This study aimed to investigate the reliability and construct validity of a new version of the Brief Job Stress Questionnaire (New BJSQ), which measures an extended set of psychosocial factors at work by adding new scales/items to the current version of the BJSQ. Additional scales/items were extensively collected from theoretical job stress models and similar questionnaires in several countries. Scales/items were field-tested and refined through a pilot internet survey. Finally, an 84-item questionnaire (141 items in total when combined with the current BJSQ) was developed. A nationally representative survey was administered to employees in Japan (n=1,633) to examine the reliability and construct validity. Most scales showed acceptable levels of internal consistency and test-retest reliability. Principal component analyses showed that the first factor explained 50% or greater proportion of the variance in most scales. A scale factor analysis and a correlation analysis showed that these scales fit the theoretical expectations. These findings provided a piece of evidence that the New BJSQ scales are reliable and valid. Although more detailed content and construct validity should be examined in future study, the New BJSQ is a useful instrument to evaluate psychosocial work environment and positive mental health outcomes in the current workplace.
Silica nanoparticles (SNPs) are widely used all around the world and it is necessary to evaluate appropriate risk management measures. An initial step in this process is to assess worker exposures in their current situation. The objective of this study was to compare concentrations and morphologic characteristics of fumed (FS) and sol-gel silica nanoparticles (SS) in two manufacturing facilities. The number concentration (NC) and particle size were measured by a real-time instrument. Airborne nanoparticles were subsequently analyzed using a TEM/EDS. SNPs were discharged into the air only during the packing process, which was the last manufacturing step in both the manufacturing facilities studied. In the FS packing process, the geometric mean (GM) NC in the personal samples was 57,000 particles/cm3. The geometric mean diameter (GMD) measured by the SMPS was 64 nm. Due to the high-temperature formation process, the particles exhibited a sintering coagulation. In the SS packing process that includes a manual jet mill operation, the GM NC was calculated to be 72,000 particles/cm3 with an assumption of 1,000,000 particles/cm3 when the upper limit is exceeded (5% of total measure). The particles from SS process had a spherical-shaped morphology with GMD measured by SMPS of 94 nm.
The aim of this study was to survey the work-relatedness of symptoms and diseases among engineered nanomaterials handling workers by questionnaire. A total of 258 exposed workers and 200 comparison workers were recruited from 14 nanomaterials handling factories in Taiwan. In addition to current disease status (prevalence), we classified the diseases worsened by employment (worsened by work). The control banding nanotool risk level matrix was adopted to categorize the severity and probability of nanomaterial exposure. The work-relatedness of symptoms was also self-reported in the questionnaire. The only symptom identified as significantly work-related was sneezing (5.88% in risk level 2 and 7.91% in risk level 1 vs. 2.00% in controls, p=0.04). The prevalences of work-related dry cough (p=0.06) and productive cough (p=0.09) in nanomaterials handling workers were also higher than those in controls. The only disease significantly worsened by work was allergic dermatitis (4.20% in risk level 2, 0% in risk level 1 vs. 0.50% in control, p=0.01). The incidence of angina in nanoworkers was also higher than in controls (p=0.06). In addition to allergic diseases, cardiopulmonary symptoms such as cough and angina may be used as screening tools for medical surveillance of people handling engineered nanomaterials.
Work-related stress has become one of the major problems in working societies and it increases employees’ risk of disease. Its importance has been emphasized also due to its’ great socio-economic consequences. Different stress management and worksite interventions have been implemented, however, the actual practices in companies have been assessed little. The purpose of this study was to examine how enterprises in Finland manage work-related stress. An assessment of work-related stress methods was conducted in 40 enterprises acting in the metropolitan area of Finland in May 2010 by a questionnaire. The concept of work-related stress was well known by participants. Enterprises rarely had their own work-related stress management protocol even though all of the workplaces had experienced work-related stress at some point. The collaboration between the workplace and occupational health services varied. Companies easily placed the responsibility for work-related stress assessment and handling on occupational health services. Workplaces have to pay more attention to work-related stress and related issues. The easiest way to do this is to collaborate with occupational health services. Protocols for collaboration should be developed jointly using the available models which have been established as cost-effective.
The aim of the present study was to analyze the activity of the trapezius muscle, the heart rate and the time pressure of Swiss and Japanese nurses during day and night shifts. The parameters were measured during a day and a night shift of 17 Swiss and 22 Japanese nurses. The observed rest time of the trapezius muscle was longer for Swiss than for Japanese nurses during both shifts. The 10th and the 50th percentile of the trapezius muscle activity showed a different effect for Swiss than for Japanese nurses. It was higher during the day shift of Swiss nurses and higher during the night shift of Japanese nurses. Heart rate was higher for both Swiss and Japanese nurses during the day. The time pressure was significantly higher for Japanese than for Swiss nurses. Over the duration of the shifts, time pressure increased for Japanese nurses and slightly decreased for those from Switzerland. Considering trapezius muscle activity and time pressure, the nursing profession was more burdening for the examined Japanese nurses than for Swiss nurses. In particular, the night shift for Japanese nurses was characterized by a high trapezius muscle activity and only few rest times for the trapezius muscle.
