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Special Issue "Occupational Safety and Related Impacts on Health and the Environment"

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

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 January 2016)

Special Issue Editor

Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Andrew Watterson

University of Stirling, Stirling, FK9 4LA, Scotland, UK
Website | E-Mail
Interests: occupational health and safety; environmental health; health impact assessments

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The journal welcomes papers on all aspects of occupational safety, including reviews and case studies. It particularly welcomes papers that focus on how safety failures may also impact on worker and wider environments, both empirically and theoretically, and vice versa for this issue. Especially welcome would be recent and historical examples of how good technical, regulatory and risk management solutions at plant, company and sectoral levels can or did solve such problems or how proposed international developments may damage them. These inter-relationships and risk transfers between occupational safety and worker and wider public health impacts can be found in many public and private enterprise settings. In the offshore and onshore oil industry safety failures have led to both worker injuries and fatalities but also to major and chronic pollution problems. Underground coal gasification was apparently developed partly as a means of removing workers from hazardous underground work but may increase environmental air pollution and global climate change. Environmental safety considerations and priorities in their turn may increase risks for workers. For example, practices to reduce agro-chemical exposures for consumers may increase risk to farm and food storage workers. There may be greatly increased safety risks for fire fighters who tackle incidents that could threaten public health and create extensive environmental damage.

Prof. Dr. Andrew Watterson
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

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Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1800 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

  • occupational safety and risk transfers to health
  • safety and worker and environmental health links
  • public health and safety

Published Papers (20 papers)

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Editorial

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Open AccessEditorial Occupational Safety and Related Impacts on Health and the Environment
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(10), 988; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph13100988
Received: 19 September 2016 / Accepted: 27 September 2016 / Published: 5 October 2016
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (233 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The inter-relationship between safety, health and the ‘environment’ is a complex and at times a relatively neglected topic. In this issue, ‘safety’ is often viewed by contributors as ‘health and safety’ and includes occupationally‐related ill health as well as injury or harm to [...] Read more.
The inter-relationship between safety, health and the ‘environment’ is a complex and at times a relatively neglected topic. In this issue, ‘safety’ is often viewed by contributors as ‘health and safety’ and includes occupationally‐related ill health as well as injury or harm to employees and the wider public. ‘Environment’ is also interpreted in the widest sense covering both physical and work environments with upstream work hazards presenting risks to downstream communities. The focus is very much on exploring and where possible addressing the challenges, some old and some facing workers in a range of public and private settings and also at times their nearby communities. The 19 papers in the issue cover public and private sectors, global and very local populations, macro‐theoretical perspectives, large epidemiological and some single factory or hospital site small case studies. A number of the papers are just beginning to explore and draw out for the first time the risks from hazards in their part of the world. The methodologies adopted also range from lab-based studies through ergonomic assessments and interventions to therapeutic approaches. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Occupational Safety and Related Impacts on Health and the Environment)

