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Advances in the Conceptualization and Study of Environmental Exposures in Relation to Occupational Health

A special issue of International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health (ISSN 1660-4601). This special issue belongs to the section "Occupational Safety and Health".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 December 2022) | Viewed by 31224

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Guest Editor
Department of Anthropology, University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA 52242, USA
Interests: biological anthropology; medical anthropology; total worker health; environmental health; occupational health; population health; mixed methods
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Over 50 years ago, the Occupational Safety and Health Act was passed in the United States. Over time, the ways we think about the measure and control of hazards in the workplace as well as what we recognize as workplace hazards has evolved greatly. This Special Issue will highlight recent advances in controlling occupational exposures and promoting occupational health and safety. Contributions examining exposures in the work environment using newer methods (e.g., Bayesian model averaging) or instruments (e.g., wearable sensors) as well as studies involving newer conceptualizations of the work environment (e.g., remote work) and workplace hazards (e.g., poor safety culture) are encouraged. Manuscripts presenting novel interventions targeting these exposures or addressing vulnerable populations are also welcome. Submissions may include studies using quantitative, qualitative, or mixed methods with primary or secondary data. All manuscripts will be subject to peer review to ensure quality publications. For more information, please contact Kevin Kelly ([email protected]).

Dr. Kevin M. Kelly
Guest Editor

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 submissions that pass pre-check are 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. 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 2500 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

  • aerosols
  • biomarkers
  • bullying
  • contaminants
  • control
  • hierarchy of controls
  • job demands
  • mental health
  • particles
  • pesticides
  • safety culture
  • stress
  • suicide prevention
  • Total Worker Health®
  • toxicity
  • wearable sensors
  • work culture
  • work organization

Published Papers (6 papers)

