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Special Issue "Worker and Public Health and Safety: Current Views"

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: 30 April 2019

Special Issue Editors

Guest Editor
Assoc. Prof. Sara Lal

Chief Guest Editor
Neuroscience Research Unit, Centre for Health Technologies, School of Life Sciences, University of Technology Sydney, Broadway, New South Wales 2007, Australia
Website | E-Mail
Interests: safety; transport; fatigue/drowsiness/sleepiness; cardiovascular research; diabetes; neurophysiology and cognitive function and performance; health sensors and algorithms
Co-Guest Editor
Prof. Thomas Penzel

Interdisciplinary Sleep Center, Department of Cardiology, Campus Mitte, Charité – Universitätsmedizin (Charite University Hospital) Berlin, Charitéplatz 1, D-10117 Berlin, Germany
Website | E-Mail
Interests: sleep medicine; sleep disorders; medical informatics; neurotelemedicine; biomedical signal processing and medical device development
Co-Guest Editor
Prof. Ann Simpson

Centre for Health Technologies, School of Life Sciences, University of Technology Sydney, Sydney, Australia
Website | E-Mail
Interests: diabetes; gene technology; gene therapy; biosafety; bioethics

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Health and safety in the workforce and general public domains continue to be crucial areas of concern for our ever-advancing technological and demanding society. Disease epidemics and public threats continue to rise. As we progress in the 21st century, worker and public health and safety concerns continue to escalate in many areas, including medical, transportation, security, defence, and other industries and services. Fatigue and sleepiness, diabetes and metabolic disorders, cardiovascular diseases, mental disorders, cognitive decline, cancer, musculoskeletal disorders, and the list is inclusive, are a few of many major health issues; and also adds to the socio-economic burden. For example, fatigue and sleep disorders are of major concern in transport, military, aviation, cleaning, mining, security and medical sectors. Additionally, shift workers have added vulnerability to multiple chronic diseases. The monotonous and demanding nature of many work environment are also linked to excessive sleepiness, stress, cognitive decline, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, etc., which contribute to detrimental human health, errors and accidents. The probability of these hazards increase rapidly over consecutive work hours; which can be catastrophic for the worker who may also be responsible for the safety of others. Further, the cleaning and security industries, are also burdened with musculoskeletal disorder, pain and other societal diseases. Moreover, environmental factors such as, heat, noise and pollutants, also affect health and safety. This Special Issue is targeted at research and reviews addressing all aspects of “Worker and Public Health and Safety: Current Opinion and Research”. We invite submissions widely, from all fields of worker and public health and safety, of original and experimental manuscripts and reviews, including systematic reviews, case reports and commentaries. Topics, with respect to all areas of worker and general public health and safety, may include, but are not restricted to, sleepiness/fatigue, ageing-related cognitive disorders; chronic diseases, such as diabetes and other metabolic disorders, cancer, cardiovascular and musculoskeletal diseases and mental disorders and stress; biomarkers for early detection of chronic diseases/health issues; environmental factors, noise and pollutants; security and counter-terrorism; ethics, economy, costs and compensation linked to societal diseases and errors and accidents; as well as safety measures, bio/technology and countermeasures to improve health and safety.

by Chief Guest Editor: Assoc. Prof. Sara Lal

Assoc. Prof. Sara Lal
Prof. Thomas Penzel
Prof. Ann Simpson
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. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly 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 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

  • fatigue and sleepiness
  • sleep disorders
  • cardiovascular disease
  • diabetes
  • health and safety
  • mental and cognitive disorders
  • musculoskeletal disorders
  • environmental factors
  • counter-terrorism and security
  • work errors
  • accidents and costs

Published Papers (22 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle Warning against Critical Slopes in Agriculture: Comprehension of Targeted Safety Signs in a Group of Machinery Operators in Italy
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(4), 611; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16040611
Received: 18 December 2018 / Revised: 21 January 2019 / Accepted: 17 February 2019 / Published: 20 February 2019
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Abstract
Steep slopes are the main cause of rollover incidents in agriculture. Targeted safety signs have been developed to warn machinery operators against risky slopes. However, machinery user’s manuals and road signs report information regarding slope steepness in two different ways, by using the [...] Read more.
