Various amines, such as triethylamine and N,N-dimethylethylamine, have been reported to cause glaucopsia in workers employed in epoxy, foundry, and polyurethane foam industries. This symptom has been related to corneal edema and vesicular collection of fluid within the corneal subepithelial cells. Exposure to amine vapors for 30 min to several hours leads to blurring of vision, a blue-grey appearance of objects, and halos around lights, that are probably reversible. Concentration-effect relationships have been established. The visual disturbance is considered a nuisance, as it could cause onsite accidents, impair work efficiency, and create difficulties in driving back home. Occupational exposure limits have been established for some amines, but there is shortage of criteria. Volatility factors, such as vapor pressure, should be considered in industrial settings to prevent human ocular risks, while trying to reduce levels of hazardous amines in the atmosphere.
In Japan, Voluntary Counselling and Testing (VCT) for HIV has been recommended for people concerned about their infection risk, especially those in high-risk groups. Although HIV awareness has declined in this country somewhat during recent years, the number of newly-infected cases has been increasing. The purpose of the current study therefore, was to determine the prevalence of HIV testing, individuals’ reasons for being tested, and the overall acceptance of HIV testing among working-age Japanese. We utilized an anonymous, nationwide survey which was administered to a total of 3,055 participants aged 20–69 yr. The lifetime prevalence of HIV testing was 14% (2% within the past year). A gap was observed between a prior history of HIV testing and willingness to be tested in future (32%) or willingness to be tested during health checkups in the workplace (41%). HIV testing appears to have only been conducted among a limited number of working-age Japanese adults, even though some reported a willingness to be tested. Opportunities for VCT during workplace health checkups might offer an immediate and positive way forwards in the fight against HIV; however, privacy protection for test results and the acceptance of HIV-positive employees should be carefully considered in the workplace.
The objective of the present study was to investigate if satisfaction of the basic needs of autonomy, competence, and relatedness is related to shift work tolerance, specifically physical and mental fatigue, insomnia, and digestive troubles in a sample of shift workers. This is a cross-sectional pilot questionnaire study, including 252 shift workers employed in a municipality in Norway. Autonomy was negatively related to physical fatigue and digestive troubles, while competence was negatively related to mental fatigue. Relatedness showed significant correlations with insomnia and mental fatigue, but did not reach significance in the regression model controlling for the two other basic needs as well as work scheduling, night work exposure, and sleep medication. Sleep medication was significant in the final regression model for insomnia, but unrelated to fatigue and digestive troubles. The demographic variables, work hours per week, work schedule, and night work exposure were unrelated to all four measures of shift work tolerance. Autonomy and competence may be more important for fatigue and digestive troubles among shift workers than work arrangement variables, night work exposure, and sleep medication use.
The purpose of this prospective study was to investigate the effect of the patterning of workplace bullying and harassment over two time points (chronic, remission, onset, and never) on psychological and physical stress reactions. The subjects were 543 workers at welfare facilities for the elderly in Japan who completed a self-administered questionnaire at Time 1 (from August to September, 2009) and at Time 2 (from September to October, 2011). Workplace bullying and harassment were assessed using the Negative Acts Questionnaire (NAQ). Stress reactions were assessed using the Brief Job Stress Questionnaire. In the multiple logistic regression analyses, onset of person-related bullying was significantly (p<0.05) positively associated with both psychological and physical stress reactions at Time 2. Chronic form of person-related bullying was significantly (p<0.05) positively associated with psychological stress reaction at Time 2. Onset of sexual harassment was significantly (p<0.05) positively, and remission of sexual harassment was significantly (p<0.05) negatively associated with physical stress reaction at Time 2. Onset and chronic form of person-related bullying and onset of sexual harassment can cause stress reactions. Remission of sexual harassment can terminate physical stress reaction.
The importance of work-home interface stress can vary throughout a medical career and between genders. We studied changes in work-home interface stress over 5 yr, and their prediction of emotional exhaustion (main dimension of burn-out), controlled for other variables. A nationwide doctor cohort (NORDOC; n=293) completed questionnaires at 10 and 15 yr after graduation. Changes over the period were examined and predictors of emotional exhaustion analyzed using linear regression. Levels of work-home interface stress declined, whereas emotional exhaustion stayed on the same level. Lack of reduction in work-home interface stress was an independent predictor of emotional exhaustion in year 15 (β=−0.21, p=0.001). Additional independent predictors were reduction in support from colleagues (β=0.11, p=0.04) and emotional exhaustion at baseline (β=0.62, p<0.001). Collegial support was a more important predictor for men than for women. In separate analyses, significant adjusted predictors were lack of reduction in work-home interface stress among women, and reduction of collegial support and lack of reduction in working hours among men. Thus, change in work-home interface stress is a key independent predictor of emotional exhaustion among doctors 15 yr after graduation. Some gender differences in predictors of emotional exhaustion were found.
