The objectives of this study were to determine whether there is a change in the pelvic inclination after about 30 min of slump sitting by seated workers, and if so, to determine whether these changes can be prevented by the application of anterior pelvic tilt taping (APTT). The subjects who consented to participate in the experiment were randomly allocated to two groups: no-APTT group and APTT group. The no-APTT group performed slump sitting for 30 min, and the both pelvic inclinations were remeasured. In the APTT group, the both pelvic inclinations were measured immediately after the application of the APTT, and then again after 30 min of slump sitting. The both pelvic inclinations in the no-APTT group were significantly decreased (p<0.05) after they returned to the upright standing posture. The both pelvic inclinations in the APTT group were significantly increased immediately after the APTT (p<0.05), and this increase was maintained when returning to the upright standing posture after 30 min of slump sitting (p>0.05). We suggest that APTT can be applied as an auxiliary treatment method for preventing changes in pelvic inclination and musculoskeletal problems of low back area by awkward sitting posture in the seated worker.
Performance of sedentary activities such as reading and writing, in trains is known to be affected by the vibrations. An experimental study was therefore initiated to investigate the interference perceived in sketching task under low frequency random vibration in both mono and dual axes. Thirty healthy male subjects participated in the study. Random vibration stimuli were excited in various axes in frequency range of 1-20 Hz at magnitudes of 0.4, 0.8 and 1.2 m/s2. The task required the subjects to sketch the given geometric figures such as circle, rectangle and triangle under vibration environment in two subject postures (sketch pad on lap and on table). Three performance methods were used to measure the effect of vibration stimuli and posture. They consisted of two specifically designed objective methods for percentage distortion measurement and one subjective method using Borg CR10 scale. The results revealed that the percentage distortion and difficulty in sketching increased with an increase in vibration magnitude and was found to be higher for vibration in Y- and Z-axis. Similar trend was observed for percentage distortion and difficulty in sketching for dual axes also. The perceived difficulty and impairment in sketching performance was greater while sketching on lap for X-axis, while the effect was just the reverse for other axes.
In 2008-2009, types of organic solvents used and air-borne vapor concentrations were surveyed in 1909 laboratories in four large research institutions in accordance with current regulations. The results were classified into 5 groups in terms of research fields (agriculture, biology, medicine, natural science, and technology and engineering) and evaluated after the regulatory rules. Laboratory air analyses by gas chromatography identified 5 and 20 solvents out of 7 Group 1 solvents and 40 Group 2 solvents, respectively; 10 solvents were used in more than 10% of the laboratories in each of the 5 research fields. The use of unmixed single solvent appeared to be unique in research laboratories in contrast to use of solvent mixtures in industrial facilities for production. Laboratories of technology and engineering fields used more various organic solvents more frequently, whereas use of xylenes appeared to be more specific to laboratories of bio-medical fields. Among the commonly used solvents, chloroform was the leading solvent to induce poorer results in regulatory classification (i.e., Class 3 in Administrative Control Classes) typically when applied in high pressure liquid chromatography which was too voluminous to be accommodated in a local exhaustion chamber.
Although autonomic nervous system activity is reportedly related to diurnal glucose tolerance impairment, the relationship with glucose tolerance during sleep is unclear. Since work styles have recently diversified, it is important to assess the effect of sleep on workers’ health. Elucidation of the relationship between autonomic nervous system activity during sleep and glucose tolerance in workers may facilitate preventive measures against diabetes using non-pharmacological means (e.g., sleep hygiene education, relaxation techniques and stress management). We examined whether autonomic nervous system activity during sleep is related to fasting glucose or glycated hemoglobin (HbA1c) in individuals with either normal or impaired fasting glucose tolerance. The subjects were 77 apparently healthy Japanese workers with normal or impaired fasting glucose. We used high frequency (HF) and the ratio of low frequency to high frequency (LF/HF) obtained by pulse wave analysis to estimate autonomic nervous system activity. The data were analyzed using a generalized estimating equation adjusted for potential confounders (age, gender, engagement in shift work, sleep duration, and body mass index). Fasting glucose was significantly negatively related to HF, the parasympathetic component during sleep. Our results suggest that parasympathetic activity during sleep is associated with fasting glucose in apparently healthy Japanese workers.
