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Special Issue "Occupational Health"

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A special issue of International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health (ISSN 1660-4601).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 July 2013)

Special Issue Editor

Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Marc B. Schenker

Department of Public Health Sciences, UC Davis School of Medicine, University of California, Davis, Davis, CA 95616, USA
Website | E-Mail
Interests: occupational and environmental health; occupational reproductive hazards; migration and health

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Health hazards in the workplace are as old as work itself, but at the same time they continue to change and evolve with the changing nature of work and the changing composition of the workforce. Many hazardous industries and jobs have been "exported" from developed to developing countries. This journal issue will explore new work environments and new hazards in the workplace. Workplace hazards caused by behavioral changes both in and outside the workplace will also be considered. Another major focus is the changing composition of the workforce. As the workforce ages in developed countries, consideration must be given to increased risks for the older worker. Many hazardous jobs are done by immigrant workers, who suffer increased risks of injury and illness from their precarious work status. Finally, reduction of occupational injuries and illnesses requires not only etiologic studies but effective interventions. Research on effective interventions to decrease workplace hazards is an area receiving increased attention.

Prof. Dr. Marc B. Schenker
Guest Editor

Submission

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. Papers will be published continuously (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are refereed through a peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health is an international peer-reviewed Open Access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1600 CHF (Swiss Francs).

Keywords

  • work
  • occupation
  • injury
  • illness
  • chemical
  • toxic
  • immigrant
  • aging
  • precarious behavioral
  • worker environmental

Published Papers (8 papers)

