With predicted increasing frequency and intensity of extremely hot weather due to changing climate, workplace heat exposure is presenting an increasing challenge to occupational health and safety. This article aims to review the characteristics of workplace heat exposure in selected relatively high risk occupations, to summarize findings from published studies, and ultimately to provide suggestions for workplace heat exposure reduction, adaptations, and further research directions. All published epidemiological studies in the field of health impacts of workplace heat exposure for the period of January 1997 to April 2012 were reviewed. Finally, 55 original articles were identified. Manual workers who are exposed to extreme heat or work in hot environments may be at risk of heat stress, especially those in low-middle income countries in tropical regions. At risk workers include farmers, construction workers, fire-fighters, miners, soldiers, and manufacturing workers working around process-generated heat. The potential impacts of workplace heat exposure are to some extent underestimated due to the underreporting of heat illnesses. More studies are needed to quantify the extent to which high-risk manual workers are physiologically and psychologically affected by or behaviourally adapt to workplace heat exposure exacerbated by climate change.
The present study tested the factorial validity of the 9-item Bergen Burnout Inventory (BBI-9)1). The BBI-9 is comprised of three core dimensions: (1) exhaustion at work; (2) cynicism toward the meaning of work; and (3) sense of inadequacy at work. The study further investigated whether the three-factor structure of the BBI-9 remains the same across different organizations (group invariance) and measurement time points (time invariance). The factorial group invariance was tested using a cross-sectional design with data pertaining to managers (n=742), and employees working in a bank (n=162), an engineering office (n=236), a public sector organization divided into three service areas: administration (n=102), education and culture (n=581), and social affairs and health (n=1,505). Factorial time invariance was tested using longitudinal data pertaining to managers, with three measurements over a four-year follow-up period. The confirmatory factor analysis revealed that the three-factor structure of the BBI-9 was invariant across cross-sectional samples. The factorial invariance was also supported across measurement times. To conclude, the factorial structure of the BBI-9 was found to remain the same regardless of the sample properties and measurement times.
To clarify the correlation between kitchen work-related burns and cuts and job stress, a self-administered questionnaire survey was conducted involving 991 kitchen workers among 126 kitchen facilities. The demographics, condition of burns and cuts, job stress with the Brief Job Stress Questionnaire (BJSQ), health condition, and work-related and environmental factors were surveyed. Multiple logistic regression models and trend tests were used according to quartiles (Q1, Q2, Q3, and Q4) of each sub-scale BJSQ. After adjustment for potential confounding variables, burns/cuts were associated with a higher score category (Q4) of job demands (OR: 2.56, 95% CI: 1.10–6.02/OR: 2.72, 95% CI: 1.30–5.69), psychological stress (OR: 4.49, 95% CI: 2.05–9.81/OR: 3.52, 95% CI: 1.84–6.72), and physical stress (OR: 2.41, 95% CI: 1.20–4.98/OR 2.16, 95% CI: 1.16–4.01). The ORs of the burn/cut injures increased from Q1 to Q4 with job demands (p for trend = 0.045/0.003), psychological stress (p for trend<0.001/0.001), and physical stress (p for trend = 0.006/0.005), respectively. These findings suggest that kitchen work-related burns and cuts are more likely to be correlated with job stress, and the higher the job stress score, the higher the frequency of burns and cuts among kitchen workers.
This is a cross-sectional study conducted with 258 teachers from nine state schools in two municipalities of São Paulo state with the purpose of assessing their work ability. A questionnaire with socio-demographic and health/work conditions data and the Work Ability Index (WAI) was performed. Most teachers were females, 41.9 yr old on average (SD 9.4), and with an undergraduate degree (95.7%). The work ability was considered good for 42.6% and moderate/low for 35.3%. In linear regressions models, which used the two domain model, the significant variables for a decrease in WAI were: individual perception of a worsening in the health situation (p<0001), having children (p=0.0003 / p=0.0001), difficulty in sleeping well at night (p=0.0009 / p=0.0014), history of physical pain in the previous six months (p<0.0001 / p<0.0001), being a teacher with a contract (p=0.0007) and working as a teacher for a longer time. (p=0.0183). Public investments on the work conditions of teachers are important to recover and to maintain their work ability.
