The rapid growth of nanotechnology has increased the occupational exposure to nanomaterials. On the other hand, a growing body of evidence considers exposure to these materials to be hazardous. Therefore, it is necessary to examine the effects of occupational exposure to these materials by different methods. Biological monitoring, especially the investigation of oxidative stress induced by exposure to nanomaterials, can provide useful information for researchers. This study systematically reviews studies that have investigated oxidative stress caused by occupational exposure to nanomaterials. The search was conducted on the PubMed, Scopus and Web of Science databases. Of the 266 studies we obtained in our initial search, eventually 11 were included in our study. There is currently no specific biomarker for investigating oxidative stress induced by exposure to nanomaterials. Therefore, the reviewed studies have used different biomarkers in different biological fluids for this purpose. Also, the methods of assessing occupational exposure to nanomaterials in the investigated studies were very diverse. Given the approach of the investigated studies to biomarkers and exposure assessment methods, finding a specific biomarker for investigating exposure to nanomaterials seems unattainable. But reaching a group of biomarkers, to assess exposure to nanomaterials seems more applicable and achievable.
The aim of this study was to identify effective work place intervention strategies for the prevention of low back pain (LBP). The study focused on interventions to two major groups: personal interventions and technical interventions. Data basis were searched for with inclusion criteria: study design based on randomised controlled trial; outcome measures including non-specific LBP occurrence expressed by prevalence or intensity; intervention met the definition of the technical and/or personal (physical exercises, behavioural training, educational) intervention programme. Eighteen papers were selected for full analysis. The diversification of quantitative indicators of differences between control and intervention groups were carried out using Cohen’s d index. The results of analysis showed strong differences in effects among intervention strategies, as well as among different cases within similar intervention strategies. LBP severity before intervention and the length of intervention were discussed as potentially influencing factors. The results of the analysis suggest that the most effective strategies for LBP prevention include technical modifications of the workstand and education based on practical training. Behavioural and physical training seems to be of lesser importance. LBP severity before intervention and the time when the measurements of outcome measures take place play an important role in the effectiveness of intervention.
While a number of work-related events have been proposed as risk factors for depression, a majority of studies have focused only on a few events in a single study. Therefore, we conducted a web-based longitudinal study to comprehensively investigate the impact of various work-related events on depressive symptoms. Ten thousand Japanese workers representing the Japanese working population were recruited online and questioned on their experiences of 36 work-related events in the past year. Their depressive symptoms were also assessed based on the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale. Two years later, 3,098 participants responded to a follow-up study. By excluding 1,030 participants who were classified as being depressed in the baseline survey, data of 2,068 participants were analyzed. Odds ratios (OR) were calculated using multivariate logistic regression to assess the effect of work-related events on depressive symptoms. Sixteen events were found to be risk factors and were sorted into four types as follows: experience of an accident or disaster (OR: 4.78–7.67), excessive responsibility (OR: 3.01–3.62), drastic change in workstyle or workload (OR: 2.38–3.08), and interpersonal conflict (OR: 2.41–11.16). The current results, including magnitude relationship of ORs, should be utilized for promoting psychosocially healthy work environment.
The understaffing of nursery schools and kindergartens and the increasing workload of childcare workers are becoming significant issues in Japan. In this study, a cross-sectional survey was conducted to investigate the stress experienced by childcare workers and its antecedents. We distributed 2,640 questionnaires to childcare workers in Miyagi prefecture, obtaining a response rate of 51.9% (n=1,370). Finally, 1,210 valid questionnaires were used in the analysis. As a stress indicator, psychological distress was measured with the Kessler Screening Scale for Psychological Distress (K6). The mean K6 score was 7.0 (SD=5.4), and the prevalence of psychological distress (K6 score ≥5) was 60.0%. Considering work-related factors, the mean scores were as follows: supervisor support 11.8 (2.6), coworker support 12.1 (2.0), work engagement 3.2 (1.2), and effort-reward ratio 0.93 (0.53). A multivariate logistic regression analysis with adjustment for possible confounders revealed that increased psychological distress was associated with higher effort-reward ratio, lower support from supervisors and coworkers, lower work engagement, and insufficient sleep. These results suggest that elevated psychological distress is strongly associated with effort-reward imbalance, while high work engagement in childcare workers helped to reduce their distress.
