Special Issue "Occupational Health Issues in the New Millennium"

A special issue of Healthcare (ISSN 2227-9032).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 July 2016).

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Dr. Peter A. Leggat
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
College of Public Health, Medical and Veterinary Sciences, Division of Tropical Health and Medicine, James Cook University, Townsville Qld 4811, Australia
Tel. +61747816108
Interests: neglected tropical diseases; lymphatic filariasis; dengue; malaria; occupational health; travel medicine; emerging public health threats
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals
Prof. Derek R. Smith
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
School of Health Sciences, Faculty of Health and Medicine, University of Newcastle, Ourimbah, New South Wales, Australia
Interests: environmental and occupational health; occupational epidemiology; medical history; bibliometrics; research metrics

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Healthcare Workers (HCW) provide an essential service to the community. They are also exposed to a wide range of physical, environmental and psychological hazards in the workplace and also in the field when confronted with infectious disease outbreaks, natural disasters and terrorist incidents. While HCWs commonly encounter occupational hazards such as musculoskeletal disorders, infectious diseases, percutaneous injuries, dermatological conditions and occupational stress, they are also confronted with increasing risks due to workplace violence, often exacerbated by patients under the influence of alcohol and other drugs. The risks vary depending on the HCW group, but the common theme is the need for high quality data from both workplace reporting and research. This special issue is dedicated to such themes.

Prof. Peter A. Leggat
Prof. Derek R. Smith
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short 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 thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Healthcare is an international peer-reviewed open access quarterly 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 1000 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • healthcare
  • occupational health
  • health services
  • injury prevention
  • physicians
  • dentists
  • nurses
  • allied health
  • health
  • veterinarian
  • musculoskeletal disorder
  • infectious diseases
  • percutaneous injuries
  • dermatological conditions
  • occupational stress
  • mental health
  • alcohol and other drugs
  • outbreaks
  • terrorism
  • natural disaster

Published Papers (12 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle
Microbiota and Particulate Matter Assessment in Portuguese Optical Shops Providing Contact Lens Services
Healthcare 2017, 5(2), 24; https://doi.org/10.3390/healthcare5020024 - 15 May 2017
Cited by 5
Abstract
The aim of this work was to assess the microbiota (fungi and bacteria) and particulate matter in optical shops, contributing to a specific protocol to ensure a proper assessment. Air samples were collected through an impaction method. Surface and equipment swab samples were [...] Read more.
The aim of this work was to assess the microbiota (fungi and bacteria) and particulate matter in optical shops, contributing to a specific protocol to ensure a proper assessment. Air samples were collected through an impaction method. Surface and equipment swab samples were also collected side-by-side. Measurements of particulate matter were performed using portable direct-reading equipment. A walkthrough survey and checklist was also applied in each shop. Regarding air sampling, eight of the 13 shops analysed were above the legal requirement and 10 from the 26 surfaces samples were overloaded. In three out of the 13 shops fungal contamination in the analysed equipment was not detected. The bacteria air load was above the threshold in one of the 13 analysed shops. However, bacterial counts were detected in all sampled equipment. Fungi and bacteria air load suggested to be influencing all of the other surface and equipment samples. These results reinforce the need to improve air quality, not only to comply with the legal requirements, but also to ensure proper hygienic conditions. Public health intervention is needed to assure the quality and safety of the rooms and equipment in optical shops that perform health interventions in patients. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Occupational Health Issues in the New Millennium)
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Open AccessArticle
Knowledge, Attitude and Behaviours towards Recommended Vaccinations among Healthcare Workers
Healthcare 2017, 5(1), 13; https://doi.org/10.3390/healthcare5010013 - 07 Mar 2017
Cited by 16
Abstract
Healthcare workers (HCWs) are an important group of professionals exposed to biological risk during their work activities. So, the aim of this study is to perform a survey on the knowledge, attitude and behaviour of Italian HCWs towards the vaccinations recommended by the [...] Read more.
