This paper discusses the relationship between health and productivity at the workplace by providing a global perspective of the current status of the fields of workplace health promotion and health management. The prevailing chronic disease trends coupled with economic pressures have proven a significant challenge for employers and employees alike. While a global growth trend in workplace health promotion can be observed the number of companies which take a proactive and integrated approach to workplace health remains small. Workplace health promotion programs in the United States typically focus on the individual health risks of employees while their European counterparts target work-related hazards, physical and, more recently, psychosocial. A number of specific tools and programs for integrated health management are described, such as self-report instruments to meausre presenteeism. The analysis suggests that exisiting occupational health services strategies are insufficient to address the current challenges. Improved employee health can only be achieved in a sustainable manner when integrating all health-related services within an enterprise and addressing psychosocial and organizational factors as well as individual health issues.
In Taiwan, workplace health promotion programs have been designed on an organizational basis, and the specific health needs for workers within different occupational categories have not usually been taken into account. This study describes the various levels of overall health-promoting lifestyles and health-promoting behaviors of workers within different occupational categories, and examines the effects of occupational category, perceived busyness, and BMI level on overall health-promoting lifestyles and health-promoting behaviors. A cross-sectional survey with convenient sampling, comprising a self-reporting questionnaire (which included the Chinese version of the Health-Promoting Lifestyle Profile), was used to measure the overall HPLP and six health-promoting behaviors (nutrition, health responsibility, self-actualization, interpersonal support, exercise, and stress management). A total of 796 participants were recruited. Multiple regression analysis showed that the various occupational categories sustained significant differences in overall HPLP, nutrition, self-actualization, interpersonal support, and stress management (after controlling for some specific factors). Perceived busyness showed positive effects on the overall HPLP, self-actualization, interpersonal support, and stress management. The obese group had less participation in overall health-promoting lifestyles and stress management when compared with the moderate BMI group. Workplace health promotion practitioners should therefore develop specific strategies to target the laborers and workers who demonstrate obesity.
The purpose of this study was to conduct process evaluation of a web-based stress management program, which was designed to improve psychological well-being as a positive psychological function of humans. A total of 168 employees participated in the intervention. The pre-test was conducted at the time of registration and the post-test upon the completion of the program. Participants are requested to evaluate program sessions by answering four questions (informative, enjoyment, intention to act, self-efficacy belief). Participant evaluations of the sessions were also used as the mediating variable that influences program outcomes. For analysis, we built a model based on the program impact theory and conducted path analysis. Result revealed the majority of participants evaluated the program affirmatively in all sessions and the participant evaluations about the sessions directly predicted changes in psychological well-being (β=0.29, p<0.01), and changes in the psychological well-being predicted changes in the scores of CES-D (Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Rating Scale), which represent the level of depression (β=0.50, p<0.001). In conclusion, the program can be effective if the participants feel enjoyment, and increase their intention and self-efficacy belief to cope with stress.
The purposes of this research were to determine the cost of occupational health and safety and work-related health problems, accidents, injuries and illnesses in rubber tappers by implementing a program in which rubber tappers were provided training on self-care in order to reduce and prevent work-related accidents, injuries and illnesses. Data on costs for healthcare, the prevention and the treatment of work-related accidents, injuries and illnesses were collected by interview using a questionnaire. The findings revealed that there was no relationship between what was spent on healthcare and the prevention of work-related accidents, injuries and illnesses and that spent on the treatment of work-related accidents, injuries and illnesses. The proportion of the injured subjects after the program implementation was significantly less than that before the program implementation (p<0.001). The level of pain after the program implementation was significantly less than that before the program implementation (p<0.05). The treatment costs incurred after the program implementation were significantly less than those incurred before the program implementation (p<0.001). It was demonstrated that this program raised the health awareness of rubber tappers. It strongly empowered the leadership in health promotion for the community.