Steep slopes are the main cause of rollover incidents in agriculture. Targeted safety signs have been developed to warn machinery operators against risky slopes. However, machinery user’s manuals and road signs report information regarding slope steepness in two different ways, by using the tilt angle in degrees and the slope percentage, respectively. In this study, we investigated the comprehension of safety signs depicting critical slopes, either in degrees or as percent values in a group of Italian agricultural machinery operators while considering the possible influence of previous experience with agricultural machinery, previous incidents, and on-farm occupation. Eighteen tractor and self-propelled machinery operators were administered graphical representations of seven slope angles in a randomized order and then were asked to estimate the slope steepness as both a tilt angle and a slope percentage. The participants tended to overestimate slope steepness in degrees, whereas the opposite was true for percentages. Farmers who were previously involved in a machinery-related incident were more accurate in their estimates. The present results raise some considerations regarding the need to redesign safety communication and to promote targeted training interventions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Worker and Public Health and Safety: Current Views)
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Open AccessArticle Development of the Fatigue Risk Assessment and Management in High-Risk Environments (FRAME) Survey: A Participatory Approach
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(4), 522; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16040522
Received: 20 December 2018 / Revised: 2 February 2019 / Accepted: 10 February 2019 / Published: 13 February 2019
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Abstract
Existing risk assessment tools are not effective or sustainable in identifying Oil and Gas Extraction (OGE) workers at high risk of fatigue-related injuries or incidents. We developed a comprehensive Fatigue Risk Assessment and Management in high-risk Environments (FRAME) survey through an industry-academic participatory [...] Read more.
Existing risk assessment tools are not effective or sustainable in identifying Oil and Gas Extraction (OGE) workers at high risk of fatigue-related injuries or incidents. We developed a comprehensive Fatigue Risk Assessment and Management in high-risk Environments (FRAME) survey through an industry-academic participatory approach. The FRAME survey was developed through: (1) systematic gathering of existing fatigue scales; (2) refining the inventory using the Delphi Consensus technique; and (3) further refinement through employee/worker focus groups. The participatory approach resulted in a final FRAME survey across four fatigue dimensions—sleep, shiftwork, physical, and mental fatigue, and was composed of 26 items. The FRAME survey was founded on occupational fatigue science and refined and tailored to the OGE industry, through rigorous industry stakeholder input, for safer, effective, practical, and sustainable fatigue assessment and management efforts. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Worker and Public Health and Safety: Current Views)
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Open AccessArticle Localization of Vehicle Back-Up Alarms by Users of Level-Dependent Hearing Protectors under Industrial Noise Conditions Generated at a Forge
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(3), 394; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16030394
Received: 17 December 2018 / Revised: 28 January 2019 / Accepted: 29 January 2019 / Published: 30 January 2019
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Abstract
The use of hearing protectors in various noisy workplaces is often necessary. For safety reasons, auditory information may be required to correctly localize the direction of an auditory danger signal. The purpose of this study was to verify if the selection of a [...] Read more.
The use of hearing protectors in various noisy workplaces is often necessary. For safety reasons, auditory information may be required to correctly localize the direction of an auditory danger signal. The purpose of this study was to verify if the selection of a specific level-dependent hearing protector may be important for the ability to localize a vehicle back-up alarm signal. The laboratory conditions reflected industrial conditions, under which an impulse noise was emitted against a background of continuous noise. A passive mode and a level-dependent mode (maximum and incomplete amplification) were considered. Four different models of level-dependent earmuffs and one model of level-dependent earplugs were included in the tests. The tests enabled differentiation between the individual hearing protectors. The use of earplugs in level-dependent mode did not significantly affect the ability to correctly localize the back-up alarm signal. For the earmuffs, the global assessment of the impact of a mode change revealed that, depending on the model of the earmuffs, the impact may be insignificant, but may also result in considerable impairment of the ability to localize the back-up alarm signal. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Worker and Public Health and Safety: Current Views)
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Open AccessArticle The Safe Use of Pesticides: A Risk Assessment Procedure for the Enhancement of Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) Management
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(3), 310; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16030310
Received: 16 December 2018 / Revised: 17 January 2019 / Accepted: 19 January 2019 / Published: 23 January 2019
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Abstract
The attention paid to the use of pesticides has increased notably in recent years as demonstrated by the issue of laws and regulations requiring their safe and environmentally-conscious use (e.g. Directive 2009/128/EC and Regulation (EC) no. 1272/2008). Despite the benefits that can be [...] Read more.
The attention paid to the use of pesticides has increased notably in recent years as demonstrated by the issue of laws and regulations requiring their safe and environmentally-conscious use (e.g. Directive 2009/128/EC and Regulation (EC) no. 1272/2008). Despite the benefits that can be achieved by pursuing the targets of stricter legislative framework, the difficulties for farmers in complying with it are remarkable, especially for small-sized companies. In fact, in contrast to other occupational health and safety (OHS) contexts, in the case of pesticides even a preliminary analysis on the relationship between pesticide use and the consequent exposure risks for the workers is a complex task. In order to reduce the above-mentioned gap, the present study is focused on the development of an easy-to-use tool for carrying out occupational risk assessment of agricultural activities related to the use of pesticides. The procedure was developed by starting from the Agricultural Health Study (AHS) approach and its improvements, and continuing to the thorough development of a tool for preliminary risk assessment, providing a simplified model for its practical application by farmers. A case study concerning olive cultivation was used for its first verification. The results achieved should be considered as an initial step for the promotion of safer practices when using pesticides, providing a consistent base for their further validation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Worker and Public Health and Safety: Current Views)
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Open AccessArticle Correction Workers’ Burnout and Outcomes: A Bayesian Network Approach
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(2), 282; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16020282
Received: 3 December 2018 / Revised: 7 January 2019 / Accepted: 17 January 2019 / Published: 20 January 2019
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Abstract
The present study seeks to demonstrate how Bayesian Network analysis can be used to support Total Worker Health® research on correction workers by (1) revealing the most probable scenario of how psychosocial and behavioral outcome variables in corrections work are interrelated and [...] Read more.