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Research

12 pages, 9987 KiB  
Article
Electromagnetic Frequency Pollution in Malawi: A Case of Electric Field and Magnetic Flux Density Pollution in Southern Africa
by Fabiano Gibson Daud Thulu, David Tembo, Rowland Nyirongo, Patrick Joseph Cardinal Mzaza, Allan Kamfosi and Upile Chitete Mawenda
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2023, 20(5), 4413; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph20054413 - 1 Mar 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1415
Abstract
In this study, electric field and magnetic flux density pollution levels were measured in southern Africa, a case of Blantyre City in Malawi, between 2020 and 2021. Sixty short-term measurements were performed using Trifield Electro Magnetic Frequency meter model TF2 in 30 different [...] Read more.
In this study, electric field and magnetic flux density pollution levels were measured in southern Africa, a case of Blantyre City in Malawi, between 2020 and 2021. Sixty short-term measurements were performed using Trifield Electro Magnetic Frequency meter model TF2 in 30 different locations. Five high-population-dense sampling points were selected from school campuses, hospitals, industrial areas, markets, residential areas, and within the commercial and business center (CBC) of Blantyre. Electric field and magnetic flux density pollution monitoring was conducted between 10:00–12:00 h and 17:00–19:00 h for short-range analysis. Short-range results show that the maximum measured electric field pollution were 249.24 mV/m and 207.85 mV/m between 10:00–12:00 and 17:00–19:00 respectively, which are below the public limits of 4200.00 mV/m for public exposure. Similarly, maximum short-range results for magnetic flux density were 0.073 G and 0.057 G between 10:00–12:00 and 17:00–19:00 respectively which are below the public limits of 2 G for public exposure. Both measured electric and magnetic flux density were compared with the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP), World health organization (WHO), and Institute of electrical and electronics engineers (IEEE). It was determined that all measured values for both electric and magnetic flux density were smaller than set limits for non-ionizing radiation for both public and occupation health. More importantly, these background measurements establish a baseline for future changes to be compared against public safety. Full article
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12 pages, 457 KiB  
Article
Noise Mapping, Prevalence and Risk Factors of Noise-Induced Hearing Loss among Workers at Muscat International Airport
by Norah A. Al-Harthy, Hassan Abugad, Najwa Zabeeri, Amal A. Alghamdi, Ghada F. Al Yousif and Magdy A. Darwish
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(13), 7952; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19137952 - 29 Jun 2022
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 2445
Abstract
Noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) is a common occupational hazard and a major cause of deafness among airport workers. However, few studies have been conducted to investigate the various risk factors related to hearing loss. Purpose: the purpose of this study was to measure [...] Read more.
Noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) is a common occupational hazard and a major cause of deafness among airport workers. However, few studies have been conducted to investigate the various risk factors related to hearing loss. Purpose: the purpose of this study was to measure the prevalence and risk factors of NIHL among Muscat International Airport airside workers. Method: Their daily noise exposure level at the airport was measured, and the time-weighted average (TWA) was calculated for each airside department. A cross-sectional study design involving 312 workers from the eight departments of the airport was chosen and the prevalence of NIHL among workers was assessed. The study participants then completed a self-administered questionnaire that covered their socio-demographic characteristics, occupational exposure history and the health-related risk factors of NIHL. Results: The TWA recorded for the workers was above the accepted limit in some departments, namely, cabin appearance, ramp, line maintenance and hangar. The prevalence of NIHL among participants was 21.79% (n = 68). Of these 68 participants with NIHL, 22.30% were exposed to job-related high noise levels. NIHL was common among participants aged 40 or above (57.35%, n = 39) and high school degree holders (29.60%, n = 29), as well as those who were exposed to higher noise levels (84.89%, n = 191) or who did not wear their hearing protection devices (HPDs) regularly (53.65%, n = 125). Conclusion: around a quarter of our study participants who were exposed to high noise levels suffer from NIHL. Full article
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31 pages, 3492 KiB  
Article
Impact Analysis of 20-Week Multimodal Progressive Functional–Proprioceptive Training among Sedentary Workers Affected by Non-Specific Low-Back Pain: An Interventional Cohort Study
by Éva Anett Csuhai, Attila Csaba Nagy, Gergő József Szőllősi and Ilona Veres-Balajti
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(20), 10592; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph182010592 - 10 Oct 2021
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 3959
Abstract
According to the latest data published by the WHO, 1.71 billion people suffer from musculoskeletal disorders and 568 million are affected by back pain, making these the most significant occupational health problems. The aim of this study was to analyze the effects of [...] Read more.
According to the latest data published by the WHO, 1.71 billion people suffer from musculoskeletal disorders and 568 million are affected by back pain, making these the most significant occupational health problems. The aim of this study was to analyze the effects of a newly developed Multimodal Workplace Training Program implemented among young sedentary employees in order to treat and prevent these problems. The 20-week Training Program was conducted at the National Instruments Corporations’ Hungarian subsidiary in Debrecen between January and June, 2019. Pre- and post-intervention questionnaires were used to assess subjective parameters. Baseline and follow-up physical examinations were performed using the SpinalMouse, Y-Balance, Sit and Reach, Prone and Side Plank, Timed Abdominal Curl, and Biering-Sorensen tests. The results for 76 subjects were eligible for statistical analysis. Our Training Program was effective in several aspects, including a reduction in musculoskeletal symptoms and improvements in posture (p < 0.001), in dynamic (p < 0.01) and static-isometric (p < 0.001) core strength, in flexibility (p < 0.001), in spinal inclination in the sagittal (p < 0.001) and frontal (p < 0.01) plane, and in balance and coordination (p < 0.05). The Multimodal Progressive Functional–Proprioceptive Training was highly effective, and the application of such a complex training program can be recommended in workplace settings. Full article
