India, a growing economy and world’s largest democracy, has population exceeding 1.2 billion. Out of this huge number, 63.6% form working age group. More than 90% work in the informal economy, mainly agriculture and services. Less than 10% work in the organized sector; mainly industry, mining and some services. New service industries like Information Technology (IT), Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) are increasing rapidly; so is the proportion of females in the workforce. The occupational safety and health (OSH) scenario in India is complex. Unprecedented growth and progress go hand in hand with challenges such as huge workforce in unorganized sector, availability of cheap labor, meager public spending on health, inadequate implementation of existing legislation, lack of reliable OSH data, shortage of OSH professionals, multiplicity of statutory controls, apathy of stakeholders and infrastructure problems. The national policy on OSH at workplace, adopted by the government in 2009, is yet to be implemented. Some of the major occupational risks are accidents, pneumoconiosis, musculoskeletal injuries, chronic obstructive lung diseases; pesticide poisoning and noise induced hearing loss. The three most important OSH needs are: 1. legislation to extend OSH coverage to all sectors of working life including the unorganized sector; 2. spreading the awareness about OSH among stakeholders; 3. development of OSH infrastructure and OSH professionals. Other issues include integration of occupational health with primary health care.
The focus of OHS in Australia is on workplace-based prevention rather than individual health care. Over the past decade, workers’ compensation data have shown continuous improvement in work-related deaths, serious injuries and diseases. Injuries from work-related vehicle incidents are the leading cause of fatalities. There is a high incidence of on-road incidents in light vehicles; this problem is under-recognised, and better incidence data are required to support more effective interventions. Rates of many long-latency diseases such as cancers are underestimated, and again more reliable information is needed, particularly on work-related exposures to carcinogens. Disease-related deaths are largely confined to older workers. Musculoskeletal injuries and disorders are the most frequent and costly OHS problem, constituting a large majority of non-fatal injuries and diseases. There is growing recognition that their risk management should be more evidence based, integrating assessment and control of psychosocial and ‘manual handling’ hazards. A high rate of population ageing is increasing risk of chronic diseases, including musculoskeletal disorders, which is helping to raise awareness of the importance of protecting and promoting workforce health. Strategies to achieve this have been developed but implementation is at an early stage.
Improved work organisation could be of importance for decreased bullying in workplaces. Participants in the Swedish Longitudinal Occupational Survey of Health (SLOSH) responded to questions about work and workplace and whether they had been bullied during the past year in 2006. Those in worksites with at least five employees who did not report that they had been bullied in 2006 and without workplace change between 2006 and 2008 constituted the final sample (n=1,021 men and 1,182 women). Work characteristics and workplace factors in 2006 were used in multiple logistic regression as predictors of bullying in 2008. Separate analyses were performed for work characteristics and workplace factors respectively. Adjustments for demographic factors were made in all analyses. The question used for bullying was: “Are you exposed to personal persecution by means of vicious words or actions from your superiors or your workmates?” Such persecution any time during the past year was defined as bullying. For both genders organisational change and conflicting demands were identified as risk factors, and good decision authority as a protective factor. Dictatorial leadership, lack of procedural justice and attitude of expendability were male and lack of humanity a female risk factor for bullying.
“Flow” is a positive emotional state which typically occurs when a person perceives a balance between the challenges associated with a situation and his or her capabilities to accomplish these demands. While flow often occurs along with positive feelings and high introspective performance, only a few studies have investigated how it is associated with cognitive performance (i.e., objective performance). In the present study, we investigated the relationship between flow, emotions, and cognitive performance. A short nap (20 min) and bright light (>2,000 lux) techniques were used as experimental manipulations to enhance flow. Fifteen participants (31.3 ± 7.19 yr old) took part in four experimental conditions: rest, short nap, bright light, and nap and bright light. Pearson’s correlation coefficients were calculated for flow and other indices using standardized data. Results showed that flow scores significantly increased after a short nap and under bright light exposure. The correlations between flow and reaction time were also significant. Flow was significantly associated with positive emotion and sleepiness. These results suggest that a short nap and bright light can be employed as a flow facilitator and that flow status can be used as an indicator in evaluating work efficiency and occupational mental health.
Mesothelioma is a malignancy with poor prognosis. It is chiefly caused by asbestos exposure and its symptoms can occur about 30–50 yr after the initial exposure. This study aims to predict the future trends in mesothelioma mortality in Japan using a method that is an alternative to the age-cohort model. Our approach is based on a risk function that links mesothelioma mortality combined with data pertaining to the population, size of the labor force, and quantity of asbestos imports. We projected the number of deaths occurring in individuals aged 50–89 for yr 2003–2050 using risk functions. Our results have indicated that mesothelioma mortality among Japanese people aged 50–89 yr will continue to increase until 2027 and reach a maximum of 66,327 deaths in the years 2003–2050. Our estimate has also suggested that the number of mesothelioma deaths could be significantly reduced if there were adequate compliance with the administrative level guidelines for occupational asbestos exposure.