The present study seeks to demonstrate how Bayesian Network analysis can be used to support Total Worker Health® research on correction workers by (1) revealing the most probable scenario of how psychosocial and behavioral outcome variables in corrections work are interrelated and (2) identifying the key contributing factors of this interdependency relationship within the unique occupational context of corrections work. The data from 353 correction workers from a state department of corrections in the United States were utilized. A Bayesian Network analysis approach was used to probabilistically sort out potential interrelations among various psychosocial and behavioral variables. The identified model revealed that work-related exhaustion may serve as a primary driver of occupational stress and impaired workability, and also that exhaustion limits the ability of correction workers to get regular physical exercise, while their interrelations with depressed mood, a lack of work engagement, and poor work-family balance were also noted. The results suggest the importance of joint consideration of psychosocial and behavioral factors when investigating variables that may impact health and wellbeing of correction workers. Also, they supported the value of adopting the Total Worker Health® framework, a holistic strategy to integrate prevention of work-related injury and illness and the facilitation of worker well-being, when considering integrated health protection and promotion interventions for workers in high-risk occupations. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Worker and Public Health and Safety: Current Views)
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Open AccessArticle Living the 14/14 Schedule: Qualitative Analysis of the Challenges and Coping Strategies among Families of Offshore Wind Workers
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(2), 241; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16020241
Received: 14 December 2018 / Revised: 7 January 2019 / Accepted: 12 January 2019 / Published: 16 January 2019
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Abstract
Offshore wind workers in Germany usually spend 14 days offshore, alternating with 14 days of spare time at home. The offshore lifestyle may considerably affect offshore workers’ partners and families. However, there is a lack of evidence regarding the psychosocial adaptation among offshore [...] Read more.
Offshore wind workers in Germany usually spend 14 days offshore, alternating with 14 days of spare time at home. The offshore lifestyle may considerably affect offshore workers’ partners and families. However, there is a lack of evidence regarding the psychosocial adaptation among offshore wind couples living the 14/14 schedule. The present study intended to offer a contemporary view on the topic from the perspective of the women of offshore workers. Our aim was (1) to examine the perceived features of living the 14/14 schedule, (2) explore women’s coping strategies, and (3) investigate their views on the reconciliation of offshore work and partnership/family life. The women reported differentiated views on the benefits and costs associated with their living situation, and stated various coping strategies that facilitated psychosocial adaptation. Despite some burdens, overall, most of the women seemed to have adapted relatively favourably to their lifestyle. This was particularly eased by recent sociological and technological advances, e.g., improved communication technologies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Worker and Public Health and Safety: Current Views)
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Open AccessArticle Trends in Workplace Injuries in Slovak Forest Enterprises
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(1), 141; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16010141
Received: 26 November 2018 / Revised: 17 December 2018 / Accepted: 24 December 2018 / Published: 7 January 2019
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Abstract
The aim of the paper is to analyse the effect of key factors affecting the risk of workplace injuries and to identify the most common workplace accidents regarding injured body parts with respect to anthropometric data measurements of the population. Data associated with [...] Read more.
The aim of the paper is to analyse the effect of key factors affecting the risk of workplace injuries and to identify the most common workplace accidents regarding injured body parts with respect to anthropometric data measurements of the population. Data associated with workplace accidents over the years 2000–2016 were drawn from the records of the state enterprise Forests of the Slovak Republic, situated in Banská Bystrica. Gathered data were processed and entered into the database complemented by the data on accidents of the self-employed working in the forestry industry. A total of 1874 workplace accidents in the state enterprise were recorded and statistically evaluated during the analysis period. A method for contingency table was used to analyse correlation between qualitative (categorical) variables in the dataset. A Poisson regression model was used to determine the injury rate. Forest harvesting is considered the most risky phase of the process of harvesting, processing, and transport. The highest number of workplace accidents (31.8% of all recorded workplace accidents) occurred during the forest harvesting phase during the analysis period. Timber skidding, with 16% of recorded accidents, was the second highest-risk phase. The workplace injury rate in the forest industry in Slovakia decreased over the course of the years 2000–2016. Head and facial injuries were those with the highest rate (67.1% injuries of these body parts) during the phase of harvesting and skidding. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Worker and Public Health and Safety: Current Views)
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Open AccessArticle Impact of Obesity on Employment and Wages among Young Adults: Observational Study with Panel Data
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(1), 139; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16010139
Received: 12 December 2018 / Revised: 31 December 2018 / Accepted: 3 January 2019 / Published: 7 January 2019
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Abstract
This paper assesses the relationship between obesity and the job market by focusing on young adults early on in their careers, while considering the factor of gender and the individuals’ job qualifications. This study extracted data on high school students for four years [...] Read more.