Research

Jump to: Editorial, Review

Open AccessArticle Cotton Dust Exposure and Respiratory Disorders among Textile Workers at a Textile Company in the Southern Part of Benin
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(9), 895; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph13090895
Received: 2 December 2015 / Revised: 21 July 2016 / Accepted: 1 September 2016 / Published: 8 September 2016
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (301 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The textile industry sector occupies a prominent place in the economy of Benin. It exposes workers to several occupational risks, including exposure to cotton dust. To assess the effect of exposure to cotton dust on the health of workers, this study was initiated [...] Read more.
The textile industry sector occupies a prominent place in the economy of Benin. It exposes workers to several occupational risks, including exposure to cotton dust. To assess the effect of exposure to cotton dust on the health of workers, this study was initiated and conducted in a Beninese cotton industry company. The objective of the study was to evaluate the respiratory disorders among the textile workers exposed to cotton dust and the cross-sectional study involved 656 subjects exposed to cotton dust and 113 non-exposed subjects. The methods used are mainly based on a survey using a questionnaire of organic dust designed by the International Commission of Occupational Health (ICOH); and on the measures of lung function parameters (FEV1 and FVC). The main results of the different analyzes revealed that subjects exposed to cotton dust have more respiratory symptoms than unexposed subjects (36.9% vs. 21.2%). The prevalence of chronic cough, expectorations, dyspnoea, asthma and chronic bronchitis are 16.8%, 9.8%, 17.3%, 2.6%, and 5.9% respectively among the exposed versus 2.6%, 0.8%, 16.8%, 0% and 0.8% among the unexposed subjects. The prevalence of byssinosis is 44.01%.The prevalence of symptoms is dependent on the sector of activity and the age of the subject. These results should encourage medical interventions and technical prevention especially since the textile industry occupies an important place in the Benin’s economy. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Occupational Safety and Related Impacts on Health and the Environment)
Open AccessArticle Genetic Variations in the Promoter of the APE1 Gene Are Associated with DMF-Induced Abnormal Liver Function: A Case-Control Study in a Chinese Population
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(8), 752; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph13080752
Received: 30 March 2016 / Revised: 29 June 2016 / Accepted: 20 July 2016 / Published: 25 July 2016
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (286 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Acute or long-term exposure to N,N-dimethylformamide (DMF) can induce abnormal liver function. It is well known that DMF is mainly metabolized in the liver and thereby produces reactive oxygen species (ROS). The base excision repair (BER) pathway is regarded as [...] Read more.
Acute or long-term exposure to N,N-dimethylformamide (DMF) can induce abnormal liver function. It is well known that DMF is mainly metabolized in the liver and thereby produces reactive oxygen species (ROS). The base excision repair (BER) pathway is regarded as a very important pathway involved in repairing ROS-induced DNA damage. Several studies have explored the associations between GSTM1, GSTT1, CYP2E1 polymorphisms and DMF-induced abnormal liver function; however, little is known about how common hOGG1, XRCC1 and APE1 polymorphisms and DMF induce abnormal liver function. The purpose of this study was to investigate whether the polymorphisms in the hOGG1 (rs159153 and rs2072668), XRCC1 (rs25487, rs25489, and rs1799782), APE1 (rs1130409 and 1760944) genes in the human BER pathway were associated with the susceptibility to DMF-induced abnormal liver function in a Chinese population. These polymorphisms were genotyped in 123 workers with DMF-induced abnormal liver function and 123 workers with normal liver function. We found that workers with the APE1 rs1760944 TG/GG genotypes had a reduced risk of abnormal liver function, which was more pronounced in the subgroups that were exposed to DMF for <10 years, exposed to ≥10 mg/m3 DMF, never smoked and never drank. In summary, our study supported the hypothesis that the APE1 rs1760944 T > G polymorphism may be associated with DMF-induced abnormal liver function in the Chinese Han population. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Occupational Safety and Related Impacts on Health and the Environment)
Open AccessArticle Quantitative Microbial Risk Assessment in Occupational Settings Applied to the Airborne Human Adenovirus Infection
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(7), 733; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph13070733
Received: 15 December 2015 / Revised: 15 July 2016 / Accepted: 16 July 2016 / Published: 20 July 2016
Cited by 5 | PDF Full-text (1147 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Quantitative Microbial Risk Assessment (QMRA) methodology, which has already been applied to drinking water and food safety, may also be applied to risk assessment and management at the workplace. The present study developed a preliminary QMRA model to assess microbial risk that is [...] Read more.
Quantitative Microbial Risk Assessment (QMRA) methodology, which has already been applied to drinking water and food safety, may also be applied to risk assessment and management at the workplace. The present study developed a preliminary QMRA model to assess microbial risk that is associated with inhaling bioaerosols that are contaminated with human adenovirus (HAdV). This model has been applied to air contamination data from different occupational settings, including wastewater systems, solid waste landfills, and toilets in healthcare settings and offices, with different exposure times. Virological monitoring showed the presence of HAdVs in all the evaluated settings, thus confirming that HAdV is widespread, but with different average concentrations of the virus. The QMRA results, based on these concentrations, showed that toilets had the highest probability of viral infection, followed by wastewater treatment plants and municipal solid waste landfills. Our QMRA approach in occupational settings is novel, and certain caveats should be considered. Nonetheless, we believe it is worthy of further discussions and investigations. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Occupational Safety and Related Impacts on Health and the Environment)
