High exposures to radiofrequency electromagnetic fields (RF EMF) are possible in workplaces involving sources used for broadcasting, telecommunication, security and identification, remote sensing and the heating and drying of goods. A systematic literature review of occupational RF EMF exposure measurements could help to clarify where more attention to occupational safety may be needed. This review identifies specific sources of occupational RF EMF exposure and compares the published maximum exposures to occupational exposure limits. A systematic search for peer-reviewed publications was conducted via PubMed and Scopus. Relevant grey literature was collected via web searches. For each publication, the highest measured electric field strength, magnetic flux density or power density was extracted. Maximum exposures exceeding the limits were reported for dielectric heating, scanners for security and radiofrequency identification, plasma devices and broadcasting and telecommunication transmitters. Occupational exposure exceeding the limits was rare for microwave heating and radar applications. Some publications concerned cases studies of occupational accidents followed by a medical investigation of thermal health effects. These were found for broadcasting antennas, radar installations and a microwave oven and often involved maintenance personnel. New sources of occupational exposure such as those in fifth generation telecommunication systems or energy transition will require further assessment.
This study aimed to evaluate the association between work-related changes caused by COVID-19 and psychological distress among Japanese workers. The cross-sectional study was conducted from August 25 to September 30, 2020. The participants were 15,454 employees who were registered as panelists with an online survey company. The Kessler psychological distress scale with a 13-point cutoff was used to measure psychological distress. Multiple logistic regression was performed. Of the respondents, 8.9% were evaluated as having severe psychological distress. Among five examined work-related changes, being laid off and changing jobs (adjusted odds ratio [aOR] = 5.43; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 4.18–7.05), experiencing temporary workplace closure (aOR = 1.94; 95% CI: 1.67–2.25), being forced to visit the workplace for paperwork (aOR = 1.84; 95% CI: 1.58–2.15), and starting telework from home (aOR = 1.18; 95% CI: 1.01–1.37) were associated with increased psychological distress; no significant association was found for participation in work-related online meetings. The impact on psychological distress was greater among men, especially for being laid off and changing jobs because of COVID-19. It is important to assess and reduce negative mental health effects among workers experiencing work-related changes caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, taking gender differences into account.
Earlier research is lacking on the prevalence and nature of objective working hour characteristics in the retail sector. We developed a codification in the retail sector and investigated differences in objective working hour characteristics by part-time work, sex and age. The payroll-based registry data of objective working hours consisted >12,000 employees of the retail sector in Finland for 2018–2020. Descriptive statistics for means, standard deviations (SD) and range of annual working hour characteristics were calculated, the differences in means were tested, partially based on the protocol established for health care sector. The final sample had 60–63% part-time employees and 23% men. Morning shifts were more frequent (48–51%) among full-time employees compared to 27–30% of the part-time employees. Evening shifts, 43–46%, were frequent among part-time employees vs. 26% in full-time. No sex differences were detected, and age group differences only among part-time employees. To conclude, the codification for registry-based working hour data enables us to identify individual differences in working hour characteristics. The working hour characteristics differed between part-time and full-time employees, not between sexes, whereas age differences were minor and among part-time employees. The codification could be used in studies of the retail sector in association with health and wellbeing.
Carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning accidents occur every year in Japan, most of which are caused by the incomplete combustion of fuel, such as gasoline, light oil, and coal briquettes. To prevent CO poisoning in workers, it is essential to reduce the CO concentration in a working environment below the criteria threshold through ventilation. Although proper ventilation requirements for enclosed spaces are estimated from the generation rate of air pollutants, there is no empirical research evaluating the CO generation rate of coal briquettes. In this study, the author evaluated the CO generation rate of burning coal briquettes under controlled laboratory conditions and estimated the appropriate corresponding ventilation requirements. Despite the coal briquettes were burned under sufficient oxygen supply, the CO generation rates and the briquettes’ consumption rates were 146–316 mL/min/kW and 1.65–3.61 g/min, respectively. Assuming the CO concentration limit was 50 ppm, the corresponding ventilation requirement was 174.9–378.7 m3/h/kW. The ventilation requirement was 43.7–94.7 m3/h/kW when the critical CO concentration was set at 200 ppm. Adopting the ventilation requirements set out in this study could facilitate proper ventilation and reduce the risk of CO poisoning.