This paper assesses the relationship between obesity and the job market by focusing on young adults early on in their careers, while considering the factor of gender and the individuals’ job qualifications. This study extracted data on high school students for four years from the Korean Education and Employment Panel (from 2010 to 2013), a nationally representative dataset comprising of 2000 middle school students and 4000 high school seniors. The individual-level fixed effects were controlled using conditional logistic regression models and an ordinary least squares model. Obese and overweight men were 1.46 times more likely to be placed in professional jobs and had 13.9% higher monthly wages than their normal-weight counterparts. However, obese and overweight women were 0.33 times less likely to have service jobs, earned 9.0% lower monthly wages, and half as likely to have jobs with bonuses than that of their normal-weight counterparts. However, such penalty among women was found only when they had none of the assessed job market qualifications. Given that initial jobs and job conditions have lingering impacts in long-term job performance, the cumulative penalty for overweight or obesity could be more substantial for young adults in particular. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Worker and Public Health and Safety: Current Views)
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Open AccessArticle Prevalence and Risk Factors of Depression, Anxiety, and Stress in a Cohort of Australian Nurses
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(1), 61; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16010061
Received: 26 November 2018 / Revised: 22 December 2018 / Accepted: 23 December 2018 / Published: 27 December 2018
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Abstract
Nurses remain at the forefront of patient care. However, their heavy workload as a career can leave them overworked and stressed. The demanding nature of the occupation exposes nurses to a higher risk of developing negative mental states such as depression, anxiety, and [...] Read more.
Nurses remain at the forefront of patient care. However, their heavy workload as a career can leave them overworked and stressed. The demanding nature of the occupation exposes nurses to a higher risk of developing negative mental states such as depression, anxiety, and stress. Hence, the current study aimed to assess the prevalence and risk factors of these mental states in a representative sample of Australian nurses. The Depression Anxiety Stress Scale was administered to 102 nurses. Information about demographic and work characteristics were obtained using lifestyle and in-house designed questionnaires. Prevalence rates of depression, anxiety, and stress were found to be 32.4%, 41.2%, and 41.2% respectively. Binominal logistic regressions for depression and stress were significant (p = 0.007, p = 0.009). Job dissatisfaction significantly predicted a higher risk of nurses developing symptoms of depression and stress respectively (p = 0.009, p = 0.011). Poor mental health among nurses may not only be detrimental to the individual but may also hinder professional performance and in turn, the quality of patient care provided. Further research in the area is required to identify support strategies and interventions that may improve the health and wellbeing of nursing professionals and hence the quality of care delivered. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Worker and Public Health and Safety: Current Views)
Open AccessArticle Six Years of Sick Leave Spells in a Group of University Civil Workers. Can Modern Work Bring Them a New Health Problem?
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(1), 17; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16010017
Received: 1 November 2018 / Revised: 16 December 2018 / Accepted: 19 December 2018 / Published: 21 December 2018
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The objective of this study is to analyse sick leave episodes of a university’s collective of statutory workers in the State of São Paulo, between January 2010 and December 2015. For this, a descriptive study analysed 5776 registered spells of sick leave of [...] Read more.
The objective of this study is to analyse sick leave episodes of a university’s collective of statutory workers in the State of São Paulo, between January 2010 and December 2015. For this, a descriptive study analysed 5776 registered spells of sick leave of four university units: agricultural sciences; human health, health and animal reproduction, and biological sciences; an administrative unit; and a university hospital. The medical expert assessment was carried out by general practitioners and psychiatrists who managed sick leave and return to work cases. Around 52% had up to three sick leave episodes, and 10% of the workers had 20 or more episodes. Each spell of sickness absence lasted a median of 30 days (IQR 8–60 days). Among all of sick leaves, 35% had as a primary cause mental or behavioural diseases, of which 30% were depressive disorders, followed by around 18% related to the musculoskeletal system and the connective tissues. In the medical reports, 80% of the workers reported pain and 30% reported psychological symptoms. The collective, seen as privileged by many for their job stability, has a high percentage of sick leave due to mental illness, with extended periods which affect the levels of disability and reduce possibilities of return. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Worker and Public Health and Safety: Current Views)
Open AccessArticle A Profile of Knee Injuries Suffered by Australian Army Reserve Soldiers
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(1), 12; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16010012
Received: 23 November 2018 / Revised: 14 December 2018 / Accepted: 18 December 2018 / Published: 20 December 2018
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Abstract
Despite having to perform the same occupational tasks as full-time soldiers, part-time soldiers may have lower levels of physical conditioning and report higher rates of injury per unit exposure to active service. The purpose of this study was to profile the leading body [...] Read more.
