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The Impact of Social and Organizational Factors on Workers’ Use of Personal Protective Equipment: A Multilevel Approach

Torp, Steffen PhD; Grøgaard, Jens B. PhD; Moen, Bente E. MD; Bråtveit, Magne PhD

Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine: August 2005 - Volume 47 - Issue 8 - p 829-837
doi: 10.1097/01.jom.0000167275.13079.8d
Original Articles

Objective: On the basis of the job demands-control-support model by Karasek and Theorell, we investigated how social and organizational factors influence workers’ use of personal protective equipment (PPE).

Methods: A cross-sectional study was performed among 1420 workers in 203 motor vehicle-repair garages. Multilevel modeling was performed to account for the hierarchical structure of the data.

Results: Social and management support correlated positively with PPE use at the worker level. Low demands measured at the garage level and having a health and safety management system at the garage also correlated with active use of PPE. An interaction effect between social support and garage-level demands was observed.

Conclusions: In addition to health information and provision of PPE, focusing on social and organizational factors seems necessary to get more workers to comply with the instructions on PPE use.

From the Centre for Health Promotion in Settings, Faculty of Health Science (Dr Torp), Faculty of Social Science (Dr Grøgaard), Vestfold University College, Tønsberg, and Section for Occupational Medicine, Department of Public Health and Primary Health Care, University of Bergen, Norway (Drs Moen and Bråtveit).

Supported by the Norwegian Confederation of Business and Industry, the Norwegian Association of Motorcar Dealers and Service Organization, the Norwegian United Federation of Trade Unions, Vesta Insurance Company and the Norwegian Research Council.

Address correspondence to: Steffen Torp, Centre for Health Promotion in Settings, Faculty of Health Science, Vestfold University College, P.O. Box 2243, N-3103 Tønsberg, Norway; E-mail:

Copyright © 2005 by the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine