2014-06-01 12:00 - Messages

Why are occupational health and safety training approaches not effective?

Understanding young worker learning processes using an ergonomic lens
Young workers are frequently injured at work. Education and awareness strategies to prevent injuries among young workers are common but they are often ineffective. These approaches emphasize teaching, rather than learning strategies, and appear to contradict recent competency-based developments in education science. This study aimed to gain insight into the actual safety skills learning process of adolescents in an internship in a high school vocational training program. The results are based on auto and allo-confrontation interviews from an ergonomics intervention study with nine apprentices and five experienced coworkers involved in the training. This technique is suited to obtaining qualitative data on work activities; it consists of interviewing apprentices and co-workers about videotaped work observations to capture the thought processes behind their action. The findings reveal that learning in an actual situation poses challenges because working conditions and also learning conditions are not always optimal. Such conditions prompt apprentices to develop novel strategies to manage unexpected situations. At times, this involved side-stepping a safety rule in order to meet work demands. The use of an ergonomics actual work activity approach allowed the merging of two research topics rarely found together: the socio-ecological paradigm in education and the development of original interventions to prevent occupational injuries among young workers. This intersection of educational theory and injury prevention strategies provides new avenue for improving vocational training programs and developing primary prevention interventions in occupational health and safety programs that target youth.

Source: Laberge, Marie, MacEachen, Ellen, et Calvet, Bénédicte. (2014). Safety Science, 68, 250-257. 

Improving health and safety conditions in agriculture through professional training of Florida farm labor supervisors

Because farm labor supervisors (FLSs) are responsible for ensuring safe work environments for thousands of workers, providing them with adequate knowledge is critical to preserving worker health. Yet a challenge to offering professional training to FLSs, many of whom are foreign-born and have received different levels of education in the US and abroad, is implementing a program that not only results in knowledge gains but meets the expectations of a diverse audience. By offering bilingual instruction on safety and compliance, the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) FLS Training program is helping to improve workplace conditions and professionalize the industry. A recent evaluation of the program combined participant observation and surveys to elicit knowledge and satisfaction levels from attendees of its fall 2012 trainings. Frequency distributions and dependent- and independent-means t-tests were used to measure and compare participant outcomes. The evaluation found that attendees rated the quality of their training experience as either high or very high and scored significantly better in posttraining knowledge tests than in pretraining knowledge tests across both languages. Nonetheless, attendees of the trainings delivered in English had significantly higher posttest scores than attendees of the trainings delivered in Spanish. As a result, the program has incorporated greater standardization of content delivery and staff development. Through assessment of its program components and educational outcomes, the program has documented its effectiveness and offers a replicable approach that can serve to improve the targeted outcomes of safety and health promotion in other states.

Source: Morera MC, Monaghan PF, Tovar-Aguilar JA, Galindo-Gonzalez S, Roka FM, Asuaje C. J. Agromed. 2014; 19(2): 117-122.

Subir un comportement hostile dans le cadre du travail

Plus de 20 % des salariés s'estiment concernés
En 2010, d'après l'enquête Sumer, 22 % des salariés déclarent que dans le cadre de leur travail, ils sont confrontés systématiquement à un ou des comportements hostiles.
Ceux-ci peuvent prendre la forme de marques de mépris (plus souvent évoquées par les femmes), de dénis de reconnaissance du travail (davantage cités par les hommes) ou, plus rarement, d'atteintes dégradantes.
Ils émanent le plus souvent de personnes appartenant au collectif de travail (collègues ou hiérarchie). Les employés de commerce et de services, les fonctionnaires et agents à statut, les jeunes et les salariés étrangers ressortissants de pays hors de l'Union européenne se déclarent plus souvent touchés que la moyenne.
Les comportements hostiles apparaissent plus fréquents quand l'organisation du travail est marquée par des horaires atypiques ou par des dysfonctionnements, en particulier le manque de moyens pour effectuer correctement son travail et le manque d'autonomie. Les salariés concernés par ces comportements se déclarent plus souvent en mauvaise santé, ont davantage d'accidents du travail et sont plus souvent absents de leur travail que l'ensemble des salariés.

Source: http://travail-emploi.gouv.fr/IMG/pdf/2014-044.pdf

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.

Do working conditions explain the increased risks of disability pension among men and women with low education?

