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Workplace-Based Opportunities to Support Child Care Workers’ Health and Safety


Vaughn, Amber E.; Willis, Erik A.; Ward, Dianne S.; Smith, Falon; Grummon, Anna H.; & Linnan, Laura A. (2020). Workplace-Based Opportunities to Support Child Care Workers’ Health and Safety. Preventive Medicine Reports, 19, 101154. PMCID: PMC7369321


Child care workers earn among the lowest wages in the United States and they struggle with many health issues. The purpose of this study was to describe workplace supports for nutrition, physical activity, other health behaviors (e.g., smoking cessation, stress management), and occupational health and safety available to child care workers, and thereby inform the development of future workplace-based interventions to improve worker well-being. Between 2015 and 2016, 74 North Carolina child care centers (and directors), participating in a larger randomized controlled trial, completed a Workplace Health and Safety Assessment (interview and observation) measuring four domains: Infrastructure, Organizational Policies and Procedures, Programs and Promotions, and Internal Physical Environment. This study used baseline data to report means and standard deviations. Participating child care centers employed, on average, 12.7 ± 8.4 employees. Total scores from the Workplace Health and Safety Assessment averaged 41.3 ± 12.6 out of a possible 154, demonstrating many missed opportunities for supporting health/safety. More specifically, centers scored on average 9.5 ± 3.9 on Infrastructure (35% of potential points), 11.1 ± 3.9 on Organizational Policies and Procedures (32% of potential), 7.6 ± 5.4 on Programs and Promotions (12% of potential), and 13.1 ± 2.2 on Internal Physical Environment (49% of potential). The most frequent supports available were for occupational health and safety issues, while fewer supports were available for physical activity and other health behaviors. Child care workers could benefit greatly from more comprehensive workplace health and safety interventions; however, strategies must overcome centers’ limited capacity and resources.


Reference Type

Journal Article

Article Type


Year Published


Journal Title

Preventive Medicine Reports


Vaughn, Amber E.
Willis, Erik A.
Ward, Dianne S.
Smith, Falon
Grummon, Anna H.
Linnan, Laura A.



Data Set/Study

CARE: Caring and Reaching for Health


United States of America


North Carolina