2017-02-01 12:00 - Messages

A qualitative review of existing national and international occupational safety and health policies relating to occupational sedentary behaviour

Prolonged sedentary time is now recognised as an emergent ergonomics issue. We aimed to review current occupational safety and health policies relevant to occupational sedentary behaviour.
An electronic search for documents was conducted on websites of ergonomics and occupational safety and health organisations from 10 countries and six international/pan-European agencies. Additionally, 43 informants (nine countries) were contacted and an international conference workshop held. 119 documents (e.g. legislation, guidelines, codes of practice) were identified. Using a qualitative synthesis, it was observed that many jurisdictions had legal frameworks establishing a duty of care for employers, designers/manufacturers/suppliers and employees. While no occupational authority policies focusing specifically on sedentary behaviour were found, relevant aspects of existing policies were identified.
We highlight implications for ergonomics research and practice and recommend the development of policy to specifically address occupational sedentary behaviour and support workplace initiatives to assess and control the risks of this emergent hazard.

Source: Coenen, Pieter, Gilson, Nicholas, Healy, Genevieve N., Dunstan, David W., & Straker, Leon M. (2017). Applied Ergonomics, 320-333.

Electromyographic analysis of relevant muscle groups during completion of computer tasks using different computer mouse positions

Background: We analyzed muscular activity for different computer mouse positions during the completion of a timed computer task and determined whether the different mouse positions could affect muscular activity, productivity and perceived fatigue. Methods: The subjects were nine healthy young men. Two mouse positions were studied: the distal position (DP), with the forearm rested on the desk; the proximal position (PP), with only the wrist rested on the desk. The subjects performed a 16-min task in each position. Surface electromyography data were recorded for the upper back and shoulder muscles. Work productivity and muscular activity were measured for each mouse position. A visual analog scale was used to assess subjective fatigue. Results: Muscular activity was higher in muscle (m.) deltoideus (posterior) for the DP, while it was significantly higher in m. inferior infraspinatus for the PP. The visual analog scale score was significantly higher and work productivity was lower in the PP. Conclusions: We found that using a mouse in the DP rather than the PP leads to less activity of the external rotators, less perceived fatigue and more productivity. This suggests that the DP is preferable to the PP for computer work involving a mouse.

Source: Sako, Shunji, Sugiura, Hiromichi, Tanoue, Hironori, Kojima, Makoto, Kono, Mitsunobu, & Inaba, Ryoichi. (2016). JOSE : International Journal of Occupational Safety and Ergonomics. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/10803548.2016.1275140

A work systems analysis approach to understanding fatigue in hospital nurses

Occupational fatigue is an important challenge in improving health and safety in health care systems. A secondary analysis of cross-sectional data from a survey sample comprised 340 hospital nurses was conducted to explore the relationships between components of the nursing work system (person, tasks, tools and technology, environment, organisation) and nurse fatigue and recovery levels. All components of the work system were significantly associated with changes in fatigue and recovery. Results of a tree-based classification method indicated significant interactions between multiple work system components and fatigue and recovery. For example, the relationship between a task variable of ‘excessive work' and acute fatigue varied based on an organisation variable related to ‘time to communicate with managers/supervisors'. A work systems analysis contributes to increased understanding of fatigue, allowing for a more accurate representation of the complexity in health care systems to guide future research and practice to achieve increased nurse health and safety.

Source: Steege, Linsey M., Pasupathy, Kalyan S., & Drake, Diane A. (2017). Ergonomics

Aging and MSD: Strategies for Older Workers

The global population is aging with a projection that one in five people will be over the age of 60 by 2050. The Canadian population aged 65 and over is expected to double over the next 25 years. The Canadian workforce is also aging with a large proportion of workers (42.4%) in the 45 to 64 age group in 2011 and the average age of labor market participant predicted to continue to rise until 20314. However, it appears that very few Canadian companies have addressed the impact of an aging workforce on occupational health.
Musculoskeletal disorders (MSD) are a burden to all industrial sectors. They present with pain and symptoms such as numbness and tingling. These symptoms may be warning signs of current or impending MSD, such as peripheral nerve entrapments, peripheral enthesopathies, and many other non-specific musculoskeletal pain disorders such as low back pain. There are concerns that MSD maybe more prevalent and costly among older workers, although the evidence supporting these concerns is not consistent. However, it would seem prudent for workplaces to consider strategies for healthy aging to address an aging workforce regardless.
The World Health Organization (WHO) recently released their World Report on Ageing and Health which defines healthy aging as “the process of developing and maintaining the functional ability that enables well-being in older age”6. The WHO report provides a framework for healthy aging. As part of the framework there are proposed strategies for creating age friendly environments that we propose can be adapted and applied to workplaces. The strategies include: i) combating ageism; ii) enabling autonomy, and iii) supporting healthy aging in policy. We suggest that these strategies are valuable for workplaces and by extension MSD and show some supporting research for each of them below.
As part of a scoping review of the literature we present some recent research addressing the WHO strategies and how they may apply to workplaces. We also drew on recent searches for larger ongoing systematic reviews carried out by a team of Institute for Work & Health researchers as part of the prevention review program, including: aging and return to work, return to work and upper extremity MSD prevention. Overall, we note that there is a lack of literature evaluating interventions or strategies related to older workers and MSD.

