2014-06-01 12:00 - Messages

Pertinence et conditions d'utilisation des indices thermiques dans le contexte québécois

Cette étude s’intéresse à l’ensemble des contraintes thermiques, depuis les grands froids typiques du nord du Québec, jusqu’aux ambiances excessivement chaudes retrouvées dans certaines industries. Six indices thermiques ont été analysés en détail; trois d’entre eux s’appliquent au froid, un au confort thermique et deux visent les conditions excessivement chaudes.

Source: http://www.irsst.qc.ca/-publication-irsst-indices-thermiques-contexte-quebecois-r-824.html

Assessing the effectiveness of the Pesticides and Farmworker Health Toolkit

A curriculum for enhancing farmworkers' understanding of pesticide safety concepts
Among agricultural workers, migrant and seasonal farmworkers have been recognized as a special risk population because these laborers encounter cultural challenges and linguistic barriers while attempting to maintain their safety and health within their working environments. The crop-specific Pesticides and Farmworker Health Toolkit (Toolkit) is a pesticide safety and health curriculum designed to communicate to farmworkers pesticide hazards commonly found in their working environments and to address Worker Protection Standard (WPS) pesticide training criteria for agricultural workers. The goal of this preliminary study was to test evaluation items for measuring knowledge increases among farmworkers and to assess the effectiveness of the Toolkit in improving farmworkers' knowledge of key WPS and risk communication concepts when the Toolkit lesson was delivered by trained trainers in the field. After receiving training on the curriculum, four participating trainers provided lessons using the Toolkit as part of their regular training responsibilities and orally administered a pre- and post-lesson evaluation instrument to 20 farmworker volunteers who were generally representative of the national farmworker population. Farmworker knowledge of pesticide safety messages significantly (P <.05) increased after participation in the lesson. Further, items with visual alternatives were found to be most useful in discriminating between more and less knowledgeable farmworkers. The pilot study suggests that the Pesticides and Farmworker Health Toolkit is an effective, research-based pesticide safety and health intervention for the at-risk farmworker population and identifies a testing format appropriate for evaluating the Toolkit and other similar interventions for farmworkers in the field.

Source: Leprevost CE, Storm JF, Asuaje CR, Arellano C, Cope WG. J. Agromed. 2014; 19(2): 96-102.


Safe work practices
Swimming pools, water parks, hot tubs, and spas are popular places for playing, exercising, and relaxing. Due to British Columbia's varied climate and people's desire to swim or soak year-round, many of these facilities are located indoors. Various disinfectants, including chlorine, are used to kill pathogens (viruses, bacteria, parasites, etc.) in the water. Chlorine interacts with material from bathers (sweat, urine, sunscreen, cosmetics, etc.) to form chemical by-products such as chloramines.
Chloramines have been associated with upper respiratory and eye irritation. They may also lead to longer-term heath issues such as asthma. In order to reduce their workers' exposure to these chemicals, employers need to monitor and maintain water quality at these facilities. Employers should also remind people who use the pool to shower before entering the water and to use the proper washroom facilities.

Source: http://www.worksafebc.com/publications/health_and_safety/by_topic/assets/pdf/bk147.pdf?_ga=1.226055258.1319832364.1398169538

The impact of heatwaves on workers' health and safety in Adelaide, South Australia

This study aims to investigate the impact of heatwaves on worker?s health and safety; to identify workers at higher risk of prevalent illnesses and injuries due to heatwaves; and to provide evidence for policy-makers and service providers. South Australian workers? compensation claims data for 2001-2010 were transformed into time series format, merged with meteorological data and analysed using generalized estimating equation (GEE) models. For total injury claims there was no significant difference detected between heatwave and non-heatwave periods. However, for outdoor industries, daily claims increased significantly by 6.2% during heatwaves. Over-represented in hot weather were male labourers and tradespersons aged ≥55 years, and those employed in 'agriculture, forestry and fishing' and 'electricity, gas and water'. Occupational burns, wounds, lacerations, and amputations as well as heat illnesses were significantly associated with heatwaves. Similarly, moving objects, contact with chemicals, and injuries related to environmental factors increased significantly during heatwaves, especially among middle-aged and older male workers. With the predicted increase of extremely hot weather, there is a need for relevant adaptation and prevention measures at both practice and policy levels for vulnerable work groups.

