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Toolbox Talks with Apprentices

In January 2019, members of the Healthier Workforce Center of the Midwest (HWC) Apprentice Study team met with second, third and fourth term apprentice plumbers and HVAC (Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning) installers attending training classes at Kirkwood Community College in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. The students reviewed six toolbox talks covering traditional and non-traditional workplace hazards (controlling hazards, recognizing hazards and hazard communication contrasted with reading food labels, stress and rethink your drink). Similar to a typical onsite safety meeting, toolbox talks were handed out and presented by a member of the research team (who served as the “supervisor/foreman” for the meeting). A pretest-posttest design was used to evaluate changes in knowledge before and after the talk and to collect feedback on the topics. Knowledge of the participants increased significantly after each session. Participants felt the topics were important, the information provided was useful and they would recommend the talks to their coworkers. Participants also indicated that they plan to make changes in their behavior after learning the information. The information gleaned from their feedback have been used to revise existing toolbox talks and to develop others. They are available here.