The purpose was to systematically review the published reports for the clinical utility of quantitative objective tests commonly used for diagnosing musculoskeletal disorders in hand-arm vibration syndrome (HAVS). Two reviewers independently conducted a computerized literature search in PubMed and Scopus using predefined criteria, and relevant papers were identified. The articles were screened in several stages and considered for final inclusion. Quality of the selected papers was evaluated by a modified QUADAS tool. Relevant data were extracted as necessary. For this review, only 4 relevant studies could be identified for detailed examination. Grip strength, pinch strength, and Purdue pegboard tests were commonly used with their reported sensitivity and specificity ranging between 1.7 to 65.7% and 65.2 to 100%, 1.7 to 40% and 94 to 100%, and 44.8 to 85% and 78 to 95%, respectively. A considerable difference across the studies was observed with respect to patient and control populations, diagnostic performance and cut-off values of different tests. Overall, currently available English-language limited literature do not provide enough evidence in favour of the application of grip strength and pinch strength tests for diagnosing musculoskeletal injuries in HAVS; Purdue pegboard test seems to have some diagnostic value in evaluating impaired dexterity in HAVS.
A telephone survey was conducted among a sample of managers (n=30) in Ireland who had previously commissioned an asbestos survey in their workplace buildings. The aims of the telephone survey were to examine the extent to which managers had completed Asbestos Safety Awareness (ASA) training, and to assess how such training might influence (i) their instinctive thoughts on asbestos, and (ii) their approach to aspects of asbestos management within their buildings. Managers’ motivations for commissioning the asbestos survey were also identified. The study found that ASA-trained managers (n=11) were not significantly more likely to work in larger organisations or in organisations which operated an accredited management system. Though ASA-trained managers’ instinctive thoughts on asbestos were of a slightly poorer technical quality compared with those of non-ASA-trained managers, they were still significantly more cognisant of their responsibilities towards those of their employees at specific risk of asbestos exposure. Most managers (n=28) commissioned the asbestos survey to satisfy a pre-requisite of external contractors for commencing refurbishment/demolition work in their buildings. Given its potential to positively influence the occupational management of asbestos, the authors recommend the general promotion of suitably tailored ASA-training programmes among building managers and external contractors alike.
This study utilizes a psychophysical approach to examine the effects on carrying capacity for bi-manual carrying tasks involving different handle positions and carrying ranges. A total of 16 female subjects participated in the experiment in groups of two people, and each group of subjects performed the tasks in a random order with 12 different combinations of carrying task. The independent variables are handle position (upper, middle, lower) and carrying range (F–F: floor height carried to floor height, F–W: floor height carried to waist height, W–W: waist height carried to waist height, W–F: waist height carried to floor height), the dependent variable is the maximum acceptable carried weight (MAWC), heart rate (HR), and the rating of perceived exertion (RPE). The results show that the handle position has a significant effect on MAWC and overall RPE but no significant effect on HR. Carrying range has a significant effect on the MAWC and HR, but no significant effect on overall HR. The handle position and carrying range have a significant interaction on the MAWC and HR. The RPE for different body parts shows significant differences, and the hands feel the most tired. Overall, this study confirms that the lower handle position with the W–W carrying range is the best combination for a two-person carrying task.
This study examines sleep and fatigue through a work-life lens. Whilst most often thought of as an issue for shift workers, this study observed that self-reported insufficient sleep and fatigue were prevalent for workers on standard daytime schedules. Using a representative sample of 573 daytime workers (51.3% men; 70.7% aged 25−54 yr) from one Australian state, it was observed that 26.4% of daytime workers never or rarely get the seven hours of sleep a night that is recommended for good health. Those with parenting responsibilites (29.4%) or working long (45+) hours (37.4%) were most likely to report insufficient sleep. Whereas mothers in full-time work were most likely to report frequent fatigue (42.5%). This study highlights the common experience of insufficient sleep and fatigue in a daytime workforce, with significant implications for health and safety at work and outside of work. Stronger and more effective legislation addressing safe and ‘decent’ working time is clearly needed, along with greater awareness and acceptance within workplace cultures of the need to support reasonable workloads and working hours.
Workflow interruptions and social stressors among surgery personnel may cause attention failure at work that may increase rumination about work issues during leisure time. The test of these assumptions should contribute to the understanding of exhaustion in surgery personnel and patient safety. Workflow interruptions and supervisor-related social stressors were tested to predict attention failure that predicts work-related rumination during leisure time. One hundred ninety-four theatre nurses, anaesthetists and surgeons from a Swiss University hospital participated in a cross-sectional survey. The participation rate was 58%. Structural equation modelling confirmed both indirect paths from workflow interruptions and social stressors via attention failure on rumination (both p<0.05). An alternative model, assuming the reversed indirect causation—from attention failure via workflow interruptions and social stressors on rumination—could not be empirically supported. Workflow interruptions and social stressors at work are likely to trigger attention failure in surgery personnel. Work redesign and team intervention could help surgery personnel to maintain a high level of quality and patient safety and detach from work related issues to recover during leisure time.
