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Open AccessArticle

Improving Working Conditions to Promote Worker Safety, Health, and Wellbeing for Low-Wage Workers: The Workplace Organizational Health Study

1
Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Boston, MA 02115, USA
2
Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Boston, MA 02215, USA
3
Institute for Work Psychology, Sheffield University Management School, University of Sheffield, Sheffield S10 2TN, UK
4
Bouvé College of Health Sciences, Northeastern University, Boston, MA 02115, USA
5
Department of Environmental Health, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Boston, MA 02115, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(8), 1449; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16081449
Received: 1 April 2019 / Revised: 19 April 2019 / Accepted: 22 April 2019 / Published: 24 April 2019
This paper addresses a significant gap in the literature by describing a study that tests the feasibility and efficacy of an organizational intervention to improve working conditions, safety, and wellbeing for low-wage food service workers. The Workplace Organizational Health Study tests the hypothesis that an intervention targeting the work organization and environment will result in improvements in workers’ musculoskeletal disorders and wellbeing. This ongoing study is being conducted in collaboration with a large food service company. Formative evaluation was used to prioritize outcomes, assess working conditions, and define essential intervention elements. The theory-driven intervention is being evaluated in a proof-of-concept trial, conducted to demonstrate feasibility and potential efficacy using a cluster randomized design. Ten worksites were randomly assigned to intervention or control conditions. The 13-month intervention uses a comprehensive systems approach to improve workplace policies and practices. Using principles of participatory engagement, the intervention targets safety and ergonomics; work intensity; and job enrichment. The evaluation will provide a preliminary assessment of estimates of the intervention effect on targeted outcomes and inform understanding of the intervention implementation across worksites. This study is expected to provide insights on methods to improve working conditions in support of the safety and wellbeing of low-wage workers. View Full-Text
Keywords: occupational safety and health; prevention and protection; psychological wellbeing; safety culture; job stress; musculoskeletal disorders occupational safety and health; prevention and protection; psychological wellbeing; safety culture; job stress; musculoskeletal disorders
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MDPI and ACS Style

Sorensen, G.; Peters, S.; Nielsen, K.; Nagler, E.; Karapanos, M.; Wallace, L.; Burke, L.; Dennerlein, J.T.; Wagner, G.R. Improving Working Conditions to Promote Worker Safety, Health, and Wellbeing for Low-Wage Workers: The Workplace Organizational Health Study. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16, 1449.

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