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Creating an Educational Program

The Safe Shops Project wanted to design an educational program that was useful to the auto shop workers and owners.  In order to do this, it was necessary to get input from the auto shop community before educational materials could be developed and such a program could be implemented. 


We asked our enforcement partners to ‘nominate’ shop owners that might be interested in attending a focus group.  We provided free dinner and gave each attendee a grocery store gift certificate as an incentive for attending.  The discussions centered on 1. What topics should be included in a training; 2.  How do people learn best (video / posters / hand outs); and 3. How / Where / When should a training be conducted.  We then held a separate worker focus group at a community health center.  The worker and owner focus groups were held separately because workers might be less likely to disclose health concerns in front of their employer and because an immigrant workforce might be more hesitant to come to a government building after work hours for a "discussion."

Some key issues that surfaced from the focus groups include:

  • Training topics that should be covered.  These topics were used to design the ‘Safe Shops Tool Box’ which can be found here: 
  • Trainings should be around and hour in length and Spanish translation should be provided, if not conducted in English.
  • Shop owners and workers enjoyed the BPHC auto shop video.  This is projected on the wall during the training, and can be downloaded here:
  • Trainings should be held at the shop around meal times.  Lunch or coffee should be provided, if possible.


The Safe Shops Project recognizes that shop workers are taking time away from their work in order to attend a training.  Each participant receives a framed certificate stating that they have completed a Safe Shops training.

In addition to regular Safe Shops Tail Gate Trainings, BPHC was able to provide specialized auto body pollution prevention trainings through a vocational school on two occasions.  These trainings provided guidance on reducing exposure, release of toxic chemicals and paint waste during the painting process.  The first training, where we asked shops to drive over an hour to a vocational school, was less successful with only one shop turning out.  The second training was hosted by a local shop in Roxbury and several shops attended.   Participating shops purchased new pollution prevention and personal protective equipment after attending this training.

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Boston Public Health Commission
1010 Massachusetts Ave, 6th Floor, Boston, MA 02118.
Phone:(617) 534-5395 Email: info@bphc.org