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Project Details

Evaluating a Small Business Training Intervention

Project Summary: 

The restaurant and food service industry in California employs one million workers, largely low-paid, vulnerable workers, including many immigrants and youth. 93% of these businesses have fewer than 50 employees (over half have fewer than 10 employees), and because of this, often lack the health and safety information and resources that larger businesses typically have. In addition, the fast-paced nature of restaurant and food service work and the tight profit margin for many small restaurants pose challenges for integrating effective health and safety training.

In response to this need, the California Commission on Health and Safety and Workers’ Compensation contracted with UC Berkeley’s Labor Occupational Health Program to develop a health and safety training program for owners and managers of small restaurants as part of the statewide Commission’s Worker Occupational Safety and Health Training and Education Program (WOSHTEP). The focus of the Small Business Restaurant Supervisor Safety Training program is to encourage restaurant employers to train their own employees and actively engage them in workplace safety efforts.

During 2006, in partnership with the California State Compensation Insurance Fund (SCIF) and the California Restaurant Association, trainers from UC Berkeley’s LOHP and UCLA’s Labor Occupational Safety and Health Program (LOSH) conducted 17 two-hour training workshops for over 200 restaurant and food service owners and managers. Post-tests to assess knowledge, attitudes, and intention to implement health and safety changes were completed by workshop participants. On-site follow-up interviews with 10 participants were conducted 3 to 6 months after the training to assess the extent to which program components were used and worksite changes made.

LOHP continues to conduct training workshops for small business owners and managers and to develop and assess new tools and strategies for providing needed health and safety skills and resources to small business owners. Additional industry specific tools are now available.

Main Findings: 

213 restaurant owners and managers from 161 restaurants and other food service organizations attended a two-hour training. Participants were from small establishments with many immigrant workers.

Post-training assessments demonstrated that attendees increased their understanding and commitment to health and safety, and felt prepared to provide health and safety training to their employees. Follow-up interviews indicate that participants incorporated core program concepts into their training and supervision practices. They conducted training, discussed workplace hazards and solutions with employees, and made changes in the workplace and work practices to improve workers’ health and safety.

Policy, Practice or Research Impacts: 

This program demonstrates that employers of small businesses can adopt a philosophy of employee involvement in their health and safety programs if provided with simple, easy-to-use materials and a training demonstration. Attending a workshop where they can interact with other small restaurant owners and managers was also a key to the program's success.

Contact Person: 
Diane Bush
Contact Person's Email Address:
Labor Occupational Health Program
Principal Investigators: 
Robin Baker
Research Publications and Reports: 

1. Bush D, Paleo L, Baker R, Dewey R, Toktogonova N, Cornelio D. (2009). Restaurant supervisor safety training: Evaluating a small business training intervention. Public Health Reports. PHR/Volume 124, Supplement 1, 152-159.

Website for Project or Program: 
UCLA Labor Occupational Safety and Health Program; California State Compensation Insurance Fund
California Commission on Health and Safety and Workers' Compensation
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