Impact evaluation of a farm safety awareness workshop in New Zealand

OBJECTIVE: Farming is a hazardous occupation, with high rates of injury and death. FarmSafe, a whole-country approach, sought to address work-related injury on New Zealand sheep, beef, and dairy farms. More than 10 000 farmers participated in 630 workshops held over two years. This short communication presents the results of an impact evaluation of the FarmSafe Awareness Workshop (FSAW) in its first two years of operation.
METHODS: All FSAW participants completed, and received credit for, formal educational assessments. Pass rates were used to assess safety knowledge, and a quasi-experimental design with intervention and comparison groups was applied to assess attitudes, safety behaviors, and environmental determinants of injury.
RESULTS: An intervention (N=111) and two comparison groups (C1, N=409, and C2, N=78) completed before and after questionnaires. At follow-up, the intervention group (IG) showed a small improvement in attitudes toward safety (IG=79.3, C1=77.4; C2=77.4, P=0.035), but there were no differences between groups for personal safety practice or the safety environment of the farm. However, if a respondent registered their interest in the workshop, but a different person from the same farm attended, there was some improvement in the safety of the farm environment score.
CONCLUSION: Well-conducted safety training tailored to farmers was still not enough to change safety practice. Future interventions may be more likely to achieve progress if they are comprehensive, include environmental and enforcement features, and target more than one participant per farm.

Source: Morgaine KC, Langley JD, McGee RO, Gray AR. Scand. J. Work Environ. Health. 2014.

Adverse conditions at the workplace are associated with increased suicide risk

OBJECTIVE : The present study addressed potential harms of a negative working environment for employed subjects. The main aim was to evaluate if adverse working conditions and job strain are related to an increase in suicide mortality.
METHODS : The study population consisted of 6,817 participants drawn from the MONICA/KORA Augsburg, Germany, surveys conducted in 1984-1995, being employed at baseline examination and followed up on average for 12.6 years. Adverse working conditions were assessed by an instrument of 16 items about chronobiological, physical and psychosocial conditions at the workplace, job strain was assessed as defined by Karasek. Suicide risks were estimated by Cox regression adjusted for suicide-related risk factors.
RESULTS : A number of 28 suicide cases were observed within follow-up. High levels of adversity in chronobiological/physical working conditions significantly increased the risk for suicide mortality (HR 3.28, 95% CI 1.43-7.54) compared to low/intermediate levels in a model adjusted for age, sex and survey (p value 0.005). Additional adjustment for living alone, low educational level, smoking, high alcohol consumption, obesity and depressed mood attenuated this effect (HR 2.73) but significance remained (p value 0.022). Adverse psychosocial working conditions and job strain, in contrast, had no impact on subsequent suicide mortality risk (p values > 0.200).
CONCLUSIONS : A negative working environment concerning chronobiological or physical conditions at the workplace had an unfavourable impact on suicide mortality risk, even after controlling for relevant suicide-related risk factors. Employer interventions aimed to improve workplace conditions might be considered as a suitable means to prevent suicides among employees.

Source: Baumert J, Schneider B, Lukaschek K, Emeny RT, Meisinger C, Erazo N, Dragano N, Ladwig KH. J. Psychiatr. Res. 2014. 

The impact of the economic crisis on occupational injuries

INTRODUCTION: The potential influence of the current economic crisis on occupational accident rates and accident severity is studied in an analysis of all workplace accidents that occurred in Spain throughout the period 2000-2009. METHOD AND RESULTS: The investigation confirms that occupational accidents in Spain are affected by the current economic crisis, which has provoked a sharp fall in both the number of accidents and the probability of having one. This may be justified by certain factors such as age, gender, length of service, size of the firm, and the employment stability of the injured worker. The influence of these factors is analyzed. PRACTICAL APPLICATIONS: The economic crises seems to provoke a sort of "natural selection" in the labor market and only the best adapted tend to remain (older workers, with more experience, a higher percentage of women, more workers in larger companies and permanent contracts), all of which means that the probability of workers having an injury is considerably reduced.

Source: de la Fuente VS, López MA, González IF, Alcántara OJ, Ritzel DO. J. Saf. Res. 2014; 48: 77-85.

