The Allostatic Load Index (ALI) has been used to establish associations between stress and health-related outcomes. This review summarizes the measurement and methodological challenges of allostatic load in occupational settings. Databases of Medline, PubPsych, and Cochrane were searched to systematically explore studies measuring ALI in working adults following the PRISMA statement. Study characteristics, biomarkers and methods were tabulated. Methodological quality was evaluated using a standardized checklist. Sixteen articles (2003–2013) met the inclusion criteria, with a total of 39 (range 6–17) different variables used to calculate ALI. Substantial heterogeneity was observed in the number and type of biomarkers used, the analytic techniques applied and study quality. Particularly, primary mediators were not regularly included in ALI calculation. Consensus on methods to measure ALI in working populations is limited. Research should include longitudinal studies using multi-systemic variables to measure employees at risk for biological wear and tear.
Many workers are exposed to noise in their industrial environment. Excessive noise exposure can cause health problems and therefore it is important that the worker’s noise exposure is assessed. This may require measurement by an equipment manufacturer or the employer. Human exposure to noise may be measured using microphones; however, weighting filters are required to correlate the physical noise sound pressure level measurements to the human’s response to an auditory stimulus. IEC 61672-1 and ANSI S1.43 describe suitable weighting filters, but do not explain how to implement them for digitally recorded sound pressure level data. By using the bilinear transform, it is possible to transform the analogue equations given in the standards into digital filters. This paper describes the implementation of the weighting filters as digital IIR (Infinite Impulse Response) filters and provides all the necessary formulae to directly calculate the filter coefficients for any sampling frequency. Thus, the filters in the standards can be implemented in any numerical processing software (such as a spreadsheet or programming language running on a PC, mobile device or embedded system).
The aim of this study was to evaluate air and surface contaminations, and internal contamination of healthcare workers during open-abdomen HIPEC using oxaliplatin. Platinum (Pt) was measured in urine of exposed workers and in multiple air and surface samples. Three successive HIPEC procedures were investigated in each of the two hospitals participating in the study. Analysis of air samples did not detect any oxaliplatin contamination. Heavy contamination of the operating table, the floor at the surgeon’s feet, and the surgeon’s overshoes were observed. Hand contamination was observed in surgeons using double gloves for intra-abdominal chemotherapy administration, but not in those using three sets of gloves. Pt was not detected in urine samples obtained after HIPEC (<5 ng/L). The main risk of HIPEC is related to direct or indirect skin exposure and can be prevented by correct use of adapted protective equipment.
As crucial small regulatory molecules, serum microRNAs (miRNAs) have been widely identified as potential noninvasive biomarkers. To survey and identify serum miRNAs associated with workers who had experienced injury to their nerve system from carbon disulfide (CS2), we profiled abnormally expressed miRNAs using the microarray technique and further performed qRT-PCR validation in case and control samples (n=20). Microarray profiling in pooled RNA samples showed that many miRNAs in workers exposed to CS2 were aberrantly expressed. Based on control samples exposed to CS2, a great amount of abnormal miRNAs, including some miRNA gene clusters and families, were obtained from microarray datasets. Most of deregulated miRNAs were up-regulated, and almost all miRNAs showed consistent expression patterns between workers with different numbers of damaged nerve fibers. Functional enrichment analysis suggested that these abnormal miRNAs showed versatile roles by contributing to multiple biological processes. Some aberrantly expressed miRNAs were characterized as miRNA gene clusters or families, and they always showed consistent expression patterns. miR-150 and miR-30a were selected to be further validated by qRT-PCR as up-regulated species, and they could discern case samples from control samples. miR-150 and miR-30a may be potential noninvasive biomarkers for a damaged nervous system.
The purpose of the study was to describe the occurrence of the most common complaints related to MSDs in Czech dentists and to assess the risk factors affecting them. A questionnaire survey of 581 Czech dentists (the response rate 72.6%) was conducted in 2011. The questionnaire ascertained general information about the respondents, their work habits and environment along with the occurrence of musculoskeletal disorders. The respondents filled out the questionnaires during the educational events organized by the Czech Dental Chamber. At least mild difficulties associated with the motoric system were reported by 96.9% of the respondents, with 66.3% of respondents reporting moderate or major difficulties. Back and neck pain followed by shoulder pain and headache were the most common complaints in our sample. According to our data: age, gender, length of practice, a history of serious MSDs, the occurrence of MSDs in blood relatives, the perception of work as psychologically demanding, and especially a perceived moderate/bad general health were significantly associated with the four most common musculoskeletal complaints. Some of the factors were found as protective. This study suggests that MSDs represent a significant burden for Czech dentists and further research is needed to elucidate this issue.
A new approach to assess the risks inherent in the implementation of powders, including nanomaterials, has been developed, based on the OHB (Occupational Hazard Band) method which is widely spread in the chemical industry. Hazard classification has not been modified; only the control of exposure has been worked at. The method applies essentially to the prevention of the exposures to airborne materials, whatever their particle size. The method considers exposure based on seven parameters which take into account the characteristics of the materials used, their emission potential, the conditions of use, as well as classic parameters of exposure characterization like duration and frequency. The method is a pragmatic exploitation of the state-of-art and of available data, bearing in mind that a lot of them are not easily accessible to factory operators. The result of the reflection is then positioned on a hazard versus exposure matrix from which 4 levels of priority of action are defined, as in the classical OHB method used to manage pure chemical risk. This approach fills a gap in terms of risk assessment and avoids jeopardizing all that has been set up for years, while introducing new elements of decision making accessible to all operators.
