Category Archives: Health & Safety

Peaks, Means, and Determinants of Real-Time TVOC Exposures Associated with Cleaning and Disinfecting Tasks in Healthcare Settings

Source: M Abbas Virji Xiaoming Liang Feng-Chiao Su Ryan F LeBouf Aleksandr B Stefaniak Marcia L Stanton Paul K Henneberger E Andres Houseman, Annals of Work Exposures and Health, Advance Articles, June 4, 2019
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
Cleaning and disinfecting tasks and product use are associated with elevated prevalence of asthma and respiratory symptoms among healthcare workers; however, the levels of exposure that pose a health risk remain unclear. The objective of this study was to estimate the peak, average, and determinants of real-time total volatile organic compound (TVOC) exposure associated with cleaning tasks and product-use. TVOC exposures were measured using monitors equipped with a photoionization detector (PID). A simple correction factor was applied to the real-time measurements, calculated as a ratio of the full-shift average TVOC concentrations from a time-integrated canister and the PID sample, for each sample pair. During sampling, auxiliary information, e.g. tasks, products used, engineering controls, was recorded on standardized data collection forms at 5-min intervals. Five-minute averaged air measurements (n = 10 276) from 129 time-series comprising 92 workers and four hospitals were used to model the determinants of exposures. The statistical model simultaneously accounted for censored data and non-stationary autocorrelation and was fit using Markov-Chain Monte Carlo within a Bayesian context. Log-transformed corrected concentrations (cTVOC) were modeled, with the fixed-effects of tasks and covariates, that were systematically gathered during sampling, and random effect of person-day. The model-predicted geometric mean (GM) cTVOC concentrations ranged from 387 parts per billion (ppb) for the task of using a product containing formaldehyde in laboratories to 2091 ppb for the task of using skin wipes containing quaternary ammonium compounds, with a GM of 925 ppb when no products were used. Peak exposures quantified as the 95th percentile of 15-min averages for these tasks ranged from 3172 to 17 360 ppb. Peak and GM task exposures varied by occupation and hospital unit. In the multiple regression model, use of sprays was associated with increasing exposures, while presence of local exhaust ventilation, large room volume, and automatic sterilizer use were associated with decreasing exposures. A detailed understanding of factors affecting TVOC exposure can inform targeted interventions to reduce exposures and can be used in epidemiologic studies as metrics of short-duration peak exposures.

Safety climate, hearing climate and hearing protection device use among transportation road maintainers

Source: Jennifer M. Cavallari, Katrina A. Burch, Jeffrey Hanrahan, Jennifer L. Garza, Alicia G. Dugan, American Journal of Industrial Medicine, Early View, First published: May 19, 2019
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
Background:
It is important to understand workplace factors including safety climate that influence hearing protection device (HPD) use. We sought to investigate the association between HPD use, safety climate, and hearing climate, a new measure specific to hearing.

Methods:
A survey was developed and distributed among transportation “maintainers” who perform road maintenance and repair. A new hearing climate measure was designed by adapting a safety climate measure. HPD use was assessed by asking workers how often they wear HPD while in noise. The differences in safety climate and hearing climate were compared by the frequency of HPD use using analysis of variance.

Results:
Among 166 maintainers, 54% reported always or almost always wearing HPD while noise exposed. High‐frequency HPD users reported a statistically significant higher safety climate (P = 0.004) and hearing climate (P = 0.003).

Conclusions:
Hearing climate predicts the frequency of HPD use and may be a useful measure when assessing and improving hearing conservation programs.

The Role of Training and Work-Related Injury on Home Health Workers’ Job Satisfaction: Analysis of the National Home and Hospice Care Survey

Source: Hanadi Hamadi, Janice C. Probst, M. Mahmud Khan, Aurora Tafili, Home Health Care Management & Practice, OnlineFirst, Published April 13, 2019
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
The purpose of this study was to describe personal, job, agency, environmental, and ergonomic factors that affect job satisfaction among home health workers (HHWs). A cross-sectional design was conducted, and data from the National Home and Hospice Care Survey (N = 3,274) were analyzed using a multilevel structural equation model (generalized structural equation model). HHWs with excellent training knowledge were about 1.5 times more likely to report a higher degree of job satisfaction compared with those with poor training knowledge, and those who reported a work-related injury were 66% more likely to report lower job satisfaction score. Job satisfaction is associated with work environment, leadership support, and work-related training. Future research and a follow-up survey are needed to understand HHWs’ workforce and be better positioned to meet their need so that they may meet the need of the aging population.