A follow-up of Swedish cohorts
Objectives: Rates of disability pension are greatly increased among people with low education. This study examines the extent to which associations between education and disability pensions might be explained by differences in working conditions. Information on individuals at age 13 years was used to assess confounding of associations.
Method: Two nationally representative samples of men and women born in 1948 and 1953 in Sweden (22 889 participants in total) were linked to information from social insurance records on cause (musculoskeletal, psychiatric, and other) and date (from 1986–2008) of disability pension. Education data were obtained from administrative records. Occupation data were used for measurement of physical strain at work and job control. Data on paternal education, ambition to study, and intellectual performance were collected in school.
Results: Women were found to have higher rates of disability pension than men, regardless of diagnosis, whereas men had a steeper increase in disability pension by declining educational level. Adjustment of associations for paternal education, ambition to study, and intellectual performance at age 13 had a considerable attenuating effect, also when disability pension with a musculoskeletal diagnosis was the outcome. Despite this, high physical strain at work and low job control both contributed to explain the associations between low education and disability pensions in multivariable models.
Conclusion: Working conditions seem to partly explain the increased rate of disability pension among men and women with lower education even though this association does reflect considerable selection effects based on factors already present in late childhood.

Source: Falkstedt D, Backhans M, Lundin A, Allebeck P, Hemmingsson T. Scand J Work Environ Health, 2014.

Evaluation of a pilot promotora program for Latino forest workers in southern Oregon

BACKGROUND: Forest work, an occupation with some of the highest injury and illness rates, is conducted primarily by Latino immigrant workers. This study evaluates a pilot program where promotoras (lay community health educators) provided occupational health and safety trainings for Latino forest workers.
METHODS: Evaluation methods included a focus group, post-tests, and qualitative feedback.
RESULTS: Community capacity to address working conditions increased through (i) increased leadership and community access to information and resources; and (ii) increased worker awareness of workplace health and safety rights and resources. Fear of retaliation remains a barrier to workers taking action; nevertheless, the promotoras supported several workers in addressing-specific workplace issues.
CONCLUSIONS: For working conditions to significantly improve, major structural influences need to be addressed. A long-term, organizationally supported promotora program can play a key role in linking and supporting change at the individual, interpersonal and community levels, contributing to and supporting structural change.

Source: Bush DE, Wilmsen C, Sasaki T, Barton-Antonio D, Steege AL, Chang C. Am. J. Ind. Med. 2014.

The impacts of multiple rest-break periods on commercial truck driver's crash risk

INTRODUCTION: Driver fatigue has been a major contributing factor to fatal commercial truck crashes, which accounted for about 10% of all fatal motor vehicle crashes that happened between 2009 and 2011. Commercial truck drivers' safety performance can deteriorate easily due to fatigue caused by long driving hours and irregular working schedules. To ensure safety, truck drivers often use off-duty time and short rest breaks during a trip to recover from fatigue. METHOD: This study thoroughly investigates the impacts of off-duty time prior to a trip and short rest breaks on commercial truck safety by using Cox proportional hazards model and Andersen-Gill model. RESULTS: It is found that increasing total rest-break duration can consistently reduce fatigue-related crash risk. Similarly, taking more rest breaks can help to reduce crash risk. The results suggest that two rest breaks are generally considered enough for a 10-hour trip, as three or more rest breaks may not further reduce crash risk substantially. Also, the length of each rest break does not need to be very long and 30min is usually adequate. In addition, this study investigates the safety impacts of when to take rest breaks. It is found that taking rest breaks too soon after a trip starts will cause the rest breaks to be less effective. PRACTICAL APPLICATIONS: The findings of this research can help policy makers and trucking companies better understand the impacts of multiple rest-break periods and develop more effective rules to improve the safety of truck drivers.

Source: Chen C, Xie Y. J. Saf. Res. 2014; 48: 87-93.

La santé et la sécurité du travail dans les centres de formation professionnelle

La prévention, un projet collectif
Ce document vise à fournir des connaissances et des pistes de travail pour développer la santé et la sécurité du travail (SST) dans les centres de formation professionnelle (CFP) ou pour poursuivre le travail amorcé. Il peut aussi être utile pour les programmes techniques au collégial. Il s'appuie sur les résultats de la recherche Formation professionnelle et SST : Exploration des problématiques concernant les élèves et les enseignants en centres de formation professionnelle en contexte dynamique d'enseignement et d'apprentissage.
Il s'adresse aux personnes qui évoluent et interviennent dans les secteurs de la formation professionnelle et technique, soit : les directions et les ressources professionnelles, les enseignantes et les enseignants, les élèves, toutes autres personnes qui interviennent en SST dans les commissions scolaires, les CFP et les collèges.
Le cœur du document est composé de quatre fiches correspondant aux quatre aspects de prévention à prendre en compte pour une SST durable. Ces fiches permettent de consulter les principaux résultats de la recherche et de cerner, pour votre milieu, les aspects positifs à préserver et ceux sur lesquels travailler. Les deux autres fiches fournissent un résumé de la recherche ainsi que des pistes de réflexion.

