Development of a High Slip-resistant Footwear Outsole Using a Hybrid Rubber Surface Pattern

The present study examined whether a new footwear outsole with tread blocks and a hybrid rubber surface pattern, composed of rough and smooth surfaces, could increase slip resistance and reduce the risk of fall while walking on a wet floor surface. A drag test was performed to measure static and dynamic coefficient of friction (SCOF and DCOF, respectively) values for the footwear with the hybrid rubber sufrace pattern outosole and two types of commercially available boots that are conventionally used in food factories and restaurant kitchens with respect to a stainless steel floor covered with glycerol solution. Gait trials were conducted with 14 participants who wore the footwear on the wet stainless steel floor. The drag test results indicated that the hybrid rubber surface pattern sole exhibited higher SCOF (≥0.44) and DCOF (≥0.39) values than the soles of the comparative footwear (p<0.001). Because of such high SCOF and DCOF values, the slip frequency (p<0.01), slip distance (p<0.001), and slip velocity (p<0.001) for the footwear with the hybrid rubber surface pattern outsole were significantly lower than those for the comparative footwear, which resulted in no falls during trials.

Source: Yamaguchi T, Hokkirigawa K. Ind. Health. 2014.

Effects of mental fatigue on biomechanics of slips

The objective of this study was to investigate the effects of mental fatigue on biomechanics of slips. A total of 44 healthy young participants were evenly categorised into two groups: no fatigue and mental fatigue. Mental fatigue was induced by performing an AX-continuous performance test. The participants in both groups were instructed to walk on a linear walkway, and slips were induced unexpectedly during walking. We found that mental fatigue has adverse effects in all the three phases of slips. In particular, it leads to increased likelihood of slip initiation, poorer slip detection and a more insufficient reactive recovery response to slips. Based on the findings from the present study, we can conclude that mental fatigue is a risk factor for slips and falls. In order to prevent slip-induced falls, interventions, such as providing frequent rest breaks, could be applied in the workplace to avoid prolonged exposures to cognitively demanding activities.

Source: Lew FL, Qu X. Ergonomics, 2014.

The physiological impact of body armor cooling devices in hot environments

A systematic review
BACKGROUND: Heat-related illness is a primary threat to unit readiness, and individual body armor (IBA) cooling devices represent one potential solution.
PURPOSE: To quantify research findings of active and passive cooling devices designed to reduce physiological strain while wearing IBA during strenuous tasks using a systematic review approach.
METHODS: Literature searches were performed in multiple databases using the key words "physiological," "body armor," "military," "cooling," and "thermal." Two independent reviewers appraised methodological quality using a modified Downs and Black Quality Index. Physiological outcomes were tabulated and effect sizes were calculated when appropriate.
RESULTS: The search yielded 733 citations, with nine articles fitting our inclusion criteria: six articles with active and three articles with passive cooling devices.
RESULTS reveal a moderate level of methodological quality. On average, all six active IBA cooling device studies compared to controls (IBA only) reported decreases in one or more measures of physiological strain-core and skin temperature, heart rate. Conversely, passive cooling device effects were negligible.
CONCLUSION: Active cooling devices may decrease the physiological strain associated with wearing IBA in hot environments. Further development of optimal cooling strategies to reduce physiological strain during operations where IBA is required is warranted.

Source: Goforth C, Lisman P, Deuster P. Mil. Med. 2014; 179(7): 724-734.

Safety and Occupational Footwear

This new, one-of-a kind ASTM reference guide provides the latest information on safety and occupational footwear. Topics cover:
• Construction of footwear
• Component materials
• Performance requirements
• Use and maintenance
As well as an in-depth understanding into specific areas of concern, such as slip resistance, the number one cause of concern across all industries.