Healthcare workers (HCWs) are an important group of professionals exposed to biological risk during their work activities. So, the aim of this study is to perform a survey on the knowledge, attitude and behaviour of Italian HCWs towards the vaccinations recommended by the Ministry of Health. A cross-sectional study was carried out during the period September 2014–August 2015 in the Lazio region. The study was conducted by recruiting HCWs and biomedical students. The sample was comprised of 571 responders, of whom 12.4% were physicians, 18.9% were nurses, 34.3% were other HCW, and 34.3% were biomedical students (medical and nurses students). Hepatitis B virus (HBV) is perceived as a risk for personal health by 457 (80%) participants; TB is also worrying (434; 76%). Moreover, HBV (70.9%) and tuberculosis (TB) (79.2%) are perceived as a risk for health, while influenza is not considered so by most participants (46.2%). There is an underestimation of the role of influenza, perceived as a risk for 137 respondents (24%). The vaccination rate among these HCWs is highest for Hepatitis B virus (HBV) (82%), and lowest for influenza (28.5%) and varicella (40.3%). The vast majority of responders are in favour of HBV (77.8%) and TB (64.8%) vaccines. For other vaccinations there is less interest (between 33% and 40% for measles, mumps, rubella, pertussis and influenza). This study shows that knowledge of recommended occupational vaccinations is insufficient in HCWs, with few exceptions represented by HBV and TB. There is a need for novel approaches in this field, with the aim of enhancing vaccine coverage among HCW. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Occupational Health Issues in the New Millennium)
Open AccessArticle
The BASE-Program—A Multidimensional Approach for Health Promotion in Companies
Healthcare 2016, 4(4), 91; https://doi.org/10.3390/healthcare4040091 - 08 Dec 2016
Cited by 1
Abstract
Multidimensional assessments for conducting interventions are needed to achieve positive health effects within companies. BASE is an acronym, consisting of B = “Bedarfsbestimmung” (requirements); A = “Arbeitsplatzorganisation” (organisation of work); S = “Schulung des belastungsverträglichen Alltagshandelns” (coaching preventive behaviour at work); E = [...] Read more.
Multidimensional assessments for conducting interventions are needed to achieve positive health effects within companies. BASE is an acronym, consisting of B = “Bedarfsbestimmung” (requirements); A = “Arbeitsplatzorganisation” (organisation of work); S = “Schulung des belastungsverträglichen Alltagshandelns” (coaching preventive behaviour at work); E = “Eigenverantwortung und Selbstwirksamkeit” (self-responsibility and self-efficacy). It is a prevention program designed to avoid and reduce work-related musculoskeletal diseases. It was developed to support prevention strategies within companies. It comprises aspects of health protection, ergonomics, exercise and self-efficacy. A comprehensive assessment will identify strain e.g., musculoskeletal discomforts due to body positions or psychological stress. Moreover, the general health status, preferences and barriers for participating in health promotion programs are evaluated. This analysis leads to practical and goal-oriented recommendations and interventions which suit the needs of companies and employees. These are executed onsite in real workplace situations and involve the introduction of first-hand experience in behavioural change. Therefore, this practical approach enhances the employees’ acceptance and self-efficacy for health promotion. This can result in long-term health promoting behaviour. This article presents the outcome and sustainability effects of BASE in three different application fields (logistic, industrial and office workers). Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Occupational Health Issues in the New Millennium)
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Open AccessArticle
Emotional Labour and Wellbeing: What Protects Nurses?
Healthcare 2016, 4(4), 89; https://doi.org/10.3390/healthcare4040089 - 30 Nov 2016
Cited by 11
Abstract
Although compassionate care has wide-ranging benefits for patients, it can be emotionally demanding for healthcare staff. This may be a particular problem for those with little experience in a caring role. This study utilises the job demands-resources model to examine links between “emotional [...] Read more.
