Environmental and Occupational Health Practice
Online ISSN : 2434-4931
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Showing 1-11 articles out of 11 articles from the selected issue
Original Articles
  • Yuko Furuya, Kota Fukai, Hiroyuki Furuya, Masayuki Tatemichi
    Type: Original Article
    2021 Volume 3 Issue 1 2021-0005-OA
    Published: 2021
    Released: June 25, 2021
    [Advance publication] Released: June 10, 2021
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    Objectives: We investigated whether playing background music (BGM) in the workplace had any effects on overtime hours. Methods: In 15 workplaces, we used a crossover design and alternated between 2 months with and without BGM for 8 months. Using the attendance management records of the company, we documented overtime hours during the observation and the previous year. BGM was played at the end of working hours (A), from 15:00 to the end of work (B), and from beginning to the end (C) in each of the five arbitrarily selected offices. To evaluate the effect on overtime hours, we used a paired t-test to compare the mean overtime between periods with and without BGM and repeated analysis of variance to compare the changes in the trend of overtime in the same months between the observation year and the previous year by an interaction effect. Results: Patterns A, B, and C consisted of 625, 536, and 573 employees, respectively. The mean overtime hours for 4 months were significantly decreased in one (−4.3%), two (−19.2% and −10.7%), and three (−11.8%, −16.8%, and −4.4%) offices, respectively. Furthermore, the trend of overtime between the observation year and the previous year significantly changed in one (1/5), one (1/5), and three (3/5) offices, in patterns A, B, and C, respectively. Conclusions: There were offices that showed less overtime when playing BGM, particularly the entire day, than when BGM was not played. This pilot study suggests that conducting more extensive research in this area is worthwhile.

  • Naofumi Yamamoto, Hidenori Asai, Yumiko Hagi
    Type: Original Article
    2021 Volume 3 Issue 1 2021-0003-OA
    Published: 2021
    Released: June 25, 2021
    [Advance publication] Released: May 29, 2021
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    Objectives: This study aimed to objectively assess sedentary time (ST) and physical activity (PA) time during work performed by older adults and investigate the relationship between work and ST/PA in daily life of this population. Methods: Participants were recruited from members of a Silver Human Resources Center and their families and friends. Data for 194 participants (131 workers and 63 non-workers) were included in the analysis. ST/PA during work (workers only) and daily life (all participants) were assessed using an accelerometer. ST/PA during work were defined according to the Japan Standard Occupational Classification. Associations between work and ST/PA in daily life were analyzed by covariance analysis adjusted for confounders. Results: ST during work was longest in clerical workers (35±16.0 min/h). Light-intensity PA during work was shortest in clerical workers (23.2±15.6 min/h), whereas this value was similar among the other occupational classes. Moderate-to-vigorous PA during work was relatively longer in construction and mining workers (15.3±11.9 min/h). Workers were found to have shorter sedentary and longer PA time in their daily life than non-workers. Moreover, workers with longer weekly work hours (≥14 h/wk) were found to have significantly shorter sedentary and longer PA time, and this trend was apparent in blue-collar workers. Conclusions: This study demonstrated objectively assessed ST/PA during work in older adults according to occupational classifications. Furthermore, it investigated the associations between work and ST/PA in daily life and showed the potential contribution of work, particularly blue-collar work, in decreasing ST and increasing PA.

  • Yu Odake, Naoto Fukutani, Kanako Shimoura, Tappei Morino, Natsuki Mats ...
    Type: Original Article
    2021 Volume 3 Issue 1 2020-0024-OA
    Published: 2021
    Released: June 25, 2021
    [Advance publication] Released: May 12, 2021
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    Objectives: This study aimed to examine the factors for reducing monetary loss due to presenteeism by using a tailored healthcare web-application among office workers with chronic neck pain. Methods: The study was single-arm pre-post comparison study using secondary data of 130 Japanese office workers with chronic neck pain who used a tailored healthcare web-application (web-app) over 12 weeks. This data was obtained from BackTech Inc. (Kyoto, Japan), which manages the healthcare web-app. The primary outcome measure was the monetary loss due to presenteeism based on the quality and quantity method. Secondary outcome measures were intensity of physical symptoms measured by the Visual Analog Scale, frequency of web-app use obtained from the database, and the risk of depression score assessed by the Depression and Suicide Screen. Results: Eighty-six participants were included in the complete-case analysis. Monetary loss due to presenteeism and the risk of depression reduced, while physical symptoms improved significantly (p<0.01) after using the web-app. After covariate adjustment, decrease in neck pain intensity (β=0.25, confidence interval=2.34 to 32.66) and high frequency of web-app use (β=−0.24, confidence interval=−10.29 to −0.63) were significantly associated with a reduction in monetary loss due to presenteeism. Conclusion: Neck pain intensity and frequency of web-app use may be important factors for reducing monetary loss due to presenteeism among office workers with chronic neck pain who used a tailored health care web-app.