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Open AccessArticle A Survey of Jellyfish Sting Knowledge among Naval Personnel in Northeast China
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(7), 725; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph13070725
Received: 24 May 2016 / Revised: 27 June 2016 / Accepted: 12 July 2016 / Published: 19 July 2016
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (289 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
Background: Jellyfish envenomation is common along the coastal area, and can cause severe consequences. Naval personnel are among the high-risk population for this injury. The aim of this study was to assess knowledge regarding jellyfish envenomation among naval personnel in a navy unit [...] Read more.
Background: Jellyfish envenomation is common along the coastal area, and can cause severe consequences. Naval personnel are among the high-risk population for this injury. The aim of this study was to assess knowledge regarding jellyfish envenomation among naval personnel in a navy unit in northeast China. Methods: A predesigned questionnaire was distributed to 120 naval members in January 2015. The data of 108 respondents were included in the statistical analysis. Results: We found that 38.0% of the respondents selected jellyfish sting as the common wound in their units, and 13.0% had experienced or observed this injury. In addition, 63.0% of the participants rated their own knowledge as “low” or “none”. The average score they got was 5.77 ± 2.50, with only 16.7% getting a score above 60% of the full score. The correct rates of five questions were below 60%. No statistical differences existed in the knowledge score among different groups of respondents defined by socio-demographic variables. Conclusions: Jellyfish sting is common in this navy unit, but personnel got a low score on the knowledge assessment. They also lacked confidence in first aid. Medical education and training should be implemented to address this issue. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Occupational Safety and Related Impacts on Health and the Environment)
Open AccessArticle Noise Exposure of Teachers in Nursery Schools—Evaluation of Measures for Noise Reduction When Dropping DUPLO Toy Bricks into Storage Cases by Sound Analyses
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(7), 677; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph13070677
Received: 31 March 2016 / Revised: 15 June 2016 / Accepted: 27 June 2016 / Published: 4 July 2016
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (2597 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Background: Although noise is one of the leading work-related health risk factors for teachers, many nursery schools lack sufficient noise reduction measures. Methods: This intervention study evaluated the noise exposure of nursery school teachers when dropping DUPLO toy bricks into storage cases. Sound [...] Read more.
Background: Although noise is one of the leading work-related health risk factors for teachers, many nursery schools lack sufficient noise reduction measures. Methods: This intervention study evaluated the noise exposure of nursery school teachers when dropping DUPLO toy bricks into storage cases. Sound analyses of the impact included assessment of the maximum sound pressure level (LAFmax) as well as frequency analyses with 1/3 octave band filter. For the purpose of standardization, a customized gadget was developed. Recordings were performed in 11 cases of different materials and designs to assess the impact on sound level reduction. Thereby, the acoustic effects of three damping materials (foam rubber, carpet, and PU-foam) were investigated. Results: The lowest LAFmax was measured in cases consisting of “metal grid” (90.71 dB) or of a woven willow “basket” (91.61 dB), whereas a case of “aluminium” (103.34 dB) generated the highest impact LAFmax. The frequency analyses determined especially low LAFmax in the frequency bands between 80 and 2500 Hz in cases designs “metal grid” and “basket”. The insertion of PU-foam achieved the most significant attenuation of LAFmax (−13.88 dB) and, in the frequency analyses, the best sound damping. Conclusion: The dropping of DUPLO bricks in cases contributes to the high noise level in nursery schools, but measured LAFmax show no evidence for the danger of acute hearing loss. However, continuous exposure may lead to functional impairment of the hair cells and trigger stress reactions. We recommend noise reduction by utilizing cases of woven “basket” with an insert of PU-foam. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Occupational Safety and Related Impacts on Health and the Environment)
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Open AccessArticle The Impact of an Ergonomics Intervention on Psychosocial Factors and Musculoskeletal Symptoms among Thai Hospital Orderlies
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(5), 464; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph13050464
Received: 9 November 2015 / Revised: 15 March 2016 / Accepted: 28 April 2016 / Published: 3 May 2016
Cited by 6 | PDF Full-text (282 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
(1) Background: Musculoskeletal disorders have a multifactorial etiology that is not only associated with physical risk factors, but also psychosocial risk factors; (2) Objective: This study evaluated the effects of an ergonomic intervention on musculoskeletal disorders and psychosocial risk factors; (3) [...] Read more.