Source: http://www.irsst.qc.ca/-publication-irsst-centres-formation-professionnelle-rf-802.html

Work preferences after 50

This policy brief highlights findings on a specific topic from Eurofound's European Quality of Life Survey (EQLS) that is of particular interest from a policy perspective. It brings results of the analysis of these data together with evidence from other Eurofound projects to formulate a number of policy pointers. The focus of this policy brief is the weekly working time preferences of people aged 50 and over.

Source: http://www.eurofound.europa.eu/publications/htmlfiles/ef1403.htm

Is Sickness Presenteeism a Risk Factor for Depression?

A Danish 2-Year Follow-Up Study
Objective: To examine the prospective association between sickness presenteeism (SP), that is, working while ill, and the onset of depression.
Methods: We carried out a two-wave (2006 to 2008) questionnaire-based study among 1271 employees from 60 Danish workplaces. Sickness presenteeism was assessed by asking participants to report the number of days that they went to work despite illness in the preceding year.
Results: Multivariate logistic regression revealed that, after controlling for several health-related variables and other relevant confounders, reporting 8 or more days of SP was associated with an increased risk of depression among initially nondepressed participants (odds ratio, 2.45; 95% confidence interval, 1.06 to 5.64). No significant sex-related differences were observed in this relationship.
Conclusion: Adding to previous evidence on the health effects of SP, this study suggests that working while ill may also be a significant risk factor for the development of depression.

Source: Conway, Paul Maurice; Hogh, Annie; Rugulies, Reiner; Hansen, Åse Marie. Journal of Occupational & Environmental Medicine: June 2014 - Volume 56 - Issue 6 - p 595–603.

A retrospective cohort study of shift work and risk of incident cancer among German male chemical workers

Objective: Human evidence of carcinogenicity concerning shift work is inconsistent. This industry-based cohort study aimed to examine the relationship between working in a rotating shift and cancer incidence.
Methods: The cohort consisted of male production workers (12 609 shift and 15 219 day), employed in a large chemical industry for at least one year between 1995–2005, and residing in the German federal state of Rhineland-Palatinate. Incident cancer cases from 2000–2009 were identified through record linkage with the cancer registry of Rhineland-Palatinate. Information on exposure to shift work and potential confounders, including age, smoking status, job level, and employment duration, was extracted from the personnel and health records. Cox proportional hazard models were used to estimate hazard ratios (HR) with 95% confidence interval (95% CI) adjusted for potential confounders.
Results: Between 2000–2009, 518 and 555 cancer cases (excluding non-melanoma skin cancer) occurred among shift and day work employees, respectively. Compared to “never shift work”, shift workers experienced an increased risk of cancers neither at all-sites (HR 1.04, 95% CI 0.89–1.21) nor for prostate cancer in particular (HR 0.93, 95% CI 0.71–1.21). The risks of leukemia and esophagus cancer were increased if smoking was not taken into account, albeit based on small numbers. However, adjusting for smoking changed the HR and the risk diminished.
Conclusions: Our analyses do not provide evidence for a carcinogenic effect of the shift system under study.

Source: Yong M, Blettner M, Emrich K, Nasterlack M, Oberlinner C, Hammer GP. Scand J Work Environ Health. 2014. 

Qualité de vie au travail dans les établissements de santé

La Haute Autorité de Santé (HAS) et l'Anact publient leurs travaux
La qualité de vie au travail a pour objectif de concilier les modalités de l'amélioration des conditions de travail et de vie pour les salariés et la performance collective de l'entreprise. Elle s'intéresse aux conditions dans lesquelles les salariés effectuent leur travail. Leur capacité à s'exprimer et à agir sur le contenu de celui-ci détermine la perception de la qualité de vie au travail qui en résulte. Elle est un objet à part entière du dialogue social dans l'entreprise Le modèle de la qualité de vie au travail repose sur l'expérimentation et l'évaluation, la réflexivité, l'apprentissage permettant ainsi la création en commun de règles.
Plus que dans d'autres secteurs d'activité, les professionnels de la santé sont confrontés au travail morcelé, à l'interruption des tâches, à une forte sollicitation psychologique, à des évolutions technologiques et à des modifications organisationnelles qui ont un impact sur leur qualité de vie au travail. Parallèlement, la littérature internationale montre un lien entre les conditions de travail et des dimensions de la qualité des soins prodigués au patient.