  • Rina Minohara, Yuichi Kobayashi, Hitomi Fujise, Suo Taira, Kota Fukai, ...
    Type: Original Article
    2021 Volume 3 Issue 1 2020-0026-OA
    Published: 2021
    Released: June 25, 2021
    [Advance publication] Released: March 30, 2021
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    Objectives: In Japan, as a result of legislation, the role of occupational physicians and the function of occupational health have been strengthened. Employers are now required to provide information to occupational physicians. This study explored what information occupational physicians considered should be available to them. Methods: We conducted a focus group discussion with eight professional occupational physicians and developed a draft list of the information that occupational physicians should obtain from employers. To assess the validity of the list, we conducted a questionnaire survey of 777 occupational physicians in the training and certification system of the Japan Society of Occupational Health. Results: We obtained valid responses from 155 occupational physicians. In total, over 80% agreed or somewhat agreed that all 24 categories were required, indicating that a consensus had been reached. In two of the eight categories for which fewer than 80% responded “agree”, more senior or specialized physicians were significantly more likely to respond “agree” than others. Conclusion: The results of the survey suggest specific experiences and systematic education influence decisions about whether certain types of information are considered necessary. Finally, based on the opinions in the open-ended section of the questionnaire, we recommend a list with 26 categories of information collecting from an employer. We believe the key to sharing information is to have a common understanding with employers and develop a good relationship so that additional information will be disclosed voluntarily. Occupational physicians need to be mindful of this need to develop relationships with employers.

  • Tomoko Yokogawa, Etsuko Yoshikawa, Hitomi Abe, Seiichiro Tateishi, Koj ...
    Type: Original Article
    2021 Volume 3 Issue 1 2020-0023-OA
    Published: 2021
    Released: March 25, 2021
    [Advance publication] Released: March 05, 2021
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    Introduction: This study aims to clarify whether the competencies required of occupational health professionals for disaster management, identified from experiences in a single disaster, can be agreed upon by occupational health professionals with experience in other disaster responses. Methods: This study employed a quantitative study design using a questionnaire. The participants were occupational health professionals. The questionnaire included 29 competencies identified from the experiences of occupational health activities conducted during the Kumamoto earthquake. Items were rated from 1 (not necessary at all) to 5 (very necessary) by the participants. Exploratory factor analysis of the responses was performed. Result: The participants were 334 (29.9%), of which 97 (29.0%) answered that they had disaster response experience. Factor analysis was performed by setting three factors for 22 items. Factors 1, 2, and 3 were labeled “skills about coordinating within the organization,” “practical ability to respond to changing situations,” and “consistency as occupational health professionals,” respectively. Discussion: In the event of a disaster, occupational health professionals are required to ensure their own safety, grasp the occupational health needs changing over time, and make decisions based on changing situations. The study suggests that a disaster response is a rare experience even for specialists in occupational health. To enable them to appropriately play their roles in occupational health response during disasters, a system of education aimed at maintaining coherence as the occupational health profession and demonstrating coordinating and practical skills in the event of a disaster should be established.

Opinions
  • Akizumi Tsutsumi
    Type: Opinion
    2021 Volume 3 Issue 1 2020-0020-OP
    Published: 2021
    Released: March 25, 2021
    [Advance publication] Released: February 25, 2021
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    In Japan, over 6,000 workers commit suicide every year, and the Japanese government has taken several countermeasures to prevent Karoshi (death due to overwork) and mental health disorders among workers. Risk factors for suicide among workers include long working hours, adverse psychosocial job characteristics, economic recession or financial crisis, job insecurity, and workplace harassment. Depressive symptoms are supposed to play a vital role in mediating mechanisms. Owing to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, economic crises continue and seemingly deepen, and the risk of unemployment increases. Workers with low socioeconomic status and who do not enjoy occupational health services are considered vulnerable, and essential workers (including health care workers) require special attention. Little evidence prevails with respect to workplace suicide prevention measures in a population approach, and hence, suicide prevention should be integrated into the existing workplace mental health activities. Although evidence of secondary prevention, such as screening for depression, is scarce for workplace mental health, such measures, including regular psychological counseling, should be applicable during this crisis. Research is thus crucial for preventing suicide in the workplace using surrogate outcomes, such as suicidality, help-seeking, stigma, access to means, and improving workplace support. Prevention of suicide among temporary workers, freelancers, foreign workers, and self-employed individuals who lack support from regional and occupational healthcare domains remains an untackled issue.

