Competency is important for professionals’ effective performance and career development. However, little is known about the necessary competencies and proficiency in these for Thai safety officers. Therefore, this study aimed to identify the necessary competencies for this group and to compare proficiency in each competency between senior and junior safety officers. A descriptive, cross-sectional study was conducted among 73 safety officers using a self-administered questionnaire. Twenty-five competencies were classified as necessary. Mean proficiency scores were higher for senior safety officers than for more junior safety officers for all examined competencies; however, this difference was not statistically significant for ‘first aid’ or for ‘air sampling and analytical methods’. Regulatory compliance was assessed as the most important competency. Gaps between necessity and proficiency were observed in managing safety programs for the junior group. In both groups, proficiency was lowest in the competency of mental health. The results indicate that Thai safety officers’ training needs may be particularly high for regulatory compliance, managing safety programs, and mental health. Lifelong learning is important for enabling occupational safety and health practitioners to fulfill current requirements in Thailand and elsewhere. Multiple training approaches and a specialist qualification program may encourage competency development, especially for junior practitioners.
Individuals with autism spectrum disorders are at a high risk of experiencing depressive symptoms. However, the relationship between autistic traits and depressive symptoms is unclear. This study aimed to identify which autistic traits are related to depressive symptoms in Japanese workers. The study participants included 2,049 workers from all areas of Japan. Autistic traits and depressive symptoms were measured using an abridged Japanese version of the Autism-Spectrum Quotient (AQ-Short) and the Japanese version of the K6 scale, respectively. The AQ-Short comprises five autistic trait subcomponents that assess fascination for numbers/patterns, difficulties with imagination, preference for routine, difficulties with social skills, and attention-switching difficulties. Linear regression analyses were performed to estimate the association between total and subcomponent autistic trait scores and depressive symptoms. Participants with higher total autistic trait scores were significantly more likely to have depressive symptoms (p<0.001). When scores on the five autistic trait subcomponents were entered simultaneously into the model, participants with higher scores on all subcomponents other than ‘difficulties with imagination’ were significantly more likely to report depressive symptoms. Total autistic traits and autistic trait subcomponents could be used for early detection of the risk of depressive symptoms.
High level of work-family conflict (WFC) is an important risk factor for stress-related health outcomes. However, many studies are cross-sectional studies. In this study, we aimed to clarify how changes in WFC levels over a period 5 yr can affect workers’ mental and physical health, and to clarify whether there are gender differences of them. This study examined 1,808 civil servants (1,258 men and 550 women) aged 20–65 yr working in a local government in the west coast of Japan from 2003 to 2008. Logistic regression analyses were used to examine whether the change in WFC contributes to workers’ health problems and whether there are gender differences. This study revealed association sustained high WFC and deterioration of WFC conflict with poor mental health and poor job satisfaction for both men and women. In men high WFC conflict and deterioration was associated with poor mental health (OR=2.74). On the other hand, women had strong relationship between WFC changes and poor physical health (OR=2.64). WFC was an important factor as a social determinant of health of Japanese civil servants, and the change in WFC affects subsequent health problems with different trends in men and women.
We investigated the effects of an intervention aiming at enhancing four types of team-level social capital (bonding, bridging and two types of linking social capital) in six dairy plants with a total of 60 teams. Social capital and work engagement was assessed in baseline and follow-up surveys. The follow-up period was approximately 20 months, comprising an intervention period of 12 months. Intervention effects were assessed by comparing changes in team-level mean-scores for teams that had developed action plans with teams that had not. Results show that teams that had developed action plans generally showed a larger increase in social capital and work engagement than other teams. Differences were statistically significant for linking social capital towards the workplace as a whole and work engagement. However, effect sizes indicate an effect of the action plans despite the lack of statistical significance. Moreover, the self-reported level of implementation of the action plans was associated with the size and direction of the observed change.
The aim of the present study was to demonstrate the effect of verbal ratings on arousal in the electroencephalogram (EEG) and psychomotor vigilance test (PVT) performance. Thirty participants underwent the PVT for 40 min in three experimental conditions: (1) Rating condition, in which they verbally rated subjective sleepiness with Karolinska sleepiness scale, following pure tone sound played every 20 s during PVT, (2) No-rating condition, in which they underwent PVT with the similar sound as the Rating experiment but without the verbal rating task, and (3) Control condition, in which they underwent PVT with a no-sound stimulus and without the verbal rating task. The results show that during the first half of the task epoch, alpha power density was lower in the Rating than in the No-rating condition, while performance was not different between the conditions. During the second half of the task epoch, performance was better in the Non-rating than in the Rating condition, but no difference in the alpha power density. These results suggest that performance deterioration could be masked by the arousal effect of the dual task itself. It could also explain why the PVT performance and arousal in EEG sometimes dissociate, particularly in dual task situations.
We aimed to investigate the association between working hours and poor glycemic control using a cross-sectional data from the Korea National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (KNHANES). The participants who were medically diagnosed with diabetes mellitus by a physician were defined as diabetic patients, and patients with hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) levels >9.0% were considered as “poorly controlled”. The association of HbA1c level with working hours was examined by linear regression plot, using local regression line and logistic regression analyses. The local regression plot showed a smooth increasing pattern: the longer were the working hours, the higher were the HbA1c levels, even though it was not statistically significant. Odds ratios of working hours over 52 h per week were higher with the criterion of poor diabetic control (HbA1c >9.0%). The results were significant in elderly female workers (odds ratio 3.30, 95% confidence interval 1.19–9.18). Long working hours were associated with poor glycemic control, specifically among elderly female workers with diabetes.
This study determined the association of cold-related symptoms with workplace temperature and thermal insulation of clothing among Thai chicken industry workers. Three hundred workers were interviewed regarding cold-related symptoms, which were regressed on worksite temperature and protective clothing. In total, 80% of workers reported respiratory symptoms; 23%, cardiac symptoms; 62%, circulation disturbances; 42%, thirst; 56%, drying of the mouth; and 82%, degradation of their performance. When adjusted for personal characteristics, respiratory symptoms were 1.1‒2.2 times more prevalent at −22‒10°C than at 10‒23°C. At −22‒10°C, cardiac symptoms increased by 45%, chest pain by 91%, peripheral circulation disturbances by 25%, and drying of the mouth by 57%. Wearing protective clothing with at least 1.1 clo units was associated with marked reductions in symptom prevalence. Therefore, temperatures lower than 10°C increased prevalence of cold-related symptoms, which are largely preventable by appropriate clothing use.
From 2011–2015, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Nanotechnology Field Studies Team conducted 11 evaluations at worksites that either produced engineered nanomaterials (ENMs) via a wet process or used ENMs in a wetted, suspended, or slurry form. Wet handling or processing of ENMs reduces potential exposure compared to dry handling or processing; however, air sampling data indicated exposures may still occur. Information was gathered about each company, production processes, ENMs of interest, and control measures. Exposure assessments included air sampling using filter media, surface wipe sampling, and real-time particle counting by direct-reading instruments. Electron microscopy analysis of air filters confirmed the presence of ENMs of interest (10 of 11 sites). When a method was available, chemical analysis of filters was also used to detect the presence of ENMs (nine of 11 sites). Wipe samples were collected at four of the 11 sites, and, in each case, confirmed the presence of ENMs on surfaces. Direct-reading data showed potential nanomaterial emissions (nine of 11 sites). Engineering controls included fume hoods, cleanrooms, and enclosed processes. Personal protective equipment was required during all 11 evaluations. Recommendations to address potential exposures were provided to each company following the hierarchy of controls.
The Japanese Industrial Safety and Health Act was first enacted in 1972. The purpose of this Act is to secure the safety and health of workers in the workplace, as well as to facilitate the establishment of a comfortable work environment. To fulfill these purposes, the Industrial Safety and Health Act aims to clarify the responsibility system in the workplace and to promote proactive efforts by both employers and employees to maintain safety and health in the workplace. Specifically, it is expected that occupational accidents will be prevented by obligating employers to appoint safety and health personnel in accordance with the Act. In this paper, I introduce the features and key points of the Industrial Safety and Health Act, especially in relation to Chapter 3 (Articles 10–19), which provides for the organization of the safety and health management system. In addition, I describe recent amendments to the Act.