Despite having to perform the same occupational tasks as full-time soldiers, part-time soldiers may have lower levels of physical conditioning and report higher rates of injury per unit exposure to active service. The purpose of this study was to profile the leading body site of injury occurring in part-time soldiers to inform injury prevention strategies. Injury data from the Australian Army Reserve (ARES) spanning a two-year period were obtained from the Department of Defence Workplace Health, Safety, Compensation and Reporting database pertaining to locations, nature, mechanisms, and the activity being performed at the time of injury. Among the 1434 injuries reported by ARES personnel, the knee was the most common injury site (n = 228, 16%). Soft tissue injury due to trauma or unknown causes was the most common nature of knee injury (n = 177, 78%). Combat training was the most common activity being performed when soft tissue injuries occurred at the knee (n = 73, 42%), with physical training the second most common (n = 51, 30%), due to muscular stress (n = 36, 71%) and falls (n = 8, 16%). Targeted intrinsic and extrinsic approaches to injury minimization strategies for soft tissue knee injuries during combat and physical training should be designed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Worker and Public Health and Safety: Current Views)
Open AccessArticle Occupational Diseases among Workers in Lower and Higher Socioeconomic Positions
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15(12), 2849; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph15122849
Received: 13 November 2018 / Revised: 10 December 2018 / Accepted: 12 December 2018 / Published: 13 December 2018
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Abstract
Background: To determine differences between workers in lower and higher socioeconomic positions (SEP) in incidences of occupational disease (OD) and incapacity for work due to ODs. Methods: From a Dutch dynamic prospective cohort of occupational physicians (OPs), ODs assessed by OPs were retrieved [...] Read more.
Background: To determine differences between workers in lower and higher socioeconomic positions (SEP) in incidences of occupational disease (OD) and incapacity for work due to ODs. Methods: From a Dutch dynamic prospective cohort of occupational physicians (OPs), ODs assessed by OPs were retrieved for lower and higher SEP groups. Results: Among the lower SEP, musculoskeletal disorders, and noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) comprised two-thirds of the OD diagnoses. Among the higher SEP, stress/burnout comprised 60% of the OD diagnoses. Temporary and permanent incapacity for work due to work-related lower back disorders and repetitive strain injuries differed significantly between workers in lower compared to higher SEP. Conclusions: Occupational diseases occur at a 2.7 higher incidence rate for workers in lower SEP compared with higher SEP. Incapacity for work varies between the type of OD and the level of SEP. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Worker and Public Health and Safety: Current Views)
Open AccessArticle Executive Stress Management: Physiological Load of Stress and Recovery in Executives on Workdays
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15(12), 2847; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph15122847
Received: 8 October 2018 / Revised: 16 November 2018 / Accepted: 2 December 2018 / Published: 13 December 2018
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Abstract
Objective: The use of high-performance sports technology to describe the physiological load of stress and the quality of recovery in a population of executives during the workday. Methodology: Heart rate variability values were recorded during 48 h from which the relationship [...] Read more.
Objective: The use of high-performance sports technology to describe the physiological load of stress and the quality of recovery in a population of executives during the workday. Methodology: Heart rate variability values were recorded during 48 h from which the relationship between stress/recovery quality (stress balance) was obtained for three differentiated time slots: work, after work, and night in a workday. Results: We observed a negative stress balance during the 24 h of measurement in the course of a workday, being negative at work and after work, and positive at night. The stress generated or maintained outside working hours correlates significantly with a lower quality of recovery during the 24 h workday. Conclusions: It is necessary to prioritize strategies that help improve stress management in executives through the improvement of tools and strategies that mainly promote greater relaxation outside working hours. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Worker and Public Health and Safety: Current Views)
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Open AccessArticle Does Instruction of Oral Health Behavior for Workers Improve Work Performance?—Quasi-Randomized Trial
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15(12), 2630; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph15122630
Received: 31 October 2018 / Revised: 19 November 2018 / Accepted: 22 November 2018 / Published: 24 November 2018
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Abstract
Oral disease can cause economic loss due to impaired work performance. Therefore, improvement of oral health status and prevention of oral disease is essential among workers. The purpose of this study was to investigate whether oral health-related behavioral modification intervention influences work performance [...] Read more.
Oral disease can cause economic loss due to impaired work performance. Therefore, improvement of oral health status and prevention of oral disease is essential among workers. The purpose of this study was to investigate whether oral health-related behavioral modification intervention influences work performance or improves oral health behavior and oral health status among Japanese workers. We quasi-randomly separated participants into the intervention group or the control group at baseline. The intervention group received intensive oral health instruction at baseline and a self-assessment every three months. Both groups received oral examinations and answered the self-questionnaire at baseline and at one-year follow-up. At follow-up, the prevalence of subjects who use fluoride toothpastes and interdental brushes/dental floss were significantly higher in the intervention group than in the control group. Three variables (tooth brushing in workplace, using fluoride toothpaste, and experience of receiving tooth brushing instruction in a dental clinic) showed significant improvement only in the intervention group. On the other hand, work performance and oral status did not significantly change in either group. Our intensive oral health-related behavioral modification intervention improved oral health behavior, but neither work performance nor oral status, among Japanese workers. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Worker and Public Health and Safety: Current Views)
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Open AccessArticle Multidisciplinary Intervention and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy for Return-to-Work and Increased Employability among Patients with Mental Illness and/or Chronic Pain: A Randomized Controlled Trial
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15(11), 2424; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph15112424
Received: 10 September 2018 / Revised: 17 October 2018 / Accepted: 27 October 2018 / Published: 31 October 2018
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Abstract
Background: People on long-term sick leave often have a long-lasting process back to work, where the individuals may be in multiple and recurrent states; i.e., receiving different social security benefits or working, and over time they may shift between these states. The purpose [...] Read more.
