Objective: The objective of the current study was to examine the psychometric properties of the Nepalese version of the Utrecht Work Engagement Scale (UWES-N) in a sample of hospital nurses. Method: Registered nurses from three hospitals in Nepal (total N=438) voluntarily completed a self-administered paper-and-pencil questionnaire. Results: Confirmatory factor analysis revealed that the hypothesized three-factor model of the 9-item version of the UWES-N (UWES-N-9) fitted the data best. The internal consistency of the scale was acceptable. Work engagement was positively related to job satisfaction, job performance, happiness and health, and it was negatively related to psychological distress, confirming its construct validity. Conclusions: In conclusion, the findings of our study indicated that the UWES-N-9 has satisfactory psychometric properties and provided supportive evidence for use of the UWES-N-9 in the Nepalese context.(J Occup Health 2014; 56: 421–429)
Objectives: Coping with difficult care-related situations is a common challenge for health-care professionals. How these professionals deal with the regrets they may experience following one of the many decisions and interventions they must make every day can have an impact on their own health and quality of life, and also on their patient care practices. To identify professionals most at need for extra support, development and validation of a tool measuring coping style are needed. Methods: We performed a survey of physicians and nurses of a French-speaking University hospital; 469 health-care professionals responded to the survey, and 175 responded to the same survey one-month later. Regret was assessed with the regret coping scale developed for this study, self-report questions on the frequency of regretted situations and the intensity of regret. Construct validity was assessed using measures of health-care professionals' quality of life (including job and life satisfaction, and self-reported health) as well as sleep problems and depression. Results: Based on factor analysis and item response analysis, the initial 31-item scale was shortened to 15 items, which measured three types of strategies: problem-focused strategies (i.e., trying to find solutions, talking to colleagues) and two types of emotion-focused strategies, A (i.e., self-blame, rumination) and B (e.g., acceptance, emotional distance). All subscales showed high internal consistency (α >0.85). Overall, as expected, problem-focused and emotion-focused B strategies correlated with higher quality of life, fewer sleep problems and less depression, and emotion-focused A strategies showed the opposite pattern. Conclusions: The regret coping scale (RCS-HCP) is a valid and reliable measure of coping abilities of hospital-based health-care professionals.(J Occup Health 2014; 56: 430–443)
Objective: Few studies have systematically investigated the impact of past occupational dust exposure on mental health. We examined whether retired factory workers exposed to any of the 4 dusts of silica, cement, coal and asbestos had more depressive symptoms and anxiety in southern China, which has experienced rapid economic development. Methods: We used data from the Guangzhou Biobank Cohort Study phase 3. Exposures, lifestyle, symptoms and medical history of the participants were assessed with a structured interview. Self-reported intensity and duration of past occupational dust exposure were used to derive cumulative exposure. Outcome measures were assessed by the 15-item Chinese version of the Geriatric Depression Scale (score ≥5) and the single-item on anxiety. Results: The results revealed that 359 workers were exposed to at least one of the 4 dusts and that 1,253 were unexposed (controls). After adjustment of multiple confounders, greater risks of depressive symptoms were associated with high exposure to silica (odds ratio (OR) of 3.12, 95% CI of 1.17–8.31) and asbestos (OR of 6.90; CI of 1.29–36.75). Risks of anxiety were higher in those with low or high exposures to dust (OR of 2.01 and CI of 1.04–3.87 and OR of 2.29 and CI of 1.30–4.03, respectively) and cement (OR of 3.20 and CI of 1.27–8.07 and OR of 2.30 and CI of 1.09–4.87, respectively), and those with high exposure to silica (OR of 5.29, CI of 1.76–15.92). Conclusions: Past occupational exposures to silica, cement, coal and asbestos dusts were associated with adverse mental health outcomes in retired factory workers. The mechanism underlying the relationship between occupational exposures and psychological symptoms in later life needs to be further studied.(J Occup Health 2014; 56: 444–452)