Job strain and depressive symptoms in men and women

A prospective study of the working population in Sweden
BACKGROUND: Several prospective studies have indicated increased risk of developing depressive symptoms in employees who report psychologically demanding and uncontrollable work (job strain). There are diverging findings regarding gender differences in this relationship. The aim was to analyse whether men and women differ with regard to the prospective relationship between adverse psychosocial work environment and depressive symptoms during a 2-year period. METHOD: The Swedish Longitudinal Occupational Survey of Health cohort based on representative recruitment of working men and women in Sweden was used. 2731 men and 3446 women had answered questions regarding work environment and mental health in 2008 and 2010. Psychological demands, decision authority, age and income as well as depressive symptoms in 2008 were used as predictors of depressive symptoms in 2010. RESULTS: Women reported less decision authority at work and their demand level developed more unfavourably than did men's--resulting in increased job strain gap between men and women from 2008 to 2010. The relationship between demand and decision authority (and job strain) on one hand and depressive symptoms on the other hand was not statistically different in men and women. CONCLUSIONS: Overall, women reported higher levels of job strain than men. In Sweden, job strain was as strongly related to depressive symptoms among men as among women.

Source: Theorell T, Hammarström A, Gustafsson PE, Magnusson Hanson L, Janlert U, Westerlund H. J. Epidemiol. Community Health. 2014; 68(1): 78-82.

The influence of chronic health problems on work ability and productivity at work

A longitudinal study among older employees
Objectives: This study aimed to assess the influence of chronic health problems on work ability and productivity at work among older employees using different methodological approaches in the analysis of longitudinal studies.
Methods: Data from employees, aged 45–64, of the longitudinal Study on Transitions in Employment, Ability and Motivation was used (N=8411). Using three annual online questionnaires, we assessed the presence of seven chronic health problems, work ability (scale 0–10), and productivity at work (scale 0–10). Three linear regression generalized estimating equations were used. The time-lag model analyzed the relation of health problems with work ability and productivity at work after one year; the autoregressive model adjusted for work ability and productivity in the preceding year; and the third model assessed the relation of incidence and recovery with changes in work ability and productivity at work within the same year.
Results: Workers with health problems had lower work ability at one-year follow-up than workers without these health problems, varying from a 2.0% reduction with diabetes mellitus to a 9.5% reduction with psychological health problems relative to the overall mean (time-lag). Work ability of persons with health problems decreased slightly more during one-year follow-up than that of persons without these health problems, ranging from 1.4% with circulatory to 5.9% with psychological health problems (autoregressive). Incidence related to larger decreases in work ability, from 0.6% with diabetes mellitus to 19.0% with psychological health problems, than recovery related to changes in work ability, from a 1.8% decrease with circulatory to an 8.5% increase with psychological health problems (incidence-recovery). Only workers with musculoskeletal and psychological health problems had lower productivity at work at one-year follow-up than workers without those health problems (1.2% and 5.6%, respectively, time-lag).
Conclusions: All methodological approaches indicated that chronic health problems were associated with decreased work ability and, to a much lesser extent, lower productivity at work. The choice for a particular methodological approach considerably influenced the strength of the associations, with the incidence of health problems resulting in the largest decreases in work ability and productivity at work.

Source: Leijten FRM, van den Heuvel SG, Ybema JF, van der Beek AJ, Robroek SJW, Burdorf. Scand J Work Environ Health. 2014.

Safety, Health, and Well-Being of Municipal Utility and Construction Workers

Objective: To provide a baseline description of psychosocial workplace stressors and supports along with safety, injury, health, and well-being indicators in a sample of utility and construction workers for a National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health–funded Total Worker Health™ intervention study.
Methods: Survey responses and health assessments were collected from a total of 349 employees in two municipal utility departments.
Results: Participants demonstrated poor weight control and body mass index and provided reports of frequent poor health habits, injury, and pain. Although safety climate was good, less desirable levels of psychosocial workplace stressors and supports were observed. These stressors and supports were found to relate with many of the health, injury, and pain indicators.
Conclusions: These results demonstrate the need for workplace interventions to promote and protect construction worker health and the importance of the psychosocial work environment.