Maintenance-of-way workers in North America who construct railroad tracks utilize specialized powered-hand tools, which lead to hand-transmitted vibration exposure. In this study, the maintenance-of-way workers were surveyed about neuro-musculoskeletal disorders, powered-hand tools and work practices. Information about vibration emission data of trade specific powered-hand tools for the North American and European Union markets was searched online to obtain respective user information of manufacturer and compared to non-commercial international data banks. The survey showed that maintenance-of-way workers frequently reported typical hand-transmitted vibration-related symptoms, and appear to be at a risk for neuro-musculoskeletal disorders of the upper extremity. Of all of the powered-hand tools used by this trade, 88% of the selected tools exceeded a=5 m/s2 and were above vibration magnitudes of common tools of other comparable industries. This may create a risk if these tools are used throughout an 8-h work day and management of vibration exposure may be needed. In the North-American market, limited or no vibration emission data is available from manufacturers or distributors. Vibration emission information for powered-hand tools, including vibration emission levels (in m/s2), uncertainty factor K, and the applied testing standard/norm may assist employers, users and occupational health providers to better assess, compare and manage risk.
Differences in risk for gastric cancer exist among occupations and industries in Japan. Using a 2015 national dataset, we estimated the mortality rates due to gastric cancer in Japanese male and female workers aged 25–64 yr. Regression models were used to estimate the mortality rate ratios separately for men and women with adjustment for age. The occupation with the highest risk ratio was “Service” in men (2.06, 95% confidence interval: 1.63–2.61) and “Construction and Mining” in women compared with “Sales”. For industries, workers in “Mining”, “Electricity, Gas, Heat supply and Water”, “Fisheries”, “Agriculture and Forestry”, and “Construction” had a higher mortality risk. Our results showed that occupations and industries with higher mortality rates in men had the same trend as the results from 2010, and occupations and industries with higher mortality rates in women were almost the same as those in men. The analyses also indicated that managerial and professional workers in Japan had higher mortality as opposed to developed Western countries. In conclusion, this study suggests that occupations and industries still impact men and women’s health in terms of mortality due to gastric cancer in Japan.
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) may arise after events involving a risk to physical integrity or to life, one’s own or that of others. It is characterized by intrusive symptoms, avoidance behaviors, and hyper-excitability. Outside certain categories (e.g., military and police), the syndrome is rarely described in the occupational setting. We report here five unusual cases of work-related PTSD, diagnosed with an interdisciplinary protocol (occupational health visit, psychiatric interview, psychological counselling and testing): (1) a 51-yr-old woman who had undergone three armed robbery attempts while working in a peripheral post office; (2) a 53-yr-old maintenance workman who had suffered serious burns on the job; (3) a 33-yr-old beauty center receptionist after sexual harassment and stalking by her male employer; (4) a 57-yr-old male psychiatrist assaulted by a psychotic outpatient; (5) a 40-yr-old woman, sales manager in a shoe store, after physical aggression by a thief. All patients required psychiatric help and pharmacological treatment, with difficulty of varying degrees in resuming work. We conclude that PTSD can develop even in professional categories generally considered to be at low risk. In such cases, a correct interdisciplinary diagnostic approach is fundamental for addressing therapy and for medico-legal actions.
This study evaluated the performance of two respirators, a replaceable particulate respirator (RPR) and a powered air-purifying respirator (PAPR), worn according to non-recommended methods. Ten subjects wore either an RPR or PAPR according to the recommended method, or according to a non-recommended method, with a knit cover placed between the facepiece cushion and face, with a towel placed between the facepiece cushion and face, or with the headband on a helmet. The leakage rate of each wearing variation was then measured, according to the procedure for determining the protection factor of respiratory protective equipment, using atmospheric dust as required by JIS T8150. The average leakage rate for the RPR was 1.82–10.92%, whereas that of the PAPR was 0.18–0.42%. The performance of the RPR decreased when worn in methods outside of recommendations; however, there was no significant decrease in the performance of PAPR under any method of wear. Therefore, a PAPR is recommended for work in which a replaceable or disposable particulate respirator fails to provide sufficient protection against hazardous dust substances, or for workers who are unable to use a particulate respirator according to the recommended method owing to the work environment or health conditions.