Nursing is a highly stressful occupation. Because nursing work involves interaction with patients and colleagues, competence in social skills may be a key issue in stress management among nurses. However, there are very few studies among nurses focused on social skills together with social support, both of which are important aspects of job stress. The aim of this study was to examine the interrelationships between social skills and social support with job stressors, problem-solving coping, and psychological distress among Japanese nurses. Data from a self-administered questionnaire of 1,197 female nurses who worked for 5 general hospitals in Japan were analyzed. Covariance structure analysis with structural equation modeling techniques showed that social skills and social support were positively related to each other, while they were negatively associated with psychological distress and job stressors, and positively associated with problem-solving coping. Furthermore, the direct association between social skills and psychological distress was stronger than the association between social support and psychological distress. These findings suggested that improving not only social support at work but also individual social skills is important for nurses’ mental health.
Workplace bullying has been a topic of increasing interest since the 90s. Several studies have contributed to a better understanding of the antecedents and consequences of being exposed to negative acts at work during a prolonged period of time. However, there is a lack of validated instruments in Italian to map workplace bullying. Consequently, the goal of the present study is twofold. First, the authors aim to validate the Italian version of the Negative Acts Questionnaire-Revised (NAQ-R: Einarsen and Hoel, 2001; Einarsen, et al., 2009). Second, the authors aim to establish the prevalence of workplace bullying. Results from 3,112 employees nested within 25 Italian organizations revealed that a reduced version of 17 items with a two-factor structure provided the best fit. Moreover, the prevalence of bullying was 15.2 per cent according to the criteria proposed by Mikkelsen and Einarsen (2001). Furthermore, significant correlations between bullying dimensions and organizational climate were found, which provided additional support for using the NAQ-Italian reduced version. Implications to prevent bullying and improve employees’ well-being using this method are discussed.
This study recruited 30 young Taiwanese males to determine the horizontally maximum isometric pushing and pulling strengths under 16 exertion heights and four handle-foot horizontal distances. This study shows that isometric push and pull strengths as measured on a simulated frictional floor condition in Taiwanese hypermarkets were markedly lower than previous tests using high-traction flooring or anchoring participant’s feet. Pushing strengths were always higher than pulling in all 64 task combinations, whereas no significant differences were present at heights of 30–60 cm. When considering maximum push and pull force demands, the optimal heights for such activities would be 50–90 cm (approximately ranged from the knee to hip position). The push and pull strength profiles identified in this study must be used appropriately, considering the real task situations.
Pesticide manufacturing/formulation workers rather than farmers or applicators or people living with them are primarily exposed to organophosphorus pesticides (OPs). However, airborne concentrations in the workplace have rarely been determined. A total of 121 air samples (personal or area sampling) were collected at 4 factories where chlorpyrifos, EPN, parathion, and phorate, were manufactured/formulated from March through July, 2007–2008. Samples were collected by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) method and were analyzed by GC-MS. The geometric mean (GM) level of airborne chlorpyrifos was 0.17 mg/m3, 85% Korean Occupational Exposure Limit (KOEL) of 0.2 mg/m3, and at 95% confidence, airborne concentrations exceeded the KOEL 58.8% of the time or less, indicating that this concentration level was unacceptable according to exposure assessment using a LogNorm2®. However, compared with levels of TLV and/or PEL and/or WEL, the GM concentration levels of other OPs were remarkably low (range, 0.1–15.0%) and that these levels of concentrations to the other OPs were acceptable. The levels of airborne concentrations of OPs depended on isolation of the process; in other words, the levels depended on the extent to which the process was automated. The reason that the airborne concentration levels, except for those of chlorpyrifos, were very much lower than expected may be attributable to the fact that there was not exposed to 100% toxic active ingredients in pesticide formulation workplaces because of the use of supplemental agents or additives to produce complete pesticides. This study is limited since there were seldom or neither any data of previous studies to be compared with the study results nor dermal exposure data. The results were used to revise KOELs for OPs in 2010.
The purpose of this study was to investigate the validity of infrared tympanic temperature (IR Tty) as a thermal index to evaluate the heat strain of workers in hot environments, in comparison with rectal temperatures at various depths (Tre-4, -8, and -16 for 4, 8 and 16 cm from the anal sphincter). Eight males underwent twelve experimental conditions: two activities (rest and exercise) × three clothing levels [Control, HDPE (high-density polyethylene coverall) and PVC (polyvinyl chloride coverall) condition] × two air temperatures (25 and 32℃ with 50%RH). The results showed that 1) in the conditions with most heat strain (HDPE or PVC condition at 32℃), IR Tty was equal to or even higher than Tre; 2) during exercise, physiological strain index (PSI) using IR Tty did not underestimate PSI-values using Tre-16, and overestimated those PSI-values from Tre-16 in HDPE and PVC conditions at 32℃; 3) during exercise, the relationships between IR Tty and heart and total sweat rate were stronger than those between Tre-16 and heart and total sweat rate. These results indicated that IR Tty is valid as a thermal index to evaluate the heat strain of workers wearing impermeable protective coveralls in hot environments. However, the application of IR Tty is limited only for strenuous works wearing encapsulated personal protective clothing with a hood in heat.
As multi-wall carbon nanotubes (MWCNTs) come to be used in a wider range of products, increasing production is expected to result in greater exposure of workers to MWCNTs. In this research, we present a method for evaluating the concentration of MWCNT aerosols distinctively on the basis of the elemental carbon (EC) concentration. Respirable dust is sampled using a Sioutas cascade impactor (SCI) for a certain volume of workplace air. The SCI can collect size-segregated particles having aerodynamic diameters of 2.5 μm, 1.0 μm, 0.5 μm, 0.25 μm and <0.25 μm. MWCNTs in sampled particles are determined by carbon analysis. Based on the phenomenon that MWCNTs easily aggregate/agglomerate, the present procedure for distinguishing MWCNTs uses the EC in particles larger than 1 μm as an index of MWCNT; the EC is oxidized at a high temperature, 920°C, in carbon analysis. We propose a three-step procedure for distinguishing between MWCNT aerosol and atmospheric particulate matter, and for measuring MWCNT concentrations in workplace air on the basis of EC concentration.