Ultraviolet radiation (UVR) emitted during arc welding frequently causes keratoconjunctivitis and erythema. The extent of the hazard of UVR varies depending on the welding method and conditions. Therefore, it is important to identify the levels of UVR that are present under various conditions. In this study, we experimentally evaluated the hazard of UVR emitted in gas tungsten arc welding (GTAW) of aluminum alloys. The degree of hazard of UVR is measured by the effective irradiance defined in the American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists guidelines. The effective irradiances measured in this study are in the range 0.10–0.91 mW/cm2 at a distance of 500 mm from the welding arc. The maximum allowable exposure times corresponding to these levels are only 3.3–33 s/day. This demonstrates that unprotected exposure to UVR emitted by GTAW of aluminum alloys is quite hazardous in practice. In addition, we found the following properties of the hazard of UVR. (1) It is more hazardous at higher welding currents than at lower welding currents. (2) It is more hazardous when magnesium is included in the welding materials than when it is not. (3) The hazard depends on the direction of emission from the arc.
The aim of this field study is to describe night shift resting and napping strategies and to examine their beneficial effects on sleepiness and quality of work. The study was carried out with 16 nurses working in an intensive care unit. Data collected during 20 night shifts were related to job demands (systematic observations), to the duration and timing of rests and naps taken by nurses (systematic observations, sleep diaries), to sleepiness (Karolinska Sleepiness Scale), and to quality of work scores (visual analog scale). The results showed that the number of rests and naps depended on the job demands. Resting and napping lowered the levels of sleepiness at the end of the shift. There was no direct relationship between sleepiness and the quality of work score. Discussions about the choice of indicators for the quality of work are necessary. Suggestions for implementing regulations for prescribed napping during night shifts are presented.
The aims of this study were 1) to assess the ergonomic physical risk factors from practitioner’s viewpoint in a truck assembly plant with an in-house observational method and the NIOSH lifting equation, and 2) to compare the results of both methods and their differences. The in-house ergonomic observational method for truck assembly i.e. the SCANIA Ergonomics Standard (SES) and the NIOSH lifting equation were applied to evaluate physical risk factors and lifting of loads by operators. Both risk assessment approaches revealed various levels of risk, ranging from low to high. Two workstations were identified by the SES method as high risk. The NIOSH lifting index (LI) was greater than two for four lifting tasks. The results of the SES method disagreed with the NIOSH lifting equation for lifting tasks. Moreover, meaningful variations in ergonomic risk patterns were found for various truck models at each workstation. These results provide a better understanding of the physical ergonomic exposure from practitioner’s point of view in the automotive assembly plant.
Tuberculosis infection is prevalent in Korea and health care workers are vulnerable to tuberculosis infection in the hospital. The aims of this study were to develop and validate an education program that teaches senior medical students how to wear and choose the proper size and type of respiratory protective equipment (RPE), which may help reduce the risk of contracting Mycobacterium tuberculosis (MTB) from patients. Overall, 50 senior medical students participated in this education program. Methods of choosing the proper type of RPE, performing a fit check of the RPE, and choosing a suitable mask size were taught by certified instructors using the real-time quantitative fit test (QNFT). The validity of education program was evaluated with qualitative fit test (QLFT) before and after the education as pass or fail. The education program was effective, as shown by the significantly pass rate (increased 30 to 74%) in the QLFT after the education program (p<0.05). Among study participants, changing mask size from medium to small significantly increased the pass rate (p<0.001). Incorporation of this program into the medical school curriculum may help reduce risk of MTB infection in medical students working in the hospital.
The purpose of the present field study was to explore diving patterns and heart rate of elderly Korean women divers (haenyeo) while breath-hold diving in cold seawater. We hypothesized that the decreasing rate in heart rate of elderly haenyeos during breath-hold diving was greater and total diving time was shorter than those of young haenyeos from previous studies. Nine haenyeos participated in a field study [68 ± 10 yr in age, ranged from 56 to 83 yr] at a seawater temperature of 10 to 13 °C. Average total diving time including surface swimming time between dives was 253 ± 73 min (155–341 min). Total frequency of dives was 97 ± 28 times and they dived 23 ± 8 times per hour. All haenyeos showed diving bradycardia with a decreased rate of 20 ± 8% at the bottom time (101 ± 20 bpm) when compared to surface swimming time (125 ± 16 bpm) in the sea. Older haenyeos among the nine elderly haenyeos had shorter diving time, less diving frequencies, and lower heart rate at work (p<0.05). These reductions imply that haenyeos voluntarily adjust their workload along with advancing age and diminished cardiovascular functions.