(1) Background: Musculoskeletal disorders have a multifactorial etiology that is not only associated with physical risk factors, but also psychosocial risk factors; (2) Objective: This study evaluated the effects of an ergonomic intervention on musculoskeletal disorders and psychosocial risk factors; (3) Material and Methods: This study took a participatory ergonomic (PE) approach with a randomized controlled trial (RCT) conducted at tertiary care hospitals during July to December 2014. A group of hospital orderlies in Thailand were randomly selected for examination. Fifty orderlies were placed in a case group and another 50 orderlies were placed in the control group. The Nordic Musculoskeletal Disorders Questionnaire (NMQ) and the Copenhagen Psychosocial Questionnaire (COPSOQ) were used for data collection before and after the intervention program; (4) Results: The most commonly reported problem among hospital orderlies was found to be lower back symptoms (82%). The study found significant differences in prevalence rates of reported musculoskeletal conditions in the arm, upper back, and lower back regions before and after intervention. Findings showed that psychosocial risk factors were affected by the intervention. COPSOQ psychosocial risk factors were significantly different pre/post intervention. These variables included: work pace, influence at work, meaning of work, predictability, rewards, role conflicts, and social support from supervisors. No other psychosocial risk factors were found to be significant; (5) Conclusions: Positive results were observed following the intervention in the work environment, particularly in terms of reducing physical work environment risk factors for musculoskeletal disorders and increasing promotion factors of the psychosocial work environment. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Occupational Safety and Related Impacts on Health and the Environment)
Open AccessArticle The Impact of Arts Activity on Nursing Staff Well-Being: An Intervention in the Workplace
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(4), 435; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph13040435
Received: 15 December 2015 / Revised: 7 March 2016 / Accepted: 20 March 2016 / Published: 19 April 2016
Cited by 7 | PDF Full-text (592 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Over 59 million workers are employed in the healthcare sector globally, with a daily risk of being exposed to a complex variety of health and safety hazards. The purpose of this study was to investigate the impact of arts activity on the well-being [...] Read more.
Over 59 million workers are employed in the healthcare sector globally, with a daily risk of being exposed to a complex variety of health and safety hazards. The purpose of this study was to investigate the impact of arts activity on the well-being of nursing staff. During October–December 2014, 115 nursing staff working in a hospital, took part in this study, which lasted for 10 weeks. The intervention group (n = 56) took part in silk painting activities once a week. Data was collected using socio-demographic questions, the Warwick-Edinburgh Mental Well-Being Scale, Short Form—36 Health Survey questionnaire, Reeder stress scale, and Multidimensional fatigue inventory (before and after art activities in both groups). Statistical data analysis included descriptive statistics (frequency, percentage, mean, standard deviation), non-parametric statistics analysis (Man Whitney U Test; Wilcoxon signed—ranks test), Fisher’s exact test and reliability analysis (Cronbach’s Alpha). The level of significance was set at p ≤ 0.05. In the intervention group, there was a tendency for participation in arts activity having a positive impact on their general health and mental well-being, reducing stress and fatigue, awaking creativity and increasing a sense of community at work. The control group did not show any improvements. Of the intervention group 93% reported enjoyment, with 75% aspiring to continue arts activity in the future. This research suggests that arts activity, as a workplace intervention, can be used to promote nursing staff well-being at work. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Occupational Safety and Related Impacts on Health and the Environment)
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Open AccessArticle Necessity of Internal Monitoring for Nuclear Medicine Staff in a Large Specialized Chinese Hospital
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(4), 418; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph13040418
Received: 6 December 2015 / Revised: 17 January 2016 / Accepted: 4 March 2016 / Published: 12 April 2016
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Abstract
This work intends to quantify the risk of internal contaminations in the nuclear medicine staff of one hospital in Henan province, China. For this purpose, the criteria proposed by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to determine whether it is necessary to conduct [...] Read more.
This work intends to quantify the risk of internal contaminations in the nuclear medicine staff of one hospital in Henan province, China. For this purpose, the criteria proposed by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to determine whether it is necessary to conduct internal individual monitoring was applied to all of the 18 nuclear medicine staff members who handled radionuclides. The activity of different radionuclides used during a whole calendar year and the protection measures adopted were collected for each staff member, and the decision as to whether nuclear medicine staff in the hospital should be subjected to internal monitoring was made on the basis of the criteria proposed by IAEA. It is concluded that for all 18 members of the nuclear medicine staff in the hospital, internal monitoring is required. Internal exposure received by nuclear medicine staff should not be ignored, and it is necessary to implement internal monitoring for nuclear medicine staff routinely. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Occupational Safety and Related Impacts on Health and the Environment)
Open AccessArticle Heavy Physical Work: Cardiovascular Load in Male Construction Workers
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(4), 356; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph13040356
Received: 11 February 2016 / Revised: 9 March 2016 / Accepted: 21 March 2016 / Published: 23 March 2016
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (1327 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This study aimed to elucidate cardiovascular loads (CVL) in construction workers during work and leisure by relative heart rate (RHR) over several days. Furthermore, we sought to evaluate the level of CVL in relation to individual factors, work ability, musculoskeletal pain and subjective [...] Read more.
This study aimed to elucidate cardiovascular loads (CVL) in construction workers during work and leisure by relative heart rate (RHR) over several days. Furthermore, we sought to evaluate the level of CVL in relation to individual factors, work ability, musculoskeletal pain and subjective general health. From a group of 255 construction workers responding to the baseline questionnaire, the CVL during work and leisure time was determined by recording RHR in 42 workers over 3–4 days. Almost 60% of the workday was spent below 20% RHR. The mean RHR during work for all participants was 16% RHR, with large differences between professions. On average, the 42 workers spent 14% of the workday at a RHR above 33%, and four subjects (10%) had a mean RHR above 33% during work. Eight (19%) of the participants had a mean length of their workday exceeding calculated maximal acceptable work time. Seven persons (17%) experienced on average one or more episode(s) of 5 min or more continuously above 33% RHR. The cardiovascular load at work was significantly associated with age and V ˙O2max, but not with work ability, musculoskeletal pain or subjective general health. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Occupational Safety and Related Impacts on Health and the Environment)
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Open AccessArticle A Survey of Accidental Hypothermia Knowledge among Navy Members in China and the Implications for Training
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(3), 315; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph13030315
Received: 20 December 2015 / Revised: 1 March 2016 / Accepted: 3 March 2016 / Published: 11 March 2016
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Abstract
Objectives: Accidental hypothermia (AH) is a potentially life-threatening condition that can lead to significant morbidity and life-long effects. Navy personnel are always at a greater risk of AH due to frequent outdoor work, wilderness exposure, prolonged immobility and exhaustion. The purpose of [...] Read more.
Objectives: Accidental hypothermia (AH) is a potentially life-threatening condition that can lead to significant morbidity and life-long effects. Navy personnel are always at a greater risk of AH due to frequent outdoor work, wilderness exposure, prolonged immobility and exhaustion. The purpose of the survey was to assess Chinese Navy members’ awareness of AH and to make recommendations with regard to better measures for improving it. Methods: 111 Navy members completed a written questionnaire that was subsequently analyzed. Results: 30.6% of the respondents have experienced AH and 64.9% rated their knowledge of AH as “low” or “none”. Over half of them identified the initial symptom of AH as obvious shivering (69.4%) and apathy (45.0%). As for the aggravate symptoms, 60.9% chose the wrong answer of more obvious shivering instead of the right one—absence of shivering (5.4%). In the case of the treatment of mild AH, more than half of the respondents chose the wrong answers. Conclusions: This study suggests that the basic skills of recognition and treatment of AH are inadequate in the Chinese Navy. Further work is required to develop a systematical, comprehensive and corresponding education method that would promote correct actions during AH. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Occupational Safety and Related Impacts on Health and the Environment)
Open AccessArticle The Risk Implications of Globalisation: An Exploratory Analysis of 105 Major Industrial Incidents (1971–2010)
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(3), 309; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph13030309
Received: 29 December 2015 / Revised: 29 February 2016 / Accepted: 3 March 2016 / Published: 10 March 2016
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (967 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This paper revisits work on the socio-political amplification of risk, which predicts that those living in developing countries are exposed to greater risk than residents of developed nations. This prediction contrasts with the neoliberal expectation that market driven improvements in working conditions within [...] Read more.
This paper revisits work on the socio-political amplification of risk, which predicts that those living in developing countries are exposed to greater risk than residents of developed nations. This prediction contrasts with the neoliberal expectation that market driven improvements in working conditions within industrialising/developing nations will lead to global convergence of hazard exposure levels. It also contradicts the assumption of risk society theorists that there will be an ubiquitous increase in risk exposure across the globe, which will primarily affect technically more advanced countries. Reviewing qualitative evidence on the impact of structural adjustment reforms in industrialising countries, the export of waste and hazardous waste recycling to these countries and new patterns of domestic industrialisation, the paper suggests that workers in industrialising countries continue to face far greater levels of hazard exposure than those of developed countries. This view is confirmed when a data set including 105 major multi-fatality industrial disasters from 1971 to 2000 is examined. The paper concludes that there is empirical support for the predictions of socio-political amplification of risk theory, which finds clear expression in the data in a consistent pattern of significantly greater fatality rates per industrial incident in industrialising/developing countries. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Occupational Safety and Related Impacts on Health and the Environment)
