Improved Handwashing through Behavior-Based Training
Personal hygiene is a significant risk factor that contributes to foodborne illness. Appropriate handwashing behaviors can significantly reduce this risk. However, it has been proved that knowledge-based training alone is insufficient to trigger preventive practices. A new food safety training approach that can directly influence employees’ behavior is strongly recommended. The main objective of this study was to investigate the effectiveness of behavior-based food safety training to increase the level of proper performance of handwashing practices. Nine critical behaviors that would effectively prevent and control food safety hazards were identified. A three phase intervention design study was conducted. A Baseline phase was completed to rate the level of handwashing behaviors performed by the employees prior to the intended intervention. An online knowledge-based training emphasizing habitual handwashing behaviors was presented to employees. Following training, a motivational intervention consisted of weekly feedback, goal setting, and a motivational soap dispenser was introduced to help transfer leaning to the work place and develop habitual correct handwashing behaviors. Results indicated that knowledge-based training alone failed to improve employees’ handwashing performance, especially when employees had multiple work tasks simultaneously. Whereas, the behavior-based training approach was effective in improving employees’ handwashing performances. The proper rates of all the behaviors that could prevent and control food safety hazard were significant increased during the Motivational Phase.