Developing heat stress interventions for construction workers has received mounting concerns in recent years. However, limited efforts have been exerted to elaborate the rationale, methodology, and practicality of heat stress intervention in the construction industry. This study aims to review previous heat stress intervention research in construction, to identify the major research gaps in methodological issues, and to offer detailed recommendations for future studies. A total of 35 peer-reviewed journal papers have been identified to develop administrative, environmental or personal engineering interventions to safeguard construction workers. It was found that methodological limitations, such as arbitrary sampling methods and unreliable instruments, could be the major obstacle in undertaking heat stress intervention research. To bridge the identified research gaps, this study then refined a research framework for conducting heat stress intervention studies in the construction industry. The proposed research strategy provides researchers and practitioners with fresh insights into expanding multidisciplinary research areas and solving practical problems in the management of heat stress. The proposed research framework may foster the development of heat stress intervention research in construction, which further aids researchers, practitioners, and policymakers in formulating proper intervention strategies.
Due to the high number of accidents that occur in construction and the consequences this has for workers, organizations, society and countries, occupational safety and health (OSH) has become a very important issue for stakeholders to take care of the human resource. For this reason, and in order to know how OSH research in the construction sector has evolved over time, this article–in which articles published in English were studied–presents an analysis of research conducted from 1930 to 2016. The classification of documents was carried out following the Occupational Safety and Health Cycle which is composed of five steps: regulation, education and training, risk assessment, risk prevention, and accident analysis. With the help of tree diagrams we show that evolution takes place. In addition, risk assessment, risk prevention, and accident analysis were the research topics with the highest number of papers. The main objective of the study was to contribute to knowledge of the subject, showing trends through an exploratory study that may serve as a starting point for further research.
The assessment of harsh working conditions requires a correct evaluation of the metabolic rate. This paper revises the basis described in the ISO 8996 standard for the evaluation of the metabolic rate at a work station from the recording of the heart rate of a worker during a representative period of time. From a review of the literature, formulas different from those given in the standard are proposed to estimate the maximum working capacity, the maximum heart rate, the heart rate and the metabolic rate at rest and the relation (HR vs. M) at the basis of the estimation of the equivalent metabolic rate, as a function of the age, height and weight of the person. A Monte Carlo simulation is used to determine, from the approximations of these parameters and formulas, the imprecision of the estimated equivalent metabolic rate. The results show that the standard deviation of this estimate varies from 10 to 15%.
Burnout is associated with poor mental and physical functioning and high costs for societies. Personality attributes may critically increase the risk of personal burnout. We specifically examined whether narcissism associates with personal burnout in a working population. We studied n=1,461 employees (mean age 41.3 ± 9.4 yr, 52% men) drawn from a random sample of a pharmaceutical company in Germany. All participants completed the personal burnout subscale of the Copenhagen Burnout Inventory and the Narcissistic Personality Inventory to assess maladaptive (entitlement/exploitativeness) and adaptive (leadership/authority) narcissism. In linear regression analysis, when mutually adjusting for the maladaptive and adaptive narcissism scales, higher adaptive narcissism was associated with lower burnout scores (ß=-0.04, p<0.05), whereas higher maladaptive narcissism was associated with higher burnout scores (ß=0.04, p<0.05). Additionally, younger age (ß=-0.07), female gender (ß=0.11), depressive symptoms (ß=0.42), sleep problems (ß=0.30), stress at work (ß=0.23) and at home (ß=0.09) were all independently associated with increased burnout scores (all p-values<0.01). Narcissistic personality attributes may play an important role in personal burnout. While maladaptive narcissism was associated with increased levels of burnout symptoms, adaptive narcissism was associated with fewer burnout symptoms.
This study investigated whether non- or occasional drinkers' changes in drinking habits during a one-year period were related to psychological distress. Overall, 2,495 non- or occasional drinking employees (2,109 men and 386 women) completed a self-administered questionnaire measuring alcohol intake, psychological distress (12-item General Health Questionnaire), and demographic characteristics at baseline and one-year follow-up. They also completed a Web-based version of the Brief Job Stress Questionnaire to assess job stressors at baseline. Participants were categorized into three groups (stable non- or occasional drinkers; new light drinkers; new moderate drinkers) according to weekly alcohol consumption at follow-up (males 0 g/wk, 1–79 g/wk, and ≥80 g/wk; females 0 g/wk, 1–39 g/wk, and ≥40 g/wk, respectively); multiple logistic regression analyses were conducted by sex. Among only male participants, both stable non- or occasional drinkers and new moderate drinkers showed significantly higher odds ratios for psychological distress at follow-up than new light drinkers after adjusting for demographic characteristics, job stressors, and psychological distress at baseline (adjusted odds ratios of 1.72 and 1.99, respectively). These findings suggest that men who started to drink 80 g or more alcohol per week during the one-year follow-up period should have been monitored for psychological distress.
