Hazardous noise, which affects 30 million workers in the United States, can destroy hearing and cause physiological and psychological stress (NIOSH, 1996). Construction workers are a large, diverse and mobile group with work that involves multiple sites, activities, and environmental conditions. Factors unique to the construction industry, such as a mobile work force, subcontracting, multiple employers and job sites, multiple sources of noise in job sites, difficulty in controlling noise through engineering efforts, and hearing conservation programs that are less comprehensive than those for manufacturing workers, support the need for individual workers' use of hearing protection devices (HPDs). The purpose of this project was to test the effectiveness of a training program to increase use of hearing protection devices (HPDs) by three trade groups of construction workers: carpenters, operating engineers, and plumber/pipefitters. This was conducted in three phases: Phase 1 identified predictors of use; Phase 2 used the identified predictors to design and pilot test a training program intervention; and Phase 3 tested the effectiveness of the intervention. In Phase 1, 356 construction workers from the three trade groups completed questionnaires measuring their perception of the frequency of use and predictors of their use of hearing protection, and their perceptions regarding their noise exposure and hearing loss. The health Promotion Model (HPM) Pender, 1987) provided the framework for identifying the important predictors of use of HPDs. These predictors then served as the bases for the intervention which was pilot tested in Phase 2 with the representatives of the three trade groups(n=33). In Phase 3, the effectiveness of the intervention was tested with three regional groups of workers representing the three trade groups and a sample of plumber/pipefitters trainers. The effectiveness of this theory-based intervention (video,pamphlets, and guided practice session) was assessed using a Solomon Four-Group design (n=1028) with the posttest measures occurring ten to twelve months after the intervention.
University of Michigan, School of Nursing, 400 N. Ingalls, Ann Arbor, MI 48109-0482