Depression is a leading cause of reduced work ability and absence due to sickness. The objective of this study was to investigate how depressive symptoms are prospectively associated with subsequent absence, whether caused by illness or accidents, among manufacturing workers. This prospective study was conducted on 2,349 male and female employees that underwent a regular health examination at a university hospital. Depressive symptoms were measured at baseline using the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression (CES-D) Scale. Data on self-reported absence due to illness and accidents were obtained during a follow up of 1 yr. The incidences of sickness absence were 6.0% for men and 17.3% for women. Men and women with depressive symptoms (CES-D ≥16) were found to have higher odds of sickness absence during follow up (men: OR=4.06; 95% CI: 2.32–7.11; women: OR=1.75; 95% CI: 1.02–2.98), after adjustment for demographic and occupational factors. When depressive symptoms were divided into quartiles, significantly higher ORs of sickness absence were observed only among employees with the highest quartile of depressive symptoms. The study shows that depressive symptoms are a risk factor for future absence due to illness or accidents among manufacturing workers.
Electric arc welding is a routine operation in the construction of metallic structures, but the fumes generated during the welding process can threaten the health of welders. Fumes are undesirable products of the majority of welding operations and may have various detrimental effects on health. The purpose of this study was to investigate the effect of operational parameters of the shielded metal arc welding (SMAW) process on the emission of fumes. A dust monitor was used to measure the number and mass concentration of fumes generated by SMAW. Measurements were made at the distances of 23 cm (hood inlet) and 41 cm (welder’s breathing zone) from the weld point, with different values assigned to three operational parameters, namely current intensity, travel speed, and heat input (HI). Number concentration (NC) decreased with the increase in particle size. The highest mass concentrations (MC) were observed for MC1 (0.35–0.5 μm) and MC8 (Larger than 6.5 μm). For reducing exposures to fumes, welders are recommended to use the lowest voltage and amperage and the highest travel speed to the extent that does not compromise in the quality of welds. For assessment of exposure to airborne particles in industrial workplaces and specially in welding operations, it is thought that taking, solely, mass concentration in to consideration and lack of attention to number concentration would not be able to reflect accurate assessment of the adverse effects of particles on the body organs.
Although long work hours have been associated with various physical health problems, studies of their association with mental health have yielded inconsistent results, due to differences in study settings, study outcome and/or unmeasured background factors. In this study, we used a propensity score method to evaluate the association between work hours and depressive state. A total of 467 Japanese white-collar workers were surveyed and divided into long and regular work hour groups according to overtime work records. Propensity score matching was performed based on 32 individual background and workplace factors, yielding 74 pairs of propensity-matched subjects. CES-D score, an indicator of depressive state, did not differ significantly among the two groups (p=0.203). However, work motivation, work control, social support and emotional stability correlated with CES-D score. These findings suggest that work control and social support factors are more associated with depressive state than control of work hours. These results also suggest that it is possible to use propensity score matching to evaluate the association between work hours and mental health in occupational study settings. Further studies, in larger populations, are required to determine the association between work hours and mental health parameters.
The study aimed to compare nurses’ quality of life and investigate key determinants among Asian countries with different economic status. A cross-sectional survey was conducted across five Asian countries (Japan, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, and Bhutan). Quality of life (WHOQOL-BREF), job stress (National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health questionnaire), and demographic data were assessed. Stepwise multivariate linear regression analysis was performed to identify the key determinants of quality of life. Participants were 3,829 nurses (response rate: 82%) with a mean age of 33 ± 10 yr and majority were women (92%). Regarding quality of life, Bhutan yielded the highest scores, followed by Malaysia, Thailand, Singapore, and Japan, and these results were statistically significant. The key determinants that were significantly related to quality of life were “stress coping ability,” “life satisfaction,” “Japan,” “social support,” “job stress,” and “Singapore” (adjusted R2=0.46). In conclusion, nurses’ quality of life differs across Asian countries and is not linked to the country’s economic development. To maintain a good quality of life for nurses, an international exchange program like international nursing conferences for work environment and staff coping strategies is recommended to broaden institution’ minds and share experiences and exchange views to be able to realize their own problems and discover global solutions to them.
Insufficient sleep is a common occurrence in occupational settings (e.g. doctors, drivers, soldiers). The resulting sleep debt can lead to daytime sleepiness, fatigue, mood disorder, and cognitive deficits as well as altered vascular, immune and inflammatory responses. Short daytime naps have been shown to be effective at counteracting negative outcomes related to sleep debt with positive effects on daytime sleepiness and performance after a normal or restricted night of sleep in laboratory settings. However, the environmental settings in the workplace and the emotional state of workers are generally not conducive to beneficial effects. Here, we tested whether relaxation techniques (RT) involving hypnosis might increase total sleep time (TST) and/or deepen sleep. In this study, eleven volunteers (aged 37–52) took six early-afternoon naps (30 min) in their occupational workplace, under two different conditions: control ‘Naps’ or ‘Naps + RT’ with a within-subjects design. Our results demonstrate that adding RT to naps changes sleep architecture, with a significant increase in the TST, mostly due to N2 sleep stage (and N3, to a lesser extent). Therefore, the deepening of short naps with RT involving hypnosis might be a successful non-pharmacological way to extend sleep duration and to deepen sleep in occupational settings.
