Efficacy of text messaging apprentices to reinforce ergonomics and safety voice training.

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Journal of safety research


INTRODUCTION: Injuries and work-related musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) are common among masons. SAfety Voice for Ergonomics (SAVE) integrates training in ergonomic and safety problem-solving skills into masonry apprenticeship training. The purpose of this study was to assess the efficacy of text messaging to reinforce SAVE program content.

METHOD: SAVE effectiveness was evaluated at masonry apprenticeship training centers across the United States by comparing three experimental groups: (1) Ergonomics training, (2) Ergonomics and Safety Voice training, and a (3) Control. Apprentices received SAVE training with their standard instruction. To reinforce classroom training, refresher training was implemented by sending weekly text messages for six months. Half of the text messages required a response, which tested knowledge or assessed behavior, while the remaining reiterated knowledge. Apprentices (n = 119) received SAVE text messages. Response rates and percentage of correct responses were compared with chi-square tests and independent group t-tests. Multivariable logistic regression analysis predicted apprentice response with selected demographic and work experience variables. Finally, feedback on of the use of text messaging was obtained.

RESULT: Of 119 participants, 61% (n = 72) responded to at least one text message. Logistic regression revealed that being a high school graduate and a brick and block mason significantly affected the odds of responding. Sixty-nine percent of apprentices agreed that text messages reinforced SAVE content.

CONCLUSION: Even though there was no training center requirement to respond, the high response rate suggests that text messaging can effectively be used to reinforce ergonomics and safety voice training for both knowledge and behavior. Practical Application: The prevalent use of text messaging creates opportunities to reinforce health and safety training and engage workers, especially for populations that may be at various locations over time such as construction sites. Instructors and practitioners should consider the utility of text messaging for supporting their training and safety programs.