This study aimed to assess the relationship between shift working and occupational exposure to noise with blood pressure (BP). The study was carried out in a rubber manufacturing company in 2010. Demographic, medical and occupational information for carrying out the study were collected through direct interview. All 331 under study workers were divided into four groups according to work shift and noise exposure severity, from non-noise exposed day time workers (Group1) to noise exposed shift workers (Group 4). Finally, systolic and diastolic blood pressure levels were compared among these four groups. The results of this study showed that there was a significant difference between average systolic and diastolic BP and hypertension (HTN) frequency in the four groups (p<0.05). The highest rate of HTN and mean systolic and diastolic BP were observed among shift workers who were exposed to noise higher than permissible limit (Group 4). Also the results of logistic regression analysis showed that there was a significant relationship between simultaneous exposures to noise more than the permitted limit and shift work with HTN (p<0.05). The results of our study showed that shift working and simultaneous exposure to noise have an additive effect on occurrence of HTN. It is recommended that during periodic physical examinations of noise exposed shift workers, assessment of the cardiovascular system and BP should be done as well as the auditory system.
This study was conducted in a cement factory in the United Arab Emirates to assess cement dust exposure and its relationship to respiratory symptoms among workers. A total of 149 exposed and 78 unexposed workers participated in this cross-sectional study. Information on demographic and respiratory symptoms was collected by questionnaire. Personal total dust levels were determined by the gravimetric method. Concentration of the total dust ranged between 4.20 mg/m3 in the crushers and 15.20 mg/m3 in the packaging areas, and exceeded the exposure limit in the packaging and raw mill areas. The prevalence of respiratory symptoms was higher among the exposed workers, but the difference from that of unexposed workers was statistically significant only for cough (19.5%; OR=4.5; 95%CI=1.5–13.2), and phlegm (14.8%; OR=13.3; 95%CI=1.8–100.9). Cough and phlegm were found to be related to exposure to dust, cumulative dust and smoking habit, while chronic bronchitis was related to smoking habit. The few factory workers (19.5%) who used masks all the time had a lower prevalence rate of respiratory symptoms than those not using them. High dust level was the only variable that influenced the workers to use the mask all the time. It is recommended that control measures be adopted to reduce the dust and workers should be encouraged to use respiratory protection devices during their working time.
Recent studies suggest that unstable employment contracts may affect the health of workers. Many Japanese workers working full time in ostensibly permanent positions actually operate within unstable and precarious employment conditions. We compared the health status of Japanese workers with precarious employment contracts with that of permanent workers using the 2007 Comprehensive Survey of Living Conditions of the People on Health and Welfare (n=205,994). We classified their employment status as ‘permanent’ vs. ‘precarious’ (part-time, dispatch, or contract/non-regular) and compared their health conditions. Among both sexes, precarious workers were more likely than permanent workers to have poor self-rated health or more subjective symptoms, with more workers in full-time employment suffering from serious psychological distress (SPD) and more female workers who smoke. Using logistic regression, we identified a positive association between precarious employment and SPD and current smoking among workers engaged in full-time employment after adjusting for age, marital status, and work-related conditions. This study demonstrates that precarious employment contracts are associated with poor self-rated health, psychological distress, and tobacco use, especially among people working full-time jobs. These results suggest that engagement in full-time work under unstable employment status impairs workers’ health.
Conventionally, the “breathing zone” is defined as the zone within a 0.3 m (or 10 inches) radius of a worker’s nose and mouth, and it has been generally assumed that a contaminant in the breathing zone is homogeneous and its concentration is equivalent to the concentration inhaled by the worker. However, several studies have mentioned that the concentration is not uniform in the breathing zone when a worker is close to the contaminant source. In order to examine the spatial variability of contaminant concentrations in a worker’s breathing zone, comparative measurements of personal exposure were carried out in a laboratory. In experiment, ethanol vapor was released in front of a model worker (human subject and mockup mannequin) and the vapor concentrations were measured at two different sampling points, at the nose and at the chest, in the breathing zone. Then, the effects of the sampling location and the body temperature on the exposure were observed. The ratios of nose concentration to chest concentration for the human subject and the mannequin were 0–0.2 and 0.12, respectively. The exposure level of the mannequin was about 5.5–9.3 times higher than that of the human subject.
Many workers have questions about occupational safety and health (OSH). Answers to these questions empower them to further improve their knowledge about OSH, make good decisions about OSH matters and improve OSH practice when necessary. Nevertheless, many workers fail to find the answers to their questions. This paper explores the challenges workers may face when seeking answers to their OSH questions. Findings suggest that many workers may lack the skills, experience or motivation to formulate an answerable question, seek and find information, appraise information, compose correct answers and apply information in OSH practice. Simultaneously, OSH knowledge infrastructures often insufficiently support workers in answering their OSH questions. This paper discusses several potentially attractive strategies for developing and improving OSH knowledge infrastructures: 1) providing courses that teach workers to ask answerable questions and to train them to find, appraise and apply information, 2) developing information and communication technology tools or facilities that support workers as they complete one or more stages in the process from question to answer and 3) tailoring information and implementation strategies to the workers’ needs and context to ensure that the information can be applied to OSH practice more easily.