Adequate energy management during the working day is essential for employees to remain healthy and vital. Research has investigated which energy management strategies are frequently used and which are most beneficial, but the results are inconclusive and research is still scarce. We aim to extend the current knowledge by considering individual differences in terms of working compulsively (as key feature of workaholism) with regard to energy management. Data were collected with an online survey in 1,253 employees from 12 different organizations. Employees' levels of compulsiveness were expected to relate to 1) employees' choice of which energy management strategies to use, and 2) the benefits (improved health and alleviated emotional exhaustion) of the chosen strategy. The results partly supported the hypotheses in that compulsiveness was associated with more frequent use of work-related energy management strategies. However, compulsiveness was not related to less frequent use of micro-breaks. Energy management (particularly work-related and physical micro-break strategies) improved health and alleviated emotional exhaustion regardless of compulsiveness levels, whereas private micro-break strategies were only beneficial for employees high in compulsiveness.
Our aim was to investigate the relationship between suppressing emotion and engaging with complaining customers at work and experience of depression and anxiety symptoms. We used nationally representative data from the Korean Working Condition Survey with 15,669 paid customer service workers. Job characteristics of "Engaging with Complaints", "Suppressing Emotion", experience of depression and anxiety symptoms were measured by self-reported questionnaires. Gender specific odds ratios (OR) and 95% confidence intervals (95% CI) were calculated using multivariate logistic regression after controlling for age, income, education level, job satisfaction, and working hours per week. The results showed that people who were ‘Always Engaging with Complaints' (OR: 3.81, 95% CI: 1.83–7.96 for male, OR: 3.98, 95% CI: 2.07–7.66 for female) and ‘Always Suppressing Emotion' (OR: 2.33, 95% CI: 1.33–4.08 for male, OR: 2.83, 95% CI: 1.67–4.77 for female) were more likely to experience depression and anxiety symptoms compared to those ‘Rarely Engaging with Complaints' and ‘Rarely Suppressing Emotion', respectively. Additionally, there was an interactive relationship between those job characteristics. Our nationwide study demonstrates that mental health problems are incrementally related to how much service workers must engage with complaining customers and suppressing emotion at work.
Japanese women now account for 43 percent of the labor force. A number of them are involved in construction, agricultural and forestry jobs. The aim of this study was to establish a non-invasive technique for the evaluation of peripheral circulatory functions in women with Raynaud's phenomenon (RP) and introduce a specific method for the assessment of vascular disturbances in females exposed to hand-transmitted vibration. The subjects of this study were 10 women with primary RP, 7 women with progressive systemic sclerosis (PSS) secondary to RP, and 17 females who were included as the control group. The evaluation of peripheral circulatory functions in all subjects was based on the values of finger blood flow (FBF) and finger skin temperature (FST) measured before, during and following a 5-min recovery period after the hand was immersed in cold water (5°C, 1 min). The measured values of FBF and FST of the primary RP group before and after the immersion test were significantly (p<0.01) lower compared to those of the control group. The technique applied in this study could be used as a non-invasive and tolerable technique to determine the digital circulatory functions in female subjects with RP.
Prosthetists and Orthotists (P&O) are exposed to physical hazards within the workshop environment. Concern regarding these exposures has been expressed by P&Os; however, little research has been undertaken. Exposures to noise and volatile organic compounds in amounts larger than statutorily allowed can have adverse short and long term consequences on people's health. To identify and quantify hazardous noise and chemical exposures in a typical P&O workplace. Noise and volatile organic compound testing was undertaken in 2011 and 2013. Modifications to the workshop occurred between these testing times and the impact of these changes examined. The levels of volatile organic compounds was very low in all areas in 2011 and 2013. Noise levels were high and staff require the use of PPE to prevent exposure beyond levels prescribed in the Australian Standards. Conclusions. Occupational environmental exposures in P&O are of concern to the profession. A pilot study of one facility demonstrated that Occupational Noise exposures are high and may result in hearing loss and other adverse health outcomes. Occupational chemical exposures through volatile organic compound exposures are relatively low. Further, systematic investigation is required to develop evidence-based control strategies.
Overwork-related disorders, such as cerebrovascular/cardiovascular diseases (CCVD) and mental disorders due to overwork, are a major occupational and public health issue worldwide, particularly in East Asian countries. This report discusses the recent trend of overwork-related disorders in Japan from the perspective of workers' compensated occupational diseases, as well as the development of a national policy for preventive measures against overwork-related disorders in Japan. Recently, the number of claimed and compensated cases of occupational mental disorders has increased substantially, particularly among young workers, as compared to those of occupational CCVD. In response to these situations and action from society, the Japanese Government passed the "Act on Promotion of Preventive Measures against Karoshi and Other Overwork-Related Health Disorders" in June 2014 to develop a national initiative towards the prevention of overwork-related disorders. Changes in the trend of overwork-related disorders in Japan under a legal foundation and an initiative by the central government should be closely monitored so that other countries can benefit from the experiences.
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