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Open AccessArticle Slaughterhouses Fungal Burden Assessment: A Contribution for the Pursuit of a Better Assessment Strategy
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(3), 297; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph13030297
Received: 28 January 2016 / Revised: 25 February 2016 / Accepted: 3 March 2016 / Published: 8 March 2016
Cited by 6 | PDF Full-text (638 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
In slaughterhouses, the biological risk is present not only from the direct or indirect contact with animal matter, but also from the exposure to bioaerosols. Fungal contamination was already reported from the floors and walls of slaughterhouses. This study intends to assess fungal [...] Read more.
In slaughterhouses, the biological risk is present not only from the direct or indirect contact with animal matter, but also from the exposure to bioaerosols. Fungal contamination was already reported from the floors and walls of slaughterhouses. This study intends to assess fungal contamination by cultural and molecular methods in poultry, swine/bovine and large animal slaughterhouses. Air samples were collected through an impaction method, while surface samples were collected by the swabbing method and subjected to further macro- and micro-scopic observations. In addition, we collected air samples using the impinger method in order to perform real-time quantitative PCR (qPCR) amplification of genes from specific fungal species, namely A. flavus, A. fumigatus and A. ochraceus complexes. Poultry and swine/bovine slaughterhouses presented each two sampling sites that surpass the guideline of 150 CFU/m3. Scopulariopsis candida was the most frequently isolated (59.5%) in poultry slaughterhouse air; Cladosporium sp. (45.7%) in the swine/bovine slaughterhouse; and Penicillium sp. (80.8%) in the large animal slaughterhouse. Molecular tools successfully amplified DNA from the A. fumigatus complex in six sampling sites where the presence of this fungal species was not identified by conventional methods. This study besides suggesting the indicators that are representative of harmful fungal contamination, also indicates a strategy as a protocol to ensure a proper characterization of fungal occupational exposure. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Occupational Safety and Related Impacts on Health and the Environment)
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Open AccessArticle Leg Power As an Indicator of Risk of Injury or Illness in Police Recruits
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(2), 237; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph13020237
Received: 7 December 2015 / Revised: 22 January 2016 / Accepted: 10 February 2016 / Published: 19 February 2016
Cited by 11 | PDF Full-text (270 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Tactical trainees, like those entering the police force, are required to undergo vigorous training as part of their occupational preparation. This training has the potential to cause injuries. In addition, the physical training, communal living and pressures of tactical training are known to [...] Read more.
Tactical trainees, like those entering the police force, are required to undergo vigorous training as part of their occupational preparation. This training has the potential to cause injuries. In addition, the physical training, communal living and pressures of tactical training are known to induce immune suppression and have the potential to increase the risk of illness. The aim of this study was to investigate the relationship between leg power, as measured by a vertical jump (VJ), and rates of reported injuries and illnesses during police recruit training. Retrospective data from recruits (n = 1021) undergoing basic police recruit training at an Australian Police Force College was collected. Recruits completed a VJ assessment at the commencement of their second state of training. Formally reported illness and injuries were collected 12 weeks later, following completion of training. Correlations between VJ height and rates of reported illness and injury were low (r = −0.16 and −0.09, respectively) but significant (p < 0.005), with VJ height accounting for 2.6% and 0.8% of the variance in illness and injury rates, respectively. In terms of relative risks, recruits with the lowest recorded VJ heights were more than three times as likely as those with highest VJ heights to suffer injury and/or illness. Police recruits with lower VJ height are at a significantly greater risk of suffering an injury or illness during police basic recruit training. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Occupational Safety and Related Impacts on Health and the Environment)
Open AccessArticle Health Risk Assessment for Inhalation Exposure to Methyl Tertiary Butyl Ether at Petrol Stations in Southern China
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(2), 204; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph13020204
Received: 5 October 2015 / Accepted: 1 February 2016 / Published: 6 February 2016
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Abstract
Methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE), a well known gasoline additive, is used in China nationwide to enhance the octane number of gasoline and reduce harmful exhaust emissions, yet little is known regarding the potential health risk associated with occupational exposure to MTBE in [...] Read more.
Methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE), a well known gasoline additive, is used in China nationwide to enhance the octane number of gasoline and reduce harmful exhaust emissions, yet little is known regarding the potential health risk associated with occupational exposure to MTBE in petrol stations. In this study, 97 petrol station attendants (PSAs) in southern China were recruited for an assessment of the health risk associated with inhalation exposure to MTBE. The personal exposure levels of MTBE were analyzed by Head Space Solid Phase Microextraction GC/MS, and the demographic characteristics of the PSAs were investigated. Cancer and non-cancer risks were calculated with the methods recommended by the United States Environmental Protection Agency. The results showed that the exposure levels of MTBE in operating workers were much higher than among support staff (p < 0.01) and both were lower than 50 ppm (an occupational threshold limit value). The calculated cancer risks (CRs) at the investigated petrol stations was 0.170 to 0.240 per 106 for operating workers, and 0.026 to 0.049 per 106 for support staff, which are below the typical target range for risk management of 1 × 10−6 to 1 × 10−4; The hazard quotients (HQs) for all subjects were <1. In conclusion, our study indicates that the MTBE exposure of PSAs in southern China is in a low range which does not seem to be a significant health risk. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Occupational Safety and Related Impacts on Health and the Environment)
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Open AccessArticle Study on Oxygen Supply Standard for Physical Health of Construction Personnel of High-Altitude Tunnels
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(1), 64; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph13010064
Received: 15 September 2015 / Revised: 11 December 2015 / Accepted: 16 December 2015 / Published: 22 December 2015
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (218 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The low atmospheric pressure and low oxygen content in high-altitude environment have great impacts on the functions of human body. Especially for the personnel engaged in complicated physical labor such as tunnel construction, high altitude can cause a series of adverse physiological reactions, [...] Read more.
The low atmospheric pressure and low oxygen content in high-altitude environment have great impacts on the functions of human body. Especially for the personnel engaged in complicated physical labor such as tunnel construction, high altitude can cause a series of adverse physiological reactions, which may result in multiple high-altitude diseases and even death in severe cases. Artificial oxygen supply is required to ensure health and safety of construction personnel in hypoxic environments. However, there are no provisions for oxygen supply standard for tunnel construction personnel in high-altitude areas in current tunnel construction specifications. As a result, this paper has theoretically studied the impacts of high-altitude environment on human bodies, analyzed the relationship between labor intensity and oxygen consumption in high-altitude areas and determined the critical oxygen-supply altitude values for tunnel construction based on two different standard evaluation systems, i.e., variation of air density and equivalent PIO2. In addition, it has finally determined the oxygen supply standard for construction personnel in high-altitude areas based on the relationship between construction labor intensity and oxygen consumption. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Occupational Safety and Related Impacts on Health and the Environment)
Open AccessArticle Particulate Matter Exposure in a Police Station Located near a Highway
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12(11), 14541-14556; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph121114541
Received: 8 September 2015 / Revised: 3 November 2015 / Accepted: 6 November 2015 / Published: 13 November 2015
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Abstract
People living or working near roadways have experienced an increase in cardiovascular or respiratory diseases due to vehicle emissions. Very few studies have focused on the PM exposure of highway police officers, particularly for the number concentration and size distribution of ultrafine particles [...] Read more.
People living or working near roadways have experienced an increase in cardiovascular or respiratory diseases due to vehicle emissions. Very few studies have focused on the PM exposure of highway police officers, particularly for the number concentration and size distribution of ultrafine particles (UFP). This study evaluated exposure concentrations of particulate matter (PM) in the Sinying police station near a highway located in Tainan, Taiwan, under different traffic volumes, traffic types, and shift times. We focused on periods when the wind blew from the highway toward the police station and when the wind speed was greater than or equal to 0.5 m/s. PM2.5, UFP, and PM-PAHs concentrations in the police station and an upwind reference station were measured. Results indicate that PM2.5, UFP, and PM-PAHs concentrations in the police station can be on average 1.13, 2.17, and 5.81 times more than the upwind reference station concentrations, respectively. The highest exposure level for PM2.5 and UFP was observed during the 12:00 PM–4:00 PM shift while the highest PAHs concentration was found in the 4:00 AM–8:00 AM shift. Thus, special attention needs to be given to protect police officers from exposure to high PM concentration. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Occupational Safety and Related Impacts on Health and the Environment)
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Open AccessArticle Coping with Workplace Violence in Healthcare Settings: Social Support and Strategies
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12(11), 14429-14444; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph121114429
Received: 17 June 2015 / Revised: 3 November 2015 / Accepted: 9 November 2015 / Published: 13 November 2015
Cited by 7 | PDF Full-text (676 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
