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Behavioural interventions to promote workers' use of respiratory protective equipment

Overview of attention for article published in Cochrane database of systematic reviews, December 2016
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  • In the top 5% of all research outputs scored by Altmetric
  • High Attention Score compared to outputs of the same age (93rd percentile)
  • Good Attention Score compared to outputs of the same age and source (71st percentile)

Mentioned by

1 blog
29 tweeters
2 Facebook pages


22 Dimensions

Readers on

312 Mendeley
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Behavioural interventions to promote workers' use of respiratory protective equipment
Published in
Cochrane database of systematic reviews, December 2016
DOI 10.1002/14651858.cd010157.pub2
Pubmed ID

Bao Yen Luong Thanh, Malinee Laopaiboon, David Koh, Pornpun Sakunkoo, Hla Moe


Respiratory hazards are common in the workplace. Depending on the hazard and exposure, the health consequences may include: mild to life-threatening illnesses from infectious agents, acute effects ranging from respiratory irritation to chronic lung conditions, or even cancer from exposure to chemicals or toxins. Use of respiratory protective equipment (RPE) is an important preventive measure in many occupational settings. RPE only offers protection when worn properly, when removed safely and when it is either replaced or maintained regularly. The effectiveness of behavioural interventions either directed at employers or organisations or directed at individual workers to promote RPE use in workers remains an important unanswered question. To assess the effects of any behavioural intervention either directed at organisations or at individual workers on observed or self-reported RPE use in workers when compared to no intervention or an alternative intervention. We searched the Cochrane Work Group Specialised Register, the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL 2016, Issue 07), MEDLINE (1980 to 12 August 2016), EMBASE (1980 to 20 August 2016) and CINAHL (1980 to 12 August 2016). We included randomised controlled trials (RCTs), controlled before and after (CBA) studies and interrupted time-series (ITS) comparing behavioural interventions versus no intervention or any other behavioural intervention to promote RPE use in workers. Four authors independently selected relevant studies, assessed risk of bias and extracted data. We contacted investigators to clarify information. We pooled outcome data from included studies where the studies were sufficiently similar. We included 14 studies that evaluated the effect of training and education on RPE use, which involved 2052 participants. The included studies had been conducted with farm, healthcare, production line, office and coke oven workers as well as nursing students and people with mixed occupations. All included studies reported the effects of interventions as use of RPE, as correct use of RPE or as indirect measures of RPE use. We did not find any studies where the intervention was delivered and assessed at the whole organization level or in which the main focus was on positive or negative incentives. We rated the quality of the evidence for all comparisons as low to very low. Training versus no trainingOne CBA study in healthcare workers compared training with and without a fit test to no intervention. The study found that the rate of properly fitting respirators was not considerably different in the workers who had received training with a fit test (RR 1.17, 95% Confidence Interval (CI) 0.97 to 1.10) or training without a fit test (RR 1.16, 95% CI 0.95 to 1.42) compared to those who had no training. Two RCTs that evaluated training did not contribute to the analyses because of lack of data. Conventional training plus additions versus conventional training aloneOne cluster-randomised trial compared conventional training plus RPE demonstration versus training alone and reported no significant difference in appropriate use of RPE between the two groups (RR 1.41, 95% CI 0.96 to 2.07).One RCT compared interactive training with passive training, with an information screen, and an information book. The mean RPE performance score for the active group was not different from that of the passive group (MD 2.10, 95% CI -0.76 to 4.96). However, the active group scored significantly higher than the book group (MD 4.20, 95% CI 0.89 to 7.51) and the screen group (MD 7.00, 95% CI 4.06 to 9.94).One RCT compared computer-simulation training with conventional personal protective equipment (PPE) training but reported only results for donning and doffing full-body PPE. Education versus no educationOne RCT found that a multifaceted educational intervention increased the use of RPE (risk ratio (RR) 1.69, 95% CI 1.10 to 2.58) at three years' follow-up when compared to no intervention. However, there was no difference between intervention and control at one year's, two years' or four years' follow-up. Two RCTs did not report enough data to be included in the analysis.Four CBA studies evaluated the effectiveness of education interventions and found no effect on the frequency or correctness of RPE use, except in one study for the use of an N95 mask (RR 4.56, 95% CI 1.84 to 11.33, 1 CBA) in workers. Motivational interviewing versus traditional lecturesOne CBA study found that participants given motivational group interviewing-based safety education scored higher on a checklist measuring PPE use (MD 2.95, 95% CI 1.93 to 3.97) than control workers given traditional educational sessions. There is very low quality evidence that behavioural interventions, namely education and training, do not have a considerable effect on the frequency or correctness of RPE use in workers. There were no studies on incentives or organisation level interventions. The included studies had methodological limitations and we therefore need further large RCTs with clearer methodology in terms of randomised sequence generation, allocation concealment and assessor blinding, in order to evaluate the effectiveness of behavioural interventions for improving the use of RPE at both organisational and individual levels. In addition, further studies should consider some of the barriers to the successful use of RPE, such as experience of health risk, types of RPE and the employer's attitude to RPE use.

Twitter Demographics

The data shown below were collected from the profiles of 29 tweeters who shared this research output. Click here to find out more about how the information was compiled.

Mendeley readers

The data shown below were compiled from readership statistics for 312 Mendeley readers of this research output. Click here to see the associated Mendeley record.

Geographical breakdown

Country Count As %
United Kingdom 1 <1%
Unknown 311 100%

Demographic breakdown

Readers by professional status Count As %
Researcher 59 19%
Student > Master 55 18%
Student > Bachelor 36 12%
Student > Ph. D. Student 27 9%
Other 18 6%
Other 57 18%
Unknown 60 19%
Readers by discipline Count As %
Medicine and Dentistry 71 23%
Nursing and Health Professions 63 20%
Psychology 28 9%
Social Sciences 21 7%
Economics, Econometrics and Finance 11 4%
Other 48 15%
Unknown 70 22%

Attention Score in Context

This research output has an Altmetric Attention Score of 28. This is our high-level measure of the quality and quantity of online attention that it has received. This Attention Score, as well as the ranking and number of research outputs shown below, was calculated when the research output was last mentioned on 25 March 2020.
All research outputs
of 17,446,661 outputs
Outputs from Cochrane database of systematic reviews
of 11,688 outputs
Outputs of similar age
of 397,742 outputs
Outputs of similar age from Cochrane database of systematic reviews
of 146 outputs
Altmetric has tracked 17,446,661 research outputs across all sources so far. Compared to these this one has done particularly well and is in the 95th percentile: it's in the top 5% of all research outputs ever tracked by Altmetric.
So far Altmetric has tracked 11,688 research outputs from this source. They typically receive a lot more attention than average, with a mean Attention Score of 25.1. This one has done well, scoring higher than 80% of its peers.
Older research outputs will score higher simply because they've had more time to accumulate mentions. To account for age we can compare this Altmetric Attention Score to the 397,742 tracked outputs that were published within six weeks on either side of this one in any source. This one has done particularly well, scoring higher than 93% of its contemporaries.
We're also able to compare this research output to 146 others from the same source and published within six weeks on either side of this one. This one has gotten more attention than average, scoring higher than 71% of its contemporaries.