This study assessed the prevalence of low back pain (LBP) and investigated risk factors for LBP among seafood processing factory workers in Thailand including migrant workers. The subjects were Thai and Myanmar workers in the typical seafood processing factory. A cross-sectional study was carried out with a self-administered questionnaire. Prevalence of LBP, general characteristics, life style, and working condition were investigated. The associations between LBP and risk factors were estimated by multiple logistic regression models. Of 254 workers, 165 completed the questionnaire. Half of these workers were Thai, the others were from Myanmar. The point prevalence of LBP was 28.5%. Risk factors for LBP were age over 40 yr, poor health status, history of back injury, twisting posture at work, and slipping on wet floors. The results suggest that health promotion should focus on working conditions rather than individual life style in order to prevent LBP. Furthermore, greater attention to other risk factors such as history of back injury and perception of health status after regular health check up, especially in older age groups may be needed.
There are many problems involved in maintaining safety for different kinds of handicapped workers. One of the biggest problems is how these persons can commute to their workplace safely. One possible solution to this problem is using a teleworking system. This system is also good for saving money and the environment because it does not require commuting. The teleworking system has many other merits including enhanced safety and can be applied to many other aspects of life. For example, it can be used for the care of solitary elderly persons, watching small children in a two-income family, and working or providing medical treatment in remote and underpopulated areas. However, these applications are not yet common, and few reports have dealt with such merits. The case studies of disabled workers using teleworking reported here demonstrate the safety, financial and environmental benefits of teleworking.
There is an increasing concern about the health hazard posed to workers exposed to inhalation of nanoparticles. Inhaling nanoparticles posses an occupational hazard due to elevated amount emitted to the atmosphere and working environment. Nanoparticles have potential toxic properties: the high particle surface area, number concentration, and surface reactivity. Inhalation, the most common route of nanoparticle exposure, has been shown to cause adverse effects on pulmonary functions and the deposited particles in the lung can be translocated to the blood system by passing through the pulmonary protection barriers. Filtration is the simplest and most common method of aerosol control. It is widely used in mechanical ventilation and respiratory protection. However, concerns have been raised regarding the effectiveness of the filters for capturing nanoparticles. This paper reviews the literature on the filtration performance of mechanical filters and respirators against nanoparticles. It includes the discussion about filtration mechanisms, theoretical models, affecting factors of the filtration efficiency, and testing protocols for respirator and filter certification.
This study aimed to examine the factors associated with intentions to leave among newly graduated nurses (NGNs), using a longitudinal design. We distributed self-administered questionnaires (to be returned anonymously) to all the NGNs (n=567) in nine advanced treatment hospitals in Japan on two separate occasions (Time 1 and Time 2, which were approximately 6 months apart). The questionnaire items addressed individual attributes, employment and organizational characteristics, and subjective health, and also included the 22-item Job Content Questionnaire, a scale of intentions to leave, and a novel 21-item job readiness scale. The data from 301 NGNs who had participated in both questionnaire instances was used, and a hierarchical multiple regression analysis was conducted to investigate the factors associated with intentions to leave. The results showed that while psychological distress was a more important predictor of intentions to leave than was cumulative fatigue at Time 1, cumulative fatigue was a more important predictor at Time 2. Among the job stressors, a lack of coworker support consistently led to increased intentions to leave, while a lack of supervisor support had a greater impact on intentions to leave at Time 1. “Being personally suited for nursing work”, which was one of the job-readiness subscales, was found to independently and consistently influence intentions to leave. Our study findings revealed the predictors of intentions to leave among NGNs early in their careers in Japan.
