Mining Publication: Formative Research to Reduce Mine Worker Respirable Silica Dust Exposure: A Feasibility Study to Integrate Technology into Behavioral Interventions
Original creation date: February 2016
Authors: EJ Haas, D Willmer, AB Cecala
The use of formative research as a critical component of intervention planning is highly supported in the literature. However, studies that report such processes in practice are minimal. This paper reports on the formative data collection and analysis that informed the development of a multilevel intervention that utilizes mine assessment technology to bridge health communication between workers and management to reduce mine worker overexposure to respirable silica dust.
Formative research to assess the feasibility and utility of this intervention design included stakeholder meetings and feedback, mine visits and observations, interviews with mine workers, and a focus group with mine management. Data collection took place at several US industrial mineral mine sites and a southeastern regional safety meeting. Interviews inquired about workers’ perceived susceptibility and severity to respirable silica exposure, barriers to preventing overexposure, behaviors that reduce exposure, and perceptions about respirable dust-monitoring technology. A focus group discussed mine stakeholders’ uses of various dust assessment technology.
The data was qualitatively analyzed and coded using a thematic and theoretical analysis. Researchers found recurring themes for both target audiences that informed the need and subsequent development of a mixed-method multilevel intervention to improve communication quantity and quality around dust-control practices.
Results indicate that formative research is critical to: identify and develop an intervention that meets target audience needs; accurately represent the health problem; and develop positive relationships with research partners and stakeholders.
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