Preventing occupational stress in healthcare workers

Healthcare workers suffer from work-related or occupational stress. Often this is because healthcare workers face high expectations and they may not have enough time, skills and social support at work. This can lead to severe distress, burnout or physical illness. In the end, healthcare workers may be unable to provide high quality healthcare services. Stress and burnout can also be costly because affected healthcare workers take sick leave and may even change jobs.
We evaluated how well different ways to prevent healthcare workers' stress or burnout work.

Source: Ruotsalainen JH, Verbeek JH, Mariné A, Serra C. Preventing occupational stress in healthcare workers. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2014, Issue 11. Art. No.: CD002892.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/14651858.CD002892.pub3

Struggling at work

A qualitative study of working Danes with depressive symptoms
Purpose: Little is known on how employees at work with mental health problems experience their work environment. This study explores how a selected sample of Danish employees with depressive symptoms experience the interaction with their work environment and how they respond to and deal with problems at work. Methods: From a survey study on work and mental health in Denmark, we invited participants for in-depth interviews. Using grounded theory, we conducted 13 semi structured interviews with employees, at work, experiencing depressive symptoms. Findings: Work was pivotal for the informants who were in an on-going process that we conceptualised as struggling at work. Informants struggled with the negative experiences of work that led to emotional, cognitive and somatic symptoms. Relationships with supervisors and colleagues, work load and work pressure and their self-image as a good worker conditioned the struggle. The informants found themselves unable to change their problematic working situation. This gradually led to different strategies to endure work and take care of one-self. These strategies were as follows: tending to symptoms and altering prospects for their future. The consequence of the on-going struggle was that the informants distanced themselves from their work. Conclusions: This study provided insight to the process of struggling at work, which the interviewed employees with depressive symptoms experienced.

Source: Hjarsbech PU, Nielsen MB, Andersen MF, et al. Disability and Rehabilitation, 2014.
http://dx.doi.org/10.3109/09638288.2014.973970

Enquête sur la prévention dans les commerces de proximité

Dans le cadre de sa mission sur le secteur tertiaire, l'INRS met à disposition les résultats d'une enquête sur la prise en compte de la santé et la sécurité au travail dans le commerce à travers la franchise. Réalisée avec le cabinet Adventi, cette enquête montre une réelle connaissance des problématiques de prévention des risques professionnels, dont la prise en compte concrète est cependant variable selon les enseignes. Elle met également en évidence plusieurs leviers de prévention.

Source: http://www.inrs.fr/accueil/header/actualites/enquete-franchise-commerce-proximite.html

Chronic effects of shift work on cognition

Findings from the VISAT longitudinal study
Objectives: Shift work, like chronic jet lag, is known to disrupt workers' normal circadian rhythms and social life, and to be associated with increased health problems (eg, ulcers, cardiovascular disease, metabolic syndrome, breast cancer, reproductive difficulties) and with acute effects on safety and productivity. However, very little is known about the long-term consequences of shift work on cognitive abilities. The aim of this study was to assess the chronicity and reversibility of the effects of shift work on cognition.
Methods: We conducted a prospective cohort study of 3232 employed and retired workers (participation rate: 76%) who were 32, 42, 52 and 62 years old at the time of the first measurement (t1, 1996), and who were seen again 5 (t2) and 10 (t3) years later. 1484 of them had shift work experience at baseline (current or past) and 1635 had not. The main outcome measures were tests of speed and memory, assessed at all three measurement times.
Results: Shift work was associated with impaired cognition. The association was stronger for exposure durations exceeding 10 years (dose effect; cognitive loss equivalent to 6.5 years of age-related decline in the current cohort). The recovery of cognitive functioning after having left shift work took at least 5 years (reversibility).
Conclusions: Shift work chronically impairs cognition, with potentially important safety consequences not only for the individuals concerned, but also for society.