Double Gloves

A Randomized Trial to Evaluate a Simple Strategy to Reduce Contamination in the Operating Room
BACKGROUND: Oral flora, blood-borne pathogens, and bacterial contamination pose a direct risk of infection to patients and health care workers. We conducted a study in a simulated operating room using a newly validated technology to determine whether the use of 2 sets of gloves, with the outer set removed immediately after endotracheal intubation, may reduce this risk.
METHODS: Forty-one anesthesiology residents (PGY 2-4) were enrolled in a study consisting of individual or group simulation sessions. On entry to the simulated operating room, the residents were asked to perform an anesthetic induction and tracheal intubation timed to approximately 6 minutes; they were unaware of the study design. Of the 22 simulation sessions, 11 were conducted with the intubating resident wearing single gloves, and 11 with the intubating resident using double gloves with the outer pair removed after verified intubation. Before the start of the scenario, we coated the lips and inside of the mouth of the mannequin with a fluorescent marking gel as a surrogate pathogen. After the simulation, an observer examined 40 different sites using a handheld ultraviolet light in the operating room to determine the transfer of surrogate pathogens to the patient and the patient's environment. Residents who wore double gloves were instructed by a confederate nurse to remove the outer set immediately after completion of the intubation. Forty sites of potential intraoperative pathogen spread were identified and assigned a score.
Results: The difference in the rate of contamination between anesthesiology residents who wore single gloves versus those with double gloves was clinically and statistically significant. The number of sites that were contaminated in the operating room when the intubating resident wore single gloves was 20.3 +/- 1.4 (mean +/- SE); the number of contaminated sites when residents wore double gloves was 5.0 +/- 0 .7 (P < 0.001).
CONCLUSIONS: The results of this study suggest that when an anesthesiologist wears 2 sets of gloves during laryngoscopy and intubation and then removes the outer set immediately after intubation, the contamination of the intraoperative environment is dramatically reduced.

Source: Birnbach, David j., Rosen, Lisa F., Fitzpatrick, Maureen, Carling, Philip, Arheart, Kristopher L., et Munoz-Price, L. Silvia. (2014). Anesthesia & Analgesia.

Chute par-dessus bord de l’équipage des homardiers du Québec

Analyse des risques et pistes de prévention
L’activité de pêche commerciale est l’une des plus dangereuses du domaine industriel. Des chutes par-dessus bord se produisent chaque saison de pêche et leurs conséquences sont généralement graves, parfois mortelles. Au cours des dernières années, deux décès sont survenus dans ces circonstances au Québec lors d’activités de pêche au homard. De façon générale les causes documentées des chutes par-dessus bord sont la perte d’équilibre et l’entraînement par le gréement de pêche. Les objectifs de cette recherche sont : 1) d’analyser les risques de chute par-dessus bord et leurs déterminants lors de la pêche au homard, 2) de documenter les moyens de prévention collectifs et individuels pouvant être adaptés aux homardiers, 3) d’identifier les pistes les plus prometteuses de réduction des risques. Ces objectifs sous-tendent une compréhension approfondie de l’activité de travail de cette pêche. Cette étude s’est déroulée sur une période d’un an.


Oregon OSHA Posts Respiratory Program Guide for Small Businesses

A new publication titled Breathe Right! from Oregon OSHA is an easily understood guide to developing a respiratory protection program for owners and managers of small businesses. It covers Assigned Protection Factors and different types of respiratory hazards, fit tests, seal checks, respirator cleaning and disinfection, voluntary use, employee training, and respirator use by bearded workers.


Improving eye safety in citrus harvest crews through the acceptance of personal protective equipment, community-based participatory research, social marketing, and community health workers

For the last 10 years, the Partnership for Citrus Workers Health (PCWH) has been an evidence-based intervention program that promotes the adoption of protective eye safety equipment among Spanish-speaking farmworkers of Florida. At the root of this program is the systematic use of community-based preventive marketing (CBPM) and the training of community health workers (CHWs) among citrus harvester using popular education. CBPM is a model that combines the organizational system of community-based participatory research (CBPR) and the strategies of social marketing. This particular program relied on formative research data using a mixed-methods approach and a multilevel stakeholder analysis that allowed for rapid dissemination, effective increase of personal protective equipment (PPE) usage, and a subsequent impact on adoptive workers and companies. Focus groups, face-to-face interviews, surveys, participant observation, Greco-Latin square, and quasi-experimental tests were implemented. A 20-hour popular education training produced CHWs that translated results of the formative research to potential adopters and also provided first aid skills for eye injuries. Reduction of injuries is not limited to the use of safety glasses, but also to the adoption of timely intervention and regular eye hygiene. Limitations include adoption in only large companies, rapid decline of eye safety glasses without consistent intervention, technological limitations of glasses, and thorough cost-benefit analysis.

