One of the most effective ways that the Safe Shops Project has been able to address health disparities is by connecting auto shop workers to health care. During the course of visiting shops, a primary and recurring topic that surfaced was lack of access to health care. Auto shop workers work day-to-day with toxic chemicals, and yet often have no access to health care for themselves or their families. In addition, the shops are located in polluted neighborhoods where people may lack access to care.
At the beginning of the program, auto shops were invited to host a health van event, providing free health screenings for the workers and community. This provided positive advertisement for the shop owner and served as a valuable service for the community. It also helps auto shops further buy into the Safe Shops Project and philosophy.
In addition, the Safe Shops Project was able to leverage funds to hire a full time public health advocate to further help auto shops access health care. There is also a prompt in the worker survey to remind the person conducting the survey to offer health care referrals to the workers. The full time advocate can help the worker access health care, and there is also a referral sheet that can be delivered to the Mayor’s Health Line to follow up with the workers.