Source: https://uwaterloo.ca/centre-of-research-expertise-for-the-prevention-of-musculoskeletal-disorders/resources/position-papers/aging-and-msd-strategies-older-workers

Designing, prototype making and evaluating a mechanical aid device for patient transfer between bed and stretcher

Introduction: The present study aimed at designing, prototype making and evaluating a new assistive device to improve patient transfer conditions. Methods: A new aid device for patient transfer was designed and its prototype was made. Comfort and perceived physical exertion of users and stability and applicability of the device were examined. The test subjects included 37 healthcare workers from a hospital with patient transfer experience. The data collection tools consisted of visual analog scales (VAS) and Borg's rating physical effort scale. The rapid entire body assessment (REBA) method was applied to evaluate working posture. Results: The results showed that in 70% of the wards, patient transfer was performed manually more than five times per shift. While using the newly designed device, the mean (SD) of the users' comfort, and the clients' comfort and safety, was measured as 8.59 (0.87), 8.46 (0.92) and 8.67 (0.71), respectively, as reported by VAS. The results revealed a significant reduction in the users' rating of perceived exertion (p < 0.001). Additionally, the REBA score was lower in mechanical transfer. Conclusion:. The new assistive device increased the users' and the clients' comfort, reduced the users' physical exertion and improved working postures.

Source: Salmani Nodooshan, H., Choobineh, A., Razeghi, M., & Shahnazar, T. (2016). International Journal of Occupational Safety and Ergonomics, 1-28.

9e Conférence scientifique internationale sur la prévention des troubles musculosquelettiques (PREMUS) - 2016

Réunissant près de 400 participants, 360 communications orales et 60 posters, PREMUS, la 9e Conférence scientifique internationale sur la prévention des troubles musculosquelettiques (TMS) a permis d'échanger sur les recherches actuelles et les pratiques d'interventions sur ce sujet. Plusieurs thèmes ont notamment été abordés : travail sédentaire, travail en posture debout, biomécanique des membres supérieurs lors de l'utilisation des nouvelles technologies de communication, prise en compte du sexe/genre, variabilité motrice, exercices physiques au travail et capteurs inertiels.

Source: Claudon, L., Cuny-Guerrier, A., Desbrosses, K., Gilles, M.A., & Savescu, A. (2016). Références en santé au travail, 148, 91-98. 

Mesure de l'exposition du technicien ambulancier paramédical aux facteurs de risque de troubles musculosquelettiques

Le technicien ambulancier paramédical (TAP) a comme fonction principale de prodiguer les soins préhospitaliers d'urgence tout en assurant, de façon sécuritaire, le transport du bénéficiaire vers un centre hospitalier. Fondamentalement, son objectif est de réduire au minimum la mortalité et la morbidité des bénéficiaires en minimisant le temps de réponse. De nombreuses études à travers le monde, incluant le Québec, montrent que les TAP ont un taux plus élevé de lésions professionnelles et prennent leur retraite plus tôt que les autres travailleurs de la population y compris ceux du système de santé. Plusieurs TAP quittent leur emploi pour un autre dont les tâches sont moins exigeantes à mesure qu'ils vieillissent. Très peu d'attention a été dirigée sur ce qui se passe réellement sur le terrain lors de situations de travail et les mesures actuelles d'exposition aux facteurs de risque s'avèrent souvent insuffisantes. Ce projet avait donc pour objectif de décrire le contexte de travail des TAP et de quantifier leur exposition aux facteurs de risque de troubles musculosquelettiques.

Source: http://www.irsst.qc.ca/publications-et-outils/publication/i/100906/n/exposition-technicien-ambulancier-paramedical-troubles-musculosquelettiques

Evaluation of a Training Program to Reduce Stressful Trunk Postures in the Nursing Professions

A Pilot Study
Objectives: The aim of this pilot study was to evaluate metrologically the effectiveness of a training program on the reduction of stressful trunk postures in geriatric nursing professions.
Methods: A training program, consisting of instruction on body postures in nursing, practical ergonomic work methods at the bedside or in the bathroom, reorganization of work equipment, and physical exercises, was conducted in 12 wards of 6 nursing homes in Germany. The Computer-Assisted Recording and Long-Term Analysis of Musculoskeletal Loads (CUELA) measurement system was used to evaluate all movements and trunk postures adopted during work before and 6 months after the training program. In total, 23 shifts were measured. All measurements were supported by video recordings. A specific software program (WIDAAN 2.75) was used to synchronize the measurement data and video footage.
Results: The median proportion of time spent in sagittal inclinations at an angle of >20° was significantly reduced (by 29%) 6 months after the intervention [from 35.4% interquartile range (27.6–43.1) to 25.3% (20.7–34.1); P < 0.001]. Very pronounced inclinations exceeding 60° [2.5% (1.1–4.6) to 1.0% (0.8–1.7); P = 0.002] and static inclinations of over 20° for >4 s [4.4% (3.0–6.7) to 3.6% (2.5–4.5); P < 0.001] were significantly reduced, by 60% and 22%, respectively. Video analysis showed that in 49% of care situations, ergonomic measures were implemented properly, either at the bedside or in the bathroom.
Conclusions: Stressful trunk postures could be significantly reduced by raising awareness of the physical strains that frequently occur during a shift, by changes in work practices and by redesigning the work environment. Workplace interventions aimed at preventing or reducing low back pain in nursing personnel would probably benefit from sensitizing employees to their postures during work.

Source: Kozak, Agnessa, Freitag, Sonja, & Nienhaus, Albert. (2017). Annals of Work Exposures and Health, 61(1), 22-32.

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