Source: Jean-Claude Marquié, Philip Tucker, Simon Folkard, Catherine Gentil, David Ansiau. Occupational & Environmental Médicine, 2014.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/oemed-2013-101993

Time pressure and coworker support mediate the curvilinear relationship between age and occupational well-being

As the proportion of older employees in the workforce is growing, researchers have become increasingly interested in the association between age and occupational well-being. The curvilinear nature of relationships between age and job satisfaction and between age and emotional exhaustion is well-established in the literature, with employees in their late 20s to early 40s generally reporting lower levels of occupational well-being than younger and older employees. However, the mechanisms underlying these curvilinear relationships are so far not well understood due to a lack of studies testing mediation effects. Based on an integration of role theory and research from the adult development and career literatures, this study examined time pressure, work–home conflict, and coworker support as mediators of the relationships between age and job satisfaction and between age and emotional exhaustion. Data came from 771 employees between 17 and 74 years of age in the construction industry. Results showed that employees in their late 20s to early 40s had lower job satisfaction and higher emotional exhaustion than younger and older employees. Time pressure and coworker support fully mediated both the U-shaped relationship between age and job satisfaction and the inversely U-shaped relationship between age and emotional exhaustion. These findings suggest that organizational interventions may help increase the relatively low levels of occupational well-being in certain age groups.

Source: Zacher, Hannes, Jimmieson, Nerina L., & Prashant, Bordia. (2014). Journal of Occupational Health Psychology, 19(4), 462-475.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/a0036995

The missing million. Illuminating the employment challenges of the over 50s

Unemployment amongst the over 50s is a critical concern: worklessness amongst older people remains high and this problem is likely to increase as we are living longer and the State Pension Age continues to rise.
Working with The International Longevity Centre, The Prince's Initiative for Mature Enterprise (PRIME) and Business In The Community have embarked on a campaign to tackle this issue and have launched the first of three reports looking at the economic barriers facing the over 50s: The missing million: illuminating the employment challenges of the over 50s.

Source: http://www.prime.org.uk/prime-report-into-economic-barriers-to-the-over-50s/

Plaidoyer pour un leadership distribué favorisant la santé au travail en contexte scolaire

Les problèmes de santé au travail sont criants (p. ex., stress, problèmes psychosociaux et épuisement) et, chez l'ensemble des travailleurs, il semblerait que les salariés du milieu de l'éducation (enseignants, professionnels, personnel de soutien et membres de la direction) fassent partie de ceux qui sont le plus touchés par la détresse psychologique au travail. Selon la Fédération des commissions scolaires du Québec, près de 50 % des absences du personnel scolaire sont dues à des troubles de nature psychologique.
Pour lutter contre cette problématique, les interventions portent principalement sur les personnes et le développement de compétences individuelles qui permettraient de mieux s'adapter aux difficultés rencontrées (p. ex., gestion du stress, résilience, habitudes de vie, etc.). Or, la santé ne se limite pas à sa seule dimension individuelle. Au travail, les dynamiques sociales (p. ex., travail d'équipe, attentes associées aux rôles et conflits interpersonnels) ont une incidence considérable sur la santé psychologique qui ne peut être réduite à une meilleure adaptation individuelle aux difficultés. Les interventions qui permettent aux membres du personnel de travailler ensemble afin de mettre au jour la source des malaises et des maladies sont toutefois trop peu nombreuses en contexte scolaire. Pour leur part, les « leaders » de l'éducation semblent trouver beaucoup moins coûteux de faire de la santé un phénomène individuel, en responsabilisant les travailleurs en regard de leur propre santé, que de faire participer l'ensemble du personnel à un repérage des conditions de travail qui occasionnent des malaises et des maladies.
Devant ce constat, il faut tirer leçon du « leadership distribué » dont la popularité ne cesse d'augmenter en contexte scolaire, en réponse à l'inflation des demandes, des exigences et des pressions exercées sur les travailleurs.

