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Safety Voice for Ergonomics (SAVE)

Dan Anton 
Eastern Washington University

Research Team: Laurel Kincl (Oregon State University), Jennifer Hess (University of Oregon), Doug Weeks (St. Lukes Rehabilitation Institute)

Abstract: Work-related musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) continue to plague the construction industry and brickmasons (masons) are among the most affected. Ergonomic interventions are the primary method of reducing exposure to MSD risks. However, many construction trade workers, especially young apprentices, have no training on ergonomics or training is limited to "proper" lifting. They often lack training on appropriate strategies to respond to work environments and practices that are unsafe. Thus, apprentices would benefit from training that teaches them applied ergonomic principles as well as soft skills such as self direction, self control, accountability, responsibility, and leadership that can help them to develop their “safety voice” about ergonomics. The main objective of the proposed project is to develop, implement, test, and disseminate a novel program entitled Safety Voice for Ergonomics (SAVE) by integrating the program into current masonry apprenticeship training. The intermediate outcomes for masonry apprentices nationwide are improved knowledge and attitude about ergonomics, and communication skills about ergonomics leading to adoption of ergonomic solutions that reduce MSDs and enhance worker safety. Our expected end outcome is the reduction of MSD incidence among masons.

This research will achieve the specific aims to 1) develop the SAVE program for masons and integrate it into current apprenticeship training programs, 2) measure the effectiveness of the SAVE program using a randomized control trial to test the components and the full effect of the program among apprentices, and 3) finalize the SAVE program and disseminate findings to facilitate adoption throughout the masonry industry. Blended learning (face-to-face and e-learning) and participatory methods will be used in Aim 1 and a cluster randomized-controlled trial design in Aim 2. This study incorporates dissemination strategies from its conception, and in Aim 3 a wide range of outreach methods will be employed to promote broad adoption of SAVE nationally in collaboration with the CPWR Masonry r2p Partnership.