Objective This study evaluated the effectiveness of a 1-year intervention to assist owners of small collision shops with workplace safety and health improvements.
Methods A comprehensive evaluation containing 92 safety-related questions was conducted by an industrial hygienist at baseline and after one year. Questions addressed safety programs and training, fire safety, personal protective equipment, and shop equipment and were assigned one of four priority ratings. After the baseline evaluation, shop owners received a written report and were asked to commit to correcting at least 30% of the problems identified, with emphasis on the highest priority issues. Participants received quarterly phone calls, written reminders, safety newsletters, and had access to online services and in-person assistance with creating safety programs and respirator fit testing.
Results Forty-nine shops received baseline assessments and 45 were visited for 1-year follow-up. At baseline, shops had 17–49% of items missing (mean = 34.4% items, SD = 7.5%). After one-year, shops had 7–36% of items missing (mean = 19.8% items, SD = 7.6%). Statistically significant improvements (p < 0.03) were identified in seven of the eight survey sections (safety in the shop and right-to-know training, emergency planning, ergonomics, personal protective equipment, respiratory protection, paint booth and mixing room, electrical and machine safety). Facilities that were working or had worked with a safety consultant had significantly fewer missing items at baseline (p < 0.03), but not at follow-up. On average, shop owners chose to correct 59% of the missing items (SD = 17%) and after one year reported a completion rate of 70% (SD = 28%). One-year assessments indicate that, on average 56% of the items selected for improvement were actually completed (SD = 27%).
Conclusions Results indicate that most business owners were able to improve health and safety in the shop if they were provided specific information about hazards and solutions, received regular reminders and utilised tailored technical assistance.
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