2015-05-01 12:00 - Messages

Worktime control access, need and use in relation to work-home interference, fatigue, and job motivation

Objective: Worktime control (WTC) has been suggested as a tool to reduce employees' work-home interference and fatigue and improve job motivation. The purpose of this study was twofold: (i) to examine the prevalence of employees' need for, access to, and use of WTC, as well as the incongruence between need for and access to WTC (ie, mismatch); and (ii) to examine the associations of this mismatch and the use of WTC with employees' work–home interference (WHI), fatigue and job motivation.
Methods: Questionnaire data were collected among a large (N=2420) quasi-representative sample of Dutch employees. The prevalence of WTC need, access, use, and mismatch was assessed by means of descriptive statistics. Associations with employees' outcomes were assessed by analyses of covariance.
Results: The need for WTC was highly prevalent. For many employees, we observed a negative mismatch between access to and need for WTC (ie, access<need). A negative WTC mismatch was associated with relatively high levels of WHI and fatigue, and lower job motivation. The use of WTC was also highly prevalent, but no meaningful associations were found with the outcome variables.
Conclusions: It is relevant to examine WTC comprehensively, that is, to include measurements of employees' need for and access to WTC and assess employees' (mis)match between components of WTC. For practice, we recommend to introduce WTC on an organizational level and assess employees' need for WTC on an individual basis.

Source: Nijp HH, Beckers DGJ, Kompier MAJ, van den Bossche SNJ, Geurts SAE. Scand J Work Environ Health, 2015. 

Organizational Safety Climate and Supervisor Safety Enforcement

Multilevel Explorations of the Causes of Accident Underreporting
According to national surveillance statistics, over 3 million employees are injured each year; yet, research indicates that these may be substantial underestimates of the true prevalence. The purpose of the current project was to empirically test the hypothesis that organizational safety climate and transactional supervisor safety leadership would predict the extent to which accidents go unreported by employees. Using hierarchical linear modeling and survey data collected from 1,238 employees in 33 organizations, employee-level supervisor safety enforcement behaviors (and to a less consistent extent, organizational-level safety climate) predicted employee accident underreporting. There was also a significant cross-level interaction, such that the effect of supervisor enforcement on underreporting was attenuated in organizations with a positive safety climate. These results may benefit human resources and safety professionals by pinpointing methods of increasing the accuracy of accident reporting, reducing actual safety incidents, and reducing the costs to individuals and organizations that result from underreporting.

Source: Probst TM. J. Appl. Psychol. 2015.

Workplace bullying and sickness presenteeism

Cross-sectional and prospective associations in a 2-year follow-up study
PURPOSE: The aim of this study was to investigate exposure to workplace bullying as a potential risk factor for sickness presenteeism (SP), i.e. working while ill. METHODS: This study is based on data collected through self-reported questionnaires in a 2-year prospective study on employees in Denmark. At baseline, 3363 employees (45.7 % response rate) answered to a questionnaire on their psychosocial work environment and health status. After 2 years, 1664 of the respondents also completed a follow-up questionnaire (49.5 % of the total baseline respondents). After excluding participants with missing values, the final samples were composed of 2865 and 1331 participants in the cross-sectional and prospective analyses, respectively. RESULTS: Modified poisson regression analyses showed that frequent (i.e. daily or weekly) exposure to workplace bullying was associated with reporting 8 or more days of SP in the preceding year in both the cross-sectional and the prospective analysis, also when controlling for several confounders including health-related variables. However, the prospective relationship became non-significant after adjustment for baseline SP. CONCLUSION: This study provides indications of a significant relationship between exposure to frequent workplace bullying and SP, although causal connections could not be established. Methodological and theoretical considerations about study findings are provided, which could be of benefit to future studies examining the impact of being a target of workplace bullying on SP  

Source: Conway PM, Clausen T, Hansen ÅM, et al. International Archives of Occupational and Environmental Health, 2015.

Workplace stress and working from home influence depressive symptoms among employed women with young children