This study investigated the usefulness of continuous sensor data for improving occupational cold stress assessment. Eleven volunteer male subjects completed a 90–120-min protocol in cold environments, consisting of rest, moderate and hard work. Biomedical data were measured using a smart jacket with integrated temperature, humidity and activity sensors, in addition to a custom-made sensor belt worn around the chest. Other relevant sensor data were measured using commercially available sensors. The study aimed to improve decision support for workers in cold climates, by taking advantage of the information provided by data from the rapidly growing market of wearable sensors. Important findings were that the subjective thermal sensation did not correspond to the measured absolute skin temperature and that large differences were observed in both metabolic energy production and skin temperatures under identical exposure conditions. Temperature, humidity, activity and heart rate were found to be relevant parameters for cold stress assessment, and the locations of the sensors in the prototype jacket were adequate. The study reveals the need for cold stress assessment and indicates that a generalised approached is not sufficient to assess the stress on an individual level.
Manual harvesting is a physically demanding occupation with several work-related issues in which musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) happen most commonly. The risk factors for MSDs among manual harvesting farmers are not investigated properly in low and low-middle-income nations. Therefore, a study among 140 farmers of Rajasthan, India was carried out through the usage of Nordic Musculoskeletal Questionnaire and the Rapid Upper Limb Assessment (RULA) technique to identify ergonomic risks. χ2 analysis was used to find the relationship between the MSDs and various factors. Also, logistic regression methodology was applied to get the most influencing factor for MSDs in different body regions. The lower-back, fingers, shoulders and wrists/hands were the body parts in which more than 50% workers reported MSDs. MSDs in one or more body regions were found to be associated with age, daily working in farms, farming experience, gender, hand dominance and perceived work fatigue. The age was majorly associated with MSDs in all body regions except the shoulder and neck as per the outcome of logistic regression. The outcome of RULA grand score had been found higher than or equal to 5 in 92% of the farmers which give directions for further research and changes.
Health surveillance of asbestos exposed workers should be stratified according to the exposure level. Unfortunately there is a lack of information regarding asbestos exposure in many working places and markers of asbestos exposure are often needed. The aim of the study was to assess the reliability of different dose and effect biomarkers in the follow up of asbestos-exposed workers. Mineralogical analysis of bronchoalveolar lavage fluid (BALF) as a biomarker of asbestos fibre burden was performed in a population of 307 male subjects occupationally exposed to asbestos. Using nonparametric statistical methods 8 variables were analyzed with respect to asbestos-related diseases and working sectors. The existence of a relationship between serum soluble mesothelin-related peptides (SMRP) and asbestos exposure levels was also investigated. Concentrations of amphiboles, chrysotile and asbestos bodies in BALF were higher in patients with asbestosis as well as in railway industry workers. A correlation between the onset of non malignant asbestos-related diseases and the levels of SMRP concentration was not found. This study confirms that fibre concentration in BALF may be considered as a reliable biomarker of previous asbestos exposure, whereas SMRP does not appear to be influenced by asbestos exposure levels.
Crystalline free silica is considered as a lung carcinogen and the occupational exposure to its dust is a health hazard to workers employed in industries that involve ores of mineral dust. In Egypt, thousands of people work under conditions of silica dust exposure exceeding the occupational exposure limit, as a result the monitoring of this occupational exposure to crystalline silica dust is required by government legislation. The assessment of the later is a multi-phase process, depend on workplace measurements, quantitative analyses of samples, and comparison of results with the permissible limits. This study aims to investigate occupational exposure to crystalline silica dust at 22 factories in Egypt with different industrial activities like stone cutting, glass making, ceramic, and sand blasting. Dust samples were collected from work sites at the breathing zone using a personal sampling pump and a size-selective cyclone and analyzed using FTIR. The sampling period was 60–120 min. The results show that the exposure at each of the industrial sectors is very much higher than the current national and international limits, and that lead to a great risk of lung cancer and mortality to workers.
Malaysian construction sector is regarded as critical in the field of health because of the high rates of accidents and fatalities. This research aimed to determine the prevalence, sources and severity of injuries and its association with commitment to safety among foreign construction workers. A cross-sectional study was conducted among 323 foreign construction workers from six construction projects of a large organization in Malaysia, using a simple random sampling method. Data was collected using a structured questionnaire to assess work-related injuries and safety commitment. The collected data was analysed by SPSS 22.0 using descriptive statistics and χ2 test. The prevalence of work-related injuries in a one year period was 22.6%, where most of the injuries were of moderate severity (39.7%) and falls from heights represented the main source (31.5%). The majority of the foreign construction workers had perceived between moderate and high safety commitment, which was significantly associated with work-related injuries. The results also showed a significant association of work-related injuries with the company’s interest in Safety and Health, Safety and Health training, and safety equipment. Thus, the implementation of new procedures and providing relevant trainings and safety equipment; will lead to a decrease in injury rates in construction sites.