This study utilizes Gallup-ShareCare Well-being Index data to investigate the association between work-related well-being, i.e., job satisfaction, and overall subjective well-being among US workers. Subjective well-being is measured by i) daily positive and negative emotional experiences - happiness, smiles, enjoyment, sadness, anger, worry, and stress (hedonic well-being); and ii) current and future life evaluation (evaluative well-being). The study finds significant positive relationships between job satisfaction and subjective well-being both in terms of higher odds of positive hedonic experiences and increased life evaluation scores after controlling for covariates and other nonwork-related contributors to well-being. Job satisfaction accounted for a 14% increase in current and an 8% increase in future life evaluation scores. The results emphasize that not only the income generated by work but the quality of work is also important for worker well-being. In fact, those without a job had higher well-being than those workers who are dissatisfied at work. This is probably the first study that relates work-related well-being to overall well-being, using a nationally representative sample of US workers. Further, this is one of the few instances where the subjective measure of well-being is used in the occupational safety and health literature.
In this study, airborne particles were collected using filters, and the particle number concentrations were measured in two nanotitanium dioxide (nanoTiO2)-manufacturing plants. Real-time particle size measurements were performed using both optical and scanning mobility particle sizer and X-ray fluorescence spectrometry (XRF). The respirable particles collected using filters were used to analyze Ti concentrations in the workplace air of two factories engaged in nanoTiO2 powder bagging processes. The XRF analysis revealed sufficient sensitivity to measure 0.03 mg/m3, which is 1/10 the concentration of the recommended occupational exposure limit of nanoTiO2 in both stationary sampling and personal exposure sampling settings. In a factory where outside air was directly introduced, micron-sized aggregated particles were generated because of factory operations; however, nanosized and submicron-sized particles were not observed owing to high background concentrations of incidental nanoparticles. Alternatively, in another factory where particles from the outside air were removed using a high-efficiency particulate air filter, work-related nanoparticles were released. The findings of this study suggest that in nanoparticle powder handling processes, a nanoparticle exposure risk exists in the form of nonagglomerated state in nanoparticle powder handling processes.
Previously, we reported that the participatory workplace intervention was effective in reducing stress-related inflammatory markers among 31 Japanese female nurses. During the analysis, we recognized that our intervention might have increased prosocial behaviors like giving social support to others in some participants. Based on this assumption, we ran a secondary analysis, which examined the effect of giving social support on inflammatory markers, autonomic nervous activity (ANA), and perceived job stress (PJS) before and after the intervention. A group of participants who had increased scores on giving social support (n=13) showed significant decreases in interferon-γ, interleukin-6, and interleukin-12/23p40 after the intervention. Another group of those who had decreased/unchanged in the scores (n=17) did not show changes in these markers. Regarding ANA and PJS, no significant changes were observed in both groups. This study presented insight that giving social support at work may provide health benefits towards employees themselves, via decreasing inflammation.
Nitrous oxide (N2O) was found responsible for genetic and reproductive toxicities, whereas it is widely used in paediatric care units where most healthcare providers are women of childbearing age. This motivated investigating occupational overexposure and overexposure factors in several paediatric hospital units. A cross-sectional study was carried out in seven healthcare units. On each of 34 healthcare providers, air samples were extracted (portable pumps and Tedlar® bags) and N2O quantified (gas chromatography, pulsed discharge ionization detection, and infrared spectrometry). The data allowed calculating mean instantaneous exposures. The mean instantaneous exposure was: i) four times higher in closed vs. open treatment rooms; ii) two times higher in case of use vs. non-use of N2O; iii) significantly higher in junior vs. senior healthcare providers (by 12%); and, iv) higher during presumably short vs. presumably long procedures (by 20%). Overexposures to N2O were mainly seen in the emergency unit and in day hospitals for thoracic/abdominal diseases and nephrology. Overexposures were frequent during short-duration procedures; among 88 N2O measurements, 77 (87.5%) exceeded the 200 ppm threshold over 15 minutes. The overexposures call for dedicated treatment rooms (with adequate equipment and ventilation), more efficient anaesthetic practices, appropriate training, and regular checks.