This study investigated the effect of living (summer vs. winter) and working (morning vs. afternoon) in a hot environment on markers of immune function and forearm strength. Thirty-one healthy male gas field employees were screened before (between 05:30 and 07:00) and after their working day (between 15:30 and 17:00) during both seasons. Body core temperature and physical activity were recorded throughout the working days. The hot condition (i.e. summer) led a higher (p≤0.05) average body core temperature (~37.2 vs. ~37.4 °C) but reduced physical activity (−14.8%) during the work-shift. Our data showed an increase (p≤0.05) in lymphocyte and monocyte counts in the summer. Additionally, work-shift resulted in significant (p≤0.001) changes in leukocytes, lymphocytes and monocytes independently of the environment. Handgrip (p=0.069) and pinch (p=0.077) forces tended to be reduced from pre-to post-work, while only force produced during handgrip manoeuvres was significantly reduced (p≤0.05) during the hot compared to the temperate season. No interactions were observed between the environment and work-shift for any marker of immune function or forearm strength. In summary, working and living in hot conditions impact on markers of immune function and work capacity; however by self-regulating energy expenditure, immune markers remained in a healthy reference range.
Past research has documented that non-behavioral variables (such as long work hours, exposure to police stressors) are associated with obesity risk in police officers, but limited research has examined behavioral variables that might be targeted by Employee Assistance Programs for police weight management. The present study compared non-obese and obese officers for behavioral variables found associated with obesity in other adult samples: physical activity (cardiovascular, strength-training, stretching), sleep duration, and consumption of alcohol, fruit and vegetables, and snack foods. Participants included 172 male police officers who completed questionnaires to report height and weight, used to calculate body mass index (BMI = kg/m2) and to divide them into “non-obese” and “obese” groups. They also reported the above behaviors and six non-behavioral variables found associated with obesity risk: age, health problems, family support, police work hours, police stressors, police support. ANCOVAs compared each behavioral variable across obesity status (non-obese, obese), with the six non-behavioral variables used as covariates. Results revealed that cardiovascular and strength-training physical activity were the only behavioral variables that differed significantly between non-obese and obese police officers. The use of self-reported height and weight values may provide Employee Assistance Program with improved cost, time, and officer participation.
A novel design of range hood, which was termed the inclined quad-vortex (IQV) range hood, was examined for its flow and containment leakage characteristics under the influence of a plate sweeping across the hood face. A flow visualization technique was used to unveil the flow behavior. Three characteristic flow modes were observed: convex, straight, and concave modes. A tracer gas detection method using sulfur hexafluoride (SF6) was employed to measure the containment leakage levels. The results were compared with the test data reported previously in the literature for a conventional range hood and an inclined air curtain (IAC) range hood. The leakage SF6 concentration of the IQV range hood under the influence of the plate sweeping was 0.039 ppm at a suction flow rate of 9.4 m3/min. The leakage concentration of the conventional range hood was 0.768 ppm at a suction flow rate of 15.0 m3/min. For the IAC range hood, the leakage concentration was 0.326 ppm at a suction flow rate of 10.9 m3/min. The IQV range hood presented a significantly lower leakage level at a smaller suction flow rate than the conventional and IAC range hoods due to its aerodynamic design for flow behavior.
Allergy to laboratory animals is a well known occupational hazard and remains a health concern for individuals in contact with lab animals. This study evaluates the prevalence of allergy symptoms among medical researchers exposed to laboratory animals. We analyzed data from a cross-sectional survey, involving subjects (n=169, 21–59 yr), working in Kochi Medical School, Japan. They were asked to fill out a questionnaire to evaluate symptoms related to contact with laboratory animals. The overall response rate was 86.2%. The prevalence of laboratory animal allergy was 17.6%. The symptoms most reported were allergic rhino-conjunctivitis and asthma. A small number of the subjects received education on the allergy issue and 62.5% of subjects with an allergy to laboratory animals claimed to have atopy. Protection from animal allergens should be a high priority for institutions using lab animals; providing continuous education to animal handlers would be meaningful to reduce and control exposure.
The present work is dedicated to the study of occupational cold environments in food distribution industrial units. Field measurements and a subjective assessment based on an individual questionnaire were considered. The survey was carried out in 5 Portuguese companies. The field measurements include 26 workplaces, while a sample of 160 responses was considered for the subjective assessment. In order to characterize the level of cold exposure, the Required Clothing Insulation Index (IREQ) was adopted. The IREQ index highlights that in the majority of the workplaces the clothing ensembles worn are inadequate, namely in the freezing chambers where the protection provided by clothing is always insufficient. The questionnaires results show that the food distribution sector is characterized by a female population (70.6%), by a young work force (60.7% are less than 35 yr old) and by a population with a medium-length professional career (80.1% in this occupation for less than 10 yr). The incidence of health effects which is higher among women, the distribution of protective clothing (50.0% of the workers indicate one garment) and the significant percentage of workers (>75%) that has more difficulties in performing the activity during the winter represent other important results of the present study.