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23 pages, 2638 KiB  
Article
The Influence of Technology on Mental Well-Being of STEM Teachers at University Level: COVID-19 as a Stressor
by Johanna Andrea Navarro-Espinosa, Manuel Vaquero-Abellán, Alberto-Jesús Perea-Moreno, Gerardo Pedrós-Pérez, Pilar Aparicio-Martínez and Maria Pilar Martínez-Jiménez
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(18), 9605; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18189605 - 12 Sep 2021
Cited by 16 | Viewed by 6288
Abstract
Stress can result in psychopathologies, such as anxiety or depression, when this risk factor continues in time. One major stressor was the COVID-19 pandemic, which triggered considerable emotional distress and mental health issues among different workers, including teachers, with another stressor: technology and [...] Read more.
Stress can result in psychopathologies, such as anxiety or depression, when this risk factor continues in time. One major stressor was the COVID-19 pandemic, which triggered considerable emotional distress and mental health issues among different workers, including teachers, with another stressor: technology and online education. A mixed-method approach is presented in this research, combining a cross-sectional study of university teachers from Ecuador and Spain with a medium of twenty years of working experience (N = 55) and a bibliometric analysis carried out in three databases (161 documents). The levels of anxiety and depression, and therefore the risk of developing them as mental disorders, were high. The lack of training (p < 0.01), time (p < 0.05), or research regarding the use of technology in education (p < 0.01) and stress caused by COVID-19 (p < 0.001) were linked to frequency. The most relevant observational study obtained through the bibliometric analysis (138 citations and over 65% of methodological quality) indicated that previous training and behavioral factors are key in the stress related to technology. The combination of the results indicated that mental health in STEM teachers at university is related to diverse factors, from training to the family and working balance. Full article
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14 pages, 775 KiB  
Article
Working during a Pandemic between the Risk of Being Infected and/or the Risks Related to Social Distancing: First Validation of the SAPH@W Questionnaire
by Daniela Converso, Andreina Bruno, Vincenza Capone, Lara Colombo, Alessandra Falco, Teresa Galanti, Damiano Girardi, Gloria Guidetti, Sara Viotti and Barbara Loera
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(11), 5986; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18115986 - 2 Jun 2021
Cited by 18 | Viewed by 4284
Abstract
Background: The COVID-19 pandemic led the worldwide healthcare system to a severe crisis in which personnel paid the major costs. Many studies were promptly dedicated to the physical and psychological consequences of the COVID-19 exposure among healthcare employees, whereas the research on the [...] Read more.
Background: The COVID-19 pandemic led the worldwide healthcare system to a severe crisis in which personnel paid the major costs. Many studies were promptly dedicated to the physical and psychological consequences of the COVID-19 exposure among healthcare employees, whereas the research on the other working populations has been substantially ignored. To bridge the current lack of knowledge about safe behaviors related to the risk of COVID-19 contagion at work, the aim of the study was to validate a new tool, the SAPH@W (Safety at Work), to assess workers’ perceptions of safety. Methods: A total of 1085 participants, employed in several organizations sited across areas with different levels of risk of contagion, completed an online questionnaire. To test the SAPH@W validity and measurement invariance, the research sample was randomly divided in two. Results: In the first sub-sample, Confirmatory Factor Analysis demonstrated the adequacy of the SAPH@W factorial structure. In the second sub-sample, multi-group Confirmatory Factor Analysis revealed that the SAPH@W was invariant across gender, ecological risk level, and type of occupation (in-person vs. remote working). Conclusions: The study evidenced the psychometric properties of the SAPH@W, a brief tool to monitor workers’ experiences and safety perceptions regarding the COVID-19 risk in any organisational setting. Full article
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21 pages, 4941 KiB  
Article
Environmental Conditions of Dance Rooms and Its Impact on Dance Conservatories Teachers’ Health (An Andalusian Study)
by María Dolores Redel-Macías, Carmen del Rio, Pedro Arezes, Pilar Aparicio-Martínez and Antonio José Cubero-Atienza
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(10), 5319; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18105319 - 17 May 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2745
Abstract
Dance teachers have to be in long hours dancing. That entails repetitive movements, loud live music, and as well as forcing their voices. These demands can implicate severe health problems and other kind of illness as discomfort, stress, etc. However, the Spanish Ministry [...] Read more.
Dance teachers have to be in long hours dancing. That entails repetitive movements, loud live music, and as well as forcing their voices. These demands can implicate severe health problems and other kind of illness as discomfort, stress, etc. However, the Spanish Ministry of Health only recognize as professional disease for this line of work, the vocal nodules. For this reason, this research studies the health problems in dance teachers in Andalusia, correlating the results of a survey carried out in different conservatories from Andalusia with measurement of noise emissions levels, assessment of noise exposure, and assessment of thermal environment in the classes measuring the thermal environment variables. To the authors’ knowledge, this is the first study where the influence of several sounds, such as tapping, castanets, and live music, on the health of dance teachers, musicians, and singers during flamenco classes has been researched. Results showed a correlation between some diseases, such as stress and the high level of sound in the classes. The sound levels were well above those established by European regulations reaching values higher than 85 dB(A) as equivalent continuous sound levels during the class time. This European regulation is stablished for an 8 h/day period, five days per week. The thermal environments are no adequate for this activity, mainly for high temperatures in Cordoba during summer. To improve the current working conditions, some recommendations were given to reduce the number of class hours and establish rest shifts, provide more information on health risks, or renovate the floor of some classrooms. Full article
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