Objectives: The aim of this study was to investigate whether the combination of extension of the encoding time and repetition of a test trial would improve the visual recognition memory performance in older adults. Methods: We evaluated visual memory performance in young and older adults on a Yes-No recognition memory test under four different conditions. The conditions consisted of combinations of encoding times of two and four seconds (E2 and E4) and first and second retrieval practice test trials (T1 and T2): E2T1, E2T2, E4T1 and E4T2. Performance was evaluated by measuring hit rates, false alarm rates, discrimination ability and response bias. Results: Older adults showed better improvement of hit rate and discrimination ability under the E4T2 conditions whereas young adults showed better memory performance under the E2T2 conditions. Conclusions: A longer encoding time and repetition of the test was effective in improving the visual memory performance in terms of the hit rates and discrimination ability of older adults. The results suggest that this strategy should be useful in providing a suitable work environment for older workers.(J Occup Health 2014; 56: 453–460)
Objectives: Agricultural use of neonicotinoid (NEO) insecticides has been increasing in recent years, but their biological monitoring methods have been scarcely reported. In this study, we developed and validated a rapid and sensitive method for quantifying urinary NEO concentrations using high-performance liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS). Methods: After phosphate-induced acidification of a urine sample, urinary NEOs were trapped by a solid-phase extraction column and eluted with methanol for acetamiprid, imidacloprid, thiacloprid, thiamethoxam, clothianidin and dinotefuran and with an acetonitrile and methanol solution (1:1, v/v) containing 5% NH3 for nitenpyram. A separation analysis was performed by LC-MS/MS within 10 minutes for the sample. This method was applied to first morning urine obtained from 52 Japanese (40.9 ± 10.5 years old, mean ± standard deviation) without occupational NEO exposure. Results: The linear dynamic ranges and their limit of quantification (LOQ, signal to noise ratio=10) levels were 0.3–20 or 50 µg/l (r=0.998–0.999) and 0.05–0.36 µg/l, respectively. The absolute recovery was 64–95%, and the intra- and inter-day precisions were less than 16.4% (relative standard deviation, %RSD). This method was successfully applied for analysis of NEOs in human urine samples obtained from 52 adults. The frequencies of individuals who showed more than LOD levels was above 90% for imidacloprid, thiamethoxam, clothianidin and dinotefuran, more than 50% for acetamiprid and thiacloprid and 29% for nitenpyram. Conclusions: These results indicated that our new method could be applied to biological monitoring of NEO exposure even at environmental exposure levels in Japanese adults without occupational spraying histories.(J Occup Health 2014; 56: 461–468)
Objectives: This longitudinal study examined the associations between work stressors, perseverative cognition and subjective and objective sleep quality. We hypothesized work stressors to be associated with (i) poor nocturnal sleep quality and (ii) higher levels of perseverative cognition during a free evening. We further hypothesized (iii) perseverative cognition to be associated with poor nocturnal sleep quality and (iv) the association between work stressors and sleep quality to be mediated by perseverative cognition. Methods: The participants were 24 pilots working for the Dutch Helicopter Emergency Medical Service (HEMS). They completed six questionnaires: at the end of three consecutive day shifts and each morning following the shifts. The questionnaires addressed work stressors (workload, distressing shifts and work-related conflicts), subjective sleep quality and perseverative cognition. Participants wore actigraphs to assess sleep onset latency, total sleep time and number of awakenings. Results: Correlation analysis revealed that (i) distressing shifts were related to delayed sleep onset (r=0.50, p=0.026) and that workload was related to impaired sleep quality (e.g., subjective sleep quality: r=−0.42, p=0.044). Moreover, (ii) distressing shifts were positively related to perseverative cognition (r=0.62, p=0.002), (iii) perseverative cognition delayed sleep onset (r=0.74, p<0.001) and (iv) mediated the association between distressing shifts and sleep onset latency. Conclusions: Perseverative cognition may be an explanatory mechanism in the association between work stressors and poor sleep.(J Occup Health 2014; 56: 469–477)