Background: People on long-term sick leave often have a long-lasting process back to work, where the individuals may be in multiple and recurrent states; i.e., receiving different social security benefits or working, and over time they may shift between these states. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effects of two vocational rehabilitation programs, compared to a control, on return-to-work (RTW) or increased employability in patients on long-term sick leave due to mental illness and/or chronic pain. Methods: In this randomized controlled study, 427 women and men were allocated to either (1) multidisciplinary team management, i.e., multidisciplinary assessments and individual rehabilitation management, (2) acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT), or (3) control. A positive outcome was defined as RTW or increased employability. The outcome was considered negative if the (part-time) wage was reduced or ceased, or if there was an indication of decreased employability. The outcome was measured one year after entry in the project and analyzed using binary and multinomial logistic regressions. Results: Participants in the multidisciplinary team group reported having RTW odds ratio (OR) 3.31 (95% CI 1.39–7.87) compared to the control group in adjusted models. Participants in the ACT group reported having increased employability OR 3.22 (95% CI 1.13–9.15) compared to the control group in adjusted models. Conclusions: This study of vocational rehabilitation in mainly female patients on long-term sick leave due to mental illness and/or chronic pain suggests that multidisciplinary team assessments and individually adapted rehabilitation interventions increased RTW and employability. Solely receiving the ACT intervention also increased employability. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Worker and Public Health and Safety: Current Views)
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Open AccessArticle Reduced Lung Function among Workers in Primary Coffee Processing Factories in Ethiopia: A Cross Sectional Study
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15(11), 2415; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph15112415
Received: 13 October 2018 / Revised: 25 October 2018 / Accepted: 28 October 2018 / Published: 31 October 2018
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Abstract
Dust exposure is one of the major risk factors for respiratory health in many workplaces, including coffee factories. The aim of this study was to assess the prevalence of respiratory symptoms and lung function reduction among workers in Ethiopian primary coffee processing factories, [...] Read more.
Dust exposure is one of the major risk factors for respiratory health in many workplaces, including coffee factories. The aim of this study was to assess the prevalence of respiratory symptoms and lung function reduction among workers in Ethiopian primary coffee processing factories, compared to a control group of workers. A total of 115 coffee workers and 110 water bottling workers were involved in this study, from 12 coffee and 3 water bottling factories in Ethiopia, respectively. The chronic respiratory symptoms were assessed using a structured interview, using a standardized questionnaire adopted from the American Thoracic Society (ATS). The lung function tests were performed according to the ATS recommendation for spirometry. The coffee workers had a significantly higher prevalence of coughing, coughing with sputum, breathlessness, work-related shortness of breath, and wheezing compared with the controls. The prevalence ratio of work-related shortness of breath (PR = 3.7, 95% CI: 1.6–8.7) and wheezing (PR = 3.3, 95% CI: 1.3–8.4) was significantly higher for the coffee workers compared to the controls. The coffee workers in the age groups 28–39 years and ≥40 years, had a significantly lower forced vital capacity and forced expiratory volume in 1 s compared to the controls in the similar age groups. The findings indicated the need for longitudinal studies on the possible effect of coffee dust on respiratory health of coffee production workers. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Worker and Public Health and Safety: Current Views)
Open AccessArticle The Epidemiology, Cost, and Occupational Context of Spinal Injuries Sustained While ‘Working for Income’ in NSW: A Record-Linkage Study
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15(10), 2121; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph15102121
Received: 8 September 2018 / Revised: 20 September 2018 / Accepted: 23 September 2018 / Published: 27 September 2018
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Abstract
This study aimed to describe the epidemiological characteristics, the occupational context, and the cost of hospitalised work-related traumatic spinal injuries, across New South Wales, Australia. A record-linkage study of hospitalised cases of work-related spinal injury (ICD10-AM code U73.0 or workers compensation) was conducted. [...] Read more.
