Solutions For A Changing World

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Program Overview

Reduction of Hazardous Exposures in Small Businesses through a Community Health Worker Intervention.

The project provides bilingual pollution prevention technical assistance through on-site visits and workshops to small business sectors in our environmental justice community utilizing a community health worker intervention. It is aimed at reducing worker exposure to volatile organic compounds at small business through source reduction. Our community-based approach is accepted by the small business community and provides an enhanced opportunity to reduce the use of hazardous materials.

Our team has received a National Institutes of Health Grant for “Tu Trabajo no te Debe Dañar: Reduction of Hazardous Exposures in Small Businesses through a Community Health Worker Intervention” to continue and expand the work under the pilot.

Through a community-engaged research framework we are: 1) quantifying and identifying exposures to hazardous chemicals in two high risk small business sectors common in our target area (auto body and mechanic shops and beauty salons); 2) working collaboratively with business owners, trade groups, and workers to design an industrial hygiene enhanced CHW intervention tailored for each small business sector; and 3) conducting a cluster randomized trial to evaluate the effectiveness of the CHW intervention at reducing workplace exposures to VOCs and assess which factors lead to successful utilization of exposure control strategies in both male and female dominated businesses. The interventions will overcome current barriers by helping marginalized Latino workers and small business owners who may have limited education, literacy, and computer skills to understand the hazards associated with their work, and will empower them to have greater control over their occupational exposures, with the ultimate goal of preventing occupational disease and reducing health disparities.

The team has already quantified actual pre-intervention VOC exposures at 18 small businesses using real-time photoionization detectors at parts per billion level, recorded activity logs of each worker’s job tasks for their entire work shift, and used a stationary monitor to measure the concentration of 61 individual VOCs in the workplace air. We have conducted site audits at the businesses to document VOC sources (e.g., VOC-generating materials and processes, quantity and type of chemicals used), existing engineering controls (e.g., ventilation, fume hoods), administrative controls (e.g., job rotation, housekeeping, worker training), and personal protective equipment (e.g., respirator, gloves).

Take Our Survey!

We want to help you during these difficult times! In order to provide your business with the most useful COVID-19 resources, we would like to invite you to participate in a survey. If you complete this survey, you will be asked to complete it 3 more times over the next 6-8 months, and you will receive a $25 Fry’s gift card each time. It does not cost you anything to participate in this survey, other than 10-20 minutes of your time.

An Institutional Review Board responsible for human subjects research at The University of Arizona reviewed this research project and found it to be acceptable, according to applicable state and federal regulations and University policies designed to protect the rights and welfare of participants in research.

Interested? Take the survey and receive your $25 gift card.

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Resources

We have compiled a list of resources for your beauty salon and auto shop to support and respond to your immediate needs during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond. We hope these resources will help you make informed decisions to support a healthier workplace environment and reduce health disparities. If you have any suggestions on new resources for your beauty salon or auto shop that you would like to receive please email us at seri@seriaz.org.



This is a joint program with UA Zuckerman College of Public Health and El Rio Health