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Frequency of Workplace Controls and Associations with Safety Perceptions among a National Sample of U.S. Food Retail Workers during the COVID-19 Pandemic

April 23, 2021
Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine

Ceryes, Caitlin RN, MPH; Robinson, Joelle MPH; Biehl, Erin MS; Wirtz, Andrea L. PhD; Barnett, Daniel J. MD, MPH; Neff, Roni PhD

Objectives: Explore workplace control frequencies and factors associated with U.S. food retail workers’ safety perceptions during COVID-19.

Methods: An online, cross-sectional survey captured working conditions and safety perceptions among a large, national sample of U.S. food retail workers from July to October 2020.

Results: Overall, 40.3% reported feeling “not so” or “not protected” by COVID-19 controls. Administrative controls were more commonly reported (56.8% reported ≥ 5 controls) than engineering (19.5% reported ≥ 3). Fomite-related controls were more common than those reducing interpersonal contact. After adjustment, organizational safety climate (Prevalence Ratio (PR): 1.53, 95% CI: 1.24, 1.89), and perceived strict prevention measure enforcement (PR: 0.60, 95% CI: 0.46, 0.78) were associated with safety perceptions.

Conclusions: Many workers do not feel well-protected by COVID-19 controls. Safety climate and control enforcement are associated with workers’ COVID-19 safety perceptions.