Source: Bodner, Todd; Kraner, Mariah; Bradford, Brittany; Hammer, Leslie; Truxillo, Donald. Journal of Occupational & Environmental Medicine: July 2014 - Volume 56 - Issue 7 - p 771–778.

Combined Effects of Shiftwork and Individual Working Time Control on Long-Term Sickness Absence

A Prospective Study of Finnish Employees
Objective: To investigate whether the effects of shiftwork on long-term sickness absence vary according to the level of individual working time control (WTC).
Methods: A representative sample of Finnish employees (1447 men and 1624 women) was combined with a register-based follow-up. A negative binomial model was used in the analysis of long-term sickness absence days. The results were adjusted for various background and work-related factors.
Results: Individual WTC decreased long-term sickness absence. The higher rate of sickness absences in shiftwork was mainly due to the lower level of WTC. Working time control decreased sickness absence equally in day work and shiftwork.
Conclusions: The negative health effects of shiftwork may be decreased by offering sufficient WTC. Establishments that use WTC as a human resource instrument may benefit from reduced absenteeism.

Source: Nätti, Jouko; Oinas, Tomi; Härmä, Mikko; Anttila, Timo; Kandolin, Irja. Journal of Occupational & Environmental Medicine: July 2014 - Volume 56 - Issue 7 - p 732–738

La performance au travail ne s'amoindrit pas forcément avec l'âge

État des connaissances
"Plus on vieillit, moins on est productif". Plusieurs études tordent cette idée reçue et pointent l'absence de lien systématique entre âge et productivité. La performance est fortement liée aux conditions de travail tout au long de la carrière. L'Anact a réalisé une synthèse des principaux travaux conduits sur le sujet.
Sommes-nous « efficaces a` tout âge ? ». C'est la question posée par Volkoff, Molinie´ et Jolivet, en 2000 dans leur ouvrage éponyme. Depuis une quinzaine d'années, de nombreuses études françaises, qu'elles soient ergonomiques, épidémiologiques ou économiques, se sont intéressées aux liens entre âge et performance au travail. Leurs résultats ont remis en question l'idée communément répandue d'une baisse systématique avec l'âge de la performance au travail. Dans un contexte où l'allongement de la vie professionnelle se pose de façon aigue pour les entreprises et salariés en terme « d'adéquation entre l'évolution des capacités fonctionnelles, les conditions de travail et les performances » et à l'heure d'un nouveau plan gouvernemental en faveur du maintien en emploi des seniors, une note de synthèse fait le point sur les enseignements des travaux menés sur le sujet sous la forme d'une revue des connaissances.


Group Purchasing of Workplace Health Promotion Services for Small Employers

Objective: Small employers are underserved with workplace health promotion services, so we explored the potential for group purchasing of these services.
Methods: We conducted semistructured telephone interviews of member organizations serving small employers, as well as workplace health promotion vendors, in Washington State.
Results: We interviewed 22 employer organizations (chambers of commerce, trade associations, and an insurance trust) and vendors (of fitness facilities, healthy vending machines, fresh produce delivery, weight management services, and tobacco cessation quitlines). Both cautiously supported the idea of group purchasing but felt that small employers' workplace health promotion demand must increase first. Vendors providing off-site services, for example, quitline, found group purchasing more feasible than vendors providing on-site services, for example, produce delivery.
Conclusions: Employer member organizations are well-positioned to group purchase workplace health promotion services; vendors are receptive if there is potential profit.

Source: Harris, Jeffrey R.; Hammerback, Kristen R.; Hannon, Peggy A.; McDowell, Julie; Katzman, Avi; Clegg-Thorp, Catherine; Gallagher, John. Journal of Occupational & Environmental Medicine: July 2014 - Volume 56 - Issue 7 - p 765–770.