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Research

Jump to: Review

Open AccessArticle Occupational Injuries on Thoroughbred Horse Farms: A Description of Latino and Non-Latino Workers’ Experiences
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2013, 10(12), 6500-6516; doi:10.3390/ijerph10126500
Received: 30 August 2013 / Revised: 13 November 2013 / Accepted: 14 November 2013 / Published: 29 November 2013
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (202 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Animal production is a dangerous industry and increasingly reliant on a Latino workforce. Within animal production, little is known about the risks or the occupational hazards of working on farms involved in various aspects of thoroughbred horse breeding. Extant research suggests that horse
[...] Read more.
Animal production is a dangerous industry and increasingly reliant on a Latino workforce. Within animal production, little is known about the risks or the occupational hazards of working on farms involved in various aspects of thoroughbred horse breeding. Extant research suggests that horse workers are at risk of musculoskeletal and respiratory symptoms, kicks, and other injuries. However, limited known research has examined the experiences of the industry’s workers, including immigrant workers, despite their prominence and increased vulnerability. Using data collected from thoroughbred farm representatives via a phone-administered survey, a 2-hour face-to-face semi-structured interview, and farm injury logs, this article identifies and describes types of injuries experienced by workers (N = 284) and their surrounding circumstances. Results indicate that general injuries and musculoskeletal strains, sprains, and tears account for a majority of injuries among workers on thoroughbred farms. Upper limbs and extremities are most frequently injured, while direct contact with the horse accounted for over half of all injuries. No differences in the diagnoses or distribution of injury were found by ethnicity; however, Latinos were more often struck by or trampled by a horse while non-Latinos were more often injured by an insect or plant. Implications and opportunities for future research are discussed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Occupational Health)
Open AccessArticle Toxicology Testing in Fatally Injured Workers: A Review of Five Years of Iowa FACE Cases
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2013, 10(11), 6154-6168; doi:10.3390/ijerph10116154
Received: 2 September 2013 / Revised: 1 November 2013 / Accepted: 4 November 2013 / Published: 14 November 2013
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (712 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Toxicology testing of fatally injured workers is not routinely conducted. We completed a case-series study of 2005–2009 occupational fatalities captured by Iowa’s Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation (FACE) Program. The goals of our research were to: (1) measure the proportion of FACE cases
[...] Read more.
Toxicology testing of fatally injured workers is not routinely conducted. We completed a case-series study of 2005–2009 occupational fatalities captured by Iowa’s Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation (FACE) Program. The goals of our research were to: (1) measure the proportion of FACE cases that undergo toxicology testing, and describe the factors associated with being tested, and (2) measure the rate of positive toxicology tests, the substances identified and the demographics and occupations of victims who tested positive. Case documents and toxicology laboratory reports were reviewed. There were 427 occupational deaths from 2005 to 2009. Only 69% underwent toxicology testing. Younger workers had greater odds of being tested. Among occupational groups, workers in farming, fishing and forestry had half the odds of being tested compared to other occupational groups. Of the 280 cases with toxicology tests completed, 22% (n = 61) were found to have positive toxicology testing. Commonly identified drug classes included cannabinoids and alcohols. Based on the small number of positive tests, older victims (65+ years) tested positive more frequently than younger workers. Management, business, science, arts, service and sales/office workers had proportionately more positive toxicology tests (almost 30%) compared with other workers (18–22%). These results identify an area in need of further research efforts and a potential target for injury prevention strategies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Occupational Health)
Open AccessArticle Improving the Psychosocial Work Environment at Multi-Ethnic Workplaces: A Multi-Component Intervention Strategy in the Cleaning Industry
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2013, 10(10), 4996-5010; doi:10.3390/ijerph10104996
Received: 15 August 2013 / Revised: 22 September 2013 / Accepted: 1 October 2013 / Published: 14 October 2013
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (363 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Global labour migration has increased in recent years and immigrant workers are often recruited into low status and low paid jobs such as cleaning. Research in a Danish context shows that immigrants working in the cleaning industry often form social networks based on
[...] Read more.
Global labour migration has increased in recent years and immigrant workers are often recruited into low status and low paid jobs such as cleaning. Research in a Danish context shows that immigrants working in the cleaning industry often form social networks based on shared languages and backgrounds, and that conflict between different ethnic groups may occur. This paper evaluates the impact of a multi-component intervention on the psychosocial work environment at a multi-ethnic Danish workplace in the cleaning sector. The intervention included Danish lessons, vocational training courses, and activities to improve collaboration across different groups of cleaners. Interviews about the outcome of the intervention were conducted with the cleaners and their supervisor. The Copenhagen Psychosocial Questionnaire was used as a supplement to the interviews. The results suggest that the psychosocial work environment had improved after the intervention. According to the interviews with the cleaners, the intervention had led to improved communication, trust, and collaboration. These findings are supported by the questionnaire where social support from supervisor and colleagues, social community, trust, and teamwork seem to have improved together with meaning of work, rewards, and emotional demands. The design of the intervention may provide inspiration for future psychosocial work environment interventions at multi-ethnic work places. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Occupational Health)
Open AccessArticle Participatory Research Revealing the Work and Occupational Health Hazards of Cooperative Recyclers in Brazil
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2013, 10(10), 4607-4627; doi:10.3390/ijerph10104607
Received: 31 July 2013 / Revised: 5 September 2013 / Accepted: 10 September 2013 / Published: 27 September 2013
Cited by 7 | PDF Full-text (2385 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Although informal waste collectors are sometimes organized in cooperatives, their working conditions remain extremely precarious and unsafe. The paper discusses the findings of action oriented, participatory qualitative research with several recycling groups in the metropolitan region of São Paulo, Brazil. During workshops with