This study aimed to describe the epidemiological characteristics, the occupational context, and the cost of hospitalised work-related traumatic spinal injuries, across New South Wales, Australia. A record-linkage study of hospitalised cases of work-related spinal injury (ICD10-AM code U73.0 or workers compensation) was conducted. Study period 2013–2016. Eight hundred and twenty-four individuals sustained work-related spinal injuries; 86.2% of whom were males and had a mean age of 46.6 years. Falls led to 50% of the injuries; predominantly falls from building/structures, ladders or between levels. Falls occurred predominantly in the construction industry (78%). Transport crashes caused 31% of injuries and 24% in heavy vehicles. Half of all the transport injuries occurred ‘off road’. The external cause was coded as ‘non-specific work activity’ in 44.5% of cases; missing in 11.5%. Acute care bed days numbered at 13,302; total cost $19,500,000. High numbers of work-related spinal injuries occurred in the construction industry; particularly falling from a height. Off-road transport-related injuries were significant and likely unaddressed by ‘on-road’ prevention policies. Medical record documentation was insufficient in injury mechanism and context specificity. Workers in the construction industry or those using vehicles off-road were at high risk of spinal injury, suggesting inefficient systems approaches or ineffective prevention policies. Reducing the use of non-specific external cause codes in patients’ medical records would improve the measurement of policy effectiveness. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Worker and Public Health and Safety: Current Views)
Open AccessArticle Data-Driven Approach to Improving the Risk Assessment Process of Medical Failures
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15(10), 2069; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph15102069
Received: 13 August 2018 / Revised: 17 September 2018 / Accepted: 18 September 2018 / Published: 20 September 2018
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Abstract
In recent decades, many researchers have focused on the issue of medical failures in the healthcare industry. A variety of techniques have been employed to assess the risk of medical failure and to generate strategies to reduce the frequency of medical failures. Considering [...] Read more.
In recent decades, many researchers have focused on the issue of medical failures in the healthcare industry. A variety of techniques have been employed to assess the risk of medical failure and to generate strategies to reduce the frequency of medical failures. Considering the limitations of the traditional method—failure mode and effects analysis (FMEA)—for risk assessment and quality improvement, this paper presents two models developed using data envelopment analysis (DEA). One is called the slacks-based measure DEA (SBM-DEA) model, and the other is a novel data-driven approach (NDA) that combines FMEA and DEA. The relative advantages of the three models are compared. In this paper, an infant security case consisting of 16 failure modes at Western Wake Medical Center in Raleigh, North Carolina, U.S., was employed. The results indicate that both SBM-DEA and NDA may improve the discrimination and accuracy of detection compared to the traditional method of FMEA. However, NDA was found to have a relative advantage over SBM-DEA due to its risk assessment capability and precise detection of medical failures. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Worker and Public Health and Safety: Current Views)
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Open AccessArticle Nurses’ Occupational and Medical Risks Factors of Leaving the Profession in Nursing Homes
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15(9), 1850; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph15091850
Received: 8 August 2018 / Revised: 17 August 2018 / Accepted: 23 August 2018 / Published: 27 August 2018
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Abstract
This study aimed to evaluate the association between intention to leave work, and working conditions and health status among female care-staff in nursing homes. A multicenter cross-sectional study included female care-staff in 105 nursing homes for the elderly. We used validated questionnaires to [...] Read more.
This study aimed to evaluate the association between intention to leave work, and working conditions and health status among female care-staff in nursing homes. A multicenter cross-sectional study included female care-staff in 105 nursing homes for the elderly. We used validated questionnaires to assess occupational, psychosocial and medical data in a multicenter transverse study. Univariate analysis on chi² test was performed with stratification according to job (nurse, nursing assistant), and variables found to be significant on each dimension were included on multivariate models. 1428 nursing assistants and 342 registered nurses were included. 391 nursing assistants and 85 registered nurses intended to leave their work with the elderly. The registered nurses’ intention to leave was associated with deteriorated care-team or residents relations, and with perceived elevated hardship due to the proximity of residents’ death. The nursing assistants’ intention to leave was associated with deteriorated management relation, with job insecurity and elevated hardship due to the residents’ intellectual deterioration. Impaired physical or psychological health status also correlated with this intention. Policy to reduce voluntary turnover of care-staff in nursing homes for the elderly could be based on multifactorial management, acting on work organization and reducing psychosocial stress. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Worker and Public Health and Safety: Current Views)
Open AccessArticle Differences in Metabolic Syndrome Prevalence by Employment Type and Sex
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15(9), 1798; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph15091798
Received: 19 July 2018 / Revised: 20 August 2018 / Accepted: 20 August 2018 / Published: 21 August 2018
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Abstract
Workers may sometimes do the same work, but differ in their risk of health-related problems depending on whether the employment type is standard or non-standard. Furthermore, even with similar job and employment types, there may be differences in risk factors for health-related problems [...] Read more.
