Ceballos D, Guerrero M, Kalweit A, Rabin R, Spengler J, Herrick R. (2019). One-hour pilot training to prevent workers from taking home workplace contaminants. New Solutions.
Although lead-based paint was banned from use in homes in 1978, cases of child-lead poisoning are still a problem. One source of contamination comes from “take-home exposures“, when workplace contaminants (such as lead) are brought home on contaminated clothes, shoes, and on the bodies of workers. These contaminants can go on to poison small children or family members in the household who come into contact with contaminated dust particles. Training employees on take-home prevention techniques has been shown to reduce take-home exposures. And trainings for low-literacy workers has shown to be most effective when interactive sessions and illustrations are used. Dr. Ceballos and her team partnered with the Massachusetts Coalition for Occupational Safety and Health (MassCOSH) to develop a one-hour, bi-lingual (English and Spanish) training curriculum to educate workers on the risks and prevention of take-home exposures. The study was published in NEW SOLUTIONS: A Journal of Environmental and Occupational Health Policy. The curriculum was tailored for a low-literacy audience, and designed to be culturally competent and address a variety of workplace settings where chemical hazards may be present. The team conducted two trainings, four months apart, teaching prevention techniques such as: showering at work, changing clothes and shoes at work, and washing contaminated clothes separately. Workers were recruited by MassCOSH through work-center activities. and were provided with food, beverage, and travel reimbursement. The trainings were qualitatively assessed through pre- and post-evaluations for their quality, effectiveness, and comprehension. Participant knowledge of take-home prevention behaviors improved by an average of 6% for the first training, and by an average of 14% for the second training. Feedback was gathered, and lessons learned from the first training were used to revise the curriculum for the second training. The authors speculated that the small increase in average improvement for the first training (6%) may have been attributed to the wording of the assessment questions, proving to be difficult to interpret by the participants. The second training was revised to include simplified assessment questions, captions under poster illustrations, and a more engaging trivia game. Overall, the trainings proved to be effective, and in the future, the authors hope to collect a larger sample size and measure participant behavior changes after attending the training.