Work-related musculoskeletal symptoms among Traffic police: A Review

Source: Leela Paudel, Naresh Manandhar, Sunil Kumar Joshi, International Journal of Occupational Safety and Health, Vol. 8 no. 2, 2019
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
Workplace environment plays an important role in the health of the working population. The risk of adverse effects on health becomes high with the increase in duration of exposure to occupational hazards. Traffic police personnel are vulnerable to such situations. They undergo various hazards ranging from road injuries, physical hazards, biological hazards, chemical hazards, ergonomic hazards and psychological stress while they are at work. They have to keep on standing on same place throughout the duty hours, which also increases the risk of musculoskeletal problem. There have been very few researches to explore the situation of work-related musculoskeletal symptoms in traffic police. Recently, work-related musculoskeletal symptoms were the main cause of sickness absenteeism, reduction in productivity, and chronic occupational disabilities in traffic police have received much attention. Thus, this review has been designed to help the health care professional and occupational health and safety professionals to know the most prone body areas for Musculoskeletal Disorders so as to plan for ergonomic modification and improve quality of life of Traffic Police Personnel. It will also help in uplifting musculoskeletal health for Traffic Police Personnel.

Sex and Gender Role Differences in Occupational Exposures and Work Outcomes Among Registered Nurses in Correctional Settings

Source: Mazen El Ghaziri, Alicia G Dugan, Yuan Zhang, Rebecca Gore, Mary Ellen Castro, Annals of Work Exposures and Health, Advance Articles, March 30, 2019

From the abstract:
Background and context:
The correctional environment exposes registered nurses to unique occupational health hazards including, but not limited to, an increased risk for workplace violence. Gender role expectations regarding femininity and masculinity may influence occupational exposures and outcomes differently. Risk comparisons between male and female registered nurses working in correctional settings, have been minimally examined. With the proportion of male registered nurses working in corrections higher than that of nurses working in other healthcare sectors, and with the increasing number of males entering the nursing workforce in general, it is important to characterize and understand occupational exposures and outcomes of male and female registered nurses, especially those working in correctional settings.

Purpose/objectives:
This paper aims to describe and compare sex and gender role differences in occupational exposures and work outcomes among correctional registered nurses.

Methods:
A cross-sectional web-based survey using Qualtrics was administered to registered nurses working in a northeastern correctional healthcare system between June and October 2016. The survey was composed of 71 items from the CPH-NEW Healthy Workplace All Employee Survey, Assessing Risk of Exposure to Blood and Airborne Pathogens and General Health Survey, Bem Sex Role Inventory-Short Form (BSRI-SF), and the Negative Acts Questionnaire-Revised.

Results:
Of 95 registered nurse participants, 75% were female with the highest percentage identified as belonging to the feminine group (37%), while the highest percentage of male participants were identified as belonging to the androgynous group (33%). Females worked primarily on the first shift, while males tended to work the second and third shifts (P < 0.05). Over one third of all participants (37%) reported having experienced a sharps-related injury and having been exposed to blood-borne pathogens and body fluids within the previous 2–5 years. The majority of the participants (>95%) reported being at risk for workplace violence and having been victims of workplace violence perpetrated by an inmate. Significant gender differences (P < 0.0001) were noted in the bullying exposure with androgynous nurses having higher occasional bullying. There was a marginal difference in burnout for females (M = 6.8, SD = 2.1) and males (M = 5.8, SD = 1.9, P = 0.05). Implications: Effective interventions are needed to address the sex and gender role-based differences in bullying exposure and burnout in order to promote the overall health and well-being of correctional registered nurses.

Sun Protection Behaviors of State Park Workers in the Southeastern USA

Source: Vinayak K Nahar, Amanda H Wilkerson, Brian Martin, Javier F Boyas, Mary A Ford, John P Bentley, Paul Johnson, Kim R Beason, William H Black, Robert T Brodell, Annals of Work Exposures and Health, Advance Articles, March 27, 2019
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
Background:
Due to the nature of their work, state park workers receive substantial exposure to sunlight, putting them at an increased risk of developing skin cancer. Increased use of sun protection behaviors can reduce this risk.

Objectives:
Using the health belief model (HBM) as a theoretical framework, the purpose of this study was to assess factors associated with sun protection behaviors among state-park workers.

Methods:
In this cross-sectional study, a convenience sample of participants were recruited from 23 state parks in the Southeastern USA to complete a self-administered questionnaire based on the constructs of the HBM.

Results:
The sample comprised 310 state park workers. The majority of participants were non-Hispanic White (61.6%), male (63.5%), and were aged 39.56 (±13.97) years on average. The average duration of sun exposure during the workday was reported as 3.51 h (±1.88). Nearly 12% of the participants reported that their workplace had a sun-safety policy and ~10% reported receiving sun-safety training at their workplace. The majority of participants reported that they did not sufficiently use sun protection methods. Factors associated with sun protection behaviors included the HBM constructs of perceived benefits outweighing perceived barriers (standardized coefficient = 0.210, P = 0.001), self-efficacy (standardized coefficient = 0.333, P < 0.001), and cues to action (standardized coefficient = 0.179, P = 0.004). Conclusion: Future research should explore the barriers to adopting and enforcing sun-safety policies in the workplace. HBM appears to be efficacious in explaining sun protection behaviors among state park workers. HBM constructs should be considered in future interventions aimed at increasing sun protection behaviors in this population.

