Slips, trips, and falls (STF) represent a serious hazard to workers and occupants in many industries, homes, and communities. Often, the cause of a STF incident is multifactorial, encompassing human, environmental, and task risk factors. A STF-related disability can greatly diminish the occupational capability and quality of life of individuals in both the workplace and the home. Countering STF hazards and risks both on and off the job and on all aspects of control measures is a “total worker safety” matter, a challenging yet tangible undertaking. As the federal organization responsible for conducting research for the prevention of work-related injuries in the United States, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) has been conducting research on STF controls for some decades. Many NIOSH research outcomes have been utilized for STF prevention in workplaces, with potential for prevention in homes as well. This paper summarizes the concept of total worker safety for STF control, NIOSH priority research goals, major activities, and accomplishments, and some emerging issues on STF. The strategic planning process for the NIOSH research goals and some identified research focuses are applicable to the development and implementation of global STF research goals.
Workplace design and upkeep, or human factors, are frequently advanced for explaining so-called Occupational Slip, Trip and Fall Accidents (OSTFAs). Despite scientific progress, these accidents, and more broadly Occupational Accidents with Movement Disturbance (OAMDs), are also commonly considered to be “simple”. This paper aims to stimulate changes in such perceptions by focusing on organisational factors that often combine with other accident factors to cause movement disturbance and injury in work situations. These factors frequently lead to arbitration between production and safety, which involves implementation of controls by workers. These controls can lead to greater worker exposure to OAMD risk. We propose a model that focuses on such controls to account specifically for the need to confront production and safety logics within a company and to enhance the potential for appropriate prevention action. These are then integrated into the set of controls highlighted by work organisation model developed by the NIOSH.
The high frequency of fall accidents is a serious problem in Japan. Thus, more stringent countermeasures for preventing falls from scaffolds were developed and incorporated into institutional guidelines. These countermeasures aim to decrease deaths caused by falls from scaffolds. Despite the improvements in such measures, however, the rate of accidental fall deaths remains high in Japan’s construction industries. To improve the rigor of the countermeasures, a committee was established in our institute by the Japan Ministry of Health, Labour, and Welfare. This committee investigated the regulations applied in other countries and evaluated construction industry compliance with existing fall prevention guidelines. After considerable research and discussion, the Occupational Safety and Health Regulations and Guidelines were amended in 2009. The effects of the amended regulations have recently been investigated on the basis of accident reports. This paper describes the investigation and its results. The paper also discusses other research and workplace safety countermeasures for preventing falls and ensuring fall protection from heights.
Protecting children from injuries caused by fall accidents from playground equipment is important. Therefore, measures toward minimizing the risk of fall accident injuries are required. The risk of injury can be evaluated using ASTM F1292. In this test, G-max and the HIC are used to estimate the risk of injury. However, the measurement procedure is too complicated for application to a large number of installed equipment. F1292 requires simplified by reducing the number of phases, even with a small risk of loss in accuracy. With this in mind, this study proposes a shortened measurement procedure and a transformation equation to estimate the risk as same as F1292. As the result of experiments, it was revealed that G-max and the HIC values for both procedures linearly increase with drop height. The differences in outcomes between the regression equations of the standardized procedure and those of the shortened procedure can be used as a correction value. They can be added to the value measured by the shortened procedure. This suggests that the combination of the shortened procedure and transformation equation would be equivalent to F1292, with the advantage of being more easily and efficiently applied to the evaluation of installed playground equipment.
The present study examined whether a new footwear outsole with tread blocks and a hybrid rubber surface pattern, composed of rough and smooth surfaces, could increase slip resistance and reduce the risk of fall while walking on a wet floor surface. A drag test was performed to measure static and dynamic coefficient of friction (SCOF and DCOF, respectively) values for the footwear with the hybrid rubber surface pattern outsole and two types of commercially available boots that are conventionally used in food factories and restaurant kitchens with respect to a stainless steel floor covered with glycerol solution. Gait trials were conducted with 14 participants who wore the footwear on the wet stainless steel floor. The drag test results indicated that the hybrid rubber surface pattern sole exhibited higher SCOF (≥0.44) and DCOF (≥0.39) values than the soles of the comparative footwear (p<0.001). Because of such high SCOF and DCOF values, the slip frequency (p<0.01), slip distance (p<0.001), and slip velocity (p<0.001) for the footwear with the hybrid rubber surface pattern outsole were significantly lower than those for the comparative footwear, which resulted in no falls during trials.
