Can Half-Day Trainings Motivate Small Contractors to Address Lead Safety?

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There is a real need to educate small painting and remodeling contractors about lead-safe work practices to protect the health of occupants (especially small children) and employees. From 1996 to 2000, 34 half-day lead awareness trainings were held throughout California to increase contractors’ use of lead-safe practices. Educational methods included focusing on best practices, utilizing a peer educator, and working with stakeholders to do outreach to this hard-to-reach audience. We report on the evaluation of 18 of these seminars where we found that 30% to 49% of the interviewed contractors began doing many of the lead-safe work practices after attendance. We conclude that this program can have a modest impact in areas that contractors are more familiar with; new areas not part of their experience do not fare as well. However, without a more integrated public health educational and enforcement strategy, educational efforts such as ours can have only a limited impact.

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