Prolonged fatigue among elementary and junior high school teachers not only damages their health but also affects the quality of education. The aim of this study was to determine the factors of working conditions associated with prolonged fatigue among teachers at public elementary and junior high schools. We distributed a self-reported, anonymous questionnaire to 3,154 teachers (1,983 in elementary schools, 1,171 in junior high schools) working in public schools in a city in Japan. They were asked to assess 18 aspects of their working conditions using a seven-point Likert scale. Prolonged fatigue was measured using the Japanese version of the checklist individual strength questionnaire. Multiple regression analysis was used to examine the association between working conditions and prolonged fatigue. Gender, age, and school type were introduced as confounders. In all, 2,167 teachers participated in this study. Results showed that qualitative and quantitative workload (time pressure due to heavy workload, interruptions, physically demanding job, extra work at home), communication with colleagues (poor communication, lack of support), and career factors (underestimation of performance by the board of education or supervisors, occupational position not reflecting training, lack of prospects for work, job insecurity) were associated with prolonged fatigue.
The purpose of this study was to investigate manual performance and thermal responses during low work intensity in persons wearing standard protective clothing in the petroleum industry when they were exposed to a range of temperatures (5, –5, –15 and –25℃) that are relevant to environmental conditions for petroleum industry personnel in northern regions. Twelve men participated in the study. Protective clothing was adjusted for the given cold exposure according to current practices. The subjects performed manual tests five times under each environmental condition. The manual performance test battery consisted of four different tests: tactile sensation (Semmes-Weinstein monofilaments), finger dexterity (Purdue Pegboard), hand dexterity (Complete Minnesota dexterity test) and grip strength (grip dynamometer). We found that exposure to –5℃ or colder lowered skin and body temperatures and reduced manual performance during low work intensity. In conclusion the current protective clothing at a given cold exposure is not adequate to maintain manual performance and thermal balance for petroleum workers in the high north.
A questionnaire survey was conducted among 3,233 workers (2,442 males and 791 females) from 17 medium-sized business establishments in northern Japan with respect to GHQ-12 score, suicidal ideation, sociodemographic characteristics, work-associated factors, and attitude toward mental health resources. Sex differences were assessed for each questionnaire item, and logistic regression analyses were performed separately for males and females. Significant correlations between common mental disorder (CMD: GHQ-12 score≥3) and the following factors were found for both sexes: short sleep, irregular working schedule, working in specific businesses, and attitude toward mental health resources. Associations between CMD and excess workload were significant only in male workers. While correlations between suicidal ideation and demand for mental health resources were observed in both sexes, significant correlations were observed between suicidal ideation and use of mental health resources for female workers alone. These results suggest that screening of a high-risk population and provision of mental health resources contribute to suicide prevention as a part of mental health promotion measures in medium-sized business establishments. They also suggest the need for identification of business/job type-specific stressors while considering sex differences in lifestyle factors, working environment, and help-seeking behavior.
Subjective musculoskeletal symptoms are more frequently complained about in cold store work and in related conditions than those experienced in normal temperature work. This cross sectional study was undertaken to evaluate the effects of indoor cooling and cold storage goods on the prevalence of subjective symptoms in summer. Female workers sorting cold storage goods (exposed group) were the main subjects of this study (n=47). We also included a group of female workers engaged sorting dry goods as the unexposed to cold group (n=86). Work load for the two groups were estimated according to the recommended criteria. A self-administered questionnaire covering age, occupational career, smoking, alcohol drinking and physical exercise, present or past history of diseases, individual protective measures against cold or heat, and subjective symptoms (60 items) was used. The air temperature of the site at the start of working time for the workers sorting cold storage goods was 22.2℃ which was significantly lower than those measured for the other two work places (25.4℃ and 25.4℃) of the unexposed to cold group. Environmental temperatures at the foot level at the sorting workshop of cold storage goods and dry goods were ca.16℃ and 26℃ all day, respectively. The surface temperatures of cold storage goods were between –2.8℃ and 9.4℃. The surface temperature of dry goods was 26.5℃. Among the working characteristic items, only daily working hours in the exposed group (5.6 ± 0.6 h) were significantly longer than those in the unexposed to cold group (4.6 ± 0.9 h) (p<0.01). The prevalence rates of finger cold sensation, stiffness in the fingers, pain in the wrist, pain in the elbow, back dullness, back pain, low-back cold sensation, foot cold sensation and pain in the foot in the exposed group were significantly higher than those in the unexposed to cold group (p<0.05 or p<0.01). Pain in the fingers, numbness in the fingers, pain in the foot and foot numbness due to the cold in the exposed group were significantly higher than those in the unexposed to cold group (p<0.05 or p<0.01). These results suggest that indoor cooling and/or job activities related to cold storage goods could, to some extent, affect peripheral circulatory disturbances; and it could be regarded as a factor related to musculoskeletal symptoms among the exposed workers.
