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Mining Project: Enhanced Utilization of Personal Dust Monitor Feedback

Project DetailValue
Principal Investigators
  • Kelly McNelis, NIOSH, (412) 386-6886
Start Date10/1/2011
Purpose

The objectives of the project are (1) to test an intervention designed to help miners use Personal Dust Monitor (PDM) feedback more effectively to reduce their exposure to respirable coal mine dust and (2) to document specific examples of ways that miners can use PDM feedback to alter their behaviors to decrease their exposure to respirable coal dust while working underground.

Program Area
Keywordsbehavioral interventions, black lung disease, coal mine dust

Research Summary

Coal Workers’ Pneumoconiosis (CWP) or “Black Lung Disease” is the leading cause of death due to occupational illness among US coal miners. Fortunately, a Personal Dust Monitor (PDM) has recently become commercially available that can provide miners with near real-time feedback on their exposure to respirable coal mine dust, a contributor to CWP. This project will help to enhance the way Personal Dust Monitor (PDM) information is used to reduce miners' exposure to respirable coal mine dust, and consequently, the incidence of Coal Workers' Pneumoconiosis

The objectives of the project are:

  • To test an intervention designed to help miners use Personal Dust Monitor (PDM) feedback more effectively to reduce their exposure to respirable coal mine dust and
  • To document specific examples of ways that miners can use PDM feedback to alter their behaviors to decrease their exposure to respirable coal dust while working underground.

This project creates and tests a 12-week intervention to involve miners in interpreting feedback from their PDMs with the hope of decreasing their exposure to respirable coal mine dust. It is hypothesized that miners who are involved in a weekly meeting to discuss their feedback and ways to alter their behaviors to decrease future exposure to respirable coal mine dust will have lower exposure levels than miners who do not have the opportunity to participate in weekly meetings. The operators at each mine will be asked to provide daily respirable coal mine dust exposures levels (as measured by their PDMs) for all of the participating miners and information regarding environmental, engineering, and administrative controls that may affect respirable coal mine dust. At the conclusion of the intervention, researchers will interview miners who participated in the intervention to further document examples of how miners attempt to use PDM information to make behavioral changes that reduce their respirable coal mine dust exposure.

Specific aims of the project are:

1. To design an intervention based on behavioral science research (e.g., the Self-Determination Theory of health behavior change and the PDM conceptual model) in which miners discuss their exposures to respirable coal mine dust (as measured by a PDM) and ways to alter their behaviors to decrease future exposure to respirable coal mine dust.

2. To test the intervention to see if it decreases miners’ exposure to respirable coal mine dust. Questions to be addressed include:

  • Do miners who meet on a weekly basis to discuss PDM feedback exhibit greater decreases in exposure to respirable coal mine dust than miners who do not meet?
  • Can miners use feedback from their PDMs to identify reasons for variations in respirable coal mine dust exposure, the sources of the exposures, and how to avoid future exposures?
  • Will miners make changes to their behaviors to attempt to decrease their exposure to respirable coal mine dust?
  • Do miners’ processes of making behavioral changes support the PDM conceptual model?

3. To document examples of ways that miners decrease their exposure to respirable coal mine dust. Questions to be addressed include:

  • What are examples of ways that miners change their behaviors to decrease their exposure to respirable coal mine dust?
  • Are some changes in behavior more effective than others at lowering exposure levels to respirable coal mine dust?
  • What, if any, engineering and administrative controls are used to decrease miners’ exposure levels to respirable coal mine dust?
 

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