There is an increasing concern about the possible adverse effects of diesel exhaust particulates on human health. In a diesel exposed occupational group composed of 120 toll collectors, a cross-sectional study was performed to evaluate the chest radiographs and 40 toll collectors were selected for computed tomography examination according to hyperinflation and linear markings. The wall thicknesses and luminal diameters of trachea, main bronchi, and segmental bronchi of right apical and posterior basal segments were measured with manual tracing method. The walls of right upper bronchus in exsmoker toll collectors were significantly thicker than those of nonsmokers (p=0.011). A positive correlation was observed between age and the right upper bronchus wall thickness (r=0.577, p=0.000). An inverse correlation was found between the working duration and the diameter of right main bronchus (r=-0.366, p=0.020). A positive correlation was seen between smoking and the right upper bronchus wall thickness (r=0.457, p=0.005). Diesel exposure might have a role in increase of thickness of large airways wall and a decrease in the diameters of large airways. Studies in this area are needed to protect the population under the diesel exposure risk.
We investigated whether occupational class affects the incidence of cardiovascular events in Japanese factory workers. We prospectively evaluated 1,794 male workers aged 40-59, including 632 non-manual and 1,162 manual workers, employed in a metal products factory in Japan. The hazard ratios of stroke, myocardial infarction (MI) and cardiovascular events (combined stroke, MI and sudden cardiac death) for manual workers were compared with non-manual workers as estimated by the Cox proportional hazards regression model. Among the 1,794 workers, there were 60 cardiovascular events (32 cases of stroke, 23 cases of MI and 5 cases of sudden cardiac death) with an incidence rate of 3.14 per 1,000 person-years for cardiovascular events; 1.68 for stroke and 1.20 for MI. Blood pressure and HbA1c significantly increased the risk of stroke. Body mass index and total cholesterol significantly increased the risk of MI. However, occupational class was determined not to be a risk factor for cardiovascular events. The hazard ratios of stroke, MI and cardiovascular events for manual workers compared with non-manual workers were 0.97 (95%CI, 0.45-2.08), 0.73 (95%CI, 0.30-1.79) and 0.92 (95%CI, 0.53-1.61), respectively. Our study did not reveal significant occupational class inequalities in the rate of cardiovascular events. These findings are not in accordance with studies from other industrialized countries.
The aim of this study was to evaluate the relationships between job stress and indicators of autonomic nervous system activity in employees of the manufacturing industry. A total of 140 employees from a company that manufactures consumer goods (i.e., diapers and paper towels) were recruited for participation in this study. Job stress was assessed using Karasek's Job Content Questionnaire. Heart rate variability (HRV) was measured using a heart rate monitor, and urinary catecholamines were measured by an HPLC-ECD. Information on demographic characteristics, previous job history, smoking status and alcohol consumption was also collected. Job stress did not have a significant effect on HRV or catecholamines. However, low-frequency HRV was significantly higher in the high-strain group of subjects with a short duration of employment. Low- and high-frequency HRV were higher in the high-strain group than in the low-strain group, but these differences were not statistically significant. The results of the present study indicate that low-frequency HRV was significantly higher in the high-strain group of subjects with a short duration of employment. In addition, the results of this study show that HRV can be used as a potential physiologic indicator of job stress in employees with a short duration of employment.
A study was undertaken to identify the work stressors among male and female weavers (N=516) in powerloom and handloom and examine the association of work stressors with the prevalence of work related musculo-skeletal disorders (MSDs). Physical and psychosocial stresses of work, job diagnostics, hazards of workplace, working environment and MSDs prevalence were assessed. There is high prevalence of MSDs among weavers. Female weavers in powerloom and handloom were more prone to developing MSDs in upper back (OR 1.8; p<0.05 and OR 2.1; p<0.01) and lower back (OR 1.9; p<0.05 and OR 1.8; p<0.05). Male weavers were more prone to developing pain in the knee (OR 2.9; p<0.001), and hand (OR 2.2; p<0.05). Multivariate analysis indicated that job duration >10 yr (OR 3.7, p<0.05), manual material handling (OR 3, p<0.05), and poor machinery safety (OR 11, p<0.05), contributed to occurrence of MSDs amongst powerloom weavers. Among the handloom weavers, age >25 yr (OR 3.2, p<0.05), poor machinery design (OR 2.2, p<0.01), mental overload (OR 5.7, p<0.001), skill requirement to perform jobs (OR 20.7, p<0.05) had significant influence in the occurrence of pain. Gender differences exist in the prevalence of MSDs and the perception of work and psycho-social stresses among the weavers.
