By Emily J. Haas, Ph.D., research behavior scientist, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH)

NIOSH designed an intervention to increase coal miners’ knowledge and use of the dust data cards that are produced via their Continuous Personal Dust Monitors (CPDM). NIOSH is implementing these interventions to evaluate changes in knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors among miners both individually and within work crews. The intervention involves having small groups of coal miners participate in discussions about their use of the CPDM and their interpretation of the dust data. Specifically, after NIOSH researchers debrief CPDM dust data cards with coal miners, they are able to reflect about tasks and scenarios that may have caused short, elevated exposures. Initial results reveal that, when doing something out of the norm, exposure increases. Subsequently, miners discuss corrective actions they employ to reduce future exposure. Min workers also complete pre- and post-climate surveys and interviews about susceptibility to respirable dust exposure and perceived barriers to using their CPDMs. This presentation discusses tasks that miners have identified, to date, of which they were unaware that increased their exposure to respirable dust and common mitigation strategies they have learned since wearing the CPDM. The purpose of this presentation is to help mine operators understand ways to identify and encourage work practices that reduce respirable dust exposure both to their individual mineworkers and to their workgroup shifts.