Original Articles
  • Rena Kaneko, Yuzuru Sato, Yasuki Kobayashi
    Type: Original Article
    2021 Volume 3 Issue 1 2020-0021-OA
    Published: 2021
    Released: March 25, 2021
    [Advance publication] Released: February 25, 2021
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    Objectives: Little is known about the specific prognosis of cancer among workers in different industrial sectors. The aim of this study is to demonstrate cancer survival inequality by industry sectors. Methods: Using multicenter inpatient data (1984−2017) and a regional cancer registry in Japan (1995–2018), we merged these two anonymized datasets. Based on standardized national classifications, cases were grouped according to the longest-held employment in primary, secondary, or tertiary industrial sectors. Data regarding smoking, alcohol consumption, and tumor staging at diagnosis were also extracted. We estimated the 5-year survival rates for common cancers using the Kaplan-Meier method to identify inequalities among industrial sectors. Cox proportional hazard model was used to calculate the hazard ratio (HR) of industry sectors. Results: A total of 13,234 cases were merged from two datasets. Among these, 8,794 cases were defined as common cancers (prostate, kidney, bladder, esophagus, stomach, liver, pancreas, colon, breast, and lung). Five-year survival was significantly (p=0.025) shorter for primary industrial sector (43.1%) compared with secondary sector (54.5%) and tertiary sector (56.9%). The adjusted HR for secondary and tertiary sectors versus primary sector was 0.963 (95% confidence interval [CI], 0.649–1.429). Bladder cancer in secondary and tertiary sectors showed a significantly higher survival rate than in the primary sector (p<0.0001), but the HR of secondary and tertiary sectors was 0.049 (95% CI, 0.021–0.153). Conclusions: This study revealed the potential of industrial sector inequalities with regard to the prognosis of cancers in Japan.

Opinions
Original Articles
  • Shota Yamada, Takeshi Ebara, Toru Uehara, Shingo Kimura, Kazuji Aoki, ...
    Type: Original Article
    2021 Volume 3 Issue 1 2019-0021-OA
    Published: 2021
    Released: March 25, 2021
    [Advance publication] Released: January 27, 2021
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    Objectives: Increasing attention has been paid to pelvic incidence (PI) as a potential parameter related to low back pain. However, little knowledge exists regarding potential anthropometric landmarks specialized for the estimation of PI. This study aimed to examine the inter- and intra-examiner reliability of potential anthropometric landmarks applicable to estimate PI. Methods: Twenty healthcare workers were recruited as participants. Three were experienced physiotherapists for more than 5 years in clinical practice. Eight anatomical landmarks were selected: (1) the acromion, (2) the upper edge of the iliac crest, (3) the posterior superior iliac spine (PSIS), (4) the anterior superior iliac spine (ASIS), (5) the upper edge of the greater trochanter, (6) the coccyx, (7) the lateral joint space of the knee, and (8) the lateral malleolus. Photographs of the right-side view of the subjects were used to determine the two-dimensional (x, y) coordinates of the landmarks. Results: Most landmark measurements reached acceptable levels for intra-examiner (ICC1, 0.64 to 0.98) and inter-examiner reliability (ICC3, 0.71 to 0.97). However, as possible anatomical landmarks, the PSIS (ICC1 0.65, ICC3 0.48), acromion (ICC3 0.66), and coccyx (ICC1 0.64) tended to have relatively low ICCs. Conclusions: Our study suggests that potential anthropometric landmarks on the body surface examined on palpation have acceptable intra- and inter-examiner reliability; however, identifying the acromion, PSIS, and coccyx as anatomical landmarks using the measurement method in this study remain difficult to be considered reliable.

  • Natsu Sasaki, Kotaro Imamura, Mayumi Kataoka, Reiko Kuroda, Kanami Tsu ...
    Type: Original Article
    2021 Volume 3 Issue 1 2020-0017-OA
    Published: 2021
    Released: March 25, 2021
    [Advance publication] Released: January 12, 2021
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    Supplementary material

    Objectives: This study aimed to investigate workplace measures implemented in response to COVID-19 during the outbreak in Japan from T1 (March 2020) to T2 (May 2020), focusing on the disparities by company size and industry. Methods: A longitudinal study was conducted using a cohort of full-time employees, starting with the baseline online survey on March 19–22, 2020 (T1). An online follow-up survey was conducted on May 22–26, 2020 (T2). The McNemar test was used to assess differences between T1 and T2 in the proportion of implemented measurements. Analysis of covariance was performed to compare the differences in the number of implemented measures across groups classified by company size or industry, adjusting for sex and age. Results: A total of 1,032 participants (response rate: 72.6%) completed the follow-up questionnaire. The final analytic sample comprised n=987. The workplace measures involving the delivery of information on COVID-19 were 88.4% at T2, which significantly increased from T1 (increased 8.6%, p<0.001). As well as the T1 survey, respondents in the smaller companies reported a significantly smaller number of measures, but the disparity compared to large companies became small. The same trend was observed in the type of industry. Conclusions: This study showed an improvement in the implementation of preventive measures in response to COVID-19 in the workplace in Japan through the first wave outbreak. The disparity between companies of different sizes and from different industries decreased at T2, suggesting that company groups that initially implemented fewer measures caught up.

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