Source: http://www.anact.fr/web/actualite/essentiel?p_thingIdToShow=38021636

Les conditions de travail des Européens se sont dégradées au cours des 5 dernières années

La Commission européenne publie les résultats d'une enquête sur les conditions de travail des Européens et sur l'impact que la crise économique a pu avoir sur celles-ci. L'enquête a été réalisée auprès d'un échantillon représentatif de 26 500 actifs européens. Elle révèle une détérioration générale des conditions de travail ainsi que de grandes disparités en matière de satisfaction des travailleurs selon les pays.
La plupart des travailleurs se disent satisfaits de leurs conditions de travail (77% en moyenne dans l'UE) et de la santé et la sécurité au travail (85%). Plus de 80% des personnes interrogées au Luxembourg, en Finlande et aux Pays-Bas estiment que leurs conditions de travail sont bonnes. Viennent ensuite l'Autriche, la Belgique, le Royaume-Uni et l'Estonie.
Mais bien que globalement les Européens se disent satisfaits, la majorité d'entre eux (57%) déplore une dégradation générale de leurs conditions de travail sur les 5 dernières années. La dégradation concerne surtout la France (62%), Chypre et la Hongrie (75%), le Portugal (78%), la Slovénie (84%), l'Italie (85%), l'Espagne (86%) et la Grèce (88%).

Source: http://www.eurogip.fr/fr/eurogip-infos-actu?id=3697

Physical Assaults Among Education Workers

Findings From a Statewide Study
OBJECTIVE: Enumerate and describe physical assaults occurring to Pennsylvania education workers.
METHODS: A cross-sectional survey was mailed to a random sample of 6450 workers, stratified on gender, occupation, and region. Logistic regression was used to examine risk factors for physical assault.
RESULTS: During the 2009-2010 school year, 309 of 2514 workers were assaulted 597 times. Special education teachers, urban workers, and those in their first 3 years of employment were at an increased risk. Most assaults did not lead to medical care or time away from work; however, those assaulted were significantly more likely to find work stressful, have low job satisfaction, and consider leaving the education field (adjusted odds ratio [AOR] = 2.5 [95% CI = 1.5 to 4.1]; AOR = 2.4 [95% CI = 1.5 to 3.9]; AOR = 10.7 [95% CI = 4.1 to 28.1]).
CONCLUSIONS: Although education workers experienced few serious physical assaults, the impact of this violence was considerable.

Source: Tiesman HM, Hendricks S, Konda S, Hartley D. J. Occup. Environ. Med. 2014.

Social dialogue in micro and small companies

Micro and small companies constitute the backbone of private business in Europe, accounting for nearly 99% of all enterprises, more than half of total employment in the private sector and an even greater proportion of new jobs. Despite their crucial place in the economy, there has been little research on micro and small companies, particularly in terms of the implementation of fundamental workers' rights – such as health and safety at work – and the positive role of social dialogue in striving for good working conditions and industrial relations. Given this knowledge gap, Eurofound undertook a research project aimed at investigating industrial relations and social dialogue in micro and small companies. The research was based on various information sources, including a review of Eurofound's earlier research and other literature on the topic, a comparative evaluation of contributions from 28 national correspondents and 10 case studies of good practice in micro and small companies in five countries.

Source : http://www.eurofound.europa.eu/publications/htmlfiles/ef1412.htm

Workplace bullying as an antecedent of mental health problems

A five-year prospective and representative study
PURPOSE: The present study investigates the proposed long-term relationship between exposure to workplace bullying and subsequent mental health in the form of anxiety and depression with a time lag of 5 years, exploring potential gender differences in these relationships.
METHODS: The study employs a prospective design with a 5-year time lag in a representative sample of the Norwegian workforce. A cohort of 1,613 employees reported on their exposure to workplace bullying and their symptoms of anxiety and depression at both measurement times.
RESULTS: The results showed exposure to workplace bullying to be a significant predictor of mental health problems 5 years on, even after controlling for baseline mental health status, gender, age, job-change, job demands and job control, yet for men only. Baseline levels of mental health problems in terms of symptoms of anxiety and depression did not predict subsequent exposure to bullying at follow-up among women, but anxiety did in the case of men.
CONCLUSION: Workplace bullying poses a serious long-term threat to the health and well-being of workers, at least for men. The results of the study pinpoint the need for mental health treatment as well as for preventive measures in relation to workplace bullying, and pinpoint the need for a gender perspective in these studies.

Source: Einarsen S, Nielsen MB. Int. Arch. Occup. Environ. Health. 2014.

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