Many fatal accidents due to falls from heights have occurred at construction sites not only in Japan but also in other countries. This study aims to determine the fall prevention performance of two types of safety belts: a body belt1), which has been used for more than 40 yr in the Japanese construction industry as a general type of safety equipment for fall accident prevention, and a full harness2, 3), which has been used in many other countries. To determine human tolerance for impact trauma, this study discusses features of safety belts with reference4,5,6,7,8,9) to relevant studies in the medical science, automobile crash safety, and aircrew safety. For this purpose, simple drop tests were carried out in a virtual workplace to measure impact load, head acceleration, and posture in the experiments, the Hybrid-III pedestrian model10) was used as a human dummy. Hybrid-III is typically employed in official automobile crash tests (New Car Assessment Program: NCAP) and is currently recognized as a model that faithfully reproduces dynamic responses. Experimental results shows that safety performance strongly depends on both the variety of safety belts used and the shock absorbers attached onto lanyards. These findings indicate that fall prevention equipment, such as safety belts, lanyards, and shock absorbers, must be improved to reduce impact injuries to the human head and body during falls.
Considering a fatal case of an aged individual, who died due to falling down stairs, the cause of the fatal fall was investigated through experiments. A witness, who was with the victim, when the fatal accident occurred, stated that the aged individual had miss-footed, lost balance at the top of the stairs, and fell accidently from an upper floor to a lower floor. It was very questionable whether or not this witness’s statements were true. The true cause of the fatal fall was unclear, because of the witness’s inconsistent statements, which showed discrepancies between the initial and later statements. The cause of a fatal fall can be presumed from external and internal damages to the body and other circumstantial evidences. But it was difficult to prove the true cause of a fatal fall only from the results of the autopsy and investigation of circumstantial evidences. The author was officially requested to conduct experiments to elucidate possible falling patterns. Judging from the experimental results, deep questions about the witness’s statements arose. These experimental methods and analyses in this paper could be applied to elucidate possible falling patterns of fatal falls from stairs where the fatal causes are controversial.
Glass wool and continuous glass filaments have been used in industry. We examined the irritability of those among Japanese. A patch test was performed on 43 volunteers for the followings: glass wool for non-residential use with and without a urea-modified phenolic resin binder, that for residential use with and without the binder, and continuous glass filaments with diameters of 4, 7, 9, and 13 µm. Materials were applied to an upper arm of each volunteer for 24 h. The skin was observed at 1 and 24 h after the removal. At 1 h after removal, slight erythema was observed on the skin of a woman after the exposure to glass wool for residential use without the binder. Erythema was observed on the skin of another woman at 1 h after a 24-h exposure to glass wool for non-residential use without the binder. There were no reactions at 24 h after the removal. The low reactions in the patch test suggested that the irritability caused by glass wool, irrespective of a resin component, could be induced mechanically, and that the irritability caused by continuous glass filaments with resin could be slight and either mechanical or chemical.
The global recession has forced the Finnish forest industry to carry out major restructuring activities. Employees have faced different kinds of restructuring, mainly aimed at reducing staff and production. Many studies have shown the negative consequences of restructuring on employee well-being by using negative, ill-health indicators. Our aim is to examine the extent to which change appraisal influences both the negative and positive aspects of work-related well-being among employees who continue working in the organization after the restructuring process. We also examine the role of different actors (top management, immediate supervisor, employees themselves) in how the change is appraised. The study investigated blue-collar employees working in the Finnish forest industry during a period of extensive transition (2008–2009). All six participating factories underwent restructuring between baseline and the follow-up survey (n=369). After adjustment for gender, age and baseline well-being, negative change appraisal increased the risk of experiencing more stress and less work enjoyment. Negative change appraisals thus also damaged the positive, motivational aspects of employee well-being. The results showed the importance of offering employees the opportunity to participate in the planning of changes related to their work as regards positive change appraisal.