Although compassionate care has wide-ranging benefits for patients, it can be emotionally demanding for healthcare staff. This may be a particular problem for those with little experience in a caring role. This study utilises the job demands-resources model to examine links between “emotional labour” and emotional exhaustion in student nurses. In line with the triple-match principle—whereby interactive effects are more likely when job demands, resources, and outcomes are within the same qualitative domain—the protective role of emotional support and emotion-focused coping (i.e., emotional venting) in the relationship between emotional labour and exhaustion is also explored. An online questionnaire was completed by 351 student nurses with experience working in healthcare settings. A strong positive relationship was found between emotional labour and emotional exhaustion, and some support was found for the moderating effects of emotional support and emotion-focused coping. Ways to help student and qualified nurses develop the emotional resilience required to protect their wellbeing, while providing high-quality compassionate care to patients are considered. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Occupational Health Issues in the New Millennium)
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Open AccessArticle
Self-Reported Ache, Pain, or Numbness in Feet and Use of Computers amongst Working-Age Finns
Healthcare 2016, 4(4), 82; https://doi.org/10.3390/healthcare4040082 - 07 Nov 2016
Cited by 1
Abstract
The use of the computers and other technical devices has increased. The aim of our work was to study the possible relation between self-reported foot symptoms and use of computers and cell phones using a questionnaire. The study was carried out as a [...] Read more.
The use of the computers and other technical devices has increased. The aim of our work was to study the possible relation between self-reported foot symptoms and use of computers and cell phones using a questionnaire. The study was carried out as a cross-sectional study by posting a questionnaire to 15,000 working-age Finns. A total of 6121 responded, and 7.1% of respondents reported that they very often experienced pain, numbness, and aches in the feet. They also often experienced other symptoms: 52.3% had symptoms in the neck, 53.5% in had problems in the hip and lower back, and 14.6% often had sleeping disorders/disturbances. Only 11.2% of the respondents thought that their symptoms were connected to the use of desktop computers. We found that persons with symptoms in the feet quite often, or more often, had additional physical and mental symptoms. In future studies, it is important to take into account that the persons with symptoms in the feet may very often have other symptoms, and the use of computers can influence these symptoms. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Occupational Health Issues in the New Millennium)
Open AccessArticle
Early Workplace Intervention to Improve the Work Ability of Employees with Musculoskeletal Disorders in a German University Hospital—Results of a Pilot Study
Healthcare 2016, 4(3), 64; https://doi.org/10.3390/healthcare4030064 - 07 Sep 2016
Cited by 4
Abstract
Health promotion is becoming increasingly important in work life. Healthcare workers seem to be at special risk, experiencing musculoskeletal disorders (MSD); their situation is strongly influenced by demographic changes. The aim of this study is to evaluate the feasibility and outcome of a [...] Read more.
Health promotion is becoming increasingly important in work life. Healthcare workers seem to be at special risk, experiencing musculoskeletal disorders (MSD); their situation is strongly influenced by demographic changes. The aim of this study is to evaluate the feasibility and outcome of a worksite intervention. In a one-group pretest-posttest design, 118 employees of a hospital were recruited from 2010 to 2011. The raised parameters were satisfaction with the program, work ability (Work Ability Index), and sickness absence (provided by human resource management). Patient-reported questionnaire data was raised at baseline (t1) and after three months (t2). Sickness leave was evaluated in the period six months prior to and six months after the intervention. Means, frequencies, standardized effect sizes (SES), analysis of variance, and regression analysis were carried out. Participants were found to be highly satisfied. Work ability increased with moderate effects (SES = 0.34; p < 0.001) and prognosis of gainful employment (SES = −0.19; p ≤ 0.047) with small effects. Days of MSD-related sickness absence were reduced by 38.5% after six months. The worksite intervention program is transferable to a hospital setting and integration in occupational health management is recommended. The use of a control group is necessary to demonstrate the effectiveness. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Occupational Health Issues in the New Millennium)
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Open AccessArticle
Addressing Younger Workers’ Needs: The Promoting U through Safety and Health (PUSH) Trial Outcomes
Healthcare 2016, 4(3), 55; https://doi.org/10.3390/healthcare4030055 - 10 Aug 2016
Cited by 3
Abstract
Most younger workers, less than 25 years old, receive no training in worker safety. We report the feasibility and outcomes of a randomized controlled trial of an electronically delivered safety and health curriculum for younger workers entitled, PUSH (Promoting U through Safety and [...] Read more.