Seasonal variation in circulating 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25OHD) levels related to seasonal and inter-day fluctuation in sunlight ultraviolet irradiation, may lead to misjudgments concerning 25OHD status in individual workers around threshold levels. Here, to examine seasonal and inter-day variations in plasma 25OHD, we conducted a longitudinal study involving indoor daytime workers. Subjects were four male indoor daytime workers aged 32-57 yr working in Kawasaki City, Japan. Blood samples were obtained on six days within two two-week periods in February and October, 2008. Plasma 25OHD, serum intact parathyroid hormone (PTH) and 1α,25-dihydroxyvitamin D [1α,25(OH)2D] were measured. Individual monthly mean 25OHD levels were 16-56% higher in October than in February (p=0.03), while individual monthly mean intact PTH levels were 15-41% lower in October (p=0.09). No seasonal change was observed in 1α,25(OH)2D (p=0.62). Notably, nearly all measured 25OHD levels in February were lower than the reference value of 20 ng/ml. Our study identified the occurrence of seasonal variation in circulating 25OHD and intact PTH levels, even after accounting for inter-day variability, and hypovitaminosis D in wintertime in indoor daytime male workers in Japan. Due to this variability, single spot measurements of 25OHD may lead to misjudgment of workers’ vitamin D status.
The repair and maintenance of electrical power lines involves awkward postures, which are known risk factors for developing musculoskeletal disorders. The aim of the present study was to quantify postures and movements of upper arm, head, upper back and neck in the main tasks performed by line workers. Posture of twelve right-handed line workers was recorded by inclinometry and presented as percentiles of angular and angular velocity distributions. All tasks involved considerable upper-arm elevation, ranging from 73° to 115° for the 90th percentile. Upper-arm elevation showed significant differences between tasks, but no consistent differences between right and left sides. Regarding velocity, the right arm presented higher levels than the left arm. All tasks required significant extension of head, upper back and neck, ranging from 7° to 67° for head (10th percentile). All tasks, except the one performed with a continuous extension, also involved pronounced flexion, ranging from 33° to 60° for the head (90th percentile). Work which required highly elevated arms also required significant head extension (r2=0.56). Awkward postures of upper arms, head, upper back and neck were identified by inclinometry, demonstrating the need for preventative interventions to reduce musculoskeletal disorders among line workers.
Study characterized and analyzed form factor, elementary composition and particle size of wood dust, in order to understand its harmful health effects on carpenters in Quindío (Colombia). Once particle characteristics (size distributions, aerodynamic equivalent diameter (Dα), elemental composition and shape factors) were analyzed, particles were then characterized via scanning electron microscopy (SEM) in conjunction with energy dispersive X-ray analysis (EDXRA). SEM analysis of particulate matter showed: 1) cone-shaped particle ranged from 2.09 to 48.79 µm Dα; 2) rectangular prism-shaped particle from 2.47 to 72.9 µm Dα; 3) cylindrically-shaped particle from 2.5 to 48.79 µm Dα; and 4) spherically-shaped particle from 2.61 to 51.93 µm Dα. EDXRA reveals presence of chemical elements from paints and varnishes such as Ca, K, Na and Cr. SEM/EDXRA contributes in a significant manner to the morphological characterization of wood dust. It is obvious that the type of particles sampled is a complex function of shapes and sizes of particles. Thus, it is important to investigate the influence of particles characteristics, morphology, shapes and Dα that may affect the health of carpenters in Quindío.
Few studies have considered the work environment in relation to workplace conflicts and those who have been published have included relatively few psychosocial work environment factors. Little research has been published on the consequences of workplace conflicts in terms of employee health. In this study, the statistical relationships between work and workplace characteristics on one hand and conflicts on the other hand are examined. In addition, the relationship between conflicts at work and self-rated health are described. The study population was derived from the Swedish Longitudinal Occupational Survey of Health (SLOSH) 2006; n=5,141. Among employees at workplaces with more than 20 employees (n=3,341), 1,126 (33.7%) responded that they had been involved in some type of conflict during the two years preceding the survey. Among the work and workplace characteristics studied, the following factors were independently associated with increased likelihood of ongoing conflicts: Conflicting demands, emotional demands, risk of transfer or dismissal, poor promotion prospects, high level of employee influence and good freedom of expression. Factors that decreased the likelihood of ongoing conflicts were: Good resources, good relations with management, good confidence in management, good procedural justice (fairness of decisions) and good social support. After adjustment for socioeconomic conditions the odds ratio for low self-rated health associated with ongoing conflict at work was 2.09 (1.60-2.74). The results provide a good starting point for intervention and prevention work.