Source: http://www.qualaxia.org/fdownload.php?fn=Quintessence-V06N12-fr.pdf&ct=dqt&tp=pdf

Roundtable on Mental Traumatic Stress

Ideas Generated
On September 28, 2012, the government of Ontario announced the launching of a roundtable to help workers who suffer from job-related post-traumatic mental stress.
The aim of the roundtable on job-related traumatic mental stress (TMS) was to help promote healthier, more productive workplaces across Ontario. The roundtable brought together employer and labour representatives from high-risk sectors, such as police, emergency medical services and transit services, where workers may, as a result of their job, be at risk of developing a TMS injury, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Source: http://www.labour.gov.on.ca/english/hs/pdf/mentalstress.pdf

High occupational physical activity and risk of ischaemic heart disease in women

The interplay with physical activity during leisure time
BACKGROUND: Recent studies indicate that physically demanding work is a risk factor for heart disease among men, especially those with low or moderate physical activity during leisure time. Among women, present evidence is inconclusive. DESIGN: The design was a prospective cohort study. METHODS: This investigation in the Danish Nurse Cohort Study included 12,093 female nurses aged 45-64 years, who answered a self-report questionnaire on physical activity at work and during leisure time, known risk factors for ischaemic heart disease (IHD) and occupational factors at baseline in 1993. Information on the 15-year incidence of IHD was obtained by individual linkage in the National Register of Hospital Discharges to 2008. RESULTS: During follow-up 580 participants were hospitalised with IHD. A significant interaction between occupational and leisure time physical activity was found with the lowest risk of IHD among nurses with the combination of moderate physical activity at work and vigorous physical activity during leisure time. Compared to this group high physical activity at work was associated with a higher risk of IHD at all levels of physical activity during leisure time increasing from hazard ratio 1.75 (95% confidence interval (CI) 1.10-2.80) among nurses with vigorous physical activity during leisure time to 2.65 (95% CI 1.44-4.88) among nurses being sedentary during leisure time. CONCLUSIONS: This study among Danish nurses suggests that high physical activity at work is a risk factor for IHD among women. Vigorous physical activity during leisure time lowered but did not completely counteract the adverse effect of occupational physical activity on risk of IHD.

Source: Allesoe K, Holtermann A, Aadahl M, et al. European Journal of Preventive Cardiology, 2014.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/2047487314554866 

Profiling contextual factors which influence safety in heavy vehicle industries

A significant proportion of worker fatalities within Australia result from truck-related incidents. Truck drivers face a number of health and safety concerns. Safety culture, viewed here as the beliefs, attitudes and values shared by an organisation's workers, which interact with their surrounding context to influence behaviour, may provide a valuable lens for exploring safety-related behaviours in heavy vehicle operations. To date no major research has examined safety culture within heavy vehicle industries. As safety culture provides a means to interpret experiences and generate behaviour, safety culture research should be conducted with an awareness of the context surrounding safety. The current research sought to examine previous health and safety research regarding heavy vehicle operations to profile contextual factors which influence health and safety. A review of 104 peer-reviewed papers was conducted. Findings of these papers were then thematically analysed. A number of behaviours and scenarios linked with crashes and non-crash injuries were identified, along with a selection of health outcomes. Contextual factors which were found to influence these outcomes were explored. These factors were found to originate from government departments, transport organisations, customers and the road and work environment. The identified factors may provide points of interaction, whereby culture may influence health and safety outcomes.

Source: Edwards JR, Davey J, Armstrong KA. Accid. Anal. Prev. 2014; 73C: 340-350.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.aap.2014.09.003

Roundtable on Traumatic Mental Stress

The aim of the roundtable on job-related traumatic mental stress (TMS) was to help promote healthier, more productive workplaces across Ontario. The roundtable brought together employer and labour representatives from high-risk sectors, such as police, emergency medical services and transit services, where workers may, as a result of their job, be at risk of developing a TMS injury, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Source: http://www.labour.gov.on.ca/english/hs/pdf/mentalstress.pdf

Medical repatriation of migrant farm workers in Ontario

A descriptive analysis
BACKGROUND: Approximately 40 000 migrant farm workers are employed annually in Canada through temporary foreign worker programs. Workers experiencing health conditions that prevent ongoing work are normally repatriated to their home country, which raises concerns about human rights and health equity. In this study, we present data on the reasons for medical repatriation of migrant farm workers in Ontario.
METHODS: In this retrospective descriptive study, we examined medical repatriation data from Foreign Agricultural Resource Management Services, a non-profit corporation managing the contracts of more than 15 000 migrant farm workers in Ontario annually. We extracted repatriation and demographic data for workers from 2001-2011. Physician volunteers used a validated system to code the reported reasons for medical repatriation. We conducted descriptive analyses of the dominant reasons for repatriation and rates of repatriation.
RESULTS: During 2001-2011, 787 repatriations occurred among 170 315 migrant farm workers arriving in Ontario (4.62 repatriations per 1000 workers). More than two-thirds of repatriated workers were aged 30-49 years. Migrant farm workers were most frequently repatriated for medical or surgical reasons (41.3%) and external injuries including poisoning (25.5%). <>