Objectives: This study aimed to determine the Work Ability Index (WAI) and examine the influence of health dimensions and demographic variables on the work ability of Iranian farmers working in small farm enterprises. Method: A cross-sectional study was conducted among 294 male farmers. The WAI and SF-36 questionnaires were used to determine work ability and health status. The effect of demographics variables on the work ability index was investigated with the independent samples t-test and one-way ANOVA. Also, multiple linear regression analysis was used to test the association between the mean WAI score and the SF-36 scales. Results: The mean WAI score was 35.1 (SD=10.6). One-way ANOVA revealed a significant relationship between the mean WAI and age. Multiple linear regression analysis showed that work ability was more influenced by physical scales of the health dimensions, such as physical function, role-physical, and general health, whereas a lower association was found for mental scales such as mental health. Conclusions: The average WAI was at a moderate work ability level for the sample population of farmers in this study. Based on the WAI guidelines, improvement of work ability and identification of factors affecting it should be considered a priority in interventional programs. Given the influence of health dimensions on WAI, any intervention program for preservation and promotion of work ability among the studied farmers should be based on balancing and optimizing the physical and psychosocial work environments, with a special focus on reducing physical work load.(J Occup Health 2014; 56: 478–484)
Objectives: As the number of dual-earner couples in Japan has increased, work-life balance has become important. This study aimed to examine the factors that contribute to work-family conflict. Methods: The participants included 3,594 (2,332 men and 1,262 women) civil servants aged 20–59 working for local government on the west coast of Japan. Logistic regression analysis was used to evaluate whether work, family, or lifestyle characteristics were associated with work-family conflict. Results: For men, family-to-work conflict was associated with being elderly, having low-grade employment, working long hours, raising children, and sleeping shorter hours. For women, being married and raising children were strong determinants of family-to-work conflict, and being middle-aged, working long hours, and sleeping shorter hours were also associated with this type of conflict. Regarding work-to-family conflict, working long hours was the strongest determinant of conflict in both sexes. In men, being elderly, living with family, eating dinner late, and sleeping shorter hours were also associated with work-to-family conflict. In women, having high-grade employment, being married, raising children, and eating dinner late were associated with work-to-family conflict. Conclusions: This study showed that working long hours was the primary determinant of work-to-family conflict in both sexes and that being married and raising children were strong factors of family-to-work conflict in women only. Sex differences may reflect divergence of the social and domestic roles of men and women in Japanese society. To improve the work-life balance, general and sex-specific health policies may be required.(J Occup Health 2014; 56: 485–497)
Objectives: When an air current flows from behind a worker, the contaminant level in the breathing zone may increase due to the wake around the worker. Researchers have been investigating about this wake, and much knowledge has been provided about the wake that appears around a standing worker. However, the wake around a squatting worker has not been addressed. This study aimed to describe the wake in front of a worker squatting in a confined space by using a model worker and a chamber and investigate the conditions in which this wake develops easily. Methods: A mannequin was employed as a model worker and was placed in the chamber to simulate a squatting worker in a confined space. Then, air was sent from behind under various conditions with a fan, and the wake was observed. Results: A wake appeared when smoke was emitted at 0–0.1 m from the point just below the breathing zone, and most of the wake region was in the range between the point just below the model worker's breathing zone and body. A wake did not appear when a fan of 0.15 m in diameter was used. The flow rate and velocity of the airflow were almost irrelevant with respect to wake development. Conclusions: The following are recommended based on the results of the present study. i) The distance between a source of contaminants and the point just below the breathing zone should be more than 0.2 m. ii) An air duct with a cross-section of less than 0.02 m2 is desirable to avoid producing a wake.(J Occup Health 2014; 56: 498–504)