BACKGROUND: Poor balance between work and family can be a major stressor for women with young children and have a negative impact on emotional well-being. Family-friendly workplace attributes may reduce stress and depressive symptoms among this population. However, few studies have analyzed the role of specific workplace attributes on mental health outcomes among women with young children because available data are limited.
PURPOSE: This study examines the impact of workplace attributes on changes in depressive symptoms among working women with young children between 6 and 24 months of age.
METHOD: This study uses data from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) Study of Early Child Care and Youth Development (SECCYD) collected between 1991 and 1993 to examine the effects of work intensity, work schedule (night/day/variable), schedule flexibility, working from home, and work stress on changes in depressive symptoms among a national US sample of 570 women who returned to work within 6 months after childbirth. Depressive symptoms were assessed using the CES-D score. Treatment effects were estimated using fixed effects regression models.
RESULTS: Working from home and work stress predicted within-individual changes in depressive symptoms between 6 and 24 months postchildbirth. Women who worked from home reported a statistically significant decrease in depression scores over time (β = -1.36, SE = 0.51, p = 0.002). Women who reported a one-unit increase in job concerns experienced, on average, a 2-point increase in depression scores over time (β = 1.73, SE = 0.37, p < 0.01). Work intensity, work schedule, and schedule flexibility were not associated with changes in depressive symptoms.
CONCLUSIONS: This study is one of the few to use longitudinal data and causal-inference techniques to examine whether specific workplace attributes influence depressive symptoms among women with young children. Reducing stress in the workplace and allowing women to work from home may improve mental health among women who transition back to work soon after childbirth.

Source: Shepherd-Banigan M, Bell JF, Basu A, Booth-LaForce C, Harris JR. Int. J. Behav. Med. 2015.

The dynamics of union responses to migrant workers in Canada

This study examines how five unions in the Canadian province of Alberta responded to a sudden influx of temporary foreign workers (TFWs), as part of Canadian employers' increased use of migrant workers in the mid-2000s. The authors find three types of response to the new TFW members: resistive, facilitative and active. Furthermore, these responses were dynamic and changing over time. The different responses are best explained not by the unions' institutional context, but by internal factors shaping each union's response. Drawing upon the concept of referential unionisms, the study explores how unions' self-identity shapes their responses to new challenges such as the influx of migrant workers.

Source: Jason Foster, Alison Taylor, and Candy Khan. Work, Employment & Society, June 2015; Vol. 29, No. 3.

Physical Capacity and Risk for Long-Term Sickness Absence

A Prospective Cohort Study Among 8664 Female Health Care Workers
Objective: To assess the prospective associations between self-reported physical capacity and risk of long-term sickness absence among female health care workers.
Methods: Female health care workers answered a questionnaire about physical capacity and were followed in a national register of sickness absence lasting for two or more consecutive weeks during 1-year follow-up. Using Cox regression hazard ratio analyses adjusted for age, smoking, body mass index, physical workload, job seniority, psychosocial work conditions, and previous sickness absence, we modeled risk estimates for sickness absence from low and medium physical capacity.
Results: Low and medium aerobic fitness, low muscle strength, low flexibility, and low overall physical capacity significantly increased the risk for sickness absence with 20% to 34% compared with health care workers with high capacity.
Conclusions: Low physical capacity increases the risk of long-term sickness absence among female health care workers.

Source: Rasmussen, Charlotte Diana Nørregaard; Andersen, Lars Louis; Clausen, Thomas; Strøyer, Jesper; Jørgensen, Marie Birk; Holtermann, Andreas. Journal of Occupational & Environmental Medicine: May 2015, Volume 57, Issue 5, p. 526-530.

Development and Validity of a Scale to Measure Workplace Culture of Health

Objective: To describe the development of and test the validity and reliability of the Workplace Culture of Health (COH) scale.
Methods: Exploratory factor analysis and confirmatory factor analysis were performed on data from a health care organization (N = 627). To verify the factor structure, confirmatory factor analysis was performed on a second data set from a medical equipment manufacturer (N = 226).
Results: The COH scale included a structure of five orthogonal factors: senior leadership and polices, programs and rewards, quality assurance, supervisor support, and coworker support. With regard to construct validity (convergent and discriminant) and reliability, two different US companies showed the same factorial structure, satisfactory fit statistics, and suitable internal and external consistency.
Conclusions: The COH scale represents a reliable and valid scale to assess the workplace environment and culture for supporting health.

Source: Journal of Occupational & Environmental Medicine: May 2015, Volume 57, Issue 5, p. 571-577.

Prevalence and demographic differences in microaccidents and safety behaviors among young workers in Canada

INTRODUCTION: The present study examines the self-reported frequency of non-lost work time workplace injuries ("microaccidents") and the frequency of three types of work-related safety behaviors (i.e., safety voice, safety compliance, and safety neglect) recalled over a four-week period.
METHOD: We analyzed data on microaccidents and safety behaviors from 19,547 young workers (aged 15-25years, Mdn=18years; 55% male) from multiple Canadian provinces.
RESULTS: Approximately one-third of all young workers recalled experiencing at least one microaccident at work in the last four weeks. Comparisons across three age groups revealed that younger workers, particularly between the ages of 15-18, reported more frequent microaccidents, less safety voice, less safety compliance, and more safety neglect than workers aged 19-22. This pattern of results also held for comparisons between workers in 19-22 and 23-25 age groups, except for safety voice which did not differ between these two older age groups. In terms of gender, males and females reported the same frequency of microaccidents, but males reported more safety voice, more safety compliance, and more safety neglect than females did. The results and limitations of the present study are discussed.
CONCLUSION: Frequency of microaccidents and safety behavior vary among young worker age sub-groups.