Endotoxin and Hydrogen Sulphide Exposure and Effects on the Airways Among Waste Water Workers in Sewage Treatment Plants and Sewer Net System

Source: Kari K Heldal, Åse D Austigard, Kristin H Svendsen, Elin Einarsdottir, Lars Ole Goffeng, Liv Ingun Sikkeland, Karl-Christian Nordby, Annals of Work Exposures and Health, Volume 63, Issue 4, May 2019
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
Background:
The purpose of this study is to investigate whether airborne exposure to endotoxins, hydrogen sulphide (H2S), and inhalable particles negatively impacts the respiratory system and inflammatory blood proteins in sewage plant and sewer net system workers and, further, to determine dose-response associations between exposure and health outcomes.

Methods:
In total, 148 waste water workers (WWWs) from urban and rural sewage plants and the sewer net system participated. One hundred and twenty-one workers were exposed to sewage, 46 from sewage plants and 75 from the sewer net system. Twenty-seven workers were characterized as little or not exposed and served as an internal reference group. Personal inhalable samples were analysed for endotoxins (Limulus assay), particle dust (gravimetrically) and Salmonella and Yersinia spp. (polymerase chain reaction method, PCR). Levels of H2S were measured using personal electro chemical sensors. Intercellular adhesion molecule 1 (ICAM-1), interleukin 8 (IL-8), surfactant protein D (SP-D), club cell protein 16 (CC16), and macrophage inflammatory protein (MIP) were determined by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay and C-reactive protein (CRP) by an HS-MicroCRP assay in blood samples.

Results:
Workers in sewage plants were exposed to significantly higher levels of endotoxins compared to workers in the sewer net system [median 55 EU m−3 (4–262 EU m−3) and median 27 EU m−3 (1–304 EU m−3), respectively]. The estimated H2S index showed higher values when working in the sewer net system [median 3.1 (0.5–78.1)] compared to workers at the sewage plants [median 1.3 (0.5–9.3)], and the most excessive exposure was collecting sewage from cesspools (273 p.p.m.). No viable airborne Salmonella and Yersinia spp. were detected. The exposed workers had significantly higher CRP compared to the referents [1.2 µg ml−1 (0.1–19.0 µg ml−1) and 0.8 µg ml−1 (0.1–5.0 µg ml−1), respectively] and lower forced expiratory volume in 1 s (FEV1)% [92.6%, standard deviation (SD) 14.6 and 102.0%, SD 10.1, respectively], with numbers given as mean and SD. The serum concentration of CRP was significantly and negatively associated with FEV1% (β = −7.7, R2 = 0.05) and forced vital capacity % (β = −8.5, R2 = 0.08), and the serum concentration of ICAM-1 with the estimated exposure to H2S (β = −19.9, R2 = 0.07).

Conclusion:
Despite moderate levels of endotoxin and H2S exposure, the results indicate an impact of these agents on lung function and the adhesion molecule ICAM-1, and a low-grade systemic inflammation was indicated in increased levels of CRP.

New Jersey Home Health Care Aides Survey Results

Source: Marilyn Lou Ridenour, Scott Hendricks, Daniel Hartley, James D. Blando, Home Health Care Management & Practice, OnlineFirst, Published February 27, 2019
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
The objective of the study was to report on what violence-based training home health care aides received, their participation in health promotion classes, and home health care aides’ experience with workplace violence. In 2013, a mail survey was completed by 513 home health care aides in the state of New Jersey. Ninety-four percent of the respondents were female. Respondents whose agency was part of a hospital were more likely to receive violence-based safety training than respondents whose agency was not part of a hospital (p = .0313). When the perpetrator of violence was a patient or family member, the respondents experienced verbal abuse the most (26%), then physical assault (16%) and exposure to bodily fluids (13%). Home health care aides whose agency was part of a hospital were more likely to receive violence-based safety training. Training is an important component of a workplace violence prevention program.

Officers’ Physical and Mental Health and Safety: Emerging Issues and Recommendations

Source: Strategic Applications International, COPS-W0862, released: November 2018

From the abstract:  
The OSW Group’s April 2018 meeting expanded on previous discussions of ways to support officers’ emotional health and organizational wellness. This meeting focused particularly on line-of-duty deaths in felonious assaults as well as in accidents, mental health and suicide, and crisis hotlines and other programs. Families, community members, and others can contribute to the important work that is needed in this area by supporting officer safety and wellness, participating in conversations and programming, and working to reduce the negative stigma surrounding mental health issues.