Madeline Benoit

Project title: Efficacy in Occupational Safety and Health Training of Dairy Workers: Predictors of Test Performance on a Dairy Safety Knowledge Test From a Demographic Cohort

Degree: MPH | Program: One Health (ONE) | Project type: Thesis/Dissertation
Completed in: 2021 | Faculty advisor: Peter Rabinowitz


Background: Efficacy-driven assessments of culturally and linguistically appropriate occupational health and safety training (OHS) for workers who speak English as a second language remain uncommon. This study analyzes predictors of performance on a dairy safety knowledge test using pre-and-post knowledge assessments. The safety training course was delivered by iPad™ to Idahoan dairy workers, managers, and owners.

Objective: The objective of this study was to correlate and predict changes in safety knowledge to 1) course participant characteristics and 2) compare quantitative readability scores with qualitative judgement of a Spanish speaking panel. Methods: Predictors of pre-test (baseline) scores and change in test scores of n= 1,338 participants were compared, and multivariate iterative linear regressions were used to predict test performance, adjusting for variables such as occupation, education level, native language and years in dairy work. Test question reading ease was compared to the percentage of participants who answered the question correctly in order to correlate readability scores with test performance, using both quantitative calculated reading ease scores and reading ease judgement by a panel of native Spanish speakers.

Results: Test scores for each language group improved between pre-test and post-test. Education was the most predictive variable of higher baseline scores and change in test scores amongst dairy safety course participants, regardless of language. There was no significant evidence that either reading ease score or readability of individual questions as assessed by a native Spanish speaking panel were related to performance.

Conclusion: The results indicate that dairy safety worker training results showed improvement in safety knowledge and test scores. Education level appears to be a key determinant of increases in safety knowledge, and therefore safety training programs need to address the learning needs of less educated workers. Further work is necessary to define optimal readability for test questions in Spanish.