Workers may sometimes do the same work, but differ in their risk of health-related problems depending on whether the employment type is standard or non-standard. Furthermore, even with similar job and employment types, there may be differences in risk factors for health-related problems depending on sex. This study aimed to determine the prevalence of metabolic syndrome (MetS) by employment type and sex using data from the Fifth Korean National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (KNHANES Ⅴ) (2010–2012) and KNHANES Ⅵ (2013–2015) conducted by the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Overall, 9523 adult wage workers (5523 standard workers and 4000 non-standard workers) aged ≥ 19 years were analyzed. To determine MetS prevalence odds ratios according to employment type, logistic regression analysis was performed disaggregated by sex. The prevalence of MetS significantly increased with age (p < 0.001), being married (p < 0.05), current smoking status (p < 0.05), and high-risk drinking (p < 0.001) among male subjects. The prevalence of MetS significantly increased among female manual workers (p < 0.001), those with lower educational level and household income (p < 0.001). Non-standard workers of either sex showed higher MetS prevalence than standard workers; only females showed significant difference (p < 0.001). Female non-standard workers showed 1.44, 1.33, and 1.34 (all p < 0.001) times higher odds of MetS prevalence in Models 1, 2, and 3, respectively, compared to standard workers, suggesting a difference in risk factors of MetS according to sex. Also, that employment type affects MetS prevalence suggests that employment pattern is an important risk factor especially in females. Therefore, to manage MetS in female non-standard workers, individual health care as well as social effort may be necessary. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Worker and Public Health and Safety: Current Views)
Open AccessArticle Relationships of Lower Lung Fibrosis, Pleural Disease, and Lung Mass with Occupational, Household, Neighborhood, and Slate Roof-Dense Area Residential Asbestos Exposure
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15(8), 1638; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph15081638
Received: 26 June 2018 / Revised: 29 July 2018 / Accepted: 30 July 2018 / Published: 2 August 2018
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Abstract
This study aimed to evaluate the relationship between various asbestos exposure routes and asbestos-related disorders (ARDs). The study population comprised 11,186 residents of a metropolitan city who lived near asbestos factories, shipyards, or in slate roof-dense areas. ARDs were determined from chest X-rays [...] Read more.
This study aimed to evaluate the relationship between various asbestos exposure routes and asbestos-related disorders (ARDs). The study population comprised 11,186 residents of a metropolitan city who lived near asbestos factories, shipyards, or in slate roof-dense areas. ARDs were determined from chest X-rays indicating lower lung fibrosis (LFF), pleural disease (PD), and lung masses (LMs). Of the subjects, 11.2%, 10.4%, 67.2% and 8.3% were exposed to asbestos via occupational, household, neighborhood, and slate roof routes, respectively. The odds ratio (OR) of PD from household exposure (i.e., living with asbestos-producing workers) was 1.9 (95% confidence interval: 0.9–4.2), and those of LLF and PD from neighborhood exposure, or residing near asbestos factories) for <19 or >20 years, or near a mine, were 4.1 (2.8–5.8) and 4.8 (3.4–6.7), 8.3 (5.5–12.3) and 8.0 (5.5–11.6), and 4.8 (2.7–8.5) and 9.0 (5.6–14.4), respectively. The ORs of LLF, PD, and LM among those residing in slate-dense areas were 5.5 (3.3–9.0), 8.8 (5.6–13.8), and 20.5 (10.4–40.4), respectively. Substantial proportions of citizens residing in industrialized cities have potentially been exposed to asbestos, and various exposure routes are associated with the development of ARDs. Given the limitations of this study, including potential confounders such as socioeconomic status, further research is needed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Worker and Public Health and Safety: Current Views)
Open AccessArticle Aberrant Driving Behaviour, Risk Involvement, and Their Related Factors Among Taxi Drivers
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15(8), 1626; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph15081626
Received: 7 June 2018 / Revised: 20 July 2018 / Accepted: 28 July 2018 / Published: 1 August 2018
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Abstract
The current study aims to investigate the aberrant driving behaviour and risk involvement of Iranian taxi drivers. The sample comprised 405 Iranian taxi drivers, who were recruited with a cross-sectional design, using a self-completion questionnaire survey during October and November 2016. We contribute [...] Read more.
The current study aims to investigate the aberrant driving behaviour and risk involvement of Iranian taxi drivers. The sample comprised 405 Iranian taxi drivers, who were recruited with a cross-sectional design, using a self-completion questionnaire survey during October and November 2016. We contribute to the literature by understanding how and to what extent the socioeconomic, demographic, driving, and aberrant driving behaviours influence risk involvement (accident involvement and traffic tickets). The validated 27-item Driver Behaviour Questionnaire (DBQ) was applied to measure aberrant driving behaviour. The results from valid observations (n = 381) explored a four-factor solution (including errors, ordinary violations, lapses, and aggressive violations) of the DBQ. The results also showed that being a single driver, having a high annual driving mileage, and a high number of daily taxi trips were positively associated with accident involvement. Furthermore, there was a positive correlation between the more ordinary violations and aggressive violations and accident involvement. Establishing better training and qualification mechanisms for taxi drivers could be considered by traffic safety experts in order to reduce ordinary and aggressive violations. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Worker and Public Health and Safety: Current Views)
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