Source: Tovar-Aguilar JA, Monaghan PF, Bryant CA, Esposito A, Wade M, Ruiz O, McDermott RJ. J. Agromed. 2014; 19(2): 107-116.

Fatal falls in the U.S. residential construction industry

BACKGROUND: Falls from heights remain the most common cause of workplace fatalities among residential construction workers in the United States.
METHODS: This paper examines patterns and trends of fall fatalities in U.S. residential construction between 2003 and 2010 by analyzing two large national datasets.
RESULTS: Almost half of the fatalities in residential construction were from falls. In the residential roofing industry, 80% of fatalities were from falls. In addition, about one-third of fatal falls in residential construction were among self-employed workers. Workers who were older than 55 years, were Hispanic foreign-born, or employed in small establishments (1-10 employees) also had higher proportions of fatal falls in residential construction compared to those in nonresidential construction.
CONCLUSIONS: The findings suggest that fall safety within the residential construction industry lags behind commercial construction and industrial settings. Fall prevention in residential construction should be enhanced to better protect construction workers in this sector.

Source: Dong XS, Wang X, Largay JA, Platner JW, Stafford E, Cain CT, Choi SD. Am. J. Ind. Med. 2014.

Assessment of the human responses to the influence of personal liquid cooling system in the hot environment

Purpose – People working in the hot environment are constantly exposed to the overheating, that can lead to cardiovascular disorders and as a consequence result in occupational diseases. The purpose of this paper is to present developed personal liquid cooling system that is able to efficiently draw excess heat from the human organism, protecting against thermal stress.
Design/methodology/approach – The paper presents study concerning the assessment of effect of the coolant temperature in the developed liquid cooling garment (LCG) on physiological parameters of the subjects (heart rate, body temperature, skin temperature) and parameters of the undergarment microclimate, as well as subjective sensations reported by volunteers exercising in hot microclimate while wearing LCG and without LCG.
Findings – Obtained results of physiological parameters measurements, as well as undergarment physical parameters and volunteers subjective sensations, proved satisfactory level of thermal stress reduction while working in the aluminized protective clothing in hot environment by the developed personal liquid cooling system for the variant with coolant temperature 19°C and the flow rate 0.9?dm3/min.
Originality/value – This paper presents a new clothing construction intended for LCG that can efficiently support human thermoregulation processes while working in the hot environment.

Source: Grazyna Bartkowiak, Anna Dabrowska, Anna Marszalek, (2014), International Journal of Clothing Science and Technology, Vol. 26 Iss: 2, p.145 - 163.

Evaluation of two cooling systems under a firefighter coverall

Firemen often suffer from heat strain. This study investigated two chest cooling systems for use under a firefighting suit. In nine male subjects, a vest with water soaked cooling pads and a vest with water perfused tubes were compared to a control condition. Subjects performed 30 min walking and 10 min recovery in hot conditions, while physiological and perceptual parameters were measured. No differences were observed in heart rate and rectal temperature, but scapular skin temperature and fluid loss were lower using the perfused vest. Thermal sensation was cooler for the perfused vest than for the other conditions, while the cool pad vest felt initially cooler than control. However, comfort and RPE scores were similar. We conclude that the cooling effect of both tested systems, mainly providing a (temporally) cooler thermal sensation, was limited and did not meet the expectations.

Source: Teunissen LP, Wang LC, Chou SN, Huang CH, Jou GT, Daanen HA. Appl. Ergon. 2014.

Temporal changes in the required shoe-floor friction when walking following an induced slip