Most younger workers, less than 25 years old, receive no training in worker safety. We report the feasibility and outcomes of a randomized controlled trial of an electronically delivered safety and health curriculum for younger workers entitled, PUSH (Promoting U through Safety and Health). All younger workers (14–24 years old) hired for summer work at a large parks and recreation organization were invited to participate in an evaluation of an online training and randomized into an intervention or control condition. Baseline and end-of-summer online instruments assessed acceptability, knowledge, and self-reported attitudes and behaviors. One-hundred and forty participants (mean age 17.9 years) completed the study. The innovative training was feasible and acceptable to participants and the organization. Durable increases in safety and health knowledge were achieved by intervention workers (p < 0.001, effect size (Cohen’s d) 0.4). However, self-reported safety and health attitudes did not improve with this one-time training. These results indicate the potential utility of online training for younger workers and underscore the limitations of a single training interaction to change behaviors. Interventions may need to be delivered over a longer period of time and/or include environmental components to effectively alter behavior. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Occupational Health Issues in the New Millennium)
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Open AccessArticle
Evaluation of an Education and Training Program to Prevent and Manage Patients’ Violence in a Mental Health Setting: A Pretest-Posttest Intervention Study
Healthcare 2016, 4(3), 49; https://doi.org/10.3390/healthcare4030049 - 01 Aug 2016
Cited by 10
Abstract
Workplace violence can lead to serious consequences for victims, organizations, and society. Most workplace violence prevention programs aim to train staff to better recognize and safely manage at-risk situations. The Omega education and training program was developed in Canada in 1999, and has [...] Read more.
Workplace violence can lead to serious consequences for victims, organizations, and society. Most workplace violence prevention programs aim to train staff to better recognize and safely manage at-risk situations. The Omega education and training program was developed in Canada in 1999, and has since been used to teach healthcare and mental health workers the skills needed to effectively intervene in situations of aggression. The present study was designed to assess the impact of Omega on employee psychological distress, confidence in coping, and perceived exposure to violence. This program was offered to 105 employees in a psychiatric hospital in Montreal, Canada. Eighty-nine of them accepted to participate. Questionnaires were completed before the training, after a short period of time (M = 109 days) and at follow-up (M = 441 days). Repeated-measures ANOVAs and Cohen’s d effect sizes were calculated. Results demonstrated statistically significant improvements in short-term and follow-up posttest scores of psychological distress, confidence in coping, and in levels of exposure to violence. This study is one of very few to demonstrate the positive impact of this training program. Further research is needed to understand how to improve the effectiveness of the program, especially among participants resistant to change. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Occupational Health Issues in the New Millennium)
Open AccessArticle
Musculoskeletal Disorders and Working Posture among Dental and Oral Health Students
Healthcare 2016, 4(1), 13; https://doi.org/10.3390/healthcare4010013 - 23 Jan 2016
Cited by 7
Abstract
The prevalence of musculoskeletal disorders (MSD) in the dental professions has been well established, and can have detrimental effects on the industry, including lower productivity and early retirement. There is increasing evidence that these problems commence during undergraduate training; however, there are still [...] Read more.
The prevalence of musculoskeletal disorders (MSD) in the dental professions has been well established, and can have detrimental effects on the industry, including lower productivity and early retirement. There is increasing evidence that these problems commence during undergraduate training; however, there are still very few studies that investigate the prevalence of MSD or postural risk in these student groups. Thus, the aim of this study was to determine the prevalence of MSD and conduct postural assessments of students studying oral health and dentistry. A previously validated self-reporting questionnaire measuring MSD prevalence, derived from the Standardised Nordic Questionnaire, was distributed to students. Posture assessments were also conducted using a validated Posture Assessment Instrument. MSD was highly prevalent in all student groups, with 85% reporting MSD in at least one body region. The neck and lower back were the most commonly reported. The final year dental students had the highest percentage with poor posture (68%), while the majority of students from other cohorts had acceptable posture. This study supports the increasing evidence that MSD could be developing in students, before the beginning of a professional career. The prevalence of poor posture further highlights the need to place further emphasis on ergonomic education. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Occupational Health Issues in the New Millennium)
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Review

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Open AccessReview
Immunization of Health-Care Providers: Necessity and Public Health Policies
Healthcare 2016, 4(3), 47; https://doi.org/10.3390/healthcare4030047 - 01 Aug 2016
Cited by 22
Abstract
Health-care providers (HCPs) are at increased risk for exposure to vaccine-preventable diseases (VPDs) in the workplace. The rationale for immunization of HCPs relies on the need to protect them and, indirectly, their patients from health-care-associated VPDs. Published evidence indicates significant immunity gaps for [...] Read more.
