Online Program

Using technology to promote best practices for reducing silica exposures : Developing a practical online resource and planning tool for construction workers, contractors and other stakeholders

Tuesday, November 5, 2013 : 5:34 p.m. - 5:50 p.m.

Eileen Betit, Research to Practice, CPWR - The Center for Construction Research and Training, Silver Spring, MD
Robin Baker, MPH, Center for Occupational and Environmental Health, UC Berkeley and CPWR, Berkeley, CA
Jessica Bunting, MPH, Research to Practice (r2p), CPWR - The Center for Construction Research and Training, Silver Spring, MD
Jean Christophe Le, MPH, CPWR - Center for Construction Research & Training, Silver Spring, MD
Silica poses a serious hazard in construction. Many stakeholders believe that controlling exposures is not feasible. The evidence suggests otherwise. Translating research into accessible information and practical tools is essential for increasing the use of evidence-based interventions. This presentation will report on a user-driven website on silica developed as part of the CPWR Research to Practice initiative. The website is designed to increase workers, contractors, and other stakeholders' awareness of the hazard and use of controls.

Focus groups were conducted with workers and contractors in two diverse markets to identify knowledge gaps and how to use a website to encourage adoption of controls. Stakeholders were involved in each stage from design to testing. Through interactive features, stakeholders continue to have input. Evaluation of the website includes standard web analytics, end-user communications, and changes in awareness and use of, as measured by pre-post surveys.

Eleven national organizations representing hundreds of thousand workers, contractors, and manufacturers signed on as official supporters of the site. Following the launch, organizations representing stakeholders and safety and health professionals ran articles, tweeted, linked, accessed the site, and/or sent in content. In the first two months, there were more than 3,300 visits to the site, including 1,000 visits to the silica control plan.

Web-based tools provide a promising method for increasing the use of interventions in highly decentralized industries such as construction. Effective use of communication technologies appears to include end-user engagement in design, as well as the ability for users to generate customized action plans.

Learning Areas:

Communication and informatics
Occupational health and safety

Learning Objectives:
Discuss the importance of end-user involvement in the development of an effective web-based tool. Explain how web-based tools can advance research to practice in construction health and safety.

Keyword(s): Occupational Health, Internet Tools

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have worked on the development of communications mechanisms for construction workers and contractors for more than 20 years and was the lead researcher on the development of the website and the redesign of, an on-line library of construction safety and health research and other information.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.