A six-year study is exploring the most effective ways to disseminate ideas to reduce musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) in the construction sector. The sector was targeted because MSDs account for 35% of all lost time injuries. This paper reports on the organization of the construction sector, and maps potential pathways of communication, including social networks, to set the stage for future dissemination.
The managers, health and safety specialists, union health and safety representatives, and 28 workers from small, medium and large construction companies participated.
Over a three-year period, data were collected from 47 qualitative interviews. Questions were guided by the PARIHS (Promoting Action on Research Implementation in Health Services) knowledge-transfer conceptual framework and adapted for the construction sector.
The construction sector is a complex and dynamic sector, with non-linear reporting relationships, and divided and diluted responsibilities. Four networks were identified that can potentially facilitate the dissemination of new knowledge: worksite-project networks; union networks; apprenticeship program networks; and networks established by the Construction Safety Association/Infrastructure Health and Safety Association.
Flexible and multi-directional lines of communication must be used in this complex environment. This has implications for the future choice of knowledge transfer strategies.