Source: Turner N, Tucker S, Kelloway EK. J. Saf. Res. 2015; 53: 39-43.

Occupational history of night shift work and Parkinson’s disease in Denmark

Objectives: We investigated whether working night shifts was associated with the risk of Parkinson's disease (PD).
Methods: Between January 2008 and December 2010, we recruited 1808 patients with a confirmed diagnosis of idiopathic PD from Denmark and 1876 population controls matched by year of birth and gender. Information on lifelong occupational history, including information on night work, smoking, caffeine and alcohol consumption habits, and family history of PD was collected through structured telephone interviews.
Results: Overall, there was no association between a history of night shift work and PD [odds ratio (OR) for any type of night work (ie, either permanent or rotating night work) 1.01, 95% confidence interval (95% CI) 0.86–1.21]. Compared with persons who never worked night shifts, risks of those with longer durations of night work did not appear to differ (OR<10 years=0.95, 95% CI 0.75–1.19, OR10-19 years= 1.09, 95% CI 0.77–1.53, OR≥20 years=1.05, 95% CI 0.81–1.37, P for trend=0.23). Associations were similar among men and women.
Conclusions :These data suggest that working night shifts is not associated with PD or that low tolerance for night shift work is an early marker of PD. Due to the novel and exploratory nature of these findings, confirmation is needed.

Source: Schernhammer ES, Lassen CF, Kenborg L, Ritz B, Olsen JH, Hansen J. Scand J Work Environ Health, 2015. 

Overlapping Vulnerabilities

The Occupational Health and Safety of Young Immigrant Workers in Small Construction Firms
The American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE) and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) are the initiators of an intervention effort to reach workers experiencing overlapping occupational safety and health (OSH) vulnerabilities in small construction businesses. This report focuses on three populations that research indicates are at increased risk for adverse work-related health outcomes—Hispanic immigrants (individuals born in Latin America who currently live in the United States), small business employees (firms with fewer than 20 employees), and young workers (25 years old)—with a specific focus on implications for the construction industry. It explores how the combination of risk factors may result in overlapping vulnerabilities for workers such as young immigrants in small construction firms and discusses the implications for OSH professionals.

Source: http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/docs/2015-178/

Shift work and mental health sickness absence

A 10-year observational cohort study among male production workers
Objectives: Epidemiological studies investigating mental-health-related sickness absence (SA) among shift workers are lacking. This 10-year observational study investigated the risk of mental health SA among shift compared with day workers.
Methods: The data of 5826 male production workers were used for analyses: 4288 (74%) shift and 1538 (26%) day workers. The risk of mental health SA was analyzed with Cox regression analysis. Hazard ratios (HR) and 95% confidence intervals (95% CI) were adjusted for age and occupational grade.
Results: During 10-year follow-up, 351 shift workers and 126 day workers had incident mental health SA. The risk of mental health SA did not differ (HR 1.03, 95% CI 0.84–1.26) between shift and day workers. Among shift workers, the risk of SA due to mood disorders (HR 1.87, 95% CI 0.73–4.76) was non-significantly higher than among day workers. A total of 96 shift workers and 21 day workers had recurrent mental health SA. The risk of recurrent mental health SA did not differ (HR 1.04, 95% CI 0.62–1.74) between shift and day workers.
Conclusion: The risk of incident and recurrent mental health SA did not differ between shift and day workers.

Source: Norder G, Roelen CAM, Bültmann U, van der Klink JJL. Scand J Work Environ Health, 2015. 

Why do workaholics experience depression?

A study with Chinese university teachers
This study focuses on the relationships of workaholism to job burnout and depression of university teachers. The direct and indirect (via job burnout) effects of workaholism on depression were investigated in 412 Chinese university teachers. Structural equation modeling and bootstrap method were used. Results revealed that workaholism, job burnout, and depression significantly correlated with each other. Structural equation modeling and bootstrap test indicated the partial mediation role of job burnout on the relationship between workaholism and depression. The findings shed some light on how workaholism influenced depression and provided valuable evidence for prevention of depression in work.

Source: Nie Y, Sun H. J. Health Psychol. 2015.

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