A cross-sectional survey of healthcare professionals from 19 hospitals in six cities of Heilongjiang Province, China was conducted. This study had two objectives: (1) to examine the factors influencing healthcare workers’ opinions of strategies to prevent workplace violence, using social support theory, and [...] Read more.
A cross-sectional survey of healthcare professionals from 19 hospitals in six cities of Heilongjiang Province, China was conducted. This study had two objectives: (1) to examine the factors influencing healthcare workers’ opinions of strategies to prevent workplace violence, using social support theory, and (2) to encourage healthcare organisations and the larger society to offer greater support to healthcare workers. The respondents exposed to workplace violence expected to receive organisational and social support. Those exposed to psychological violence had a strong opinion of the need for target training to strengthen their competence in responding to violence (OR = 1.319, 95% CI: 1.034–1.658) and enacting workplace violence legislation (OR = 1.968, 95% CI: 1.523–2.543).Those exposed to physical violence thought it might be useful to reinforce staff with back-up support (OR = 3.101, 95% CI: 1.085–8.860). Those exposed to both types of violence and those with high anxiety levels need greater support at both the organisational and societal levels. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Occupational Safety and Related Impacts on Health and the Environment)
Open AccessArticle Epidemiological Characteristics of Work-Related Ocular Trauma in Southwest Region of China
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12(8), 9864-9875; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph120809864
Received: 27 May 2015 / Revised: 31 July 2015 / Accepted: 11 August 2015 / Published: 19 August 2015
Cited by 9 | PDF Full-text (869 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Purpose: To determine the epidemiological characteristics of work-related eye injury in representative southwest region of China. Methods: Patients with eye injuries treated at the Ninth People’s Hospital of Chongqing from 1 January 2014 to 31 December 2014 were included in the [...] Read more.
Purpose: To determine the epidemiological characteristics of work-related eye injury in representative southwest region of China. Methods: Patients with eye injuries treated at the Ninth People’s Hospital of Chongqing from 1 January 2014 to 31 December 2014 were included in the current study. All patients completed a comprehensive examination and interview. Demographic characteristics and injury details were recorded. The International Classification of Diseases (ICD-10) and Birmingham Eye Trauma Terminology (BETT) were used. Results: The average age of eye injury patients was 37.52 years and the majority were male. Among the 1055 total patients, approximately 42.9% of the injuries were work-related. The highest proportion of occupational eye trauma was observed in the group between 36 and 45 years of age. Occupational ocular trauma occurred more frequently in summer, with most from 16:00 to 18:00. Metal was the most common injury cause. Foreign body on external eye was the most common diagnosis. Workers in the manufacturing industry without pre-work safety training or eye protection were far more likely to suffer from occupational ocular trauma than those with training and protection. Conclusions: This study provides insight into the epidemiological characteristics of occupational ocular trauma in southwest region of China. The current findings might be considered as a baseline for future research on regional work-related eye injuries. Our findings will provide valuable information for further development of preventive strategies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Occupational Safety and Related Impacts on Health and the Environment)
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Open AccessReview The Impact of Physical and Ergonomic Hazards on Poultry Abattoir Processing Workers: A Review
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(2), 197; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph13020197
Received: 10 October 2015 / Accepted: 27 January 2016 / Published: 6 February 2016
Cited by 5 | PDF Full-text (335 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The poultry abattoir industry continues to grow and contribute significantly to the gross domestic product in many countries. The industry expects working shifts of eight to eleven hours, during which workers are exposed to occupational hazards which include physical hazards ranging from noise, [...] Read more.
The poultry abattoir industry continues to grow and contribute significantly to the gross domestic product in many countries. The industry expects working shifts of eight to eleven hours, during which workers are exposed to occupational hazards which include physical hazards ranging from noise, vibration, exposure to cold and ergonomic stress from manual, repetitive tasks that require force. A PubMed, Medline and Science Direct online database search, using specific keywords was conducted and the results confirmed that physical and ergonomic hazards impact on abattoir processing workers health, with harm not only to workers’ health but also as an economic burden due to the loss of their livelihoods and the need for treatment and compensation in the industry. This review endeavours to highlight the contribution poultry processing plays in the development of physical agents and ergonomic stress related occupational diseases in poultry abattoir processing workers. The impact includes noise-induced hearing loss, increased blood pressure, menstrual and work related upper limb disorders. These are summarised as a quick reference guide for poultry abattoir owners, abattoir workers, poultry associations, occupational hygienists and medical practitioners to assist in the safer management of occupational health in poultry abattoirs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Occupational Safety and Related Impacts on Health and the Environment)
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