This study explored the relationship between subjectively assessed complaints of pain in the arm, forearm and hand, and musculoskeletal load caused by repetitive tasks. Workers (n=942) were divided into 22 subgroups, according to the type of their workstations. They answered questions on perceived musculoskeletal pain of upper limbs. Basic and aggregate indices from a questionnaire on the prevalence, intensity and frequency of pain were compared with an upper limb load indicator (repetitive task index, RTI) calculated with the recently developed Upper Limb Risk Assessment (ULRA). There was relatively strong correlation of RTI and general intensity and frequency of pain in the arm, and general intensity and frequency of pain in the arm and forearm or prevalence of pain in the arm. Frequency and intensity of pain in the arm were weakly correlated. An aggregate indicator of evaluation of MSDs, which was calculated on the basis of the prevalence, intensity and frequency of pain, was to a higher degree associated with the musculoskeletal load of a task than basic evaluative parameters. Thus, such an aggregate indicator can be an alternative in comparing subjectively assessed MSDs with task-related musculoskeletal load and in establishing limit levels for that load.
This study investigated the cross-sectional association of job demands (i.e., psychological demands) and job resources (i.e., decision latitude, supervisor support, co-worker support, and extrinsic reward) with job performance. A total of 1,198 workers (458 males and 740 females) from a manufacturing company in Japan completed a self-administered questionnaire that included the Job Content Questionnaire, Effort-Reward Imbalance Questionnaire, World Health Organization Health and Work Performance Questionnaire, and demographic survey. Hierarchical multiple regression analyses were conducted. After adjusting for demographic characteristics, decision latitude (β=0.107, p=0.001) and extrinsic reward (β=0.158, p<0.001) were positively and significantly associated with job performance while supervisor support (β=−0.102, p=0.002) was negatively and significantly associated with job performance. On the other hand, psychological demands or co-worker support was not significantly associated with job performance. These findings suggest that higher decision latitude and extrinsic reward enhance job performance among Japanese employees.
This study evaluated the effectiveness of a computer-based stress management training (SMT) program in improving employees’ psychological well-being and work performance. A total of 12 work units (N=263) were randomly assigned to either an intervention group (8 work units, n=142) or to a wait-list control group (4 work units, n=121). All participants were requested to answer online questionnaires assessing psychological well-being as a primary outcome, and coping style, social support, and knowledge about stress management as secondary outcomes at baseline (T0), immediately after the intervention (T1), and 2 months after the intervention (T2). The group × time interaction was tested using a mixed-model repeated measures ANOVA. Results showed a group × time interaction for “knowledge about stress management” in the entire sample. Among participants who had more than 3 d of training, a significant group × time interaction was observed for “problem-solving” and “avoidance and suppression” as well as “knowledge about stress management.” Our computer-based stress management program was effective for improving knowledge about stress management. It was also effective for improving coping skills in instances where participants had enough time (at least 3 d) to complete all sessions.
Use of personal protective equipment (PPE) and safety medical devices is mandated for healthcare workers to reduce the risk of infection with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), hepatitis B virus (HBV), and hepatitis C virus (HCV) from exposure to patients’ blood. Research has shown that a strong safety climate may promote increased use of PPE. Therefore, the objective of this study was to examine the association between safety climate and use of PPE among homecare/hospice nurses in North Carolina. To this end, a mail survey was conducted in 2006. The response rate, adjusted on the assumption that the proportion of eligible nurses from among those who did not return the questionnaire or could not be contacted was similar to the proportion among those who did return the questionnaire, was 69% (n=833 eligibles). The percentage of nurses who used the specified PPE was two to three times greater among nurses who had a strong safety climate. Safety climate was only weakly associated with using safety devices. These results suggest that improving safety climate may be a powerful tool for increasing use of PPE.
This study examines (1) whether there are employment grade and gender differences in job dissatisfaction and (2) whether work, family, and personality characteristics explain grade and gender differences in job dissatisfaction. The participants were 3,812 civil servants, aged 20–65, working at a local government in Japan. In both males and females, low control, low social support, work-to-family conflict, type A behaviour pattern and negative affectivity were significantly associated with job dissatisfaction. In females, high demands, long work hours and being unmarried were also associated with job dissatisfaction. Among males, in comparison with the highest grade employees, the age-adjusted odds ratio (OR) for job dissatisfaction in the lowest grade employees was 1.90 (95% CI: 1.40–2.59). The grade differences reduced to 1.08 (0.76–1.54) after adjustment for work, family and personality characteristics. Among females, similar grade differences were observed, although the differences were not statistically significant. In comparison with males, the age-adjusted OR in females for job dissatisfaction was 1.32 (1.14–1.52). This gender difference was reduced to 0.95 (0.79–1.14) following adjustment for the other factors. The majority of employees belong to low to middle grades, and female employees have increased. Reducing grade and gender differences in work and family characteristics is needed.
