prevent Workplace Musculoskeletal Disorders in Construction Workers Across Age Groups
Juliann Scholl, PhD

Juliann Scholl, PhD  – NIOSH (Presenting Author)
James W. Grosch, PhD – NIOSH
Harpriya Kaur, PhD – NIOSH 

The National Center for Productive Aging and Work is developing educational products to reduce workplace musculoskeletal disorders (WMSDs) among aging construction workers. WMSDs are a major cause of functional impairments and disability in construction, and workers over 50 experience a significant proportion of WMSDs. This presentation reports on the project’s first phase, which analyzes Ohio Bureau of Worker Compensation data on WMSDs from manual materials handling in construction. This phase also involves collecting focus group feedback from construction employers and workers of diverse ages to understand their experiences with construction-related WMSDs. These data will inform the development of aging-related products used to reduce WMSDs. This study utilizes Silverstein’s healthy aging model of four dimensions for meeting aging workers’ needs: physical work environment, organization of work, employees’ needs, and social support. The model provides a framework for new interventions that reduce WMSDs among aging construction workers. The project has the support of the Laborers’ Health and Safety Fund of North America, which advances the safety and health of workers and supports the Laborers’ International Union of North America. This collaboration ensures that the new products are relevant to construction stakeholders. CPWR- The Center for Construction Research and Training, another partner, will help identify new products for joint dissemination with NIOSH and find appropriate audiences for the emergent products. Additionally, the University of Washington, School of Public Health, will provide input on the application of the healthy aging model on product development. Findings will inform subsequent phases of the larger project, which include gathering feedback on stakeholders’ experiences with NIOSH products and their communication/ dissemination preferences. Communication-related findings will be used to develop new products for employer user testing. The final products can be evaluated in follow-on research for their impact on the reduction of WMSDs in construction.

Leadership Skills for Strengthening Job Safety Climate

Linda Goldenhar, PhD – CPWR – The Center for Construction Research and Training

Construction foremen may lack the safety leadership skills needed to create a strong jobsite safety climate. Many construction companies address this by sending their lead workers to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) 30-hour course; however, the course did not include a training module about safety leadership. This presentation describes how, through partnerships, we were able to develop and pilot test a training module and evaluation surveys designed to address this training gap. Our 17-member Curriculum Development Team, numerous subject matter experts, and an instructional design company, helped us develop a comprehensive set of teaching resources and a set of survey instruments for evaluating the materials’ effectiveness on improving safety leadership and safety climate. All materials and surveys were pilot tested with representative members of the target population. Surveys showed high reliability, and data collected on the final draft of the Foundations for Safety Leadership (FSL) module indicated that the majority of foremen thought the training was helpful or valuable, particularly the discussion questions. The majority said they intended to use the safety leadership skills on the jobsite. With the exception of the role-play activity, the experienced trainers rated the other components highly, especially the videos and discussion questions. We modified the training materials and surveys based on pilot test findings. The most important outcome of the development and pilot testing effort is that the OSHA Training Institute agreed to include the FSL module as an elective in the construction OSHA 30-hour course. The FSL module fills a needed skills gap by providing access to safety leadership training to all foremen who might otherwise not have access to it through their company or union. The continued success of the FSL training will be ensured by dissemination via the OSHA 30-hour course, which is an established national safety-training program.

Page last reviewed: October 9, 2018