The aim of the present study was to define the nature of individual differences in shift work tolerance (SWT). This was investigated by an exploratory factor analysis of scores from a wide range of established instruments designed to measure sleep, sleepiness, fatigue, social functioning, as well as physical and mental health. Data were collected from a representative sample of 1,529 Norwegian nurses engaged in rotating shift work. The analyses yielded two factors that seemed to be especially relevant for SWT, namely “Well-being” and “Physical health”. Both factors were related to several demographic and personality variables. In addition, both factors were related to job satisfaction, social support and negative acts, while Well-being was also related to coping. These results support the construct and concurrent validity of the Well-being and Physical factors of SWT. Our findings represent a step towards answering calls from previous research concerning the establishment of a wider definition of individual differences in SWT.
The manufacturing of fitness equipment involves several processes, including the cutting and punching of iron tubes followed by welding. Welding operations produce hazardous gases and particulate matter, which can enter the alveolar, resulting in adverse health effects. This study sought to verify the particle size distribution and exposure concentrations of atmospheric air samples in various work areas of a fitness equipment manufacturing industry. Observed particle concentrations are presented by area and in terms of relative magnitude: painting (15.58 mg/m3) > automatic welding (0.66 mg/m3) > manual welding (0.53 mg/m3) > punching (0.18 mg/m3) > cutting (0.16 mg/m3). The concentrations in each of the five work areas were Cinh>Cthor>Cresp. In all areas except the painting area, extra-fine particles produced by welding at high temperatures, and further those coagulated to form larger particles. This study observed bimodal distribution in the size of welding fume in the ranges of 0.7–1 µm and 15–21 µm. Meanwhile, the mass concentrations of particles with different sizes were not consistent across work areas. In the painting area, the mass concentration was higher in Chead>Cth>Calv, but in welding areas, it was found that Calv>Chead>Cth. Particles smaller than 1 µm were primarily produced by welding.
The present study’s objective was to determine the mechanisms for enhancing the utility of action checklists applied in participatory approach programs for workplace improvements, to identify the benefits of building consensus and to compare their applicability in Asian countries to find the most appropriate configuration for action checklists. Data were collected from eight trainees and 43 trainers with experience in Participatory Action-Oriented Training. Statistical analysis was performed in SPSS using the package PASW, version 19.0. The difference in the mean score for the degree of the utility of action checklists between countries was analyzed using ANOVA methods. Factor analysis was performed to validate the action checklists’ utility. Pearson Correlation Coefficients were then calculated to determine the direction and strength of the relationship between these factors. Using responses obtained from trainees’ in-depth interviews, we identified 33 key statements that were then classified into 11 thematic clusters. Five factors were extracted, namely “ease of application”, “practical solutions”, “group interaction”, “multifaceted perspective” and “active involvement”. The action checklist was useful for facilitating a participatory process among trainees and trainers for improving working conditions. Action checklists showed similar patterns of utility in various Asian countries; particularly when adjusted to local conditions.
Four workers at a seed supply warehouse in Chiba Prefecture, Japan, complained of ocular irritation on the job. Pesticide-coated seeds were stored in the warehouse but no significant amount of pesticide was detected in the air inside the warehouse. To identify the cause of the ocular irritation and to determine an appropriate solution to the problem, the authors used thermal desorption gas chromatography-mass spectrometry to analyze the profiles of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in the air of the two warehouses at the site—warehouse A, where the four workers experienced ocular irritation, and warehouse B, where no workers experienced ocular irritation. Comparing the profiles of VOCs in these warehouses indicated that n-butyl isocyanate, a hydrolyzed product of the fungicide benomyl, was the cause of the workers’ ocular irritation. n-Butyl isocyanate is known to be a contact irritant and if the benomyl-coated seeds were not properly dried before storage in the warehouse n-butyl isocyanate would have been produced. The results of the study suggest that more attention should be paid both to the pesticide itself and to the products of pesticide degradation. In this study, n-butyl isocyanate was identified as a product of pesticide degradation and a causative chemical affecting occupational health.
In Japan, the principal role of hospital pharmacists has changed from that of dispensing medicines for outpatients to provision of clinical pharmacy services for inpatients. A self-administered questionnaire about subjective symptoms, working patterns, work environments and job satisfaction was administered to 495 hospital pharmacists and 84 prefectural office-based pharmacists (control group). The response rates were 63.4% and 90.5%, respectively. Hospital pharmacists showed a higher prevalence of nasal symptoms than that shown by the control office-based pharmacist group. The prevalence rate of nasal symptoms was lower only in male pharmacists who worked in a dispensary equipped with dust collector. The prevalence of symptoms noticed by hospital pharmacists and community pharmacists after starting drug compounding practices was also compared. The prevalence of subjective symptoms that pharmacists noticed after starting drug compounding was lower in hospital pharmacists than in community pharmacists. Job satisfaction was lower in hospital pharmacists than in office-based pharmacists; however, there was no clear association between the subjective symptoms reported and job satisfaction. Further studies on removal effect of drug dust in a dispensary and symptoms in individual pharmacy facilities are needed.