Purpose: The purpose of this study was to analyze a participatory approach to occupational safety and health, and to examine the possibility of applying the concept to the practice and research of occupational safety and health. Methods: According to Rodger’s method, descriptive data concerning antecedents, attributes and consequences were qualitatively analyzed. A total of 39 articles were selected for analysis. Results: Attributes with a participatory approach were: “active involvement of both workers and employers”, “focusing on action-oriented low-cost and multiple area improvements based on good practices”, “the process of emphasis on consensus building”, and “utilization of a local network”. Antecedents of the participatory approach were classified as: “existing risks at the workplace”, “difficulty of occupational safety and health activities”, “characteristics of the workplace and workers”, and “needs for the workplace”. The derived consequences were: “promoting occupational safety and health activities”, “emphasis of self-management”, “creation of safety and healthy workplace”, and “contributing to promotion of quality of life and productivity”. Conclusions: A participatory approach in occupational safety and health is defined as, the process of emphasis on consensus building to promote occupational safety and health activities with emphasis on self-management, which focuses on action-oriented low-cost and multiple area improvements based on good practices with active involvement of both workers and employers through utilization of local networks. We recommend that the role of the occupational health professional be clarified and an evaluation framework be established for the participatory approach to promote occupational safety and health activities by involving both workers and employers.
Objectives: Ever since the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant (NPP) accident, every day about 3,000 workers have been working to repair the situation. The frequent occurrence of heat disorders has been a concern for the workers wearing protective clothing with poor ventilation. We have been analyzing the heat disorder problem since the accident in order to come up with a solution to prevent future heat disorder incidents among Fukushima Daiichi NPP accident clean-up workers. Methods: From March 22 to September 16, 2011, the Fukushima Labor Bureau assessed 43 cases of nuclear power plant workers with heat disorders. Age of subject, month and time of occurrence, temperature, and humidity were examined for each case, as well as the severity of heat disorders. The grade of severity was divided into Grade I and Grade II or higher. Then, age, temperature, and humidity were analyzed using the Mann-Whitney Utest, and age, temperature, humidity, and presence or absence of a cool-vest were analyzed using the χ2 test and logistic regression analysis. SPSS version 17.0 statistical software was used with a level of significance of p< 0.05. Results: Heat disorders occurred most frequently in subjects in their 40s (30.2%), followed by those in their 30s (25.6%), mostly in July (46.5%) between 7 am and 12 pm (69.8%). Heat disorders occurred most frequently in environments with temperatures more than 25°C (76.7%) and humidity of 70–80% (39.5%). Heat disorders of Grade II or higher occurred in 10 cases, 5 of which were in June. According to statistical analysis, there were no significant differences in difference of severity for all factors. Conclusions: Heat disorders usually occur in workers aged 45–60; however, cases of heat disorders at the Fukushima Daiichi NPP occurred in clean-up workers at the relatively younger ages of 30–40, suggesting the need for heat disorder prevention measures for these younger workers. Heat disorder cases primarily occurred in the morning, necessitating preventive measures for the early hours of the day. In addition, because heat disorders of Grade II or higher occurred in June in 5 of 10 cases, we believe heat disorder precautions should be implemented from June. The lack of significant difference in severity difference may be attributable to the small number of cases or other factors. We think Fukushima Daiichi NPP accident clean-up workers need heat disorder prevention measures for their safety, based on the results of this study.
Objectives: Whole-body vibration (WBV) with high level acceleration is found in the workplaces of construction and mining, and has been reported to be associated with low back pain (LBP) experienced by operators of heavy vehicles as an occupational health problem. Because the work conditions with exposure to WBV include bending and twisting of the low back and other factors, the causal relationship between WBV and LBP has not yet been affirmed. A review suggesting the dose-response relationship between WBV with low acceleration and LBP has been published, although there is little evidence supporting the causal relationship. Therefore, we reviewed the dose-response relationship between WBV with low acceleration and LBP. Methods: We examined original articles which reported a dose-response relationship between WBV and LBP in addition to review articles with almost the same aims. Results and Discussion: Studies which examined imaging findings such as CT and MRI, objective indicators of LBP, do not confirm the causal relationship. Although many studies demonstrated a positive relationship between working periods and incidence of LBP, there were very few reports which recognized a dose-response relationship for the vibration acceleration below 1.0 m/s2 in which the 8-h energy-equivalent, combined frequency-weighted vibration of three diagonal, that is x, y and z, axes (root-sum-of-squares), Asum(8) was used as an index of vibration exposure. Conclusion: This paper reject the hypothesis of a dose-response relationship between WBV with low acceleration and LBP, concluding there is no evidence linking low level exposure to WBV with LBP for the Japan Society for Occupational Health to recommend 0.35 m/s2/as of Asum(8) as a tentative occupational exposure limits for WBV.