This study investigated how perceived job stress and health status differ, as well as the relationships to inbound (incoming calls) versus outbound (outgoing calls) calling activities, for call center workers in a bank in Taiwan. The sample bank employed 289 call center workers at the time of the survey, ranging in age from 19 to 54 yr old. Data were obtained on individual factors, health complaints, perceived level job stress, and major job stressors. Overall, 33.5% of outbound operators and 27.1% of inbound operators reported frequently or always experiencing high stress at work, however, the differences between inbound and outbound operators were insignificant. “Having to deal with difficult customers” was the most frequent job stressor for all workers. Musculoskeletal discomfort, eye strain, and hoarse or sore throat were the most prevalent complaints among call center workers. The relationship between perceived job stress and health complaints indicated that workers who perceived higher job stress had significantly increased risk of multiple health problems, including eye strain, tinnitus, hoarse or sore throat, chronic cough with phlegm, chest tightness, irritable stomach or peptic ulcers, and musculoskeletal discomfort (with odds ratios ranging from 2.13 to 8.24). These analytical results suggest that perceived job stress in the call center profoundly affected worker health. This study identified main types of job stressors requiring further investigation.
Shift work, including night work, has been regarded as a risk factor for medical safety. However, few studies have investigated the difference in medical error risk between two- and three-shift systems. A total of 1,506 registered nurses working shifts at teaching hospitals participated in this study to evaluate the difference in medical error risk between two- and three-shift systems. After adjustment for potential confounding factors using a log Poisson generalized estimating equation model, the results showed significantly higher frequencies of perceived adverse events over 6 months in the three-shift than in the two-shift system, with estimated mean numbers of adverse events of 1.05 and 0.74, respectively. Shorter intervals after night shifts and greater frequency of night shifts in three-shift systems, which reduce the recovery time from night shift work, may be linked to increased medical errors by nurses.
The aim of this study is to analyze the information on workers and exposures to biological agents in Italy, collected by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Prevention in the period 1994-2008 on the basis of a regulation. Employers are asked to identify the biological agents and to report data on employees exposed to biological hazards. Biological agents included in the system belong to risk group 3 and 4 of the European Union classification, and are grouped by family and transmission type. Data analyzed in this study regard 90 firms (28% in “Laboratory analysis clinics” economic activity) and 2,194 workers exposed to biological agents in the period 1994-2008. The most frequent biological agent reported is Salmonella typhi, while the one which counted more exposures is Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Nonetheless the incompleteness of Italian legislative framework about “exposure registers” to biological agents in the workplace, the identification of large groups of workers “at risk” can contribute to undertake epidemiological studies aimed at the prevention of occupational infection diseases.
The development of IT involves major changes in many work settings. Theories of organizational change predict negative consequences of change-related work load on back pain to be less when employees participate in the planning and implementation of change. In a longitudinal field study the effects of participation in the introduction of a new internet service were tested. 29 employees (16 f, 13 m) of a municipal office were studied before, at the end of, and 6 months after implementation of an electronic service. Their participation in the planning and implementation of the project, psychosocial working conditions and back pain were assessed using standardized validated questions. 15 employees said that they had no influence on the project or were only informed of it, while 14 employees said that they could make suggestions, or even take part in decision-making. The two groups did not differ in experience of back pain six months before the project was started, but the group with low participation possibilities had significantly more back pain after the implementation of the project (p=0.021). There was no change in back pain in those employees who had sufficient possibilities of participation. Prevention of work related back pain during phases of technological change should involve employees in planning and implementation.