Health-related interventions among night shift workers

A critical review of the literature
Objectives: Associations between shift work and chronic disease have been observed, but relatively little is known about how to mitigate these adverse health effects. This critical review aimed to (i) synthesize interventions that have been implemented among shift workers to reduce the chronic health effects of shift work and (ii) provide an overall evaluation of study quality.
Methods: MeSH terms and keywords were created and used to conduct a rigorous search of MEDLINE, CINAHL, and EMBASE for studies published on or before 13 August 2012. Study quality was assessed using a checklist adapted from Downs & Black.
Results: Of the 5053 articles retrieved, 44 met the inclusion and exclusion criteria. Over 2354 male and female rotating and permanent night shift workers were included, mostly from the manufacturing, healthcare, and public safety industries. Studies were grouped into four intervention types: (i) shift schedule; (ii) controlled light exposure; (iii) behavioral; and, (iv) pharmacological. Results generally support the benefits of fast-forward rotating shifts; simultaneous use of timed bright light and light-blocking glasses; and physical activity, healthy diet, and health promotion. Mixed results were observed for hypnotics. Study quality varied and numerous deficiencies were identified.
Conclusions: Except for hypnotics, several types of interventions reviewed had positive overall effects on chronic disease outcomes. There was substantial heterogeneity among studies with respect to study sample, interventions, and outcomes. There is a need for further high-quality, workplace-based prevention research conducted among shift workers.

Source: Sarah E Neil, Manisha Pahwa, Paul A Demers, Carolyn C Gotay. Scand J Work Environ Health. 2014.

TUC launches its first guide to autism in the workplace

Autism is a term covering a wide range of conditions that reflect neurological differences among people. It can cause social barriers which may affect the lives of people with autism at work. There are about 332,600 people of working age in the UK with autism. However, only 15 per cent of adults with autism are in full-time employment and only 9 per cent are in part-time work.
Autism in the workplace, written for the TUC by Janine Booth, aims to inform union reps and workers of the facts around the condition, and advice on how to support autistic staff to ensure they get the adjustments they may need – and are legally entitled to.
The guide explains the difficulties autistic people can face at work, and suggests a number of changes that an employer can implement to make the workplace more autism-friendly.


Travail indépendant

Santé et conditions de travail
Ce document rassemble quatorze contributions présentées lors d'un colloque international intitulé « Travail indépendant : santé et conditions de travail » qui s'est tenu le 18 septembre 2013 à Paris. Cette manifestation s'inscrivait dans la suite de recherches récentes renouvelant l'approche du travail indépendant par l'ouverture à de nouvelles questions. L'exploration plus systématique des conditions de l'exercice professionnel de ces travailleurs et l'examen de leur santé sont deux de ces thématiques émergentes que le colloque souhaitait approfondir. Chercheur-e-s, responsables d'études, doctorant-e-s et tout professionnel concerné par la question, étaient donc invités à présenter leurs travaux et à confronter leurs résultats. Les sociologues ont largement répondu à l'appel et une grande partie des textes présentés se réclament donc de cette discipline. S'y ajoutent heureusement les contributions venant de l'épidémiologie, de la statistique, de la santé publique et de la psychologie.


The Business Case for Managing Road Risk at Work

ETSC's latest PRAISE report gives an overview of the business case for employers to invest in a Work-Related Road Risk Management (WRRRM) programme. It finds that the financial and other benefits of such a programme could outweigh the costs of implementation.
The other benefits such as increasing efficiency in organisational management and administration are also detailed.


Copenhagen Burnout Inventory (CBI)

Cette fiche donne des renseignements pratiques sur le Copenhagen Burnout Inventory (CBI) qui permet d'évaluer le syndrome d'épuisement professionnel (burnout) : objectifs, cadre d'utilisation, modalités de réponse et cotation, qualités psychométriques.

Source: 38

Sur le fil

Ce numéro de la revue PISTES pose un regard particulier sur la santé au travail de ceux et celles qui œuvrent dans le secteur de la santé, parfois à la limite du déséquilibre. Lorsque l'équilibre est rompu, le regard se porte ultimement sur la problématique des suicides professionnels, cette fois en agriculture. Toutefois, l'action sur les conditions d'exercice du travail ainsi que le soutien au développement des personnes peuvent contribuer à la reconstruction d'un certain équilibre. Deux contributions s'intéressent aux dimensions stratégique et pédagogique  de l'intervention ergonomique et au développement professionnel comme leviers d'action possibles.

Source: Pistes, 2014, vol. 16, numéro 3.

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