We evaluated total body burden of N,N-dimethylformamide (DMF) taken through the lung and skin by personal exposure of workers to DMF and urinalysis of N-methylformamide (NMF) and N-acetyl-S(N-methylcarbamoyl)-cysteine (AMCC). A total of 270 workers were engaged in four different jobs in a workplace distant from main production lines emanating high levels of DMF. They were not required to wear any personal protective equipment including respirators or gloves. We found that log-transformed urinary levels of NMF and AMCC increased with an increase in log-transformed concentrations of exposure to DMF. Urinary levels of NMF and AMCC were significantly higher in the summer than the winter, although there was no significant seasonal difference in the concentrations of exposure to DMF. Our findings suggested that the increased urinary levels of NMF and AMCC in the summer resulted in increased skin absorption of DMF due to an increased amount of DMF absorbed by the moisturized skin under humid and hot conditions. Seasonal changes in the relative internal exposure index confirmed the present finding of enhanced summertime skin absorption of DMF. AMCC is thought to be a useful biomarker for assessments of cumulative exposure to DMF over a workweek and for evaluations of workers’ health effects.
Although shift and break timing is known to affect the sleep of shiftworkers, this has not been demonstrated in Fly-in, Fly-out (FIFO) settings which, compared to residential based settings, may be favourable for sleep. This study investigated the sleep quantity and quality of shiftworkers working a FIFO operation comprising of shifts, and therefore breaks, across the 24-h day. The sleep of 24 males (50.43 ± 8.57 yr) was measured using actigraphy and sleep diaries. Morning breaks were associated with less sleep (09:00–12:00 h; 4.4 ± 1.3 h) and a poorer sleep quality (06:00–09:00 h; 3.1 ± 1.0, “average”) compared to breaks beginning between 00:00 h and 03:00 h (6.8 ± 1.7 h; 2.2 ± 0.9, “good”). Sleep efficiency remained constant regardless of break timing (85.9 ± 5.0% to 89.9 ± 3.5%). Results indicate that even in operations such as FIFO where sleeping conditions are near-optimal and the break duration is held constant, the influence of the endogenous circadian pacemaker on sleep duration is evident.
Relationships between work-related psychological and physical stress responses and counts of white blood cells (WBCs), neutrophils, and lymphocytes were investigated in 101 daytime workers. Counts of WBCs and neutrophils were positively associated with smoking and inversely correlated with high density lipoprotein (HDL)-cholesterol levels. Additionally, general fatigue score as measured by the profile of mood state was positively correlated with WBC and neutrophil counts whereas lymphocyte counts was not significantly associated with fatigue score. Multiple regression analysis showed that WBC count was significantly related to general fatigue, age, and HDL-cholesterol levels. Neutrophil count was significantly related to HDL-cholesterol levels and fatigue score. Among various psychological stress response variables, general fatigue may be a key determinant of low-grade inflammation as represented by increases of WBC and neutrophil counts.
This study was aimed to investigate the test-retest reliability and validity of a short version of the New Brief Job Stress Questionnaire (New BJSQ) whose scales have one item selected from a standard version. Based on the results from an anonymous web-based questionnaire of occupational health staffs and personnel/labor staffs, we selected higher-priority scales from the standard version. After selecting one item with highest item-total correlation coefficient from each scale, a 23-item questionnaire was developed. A nationally representative survey was administered to Japanese employees (n=1,633) to examine test-retest reliability and validity. Most scales (or items) showed modest but adequate levels of test-retest reliability (r>0.50). Furthermore, job demands and job resources scales (or items) were associated with mental and physical stress reactions while job resources scales (or items) were also associated with positive outcomes. These findings provided a piece of evidence that the short version of the New BJSQ is reliable and valid.
Residential construction is a high-risk industry in the U.S. due to the exposure to work-related safety hazards and fall injuries. This study aimed to examine the safety training and safe work practices of construction workers within the small residential construction industry. In order to achieve the study objectives, a survey was designed and sent to approximately 200 Wisconsin based residential construction contractors. About one third of the respondents stated that they did not have any form of safety programs. The study indicated that the most common types of work-related injuries in residential construction were slips/trips/falls and cuts/lacerations. The survey findings also suggested that the residential construction contractors needed to increase the utilization of fall protection safety equipment. Further education and subject matter expert training could provide benefits to improve occupational safety and health of the small business workforce in the residential construction industry.
Blood samples were collected 25 yr ago from hand-arm vibration syndrome patients with vibration-induced white finge/VWF (VWF+ group) and without it (VWF− group), and healthy controls (n=12 in each group), and stored at −80°C. The subjects provided venous blood twice: at baseline, and after cold exposure at 7°C for 25 min. Blood specimens were analyzed for plasma endothelin-1 (ET-1) by an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. Baseline concentration of plasma ET-1 was found to be significantly larger in the VWF– group than the control group, whereas no such difference was observed for the VWF+ group. However, the %change was larger in the VWF+ group (107.73 ± 30.49%) than the other two groups, and more subjects in the VWF+ group showed the maximum increase in ET-1 than the other two groups. In conclusion, ET-1 appears to have a role in the pathophysiology of VWF.