[...] Read more.
Although informal waste collectors are sometimes organized in cooperatives, their working conditions remain extremely precarious and unsafe. The paper discusses the findings of action oriented, participatory qualitative research with several recycling groups in the metropolitan region of São Paulo, Brazil. During workshops with the recyclers mapping, acting, and drawing methods helped reveal health hazards from collection, separation and transportation of recyclable materials. Major health problems relate to chemical and biological hazards, musculoskeletal damage, mechanical trauma and poor emotional wellbeing. The recent federal legislation on solid waste management opens new avenues for the inclusion of recycling cooperatives in selective waste collection. Nevertheless, we express the need to consider the distinctive characteristics and vulnerabilities of recycling groups, when developing safer work environments in these social businesses. We also suggest that the workspace be ergonomically organized and that public awareness campaigns about selective waste collection are conducted regularly to increase the quality of source separation. The introduction of electric hand pushed carts can further reduce health strains. This research has produced a better understanding of the work of the recyclers and related health risks. The interactive qualitative research methodology has allowed for the co-creation and mobilization of specific knowledge on health and safety in recycling cooperatives. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Occupational Health)
Open AccessArticle Developing a Semi-Quantitative Occupational Risk Prediction Model for Chemical Exposures and Its Application to a National Chemical Exposure Databank
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2013, 10(8), 3157-3171; doi:10.3390/ijerph10083157
Received: 13 June 2013 / Revised: 22 July 2013 / Accepted: 22 July 2013 / Published: 25 July 2013
PDF Full-text (295 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
In this study, a semi-quantitative occupational chemical exposure risk prediction model, based on the calculation of exposure hazard indexes, was proposed, corrected, and applied to a national chemical exposure databank. The model comprises one factor used to describe toxicity (i.e., the
[...] Read more.
In this study, a semi-quantitative occupational chemical exposure risk prediction model, based on the calculation of exposure hazard indexes, was proposed, corrected, and applied to a national chemical exposure databank. The model comprises one factor used to describe toxicity (i.e., the toxicity index), and two factors used to reflect the exposure potential (i.e., the exposure index and protection deficiency index) of workers exposed to chemicals. An expert system was used to correct the above proposed model. By applying the corrected model to data obtained from a national occupational chemical hazard survey program, chemical exposure risks of various manufacturing industries were determined and a national control strategy for the abatement of occupational chemical exposures was proposed. The results of the present study would provide useful information for governmental agencies to allocate their limited resources effectively for reducing chemical exposures of workers. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Occupational Health)
Open AccessArticle Management of Occupational Exposure to Engineered Nanoparticles Through a Chance-Constrained Nonlinear Programming Approach
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2013, 10(4), 1231-1249; doi:10.3390/ijerph10041231
Received: 28 January 2013 / Accepted: 13 March 2013 / Published: 26 March 2013
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (417 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Critical environmental and human health concerns are associated with the rapidly growing fields of nanotechnology and manufactured nanomaterials (MNMs). The main risk arises from occupational exposure via chronic inhalation of nanoparticles. This research presents a chance-constrained nonlinear programming (CCNLP) optimization approach, which is
[...] Read more.
Critical environmental and human health concerns are associated with the rapidly growing fields of nanotechnology and manufactured nanomaterials (MNMs). The main risk arises from occupational exposure via chronic inhalation of nanoparticles. This research presents a chance-constrained nonlinear programming (CCNLP) optimization approach, which is developed to maximize the nanaomaterial production and minimize the risks of workplace exposure to MNMs. The CCNLP method integrates nonlinear programming (NLP) and chance-constrained programming (CCP), and handles uncertainties associated with both the nanomaterial production and workplace exposure control. The CCNLP method was examined through a single-walled carbon nanotube (SWNT) manufacturing process. The study results provide optimal production strategies and alternatives. It reveal that a high control measure guarantees that environmental health and safety (EHS) standards regulations are met, while a lower control level leads to increased risk of violating EHS regulations. The CCNLP optimization approach is a decision support tool for the optimization of the increasing MNMS manufacturing with workplace safety constraints under uncertainties. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Occupational Health)
Open AccessArticle Effect of Duration of Exposure to Cement Dust on Respiratory Function of Non-Smoking Cement Mill Workers
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2013, 10(1), 390-398; doi:10.3390/ijerph10010390
Received: 24 December 2012 / Revised: 5 January 2013 / Accepted: 10 January 2013 / Published: 16 January 2013
Cited by 9 | PDF Full-text (152 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This study aimed to determine the effect of long term exposure to cement dust on lung function in non-smoking cement mill workers. This is a cross-sectional study of respiratory functions. Spirometry was performed in 100 apparently healthy volunteers; 50 non-smoking cement mill workers
[...] Read more.
This study aimed to determine the effect of long term exposure to cement dust on lung function in non-smoking cement mill workers. This is a cross-sectional study of respiratory functions. Spirometry was performed in 100 apparently healthy volunteers; 50 non-smoking cement mill workers and 50 non-smoking un-exposed subjects. Based on the duration of exposure, cement mill workers were divided into three groups, less than 5, 5–10 and greater than 10 years. All subjects were individually matched for age, height, weight, and socioeconomic status. Pulmonary function test was performed by using an electronic spirometer. Significant reduction was observed in the mean values of Forced Vital Capacity (FVC), Forced Expiratory Volume in one second (FEV1), Peak Expiratory Flow (PEF) and Maximal Voluntary Ventilation in cement mill workers who had been working in the cement industry for more than 10 years compared to their matched un-exposed group. Lung functions in cement mill workers were significantly impaired and results show a long term duration response effect of years of exposure to cement dust on lung functions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Occupational Health)