Source: Xiang J, Bi P, Pisaniello D, Hansen A. Environ. Res. 2014; 133C: 90-95. 

Nouvelle fiche pour repérer les cancérogènes

Une nouvelle fiche d'aide au repérage (FAR) de produits cancérogènes vient d'être publiée, concernant l'entretien des espaces verts. Par ailleurs, 15 fiches FAR et une fiche FAS existantes viennent d'être mises à jour. La liste complète des 87 fiches actuellement disponibles dans la collection des FAR ou des FAS (aide à la substitution) est également proposée.

Source: http://www.inrs.fr/accueil/header/actualites/nouvelles-far-fas.html

Anaphylaxis as occupational risk

PURPOSE OF REVIEW: Anaphylaxis is a severe form of allergic reaction that may cause death. Main triggers of anaphylaxis have been reported to also cause occupational anaphylaxis (OcAn). The purpose of this article was to summarize the current scientific evidence on OcAn and review the specific literature published in 2012 and 2013. RECENT FINDINGS: Allergens derived from Hymenoptera and natural rubber latex are the most frequently reported triggers of OcAn, but other high and low-molecular weight agents have been described. Among the latter, foods, insects, snakes, chemicals, and medications have been described in the last 2 years. Furthermore, reviews on the clinical significance of immunological contact urticaria as a risk factor for systemic allergic reaction and on Hymenoptera venom immunotherapy have been published. SUMMARY: OcAn is a serious event, and several agents and occupations have been identified as responsible. In any occupational setting, where there is a worker with a history of previous anaphylactic reactions, and in occupations at greater risk, a written emergency management plan of anaphylaxis episodes, along with the availability of adrenaline and trained personnel, are mandatory. Venom immunotherapy should be considered for patients with Hymenoptera venom allergy.

Source: Moscato G, Pala G, Crivellaro M, Siracusa A. Curr. Opin. Allergy Clin. Immunol. 2014.

Biological Effects of Emissions From Resistance Spot Welding of Zinc-Coated Material After Controlled Exposure of Healthy Human Subjects

Objective: Do emissions from a resistance spot welding process of zinc-coated materials induce systemic inflammation in healthy subjects after exposure for 6 hours?
Methods: Twelve healthy male subjects were exposed once for 6 hours either to filtered ambient air or to welding fume from resistance spot welding of zinc-coated material (mass concentration approximately 100 μg m−3). Biological effects were measured before, after, and 24 hours after exposure.
Results: At the concentrations used in this study, however, the suspected properties of ultrafine particles did not lead to systemic inflammation as reflected by high-sensitivity C-reactive protein or other endpoint parameters under consideration.
Conclusions: Ultrafine particles from a resistance spot welding process of zinc-covered materials with a number concentration of about 106 cm−3 and a mass concentration of about 100 μg m−3 did not induce systemic inflammation.

Source: Gube, Monika; Kraus, Thomas; Lenz, Klaus; Reisgen, Uwe; Brand, Peter. Journal of Occupational & Environmental Medicine: June 2014 - Volume 56 - Issue 6 - p 673–677. http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/JOM.0000000000000170