It is considered that annual chest x-ray (CXR) examination can be restricted to workers by age; however, adequate epidemiological evidence is needed regarding the difference in the effectiveness of CXR examination between younger and older age groups. This study attempted to estimate the prevalence of latent abnormalities (P) in the lung and the false negative rate (F) and false positive rate (G) of examinations among workers of different age groups. 112,482 subjects who were screened for three consecutive years with no findings at the first screening, were selected. The proportion of positive findings at the second screening and the proportion of negative findings at the third screening were incorporated into a stochastic model, and 5-yr-age-specific P, F, and G were estimated. P tended to increase with increasing age. F was 40-45% in <45-yr-old subjects and was only 10% in the older age groups. G showed a steady increase with increasing age. This study indicates that the nature of findings differs between younger and older age groups, and this difference affects the accuracy of examination. In Japan, the age of workers should be considered when a CXR examination is performed.
The average costs of Musculoskeletal Disorder (MSD) and odds ratios for filing medical claims related to MSD were examined. The medical claims were identified by ICD 9 codes for four US Census regions within retail trade. Large private firms’ medical claims data from Thomson Reuters Inc. MarketScan databases for the years 2003 through 2006 were used. Average costs were highest for claims related to lumbar region (ICD 9 Code: 724.02) and number of claims were largest for low back syndrome (ICD 9 Code: 724.2). Whereas the odds of filing an MSD claim did not vary greatly over time, average costs declined over time. The odds of filing claims rose with age and were higher for females and southerners than men and non-southerners. Total estimated national medical costs for MSDs within retail trade were $389 million (2007 USD).
In four-wheel tractors, proper design of controls is important for comfortable and safe operation of the tractor. The design involves location and dimensions of controls as well as strength limits for operating these controls. The present study was aimed to quantify human strength for operation of tractor controls and to recommend the maximum control actuating forces for normal operation of tractors based on strength capability of 3,423 Indian male agricultural workers. The 5th percentile values of strength parameters i.e. leg strength sitting (left and right), foot strength sitting (right), torque strength (both hands) sitting, push strength (left hand and right hand) sitting and pull strength (left hand and right hand) sitting of agricultural workers collected using a strength measurement set-up were taken into consideration for the study. It was recommended that the maximum actuating forces for normal operation of frequently operated brake and clutch pedals of tractors should not exceed 260 N and 125 N based on 5th percentile values of right and left leg strength of male agricultural workers, respectively. The maximum actuating force required in steering wheel operation should not exceed 51 N based on 5th percentile value of torque strength (both hands) sitting of workers. The maximum actuating forces required for operating frequently operated levers viz. gear selection, speed selection, hydraulic control and hand throttle of Indian tractors should not exceed 46 N, 46 N, 25 N and 25 N, respectively. It may be concluded that the maximum actuating force limits as given in Bureau of Indian Standards IS 10703 are very high as compared to the findings of the study based on strength data of Indian male operators, which highlight the need to revise the standard.
This study was initiated to elucidate possible changes in types of organic solvents (to be called solvents in short) used in enterprises in Japan through comparison of current solvent types with historical data since 1983. To investigate current situation in solvent use in enterprises, surveys were conducted during one year of 2009 to 2010. In total, workroom air samples in 1,497 unit workplaces with solvent use were analyzed in accordance with regulatory requirements. Typical use pattern of solvents was as mixtures, accounting for >70% of cases. Adhesives spreading (followed by adhesion) was relatively common in small-scale enterprises, whereas printing and painting work was more common in middle-scale ones, and solvent use for testing and research purpose was basically in large-scaled enterprises. Through-out printing, painting, surface coating and adhesive application, toluene was most common (being detected in 49 to 82% of workplaces depending on work types), whereas isopropyl alcohol was most common (49%) in degreasing, cleaning and wiping workplaces. Other commonly used solvents were methyl alcohol, ethyl acetate and acetone (33 to 37%). Comparison with historical data in Japan and literature-retrieved data outside of Japan all agreed with the observation that toluene is the most commonly used solvent. Application of trichloroethylene and 1,1,1-trichloroethane, once common in 1980s, has ceased to exist in recent years.
(2011) Volume 49, Number 3, Pages: 365-373.
The received date of the above paper was incorrect (Page 365). Its date should be “January 15, 2010”. This correction has been completed on the electronic file of the present paper available at J-STAGE (http://www.jstage.jst.go.jp/article/indhealth/49/3/365/_pdf/-char/ja/) and our website