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Dust control research leads to a NIOSH grant to facilitate adoption of hazard controls
Date:11/9/2009

Blacksburg, Va. In the construction industry, respiratory disease, often leading to disability or an increased risk of cancer, is a major public health concern. Studies led by Deborah Young-Corbett, a faculty member in Virginia Tech's School of Construction, have shown that specific types of sanding tools are highly effective in reducing the dust that causes these health hazards, yet the industry's usage of the available technology remains very low.

To find out why, Young-Corbett conducted follow-up studies with construction firm owners and workers, and identified a number of barriers to the adoption of technology that lead to healthier environments. She said they related to productivity, work quality, and perceptions of benefits and risks.

One of her colleagues, Theodore Koebel of urban affairs and planning at Virginia Tech has also conducted work in this area and has identified a number of strategies to encourage the construction industry to adopt the new technologies.

The two have now teamed on a new proposal to build upon this original work, and to improve the adoption of engineering controls in the construction industry to improve the health of the workers. Joining them is Enid Headen Montague, a member of the industrial engineering department at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Under a Research-to-Practice (R2P) project, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) has agreed to fund the next phase of this work.

Young-Corbett, the principal investigator on the project, started working in this area when she was pursuing her doctorate in industrial engineering/industrial hygiene which she obtained in 2007. Among her honors as a Ph.D. candidate, she was a NIOSH fellowship recipient for 2006-07. She led a pilot project in the Virginia Tech Center for Innovation in Construction, Safety and Health on the evaluation of dust control technologies for drywall finishing operations. She also received
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Contact: Lynn Nystrom
tansy@vt.edu
540-231-4371
Virginia Tech
Source:Eurekalert  

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