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Safety Voice for Ergonomics (SAVE)

Dan Anton 
Eastern Washington University
Email:dan.anton@ewu.edu

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 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. This project developed, implemented, tested, and disseminated 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 1) developed the SAVE program for masons and integrated it into current apprenticeship training programs, 2) measured 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) finalized the SAVE program and disseminate findings to facilitate adoption throughout the masonry industry. Blended learning (face-to-face and e-learning) and participatory methods were used in Aim 1 and a cluster randomized-controlled trial design in Aim 2. This study incorporated dissemination strategies from its conception, and in Aim 3 a wide range of outreach methods are being employed to promote broad adoption of SAVE nationally in collaboration with the CPWR Masonry r2p Partnership.