The purpose of this study was to investigate smart features required for the next generation of personal protective equipment (PPE) for firefighters in Australia, Korea, Japan, and the USA. Questionnaire responses were obtained from 167 Australian, 351 Japanese, 413 Korean, and 763 U.S. firefighters (1,611 males and 61 females). Preferences concerning smart features varied among countries, with 27% of Korean and 30% of U.S. firefighters identifying ‘a location monitoring system’ as the most important element. On the other hand, 43% of Japanese firefighters preferred ‘an automatic body cooling system’ while 21% of the Australian firefighters selected equally ‘an automatic body cooling system’ and ‘a wireless communication system’. When asked to rank these elements in descending priority, responses across these countries were very similar with the following items ranked highest: ‘a location monitoring system’, ‘an automatic body cooling system’, ‘a wireless communication system’, and ‘a vision support system’. The least preferred elements were ‘an automatic body warming system’ and ‘a voice recording system’. No preferential relationship was apparent for age, work experience, gender or anthropometric characteristics. These results have implications for the development of the next generation of PPE along with the international standardisation of the smart PPE.
This study was conducted to investigate the relationship of active and passive smoking with occupational injury among manual workers. Data from the 2011 Korean Working Conditions Survey were analyzed for 12,507 manual workers aged ≥15 yr. Overall, 60.4% of men and 5.8% of women were current smokers. The prevalence of injury was higher among never smokers who were exposed to secondhand smoke (SHS) (7.7% in men and 8.1% in women) than current smokers (4.2% in men and 4.1% in women). After controlling for potential confounders, in men, compared to those who never smoked and were not exposed to SHS, people who never smoked and were exposed to SHS (adjusted odds ratio (aOR)=3.7, 2.2–6.4) and current smokers (aOR=2.5, 1.6–3.8) were more likely to experience injury. Among women, the aORs of occupational injury were 8.4 (4.2–16.7) for never smoking women with occasional exposure to SHS and 3.5 (95% CI: 1.4–8.7) for current smokers, in comparison to never smoking women who were never exposed to SHS at work (reference group). The present study suggests that exposure to SHS is a possible risk factor of occupational injury for never smoking men and women.
The aim of this study was to clarify patterns of serum concentrations of dioxins in the employees of a waste incineration plant and to estimate elimination rates and half-lives of serum dioxin isomers, and the maximum serum concentrations of dioxin isomers at the time of plant shutdown. Sixteen subjects participating 3 times or more in annual health examinations during an 8-yr period from 2000 to 2007 were recruited for this study. Serum concentrations of dioxins expressed as TEQ/g lipid decreased gradually after plant shutdown with the highest decrease observed in polychlorinated dibenzofurans (PCDFs) followed by polychlorinated deibenzo-p-dioxins (PCDDs) and then coplanar PCBs. The serum toxic equivalency (TEQ) concentrations of PCDF and PCDD congeners in the employees were higher than those in the general population survey by the Ministry of the Environment, Japan, whereas the serum concentrations of coplanar PCBs were similar to those in the general population. The estimated half-lives and elimination rates of PCDDs and PCDFs in the highly exposed workers increased compared with the moderately exposed workers. The estimated geometric mean serum concentrations of PCDDs, PCDFs and total dioxins at the time of plant shutdown were 35, 53 and 107 pg TEQ/g lipid, respectively.
This cross-sectional study was intended to examine health effects of 678 male workers employed during an 8-yr period from 2000 to 2007 at 36 municipal and private waste incineration plants in Japan. Blood samples were obtained for analysis of concentrations of dioxins including coplanar polychlorinated biphenyls (coplanar PCBs) and evaluation of health effects. Health effects including diabetes were surveyed via a physician’s interview or clinical data from blood samples. There was a certain difference in serum concentrations of polychlorinated dibenzofurans (PCDFs) between the incinerator workers and Japanese general population, although no differences in the concentrations of total dioxins or polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins (PCDDs) were found between the two groups. A few positive correlations between serum levels of PCDDs and PCDFs and the results of laboratory and physiological tests were found, but coplanar PCBs showed significant relations with 14 parameters of the tests. The background serum levels of PCDDs, PCDFs and total dioxins were significantly associated with the prevalence of diabetes. No essential differences in serum concentrations of total dioxins and in prevalence of diabetes between our subjects and the general population suggested that the incinerator workers were marginally exposed to dioxins in the workplace without any recognizable adverse health effects.
Job strain is a risk factor for hypertension, but it is not fully understood if components of job strain, or job demand or job control per se could be related to blood pressure (BP), and if so, whether the relationship differs between normotension and mildly elevated BP. We examined resting BP, and job stress components in 113 Japanese male hospital clerks (38.1 ± 4.4 yr). Subjects were classified into normotensive (NT) (<130/85 mmHg, n=83) and mildly elevated BP (ME) (≥130/85 mmHg) groups. Diastolic BP (DBP) showed a significant interaction between group and job control level (p=0.013). Subjects with low job control demonstrated higher DBP than those with high job control (89.1 ± 2.1 vs. 82.3 ± 2.3 mmHg, p=0.042) in ME group even after adjustments for covariates while DBP did not differ between low and high job control subjects in NT group. Systolic BP (SBP) did not differ between high and low job control subjects in both groups. Neither SBP nor DBP differed between high and low demand groups in either group. Among job strain components, job control may be independently related to BP in Japanese male workers with mildly elevated BP.