Various cytokines activated by the inhalation of coal dust may mediate inflammation and lead to tissue damage. Objective of this study was to examine the relationships between coal workers’ pneumoconiosis (CWP) progression over a 3 yr period and the serum levels of cytokines in 85 retired coal workers. To investigate the relevance of serum cytokines in CWP, serum levels of interleukin-8 (IL-8), tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-α), transforming growth factor–beta1 (TGF-β1), and monocyte chemotactic protein-1 (MCP-1) as progressive CWP biomarkers were studied in relation to the progression of pneumoconiosis over a 3 yr period in 85 patients with CWP. CWP progression was evaluated through paired comparisons of chest radiographs. Median levels of TGF-β1 and MCP-1 were significantly higher in subjects with progressive CWP than in those without CWP progression. The area under the ROC curve for TGF-β1 (0.693) and MCP-1 (0.653) indicated that these cytokines could serve as biomarkers for the progression of CWP. Serum TGF-β1 levels were related to the progression of CWP (β=0.247, p=0.016). The results suggest that high serum levels of TGF-β1 and MCP-1 are associated with the progression of CWP.
This study describes an ecological study that evaluated the combined effects of working hours, income, and leisure time on suicide in all 47 prefectures of Japan. In men, the age-adjusted rate of suicide (per 100,000 population) was significantly correlated with working hours (r=0.587, p<0.0001) as well as significantly and negatively correlated with income (r=−0.517, p=0.0002) and times for the leisure activities of self-education (r=−0.447, p=0.0016) and hobbies (r=−0.511, p=0.0002). In addition, a stepwise multiple regression analysis identified time for leisure social activities as a determining factor in suicide rate, even after adjusting for working hours and income. However, the impact of time for leisure social activities on suicide rate was smaller than that of working hours and income. In contrast, none of these factors affected suicide rate in women. These results suggest that increasing leisure time may be useful for preventing suicide among men in Japan.
Psychological detachment from work, an off-job experience of “switching off” mentally, seems to be crucial for promoting employee’s well-being. Previous studies on predictors of psychological detachment mainly focused on job-related factors, and only a few studies focused on family-related and personal factors. This study focuses not only on job-related factors (job demands, job control, workplace support) but also on family-related (family/friend support) and personal factors (workaholism), and examines the relation of these three factors with psychological detachment. Data of 2,520 Japanese employees was randomly split into two groups and then analyzed using cross-validation. Hierarchical multiple regression analyses revealed that family/friend support had a positive association with psychological detachment, whereas a subscale of workaholism (i.e. working compulsively) had negative associations with it across the two groups. Results suggest that family/friend support would facilitate psychological detachment whereas workaholism would inhibit it.
The authors present a case of occupational lung damage from exposure to dust containing aluminium. The first detected objective pathological finding was that of dispersed micronodules in the lungs seen in a chest radiograph. The final diagnosis of pulmonary aluminosis was established after three years of gradual exclusion of other interstitial lung diseases. The diagnosis was supported by the occupational history confirmed by hygiene assessment of the patient’s workplace and especially by histological examination with elemental analysis of the lung tissue. The possibility of development of this rare condition should not be underestimated in workers at high-risk jobs.
Nanosilica is one of the most widely used nanomaterials across the world. However, their assessment data on the occupational exposure to nanoparticles is insufficient. The present study performed an exposure monitoring in workplace environments where synthetic powders are prepared using fumed nanosilica. Furthermore, after it was observed during exposure monitoring that nanoparticles were emitted through leakage in a vacuum cleaner (even with a HEPA-filter installed in it), the properties of the leaked nanoparticles were also investigated. Workers were exposed to high-concentration nanosilica emitted into the air while pouring it into a container or transferring the container. The use of a vacuum cleaner with a leak (caused by an inadequate sealing) was found to be the origin of nanosilica dispersion in the indoor air. While the particle size of the nanosilica that emitted into the air (during the handling of nanosilica by a worker) was mostly over 100 nm or several microns (µm) due to the coagulation of particles, the size of nanosilica that leaked out of vacuum cleaner was almost similar to the primary size (mode diameter 11.5 nm). Analysis of area samples resulted in 20% (60% in terms of peak concentration) less than the analysis of the personals sample.
Social stressors at work (such as conflict or animosities) imply disrespect or a lack of appreciation and thus a threat to self. Stress induced by this offence to self might result, over time, in a change in body weight. The current study investigated the impact of changing working conditions —specifically social stressors, demands, and control at work— on women’s change in weighted Body-Mass-Index over the course of a year. Fifty-seven women in their first year of occupational life participated at baseline and thirty-eight at follow-up. Working conditions were assessed by self-reports and observer-ratings. Body-Mass-Index at baseline and change in Body-Mass-Index one year later were regressed on self-reported social stressors as well as observed work stressors, observed job control, and their interaction. Seen individually, social stressors at work predicted Body-Mass-Index. Moreover, increase in social stressors and decrease of job control during the first year of occupational life predicted increase in Body-Mass-Index. Work redesign that reduces social stressors at work and increases job control could help to prevent obesity epidemic.