Effectiveness of a worksite intervention to reduce an occupational exposure: the Minnesota wood dust study

Am J Public Health. 2002 Sep;92(9):1498-505. doi: 10.2105/ajph.92.9.1498.


Objectives: This study assessed the effectiveness of an intervention to reduce wood dust, a carcinogen, by approximately 26% in small woodworking businesses.

Methods: We randomized 48 businesses to an intervention (written recommendations, technical assistance, and worker training) or comparison (written recommendations alone) condition. Changes from baseline in dust concentration, dust control methods, and worker behavior were compared between the groups 1 year later.

Results: At follow-up, workers in intervention relative to comparison businesses reported greater awareness, increases in stage of readiness, and behavioral changes consistent with dust control. The median dust concentration change in the intervention group from baseline to follow-up was 10.4% (95% confidence interval = -28.8%, 12.7%) lower than the change in comparison businesses.

Conclusions: We attribute the smaller-than-expected reduction in wood dust to the challenge of conducting rigorous intervention effectiveness research in occupational settings.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Evaluation Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Air Pollutants, Occupational / analysis*
  • Dust / adverse effects
  • Dust / prevention & control*
  • Environmental Monitoring
  • Guidelines as Topic
  • Humans
  • Industry / standards*
  • Inhalation Exposure / analysis
  • Inhalation Exposure / prevention & control*
  • Inservice Training
  • Maximum Allowable Concentration
  • Middle Aged
  • Minnesota
  • Occupational Exposure / analysis
  • Occupational Exposure / prevention & control*
  • Pilot Projects
  • Program Evaluation
  • Random Allocation
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Ventilation
  • Wood*


  • Air Pollutants, Occupational
  • Dust