The purpose of this study was to determine important factors associated with respiratory protective device (RPD) compliance (always wearing a RPD when a hazard is present). With the recent H1N1 pandemic requiring many workplaces to quickly adopt the use of RPDs, now is a particularly important time to know what factors increase RPD compliance. Methods: Questionnaires were conducted with 131 respiratory patients who were employed in jobs where they were exposed to airborne hazardous materials. Questions were pertaining to the participant s RPD usage, workplace environment, safety training, respiratory illness and demographic information. Clinic files of the participants were reviewed to determine their diagnosis, illness severity and medications. Chi-squared tests and logistical regressions were conducted to detect associations between compliance and various factors identified from the questionnaire and file review.
RPD usage was low; only 40.5% of the participants reported wearing RPDs every time there was a hazard. Co-worker compliance (adjusted odds ratio (OR)=46.6, P<0.001), fit testing (OR=6.1, P<0.001), safety training (ST) with hands-on activities (OR=2.4, P=0.045), ST discussing the use of RPDs (OR=5.1, P=0.004), conveniently located RPDs (OR=6.6, P=0.008) and reminders/coworker encouragement (OR=4.3, P=0.002) were positively associated with compliance. Compliance was not associated with FEV1, company size, unionization, gender, educational level or smoking status.CONCLUSIONS: The method of safety training, availability of fit testing and coworker compliance seem to be important factors for increasing RPD wearing compliance. These results also suggest that the environment or safety climate is much more influential on compliance than personal factors, i.e. demographic information.
With the H1N1 pandemic, high RPD wearing compliance is imperative. The results presented here can be used by employers to aid in strategic interventions to maximize RPD wearing compliance at the workplace. Furthermore, since environmental factors are more influential than personal factors, the means for ensuring workers RPD usage rest primarily with the employer, rather than workers themselves.
Non-Industry Grants: Joshua Rosenblat, Bryan Fukakusa, and Ben Jung were supported by summer student support from the Institute of Medical Sciences, University of Toronto, St Michael's Hospital, Toronto, and the Centre for research Excellence in Occupational Disease, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.