Source: Orkin AM, Lay M, McLaughlin J, Schwandt M, Cole D. CMAJ Open, 2014; 2.
http://dx.doi.org/10.9778/cmajo.20140014

Workplace suicide prevention

A systematic review of published and unpublished activities
There are a number of published studies on workplace suicide prevention activities, and an even larger number of activities that are not reported on in academic literature. The aim of this review was to provide a systematic assessment of workplace suicide prevention activities, including short-term training activities, as well as suicide prevention strategies designed for occupational groups at risk of suicide. The search was based on Meta-analysis of Observational Studies in Epidemiology (MOOSE) Guidelines. The databases used for the searches were the Cochrane Trials Library and PubMed. A range of suicide prevention websites were also searched to ascertain the information on unpublished workplace suicide prevention activities. Key characteristics of retrieved studies were extracted and explained, including whether activities were short-term training programmes or developed specifically for occupations at risk of suicide. There were 13 interventions relevant for the review after exclusions. There were a few examples of prevention activities developed for at-risk occupations (e.g. police, army, air force and the construction industry) as well as a number of general awareness programmes that could be applied across different settings. Very few workplace suicide prevention initiatives had been evaluated. Results from those that had been evaluated suggest that prevention initiatives had beneficial effects. Suicide prevention has the potential to be integrated into existing workplace mental health activities. There is a need for further studies to develop, implement and evaluate workplace suicide prevention programmes.

Source: Milner A, Page K, Spencer-Thomas S, Lamotagne AD. Health Promot. Int. 2014.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/heapro/dau085

Understanding how to improve the management of exposure to wood dust amongst construction sub-contractors and manufacturing SMEs

Literature review
Available evidence was reviewed to develop a better understanding of how to improve the management of wood dust exposure in small and medium-sized construction and manufacturing enterprises (SMEs).
There was a paucity of research, with most papers exploring the factors that broadly influence health and safety (H&S) management in SMEs.
Factors that influence SMEs' behaviours, included:
i) limited resources (particularly for small construction and wood working companies),
ii) a poor awareness of the importance of ill-health prevention,
iii) risk control advice from third parties,
iv) management/peer H&S attitudes, and
v) negative attitudes towards risk controls. Higher levels of H&S awareness and better training provisions were some of the most noteworthy differences found in large compared to small construction companies. Lone working and managing a transient workforce were challenges identified for woodworking and large construction companies respectively.

Source: http://www.hse.gov.uk/research/rrhtm/rr1017.htm

Workaholism and Mental Health Problems Among Municipal Middle Managers in Norway

Objective: To provide empirical knowledge about the antecedents and outcomes of workaholism among municipal middle managers within the framework of the job demands–resources model.
Methods: We used a self-administered questionnaire to collect cross-sectional data (n = 118) on job demands, job resources, work engagement, workaholism, and mental health problems.
Results: Workaholism correlated positively with both work engagement and mental health problems. Job demands affected workaholism and mental health problems more strongly than did job resources. The results indicate that workaholism does not mediate the effects of certain work characteristics on mental health problems, but rather that workaholics create excessive job demands that harm their health.
Conclusions: Preventing workaholism should be a central concern of municipal stakeholders because workaholic behavior among middle managers may harm organizational performance and employee health and middle managers' own health.

Source: Midje, Hilde H.; Nafstad, Ingunn T.; Syse, Jonn; Torp, Steffen. Journal of Occupational & Environmental Medicine: October 2014, Volume 56, Issue 10, p. 1042–1051.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/JOM.0000000000000223

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