Knowledge of work-related injury reporting and perceived barriers among janitors

Deirdre R. Green, Susan G Gerberich, Hyun Kim, Andrew Ryan, Patricia M McGovern, Timothy R Church, Adam Schwartz, Rony F. Arauz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Introduction: The goal of this study was to evaluate and improve janitors' knowledge of workers' rights and responsibilities for assessing and reporting work-related injuries, and to determine the barriers for reporting occupational injuries. Methods: Questionnaires, designed to collect data retrospectively for two, sequential six-month periods, were disseminated to 1200 full-time unionized janitors in the Twin Cities. Immediately following the baseline questionnaire administration, a randomly selected sub-group of janitors (~ 600) received information on workers' rights and responsibilities for reporting injuries; six-months later a questionnaire comparable to the baseline questionnaire was disseminated to the 1200 janitors. Analyses included basic descriptive analyses and identification of potential differences in proportions of job-specific reporting barriers pre-post-intervention. Results: Among the participating janitors (n = 390), approximately half (53%) were initially unsure of what an OSHA 300 Log was; 56% reported not knowing what workers' compensation was. At baseline, in both intervention and non-intervention groups, approximately 25% reported having a perceived barrier to reporting an injury to their employer. Reported barriers included “fear,” “reporting takes too long,” “being unsure of the reporting process,” and an “understanding that injuries are a part of the job.” At follow-up, among the intervention group, there was an important reduction (24%–12%) in having a perceived barrier for reporting a work-related injury. Conclusions: A majority of janitors lacked knowledge and awareness of OSHA injury reporting and Workers' Compensation. In order to improve reporting, it is essential to educate employees on OSHA and Workers' Compensation and inform janitors of the injury reporting process through training. Practical applications: Future intervention efforts must focus on the specific barriers for reporting occupational injuries and be tailored specifically to the janitor population. To reduce underreporting of injuries, they must be encouraged to report their occupational injuries. Barriers to reporting these injuries must be eliminated.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-10
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Safety Research
StatePublished - Jun 2019

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was supported by a Pilot Projects Research Grant , Midwest Center for Occupational Health and Safety, Education and Research Center ( T42OH008434 ), funded through: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), Centers for Disease Control, Department of Health and Human Services. Additional support was provided through the University of Minnesota Graduate School, Doctoral Dissertation Fellowship. The contents of this effort are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official view of NIOSH, the University of Minnesota Graduate School, or other associated entities.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 Elsevier Ltd and National Safety Council


  • Barriers
  • Injury Reporting
  • Janitors
  • Work-Related Injuries


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