Biomechanical aspects of slips and falls have been widely studied to facilitate fall prevention strategies. Prior studies have shown changes in gait after an induced slipping event. As such, most researchers only slip participants one time to avoid such changes that would otherwise reduce the external validity of experimental results. The ability to slip participants more than once, after allowing gait to return to a natural baseline, would improve the experimental efficiency of such studies. Therefore, the goal of this study was to characterize the temporal changes in required shoe-floor friction when walking following an induced slip. Two experiments were completed, and each employed a different potential strategy to promote the return of gait to a natural baseline after slipping. In the first experiment, extended time away from the laboratory was used to promote the return of gait to baseline. We measured required coefficient-of-friction among 36 young adult male participants over four sessions. The first three sessions provided measurements during baseline (i.e., natural gait) both prior to slipping and immediately after slipping. The fourth session provided a measurement 1-12 weeks after slipping. In the second experiment, an extensive number of walking trials was used to promote the return of gait to baseline. We measured required coefficient-of-friction among 10 young adult male participants in a single session. Measurements were collected during 10 baseline walking trials, immediately after slipping, and during 50-55 additional trials. In both experiments, required coefficient-of-friction decreased 12-16% immediately after a single slip, increased toward baseline levels over subsequent weeks/walking trials, but remained statistically different from baseline at the end of the experiments. Based on these results, experiments involving slipping participants multiple times may not have a high level of external validity, and researchers are encouraged to continue to limit experimental protocols to a single induced slip per participant.

Source: Beringer DN, Nussbaum MA, Madigan ML. PLoS ONE 2014; 9(5).

The European, Japanese and US protective helmet, gloves and boots for firefighters

Thermoregulatory and psychological évaluations
The purpose of this study was to investigate the physiological and subjective responses of the European, Japanese (JPN) and US firefighters' helmet, gloves and boots for international standardisation. Three experimental conditions were evaluated (clothing mass: 9.4, 8.2 and 10.1 kg for the three conditions, respectively) at the air temperature of 32°C and 60% relative humidity. The results showed that there was no significant difference among the three conditions in oxygen consumption, heart rate, total sweat rate, rectal temperature and mean skin temperature, whereas peripheral temperatures and subjective perceptions were lower in the JPN condition than in the other conditions (P < 0.05). These results indicate that a 0.5-kg reduction in helmet mass and a 1.1-kg reduction in boot mass during exercise resulted in a significant decrease in head and leg temperatures and subjective perceptions, while a 1.9-kg reduction in total clothing mass had insignificant influences on the metabolic burden and overall body temperature.

Source: Lee JY, Yamamoto Y, Oe R, Son SY, Wakabayashi H, Tochihara Y. Ergonomics 2014.

Twenty years of workers' compensation costs due to falls from height among union carpenters, Washington State

BACKGROUND: Falls from height (FFH) are a longstanding, serious problem in construction.
METHODS: We report workers' compensation (WC) payments associated with FFH among a cohort (n = 24,830; 1989-2008) of carpenters. Mean/median payments, cost rates, and adjusted rate ratios based on hours worked were calculated using negative-binomial regression.
RESULTS: Over the 20-year period FFH accounted for $66.6 million in WC payments or $700 per year for each fulltime equivalent (2,000 hr of work). FFH were responsible for 5.5% of injuries but 15.1% of costs. Cost declines were observed, but not monotonically. Reductions were more pronounced for indemnity than medical care. Mean costs were 2.3 times greater among carpenters over 50 than those under 30; cost rates were only modestly higher.
CONCLUSIONS: Significant progress has been made in reducing WC payments associated with FFH in this cohort particularly through 1996; primary gains reflect reduction in frequency of falls. FFH that occur remain costly.

Source: Lipscomb HJ, Schoenfisch AL, Cameron W, Kucera KL, Adams D, Silverstein BA. Am. J. Ind. Med. 2014. 

Wearing a crotch strap on a correctly fitted lifejacket improves lifejacket performance

Wearing a lifejacket when immersed in water should support the wearer, maintaining their airway clear of the water. It is proposed that a retention system would improve airway protection by improving retention of the lifejacket around the torso. Study one (n = 10) quantified the performance of lifejackets immediately following a step into water from height when a lifejacket was worn with a crotch strap (two different tightness) and without a crotch strap. Airway freeboard was improved when wearing a crotch strap (P < 0.05) compared with no crotch strap. Study two used a manikin to examine the performance of lifejackets with and without a crotch strap during 3-h exposures to waves. During exposure to waves, the time taken to aspirate the lethal dose of seawater for drowning was doubled when wearing a crotch strap compared with the no-crotch-strap conditions (P < 0.001). Therefore, wearing a crotch strap (functioning retention system) on a correctly fitted lifejacket improves airway protection following accidental immersion and prolonged wave exposure.

Source: Lunt H, White D, Long G, Tipton M. Ergonomics 2014. 

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