Health-care providers (HCPs) are at increased risk for exposure to vaccine-preventable diseases (VPDs) in the workplace. The rationale for immunization of HCPs relies on the need to protect them and, indirectly, their patients from health-care-associated VPDs. Published evidence indicates significant immunity gaps for VPDs of HCPs globally. Deficits in knowledge and false perceptions about VPDs and vaccines are the most common barriers for vaccine uptake and may also influence communication about vaccines between HCPs and their patients. Most countries have immunization recommendations for HCPs; however, there are no universal policies and significant heterogeneity exists between countries in terms of vaccines, schedules, frame of implementation (recommendation or mandatory), and target categories of HCPs. Mandatory influenza immunization policies for HCPs have been implemented with high vaccine uptake rates. Stronger recommendations for HCP immunization and commitment at the level of the health-care facility are critical in order to achieve high vaccine coverage rates. Given the importance to health, mandatory immunization policies for VPDs that can cause serious morbidity and mortality to vulnerable patients should be considered. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Occupational Health Issues in the New Millennium)
Open AccessReview
Vocational Rehabilitation: Supporting Ill or Disabled Individuals in (to) Work: A UK Perspective
Healthcare 2016, 4(3), 46; https://doi.org/10.3390/healthcare4030046 - 16 Jul 2016
Cited by 4
Abstract
Work is important for one’s self-esteem, social standing and ability to participate in the community as well as for the material advantages it brings to individuals and their families. The evidence suggests that the benefits of employment outweigh the risks of work and [...] Read more.
Work is important for one’s self-esteem, social standing and ability to participate in the community as well as for the material advantages it brings to individuals and their families. The evidence suggests that the benefits of employment outweigh the risks of work and are greater than the risks of long-term unemployment or sickness absence. Individuals may be born with physical or intellectual disadvantages (e.g., cerebral palsy), or they may be acquired during childhood or adult life. Some progressive conditions may present in childhood or adolescence (e.g., some muscular dystrophies) and these need to be distinguished from those presenting later in life (e.g., trauma, stroke). Vocational rehabilitation (VR) thus takes three forms: preparing those with a disability, health or mental health condition for the world of work, job retention for those in work and assisting those out of work into new work. Important components of VR consist of the attributes of the individual, the skills/knowledge of their health professionals, the knowledge and attitudes of actual or potential employers and the assistance that is provided by the state or other insurance facility. Charities are playing an increasing role. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Occupational Health Issues in the New Millennium)
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Open AccessReview
Burnout and Doctors: Prevalence, Prevention and Intervention
Healthcare 2016, 4(3), 37; https://doi.org/10.3390/healthcare4030037 - 30 Jun 2016
Cited by 67
Abstract
Doctors are exposed to high levels of stress in the course of their profession and are particularly susceptible to experiencing burnout. Burnout has far-reaching implications on doctors; patients and the healthcare system. Doctors experiencing burnout are reported to be at a higher risk [...] Read more.
Doctors are exposed to high levels of stress in the course of their profession and are particularly susceptible to experiencing burnout. Burnout has far-reaching implications on doctors; patients and the healthcare system. Doctors experiencing burnout are reported to be at a higher risk of making poor decisions; display hostile attitude toward patients; make more medical errors; and have difficult relationships with co-workers. Burnout among doctors also increases risk of depression; anxiety; sleep disturbances; fatigue; alcohol and drug misuse; marital dysfunction; premature retirement and perhaps most seriously suicide. Sources of stress in medical practice may range from the emotions arising in the context of patient care to the environment in which doctors practice. The extent of burnout may vary depending on the practice setting; speciality and changing work environment. Understanding dynamic risk factors associated with burnout may help us develop strategies for preventing and treating burnout. Some of these strategies will be reviewed in this paper. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Occupational Health Issues in the New Millennium)
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