Survey assessment of worker dermal exposure and underlying behavioral determinants

Laura A. Geer, Daniel Anna, Barbara Curbow, Marie Diener-West, Berna Van Wendel De Joode, Clifford Mitchell, Timothy J. Buckley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Within the workplace, there is less reliance on engineering controls for dermal exposure protection and more reliance on the worker's motivation and training in use of personal protective equipment. Behavior thus becomes a significant determinant of dermal exposure, and its assessment paramount in examining and understanding factors influencing exposure. The main objectives of this study were to: (i) assess worker knowledge, attitudes, and perceptions (KAP) of workplace dermal hazards using a self-complete questionnaire and to examine KAP associations with behavior and exposure; (ii) compare worker and manager scores to identify potential gaps in KAP between the two groups; (iii) utilize a semiquantitative observational DeRmal Exposure Assessment Methodology (DREAM) to evaluate worker dermal exposure; and (iv) identify potential behavioral factors underlying exposure using DREAM and KAP. Nineteen industries across the Baltimore, Md. and Lancaster, Pa., regions participated in the study including a total of 89 workers and 17 managers. The scales within the KAP questionnaire that served as the outcome measure included knowledge, training, behavior, behavior beliefs, information beliefs, self-efficacy, and overall beliefs. DREAM scores ranged from 0.15 to 545 with a median of 8 and a mean (SD) of 22 (62.5). Whereas worker self-efficacy with respect to PPE use, and the group "workers with 10-20 years of experience" were marginally positively associated with protective behavior (p < 0.08 and p < 0.06, respectively), a question related to barriers to PPE use was negatively associated with precautionary behavior (p < 0.01). Dermal exposure was positively associated with workers in the age group 40-49 years as compared with those less than 40 years of age (OR = 4.86, 95% CI = 0.93, 25.62). There were no statistically significant associations between KAP and DREAM. This is one of the first studies to begin to elucidate worker knowledge, attitudes, and perceptions that underlie behaviors that lead to occupational dermal exposures. Results of the KAP questionnaire can inform strategies to improve awareness and protective practices in the workplace through factors such as increased worker dermal hazard knowledge, well-informed company PPE selection and availability, and improved worker training.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)809-820
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of occupational and environmental hygiene
Volume4
Issue number11
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 1 2007

Keywords

  • Attitudes
  • Behavior
  • Exposure survey
  • Knowledge
  • Occupational dermal exposure
  • Questionnaire

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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