According to the Machinery Directive 2006/42/EC, one of the essential requirements relating to occupational safety and health hazards is to prevent dust pollution emitted by machinery during the implementation processes. Research on evaluation of emissions from machinery, according to the method of test bench using tracer gases, are currently being conducted in CIOP-PIB. This article presents some aspects of dust emission and efficiency of local exhaust ventilation (LEV) during metal grinding. Studies were performed with 10 sources of dust emissions during grinding. To evaluate the pollutants emission in the process of grinding metal products sulfur hexafluoride (SF6) was selected as a tracer gas. The results show that wherever dust is emitted, the LEV should be supported by the general ventilation. Ensure good interaction between all elements of modifying the air flow and the spread of pollutants in the surroundings of the LEV is essential to effective protection of human working zone against pollutants. We used five variants of ventilation: ventilation turned off, the LEV, one-way general ventilation, mixed general ventilation and displacement general ventilation. An increase in the efficiency of dust capture depending on the source of emission by 2.5–14% was observed. This confirms that characteristics of flow resulting from the operation of ventilation is important in the spread of pollutants in the room.
Exhaled breath condensate (EBC) is assumed to reflect processes in the lungs, yet it is unknown whether oxidative stress markers in EBC are affected by systemic disorders (atherosclerosis, hypertension, diabetes) or whether lung diseases increase markers in plasma and urine. 8-isoprostane, 4-hydroxy-trans-2-nonenale (HNE) and malondialdehyde (MDA) were measured using liquid chromatography-electrospray ionization-mass spectrometry (LC-ESI-MS/MS) in EBC, plasma and urine in 82 patients (45 with asbestosis and hyalinosis, and 37 with silicosis) and in 29 control subjects. 8-isoprostane and HNE in EBC, and HNE in urine were higher in both groups of patients. In addition, 8-isoprostane in plasma and urine, and MDA in urine were higher in asbestos-exposed patients and MDA in plasma in silicotics, with this marker in plasma correlated with the grade of silicosis. In all subjects, 8-isoprostane in EBC correlated with urine (r=0.38, p<0.001) and plasma levels (r=0.28, p=0.003), and HNE and MDA with urine levels (r=0.31, p<0.001; r=0.23, p=0.016, respectively). Most markers positively correlated with lung function impairment, EBC markers negatively with vitamin E supplementation. To conclude: The influence of satisfactorily controlled systemic disorders on markers in EBC in patients with pneumoconioses is not significant. In addition to oxidative stress markers in EBC, lung fibroses may increase oxidative stress markers in plasma and urine.
A wok with a straight handle is one of the most common cooking utensils in the Asian kitchen. This common cooking instrument has seldom been examined by ergonomists. This research used a two-factor randomized complete block design to investigate the effects of wok size (with three diameters – 36 cm, 39 cm and 42 cm) and handle angle (25°, 10°, –5°, –20°, and –35°) on the task of flipping. The measurement criteria included the maximum acceptable weight of wok flipping (MAWF), the subjective rating and the subjective ranking. Twelve experienced males volunteered to take part in this study. The results showed that both the wok size and handle angle had a significant effect on the MAWF, the subjective rating and the subjective ranking. Additionally, there is a size-weight illusion associated with flipping tasks. In general, a small wok (36 cm diameter) with an ergonomically bent handle (–20° ± 15°) is the optimal design, for male cooks, for the purposes of flipping.
The European Union (EU) and the World Health Organization (WHO) have applied different approaches to facilitate the implementation of the UN Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS). The EU applied the mandatory approach by gazetting the EU Regulation 1272/2008 incorporating GHS elements on classification, labelling and packaging of substances and mixtures in 2008; whereas the WHO utilized a voluntary approach by incorporating GHS elements in the WHO guidelines entitled ‘WHO Recommended Classification of Pesticides by Hazard’ in 2009. We report on an analysis of both the mandatory and voluntary approaches practised by the EU and the WHO respectively, with close reference to the GHS ‘purple book’. Our findings indicate that the mandatory approach practiced by the EU covers all the GHS elements referred to in the second revised edition of the GHS ‘purple book’. Hence we can conclude that the EU has implemented the GHS particularly for industrial chemicals. On the other hand, the WHO guidelines published in 2009 should be revised to address concerns raised in this paper. In addition, both mandatory and voluntary approaches should be carefully examined because the classification results may be different.
Work-related stress has a strong influence on the health of workers. Occupational health care has an important role in assessing and managing this stress in collaboration with enterprises. The methods to reduce stress can be directed at the individual and at the organization as a whole. There is little information about stress handling methods in occupational health practices. This study aims to investigate these practices in Finnish occupational health physicians’ and nurses’ work. The data were generated through semi structured interviews of ten voluntary occupational physicians and eight occupational nurses in the metropolitan area of Finland in June 2009. The work-related stress was experienced as difficult to handle. There was no specific protocol for handling work-related stress in practice. Stress reduction activities were mostly randomly directed at the individual or the organizational level. Activities remained mainly on the individual level and were rarely allocated to the organization. There is a need for structured guidelines on how to manage work-related stress to assure standardized action on both the individual and organizational level. The roles of the physician, nurse and psychologist should be clarified in teamwork. Their collaborative activities should be directed also to the organisational level.