Objectives: Although musculoskeletal pain is considered to be a major contributor to chronic pain in Japan, there are few epidemiological studies on chronic musculoskeletal pain in workers. Presenteeism, defined as attendance at work in spite of the need to rest due to poor health, related to chronic pain causes a decrease in labor productivity, and its economic loss is said to be four times greater than that of Absenteeism. In this study, we examined the relationship between the actual state of musculoskeletal pain in workers and chronic musculoskeletal pain and labor productivity, with the goal of obtaining useful information to improve labor productivity. Methods: A questionnaire was distributed to 3,406 workers, of whom 2,055 were analyzed to determine the prevalence of chronic musculoskeletal pain and the affected body parts, and the influence of work-related factors and the degree of labor productivity loss due to chronic musculoskeletal pain. Results: 34.0% of subjects had chronic musculoskeletal pain. The most commonly reported pain site was “neck and shoulder”. Chronic musculoskeletal pain was significantly more common in people working overtime and in physical workers. Labor productivity was significantly lower in the group with chronic musculoskeletal pain than in the group without musculoskeletal pain, and it was significantly lower in the “neck and shoulder” and “lower back” groups than in the group without chronic musculoskeletal pain. Conclusions: Thirty-four percent of workers were engaged in work while experiencing chronic musculoskeletal pain. These workers had significantly decreased labor productivity. Efforts to improve conditions for workers with chronic musculoskeletal pain in each work type and working condition may improve labor productivity.
Objectives: The purpose of this study was to develop a guidebook to be used in “promoting the balance between cancer treatment of workers and continuation of their work”. The guidebook was developed to promote collaboration among cancer survivors and employers, human resource personnel, supervisors, colleagues, and health providers, with the aid of occupational health nurses (OHNs). Methods: The guidebook is based on our previous survey and discussions with seven researchers who had experiences in occupational health nursing practices. The guidebook focuses on secondary and tertiary preventions aiming at promoting the smooth return to the workplace and continuing sound working lives of cancer survivors. Also, the guidebook includes primary prevention, such as promoting a good working culture. The tentative guidebook was evaluated for its usability and then further developed into a final version. Results: The guidebook we developed consists of four sections: 1. Introduction; 2. Twelve practical checkpoints for improved support in balancing cancer treatment and work; 3. Preparedness for cancer survivorship; and 4. Appendix, which include hypothetical support cases and practical information. Practical checkpoints are described with action phrases, which included four aspect: support for individual workers with cancer; support for supervisors and colleagues; collaborations with human resources staff; and collaborations with stakeholders inside and outside of the company. Conclusions: The authors believe that the use of this guidebook will contribute to improving the quality of occupational health services and promote balance between cancer treatment and continuation of sound working lives.
Objectives: The aim of this study was to clarify the current status of respiratory protection and associated problems among workers engaged in dust-generating work, including the type of respiratory protective equipment (RPE) used, methods for wearing RPE, and awareness of respiratory protection. Methods: We surveyed 212 male workers involved in dust-generating work from 10 plants on the current status and problems associated with respiratory protection. The survey inquired about work environment, type of RPE used, methods for wearing RPE, and knowledge of respiratory protection. Questions about methods for wearing RPE inquired about the position of the headband and placement of something like fabric between the face-piece cushion and face when wearing RPE. Analyses were performed using simple tabulation of each question item. Results: A total of 53.3% of RPE used by participants were replaceable filter dust masks and 19.3% were disposable dust masks. Of the workers who regularly used replaceable filter RPE, 50.0% wore the headband around the helmet. Meanwhile, 27.4% placed a knit cover between the face-piece cushion and their faces, and 11.0% used a towel instead of a knit cover. A total of 69.5% of workers who placed fabric between the face-piece cushion and their face perceived that “there was no problem with respiratory protection”. Conclusion: We found that workers engaged in dust-generating work used a variety of methods for wearing RPE. Workers should be provided with appropriate education on respiratory protection and instruction on appropriate methods for wearing RPE in the workplace.
Objectives: This cross-sectional study aims to verify the concentrations of toluene and methyl ethyl ketone (MEK) in personal sampling of air and worker’s urine samples to create a safety/health strategy for a rubber shoe manufacturing factory in Bangkok, Thailand. Methods: Target workers were 180 workers in the rubber shoe manufacturing factory. The data were obtained through an interview using a questionnaire sheet, collection of air and urine samples to measure the toluene and MEK levels, and a walking observation survey. Air samples were individually collected by an organic vapor monitor (n=20). Urine samples were also individually measured (n=165). Results: Among 180 participants, 65.6% always used personal respiratory protective equipment (PPE), but all of them used a carbon cloth mask. Median toluene level was 681 ppb and MEK level was 7.23 ppm in air samples. Median toluene level was 3.14 µg/L and MEK level was 82.7 µg/L in urine samples. In 27 cases, toluene level in urine samples exceeded the exposure limit recommended by the ACGIH (30 µg/L). More than 10% of participants answered that they often had forgetfulness and dyspnea. Dyspnea was significantly positively related to MEK level in urine samples. There were seven cases with lower toluene and MEK levels in air samples but higher levels in urine samples. They sat in the leeward position and used no PPE and no rubber gloves while working. Conclusions: These results suggest that education, correct and suitable PPE, and strict work control should be implemented while working in rubber shoe manufacturing.
Objectives: Stress management for human service professionals remains an international issue. Methods: We conducted a primary prevention program using Dohsa-hou designed to provide early-career nurses with an understanding of stress and physical relaxation skills that can be utilized to reduce negative and increase positive mood states. Results: A total of 56 nurses working at a general hospital in Japan participated in the program. As a result, negative mood states were significantly reduced at post-test from the intervention. Also, vigor as a positive mood state showed a marginal increase compared to pre-test. These findings were largely consistent with a previous study implementing Dohsa-hou movement tasks in a stress management program. Conclusions: Although there were some limitations, this study suggested that the stress management program using Dohsa-hou may be a useful approach for preventing burnout by promoting mood state regulation for nurses.
The Japan Society for Occupational Health (JSOH) recommends the Occupational Exposure Limits (OELs) as reference values for preventing adverse health effects on workers caused by occupational exposure to chemical substances, continuous or intermittent noise, impulsive or impact noise, heat stress, cold stress, whole-body vibration, hand-arm vibration and time-varying electric, magnetic and electromagnetic ﬁelds and ultraviolet and ionizing radiation.