Association between pesticide exposure and suicide rates in Brazil

INTRODUCTION: The association between pesticide use and an increased suicide risk is a controversial issue. Previous studies have shown higher rates of suicide among agricultural workers and people living in small municipalities, but have not identified the causes of these results.
OBJECTIVE: To investigate the association between pesticide exposure and suicide rates.
METHODS: Crude suicide rates of a 15-year time series (1996-2010) were examined, followed by an ecological study using age-standardized suicide rates for the period 2006-2010. The unit of analysis was all 558 Brazilian micro-regions. Pesticide exposure was evaluated according to the proportion of farms that used pesticides and had reported cases of pesticide poisonings. The statistics were analysed using Pearson's correlation and multiple linear regression adjusted for socioeconomic, demographic and cultural factors.
RESULTS: Among the age group that was analysed, the mean suicide rate was 6.4 cases/100,000 per year in the 2006-2010 period, with a male/female ratio of 4.2. The times series showed that there were higher suicide rates among people aged 35-64 years and among men aged 15-34 years. The ecological analysis showed that the suicide rates were higher in micro-regions with a higher proportion of farms run by 35-64 year olds, female workers and on farms with better economic indicators (higher farming income, level of mechanization and farm area). There was a positive association between the Catholic religion and suicide rates. Micro-regions with a greater use of pesticides, and with a high proportion of pesticide poisoning had the highest suicide rates for all three groups analysed: both genders, men, and women (p ranging from 0.01 to p<0.001).
CONCLUSION: This study reinforces the hypothesis that pesticide use and pesticide poisoning increase the suicide rates. However, due to the limitations of the study's ecological design, such as ecological fallacy, further appropriately designed studies are needed to confirm the causal relationships.

Source: Faria NM, Fassa AG, Meucci RD. Neurotoxicology, 2014.

EU-OSHA stimulates debate on workplace risks to reproductivity

Various reproductive hazards can be found at the workplace, not only from chemicals, but also from physical, biological, ergonomic or other factors. While the issue of reproductive risks has largely been stigmatised on women, and mostly pregnant women, these risk factors can in fact affect both women's and men's reproductive health and some may also have effects on their children, even on the long term. Awareness at the workplace level is low and targeted information limited.
A workshop organised by EU OSHA in cooperation with the French Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health and Safety (ANSES) provided preliminary results of EU-OSHA research, to stimulate debate on workplace risks to reproductivity and to support a constructive dialogue between stakeholders. The research is part of a large-scale activity that the Agency is undertaking to address work-related diseases.

Source: https://osha.europa.eu/en/news/eu-osha-stimulates-debate-on-workplace-risks-to-reproductivity

The use of Bayesian inference to inform the surveillance of temperature-related occupational morbidity in Ontario, Canada, 2004-2010

PURPOSE: To assess the associations of occupational heat and cold-related illnesses presenting in emergency departments in south western Ontario, Canada, with daily meteorological conditions using Bayesian inference.
METHODOLOGY: Meteorological and air pollution data for the south western economic region of Ontario were gathered from Environment Canada and the Ministry of Environment. Daily heat and cold-related emergency department visits clinically attributed to work from 2004 to 2010 were tabulated. A novel application of Bayesian inference on a flexible Poisson time series model was undertaken to examine linear and non-linear associations between average, regional meteorological conditions and daily morbidity rates, to adjust for relevant confounders and temporal trends, and to consider potential interactions.
RESULTS: Bilinear associations were observed between regional temperatures and morbidities resulting from extreme temperature exposures. The median increase in the daily rate of emergency department visits for heat illness was 75% for each degree above 22°C (posterior 95% credible interval (CI) relative rate=1.56-1.99) in the daily maximum temperature. Below 0°C, rates of occupational cold illness increased by a median of 15% for each degree decrease in the minimum temperature (posterior 95% CI 0.80-0.91); wind speed also had a significant effect.
CONCLUSIONS: The observed associations can inform occupational surveillance and injury prevention programming, as well as public health efforts targeting vulnerable populations. Methodologically, the use of Bayesian inference in time series analyses of meteorological exposures is feasible and conducive to providing accurate advice for policy and practice.

Source: Fortune M, Mustard C, Brown P. Environ. Res. 2014; 132C: 449-456.

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