Objectives: The aims of this study were to develop approaches for monitoring and prioritizing factors associated with thermal stresses imposed on workers in iron and steel casting industries, and to eventually purpose effective control strategies. Methods: The whole study was completed in the furnace areas of two steel casting and two iron casting plants, where the air temperature (Ta), radiant temperature (Tr), air velocity (Va) and partial water vapor pressure (Pa) were measured continuously during two consecutive work cycles. Simultaneously, the metabolic rates (M) of all workers in the furnace area were also measured. Results: Using the WBGT as an index for screening purposes, our results suggest that all furnace area workers in both types of casting plants might experience severe heat stress. The predicted heat strain (PHS) model proposed by ISO 7933 was further adopted for detailed analysis from the physiological aspect. Through use of the Monte Carlo simulation and sensitivity analysis, both M and Tr were found to be the two most important factors associated with workers' thermal hazard. Therefore, two effective control strategies were suggested, including reducing workloads of workers and reducing radiant heat transmitting from furnaces to workplace environments. Conclusions: The approach developed in the present study would be beneficial to many other industries for initiating strategies to avert the thermal hazard imposed on workers.(J Occup Health 2014; 56: 505–510)
Objective: This study was a long-term survey of a stair climbing campaign that made use of point-of-choice prompts aimed at achieving exemplary behavior in citizens. Methods: The campaign began in September 2007 at the Kochi Prefectural Office. We monitored office workers who climbed the stairs or used the elevator in the prefectural office building, excluding weekends, from August 2007 through February 2009. Prompts were placed on the stair risers. A total of 59 days were monitored during the observation period. A questionnaire was distributed to 250 workers to examine the influence of the prompts following completion of the observation period. Results: A total of 16,583 observations of the choice of workers to use the elevators or stairs were made during the observation period. The mean number of stair users was 281.0 ± 66.0 per day. Stair use increased significantly from 31.5 to 58.1% among women and from 26.3 to 62.4% among men during months 1–3 of the campaign. Stair use was maintained in more than 51% of women and 60% of men during the entire campaign period. The following response (valid records: 81) was given by 10% of the respondents regarding the use of stairs: “my use of stairs increased due to the message banners”. Conclusions: The stair climbing campaign was effective for increasing stair use and was maintained over a long-term period. However, most office workers thought that their increased stair use was not due to prompts placed on risers; therefore, the reason for the increased stair use remains unclear.(J Occup Health 2014; 56: 511–518)
Objectives: An estimation of metabolic rate (MR) is needed to determine wet-bulb globe temperature (WBGT) reference values in order to reduce heat strain in physical workers. The aim of this study was to develop MR prediction equation for younger and older men in hot working environments. Methods: We measured the MR and heart rate (HR) of both younger and older men at ambient temperatures (Ta) of 25, 30 and 35°C while they cycled on a bicycle ergometer at a workload of 30, 45 and 60% of maximal oxygen uptake (V̇O2max). Seven younger male university students aged 22.9 ± 0.7 (mean ± SD) years and seven older male workers aged 61.7 ± 2.2 (mean ± SD) years participated in this study. MR, HR and rectal temperature (Tre) were measured during the study. HR, ambient temperature (Ta), body weight (BW) and body fat percentage (BF) served as predictors of MR using multivariate analysis. To increase the MR prediction accuracy, the following three alternative predictors of HR were used: HRres, calculated as 100 × [(HR − resting HR) / (maximal HR − resting HR)]; HRnet, calculated as (HR − resting HR); and HRi, calculated as (HR / resting HR). Results: The R2 value indicated that the models with HRres or HRnet were more accurate than those with HRi or HR. Ta had a significantly positive correlation with MR in older men. BW had a significantly positive correlation with MR in both younger and older men, and BF had a significantly negative correlation with MR in both younger and older men. Conclusions: HRres or HRnet enabled more accurate MR prediction than HR. BW and BF would increase the accuracy of MR prediction.(J Occup Health 2014; 56: 519–525)
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