The next task was to identify where shops are located and targeting neighborhoods. Using a variety of sources (telephone book/yellow pages, ISD and EHO case records, sites identified by community partners during previous (EPA-funded) community mapping projects, and field observations by outreach workers) the program was able to locate, identify, and map clusters of shops throughout the city of Boston. Below is the sample of the map that was derived from this process:
Upon visiting these shops, we soon discovered that there were many errors in the existing information. For instance, shops had closed down or moved in some cases, and in other cases new shops had sprung up in new locations.
This led the Safe Shops Project to seek out a grassroots effort to collect shop information. Specifically, Safe Shops staff and partners visit shops and collect location data while conducting worker health surveys and environmental assessments. The questions are collected in a Palm Pilot, and a designed to measure shop conditions and worker knowledge before and after interventions or trainings. There is also a tracking sheet used to identify shop needs or requests for resources that can help the outreach worker remember to follow up with shops on certain issues.
The Safe Shops Project also sent out two mailings to the auto shops for which we had addresses. These were sent out over the course of two years to alert shops that they would soon be visited by outreach workers and invited to participate in the project. The mailings included a cover letter describing the project goals, fact sheets and an article about Safe Shops that was featured in the Massachusetts Auto Body Association’s monthly magazine Damage Report.