Dust Control Usage: Strategic Technology Interventions

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Virginia Tech

An intervention to improve adoption of dust control technology is designed, implemented and evaluated using three theoretical frameworks: the Health Belief Model (HBM), Diffusion of Innovation, and the Technology Acceptance Model. A quasi-experimental design (pretest-posttest, with control group) was used to evaluate the effectiveness of the intervention. An integrated conceptual model, employing key constructs from these frameworks, was developed to predict and describe "adoption readiness". Adoption readiness combines the attitudes and perceptions about a technology with the capacity to implement the technology. The primary hypothesis was that the key construct scores of the three theoretical models would improve post-intervention, particularly, "adoption readiness". Workers in the drywall finishing industry have been found to be at risk of developing respiratory disease and disability. Studies have shown that drywall finish workers have been subject to overexposure to dust concentrations that contain respiratory heath hazardous particles including silica, talc, mica, and calcite. Prevention through Design (PtD) solutions, which are effective at reducing dust levels, do exist for these operations. Some of these PtD solutions include using vacuum sanders, wet sanding methods, pole sanding and using low dust joint compound in lieu of using personal protective equipment (PPE) as a primary form of exposure protection. Previous studies have determined barriers to adoption of current PtD solutions for dust exposure reduction. Usability, productivity, quality of finish and cost were all identified as barriers to adoption. An intervention directed at those involved in the drywall industry is needed to increase the usage of engineered dust control.

This dissertation project developed, implemented, and evaluated three interventions to address the barriers to adoption through education and marketing strategies. Development of the interventions included strategies to improve industry usage of dust control technologies. The interventions targeted workers, small companies, and large companies involved in drywall finishing.

drywall dust, interventions, safety, Construction