Review

Jump to: Research

Open AccessReview Occupational Pesticide Exposures and Respiratory Health
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2013, 10(12), 6442-6471; doi:10.3390/ijerph10126442
Received: 26 August 2013 / Revised: 13 November 2013 / Accepted: 14 November 2013 / Published: 28 November 2013
Cited by 17 | PDF Full-text (269 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Pesticides have been widely used to control pest and pest-related diseases in agriculture, fishery, forestry and the food industry. In this review, we identify a number of respiratory symptoms and diseases that have been associated with occupational pesticide exposures. Impaired lung function has
[...] Read more.
Pesticides have been widely used to control pest and pest-related diseases in agriculture, fishery, forestry and the food industry. In this review, we identify a number of respiratory symptoms and diseases that have been associated with occupational pesticide exposures. Impaired lung function has also been observed among people occupationally exposed to pesticides. There was strong evidence for an association between occupational pesticide exposure and asthma, especially in agricultural occupations. In addition, we found suggestive evidence for a link between occupational pesticide exposure and chronic bronchitis or COPD. There was inconclusive evidence for the association between occupational pesticide exposure and lung cancer. Better control of pesticide uses and enforcement of safety behaviors, such as using personal protection equipment (PPE) in the workplace, are critical for reducing the risk of developing pesticide-related symptoms and diseases. Educational training programs focusing on basic safety precautions and proper uses of personal protection equipment (PPE) are possible interventions that could be used to control the respiratory diseases associated with pesticide exposure in occupational setting. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Occupational Health)

Planned Papers

The below list represents only planned manuscripts. Some of these manuscripts have not been received by the Editorial Office yet. Papers submitted to MDPI journals are subject to peer-review.

Type of Paper: Research Article
Title: What’s Perceived, What’s Experienced, What’s Reported: A description of injuries on thoroughbred breeding farms among a Latino & non-Latino Workforce
Authors: Jennifer E. Swanberg 1, Jessica Miller Clouser 2, Mary K. Webster 2 and Susan Westneat 3
Affiliation: 1. School of Social Work, University of Maryland, College Park, MD 20742, USA; E-Mail: swanberg@email.unc.edu
2.
Institute for Workplace Innovation, University of Kentucky College Public Health, Lexington, KY 40536, USA; 3. University of Kentucky College of Public Health, Lexington, KY 40536, USA
Abstract: Animal production is a dangerous industry and increasingly reliant on a Latino workforce. Within animal production, little is known about the risks or the occupational hazards of Thoroughbred breeding. Extant research suggests that horse workers are at risk of musculoskeletal and respiratory symptoms, kicks, and other injuries. However, no known research has examined the experiences of the industry’s immigrant workers, despite their prominence and increased vulnerability. Using data collected from 30 Thoroughbred farms, this paper identifies and describes employer hazard perception as well as types of injuries experienced by workers, and their surrounding circumstances.

Mixed-methods data were collected from Thoroughbred farm representatives via a phone-administered survey; a 2-hour face-to-face semi-structured interview; and injury logs. Quantitative data and data collected from injury logs were entered into SAS and univariate/bivariate analyses were conducted to report nature and frequency of injuries, including farm and worker demographics. Audio-recorded interviews were transcribed, entered into ATLAS.ti, and analyzed by three coders to determine themes in injury and hazard perception. Preliminary results indicate that the horse itself is a major perceived hazard and cause of injuries, as are maintenance tasks such as machinery operation. Although Latino workers are more heavily represented on these farms, non-Latinos were more likely to report injuries. Implications for future research are discussed.

Type of Paper: Review
Title:
Pesticide Exposures and Respiratory Health
Authors:
Ming Ye 1, Jeremy Beach 1,2 and Ambikaipakan Senthilselvan 1
Affiliation:
1 Department of Public Health Sciences, School of Public Health, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada; E-Mail: sentil@ualberta.ca
2
Department of Medicine, Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
Abstract:
Exposure to pesticides occurs in workplaces, neighborhoods in close proximity to farms, and through residential use. Exposure to pesticides has been associated with asthma, chronic bronchitis and COPD as well as impaired lung function. The etiology of respiratory diseases related to exposure to pesticides is not fully understood. Pesticide-induced changes in the immune system, such as Th-1 and Th-2 balance and autoimmunity, may be important in asthma, COPD or the exacerbation of these diseases. Other mechanisms, such as the neurotoxicity of pesticides may also contribute to the etiology of pesticide-associated respiratory diseases, and there is genetic variability in susceptibility to some of these effects.

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