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.. | Volume 11 Number 3, 2005 (free)






Workers’ Involvement—A Missing Component in the Implementation of Occupational Safety and Health Management Systems in Enterprises
Daniel Podgórski

Effective implementation of occupational safety and health (OSH) legislation based on European Union directives requires promotion of OSH management systems (OSH MS). To this end, voluntary Polish standards (PN-N-18000) have been adopted, setting forth OSH MS specifications and guidelines. However, the number of enterprises implementing OSH MS has increased slowly, falling short of expectations, which call for a new national policy on OSH MS promotion. To develop a national policy in this area, a survey was conducted in 40 enterprises with OSH MS in place. The survey was aimed at identifying motivational factors underlying OSH MS implementation decisions. Specifically, workers’ and their representatives’ involvement in OSH MS implementation was investigated. The results showed that the level of workers’ involvement was relatively low, which may result in a low effectiveness of those systems. The same result also applies to the involvement of workers’ representatives and that of trade unions.

Signal Recognition and Hearing Protectors with Normal and Impaired Hearing
Hans Lazarus

Recognition of acoustic signals when perception is subject to interference from noise has already been extensively studied. In this study the influence of hearing protectors (HP) (plugs, muffs) and hearing loss on signal recognition is examined. Different spectrums and levels of the noise are also included. The test results are shown as the masked threshold for the signals heard and identified. In the case of normally hearing subjects a frequency-independent HP (plug) improves hearing performance, while frequency-dependent HP (muffs) tends to worsen it, especially with low-frequency noise. Hearing losses even worsen hearing performance when plugs are worn. Design suggestions are made to optimise signal recognition. Minimum signal-to-noise ratio and the use of HP are discussed.

Using Gas Chromatography for Indoor-Air Quality Control in the Conservation and Renovation Studios by Gas Chromatography
Tomasz Ligor, Piotr Gorczyca & Bogusław Buszewski

Investigations were carried out in the Department of Conservation of Painting and Polychrome Sculpture and in the Screen Printing Studio of the Faculty of Art at Nicolaus Copernicus University. Concentration of the vapours of organic solvents was measured in 2 workshops: the Art Conservation Studio and the Screen Printing Studio. This study attempts to evaluate the work environment in both studios by analysing the concentration of vapour solvents over 5 to 7 years of measurements. Volatile solvents—aliphatic and aromatic hydrocarbons, alcohols, esters and ketones—were detected in investigated workplaces. These compounds have a wide range of applications in cleaning and removing old varnishes, lacquers and paints; inhalation is the main route of exposure. Vapour was collected using an active sampling method.

Job Level Risk Assessment Using Task Level ACGIH Hand Activity Level TLV Scores: A Pilot Study
Phillip Drinkaus, Richard Sesek, Donald S. Bloswick, Clay Mann & Thomas Bernard

Existing upper extremity musculoskeletal disorder analytical tools are primarily intended for single or mono-task jobs. However, many jobs contain more than 1 task and some include job rotation. This case/control study investigates methods of modifying an existing tool, the American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH) Hand Activity Level (HAL) Threshold Limit Value (TLV), to assess the upper extremity risk of multi-task jobs. Various methods of combining the task differences and ratios into a job level assessment were explored. Two methods returned significant odds ratios, (p < .05) of 18.0 (95% CI 1.8–172) and 12.0 (95% CI 1.2–120). These results indicate that a modified ACGIH HAL TLV may provide insight into the work-related risk of multi-task jobs. Further research is needed to optimize this process.

Exposure to Methyl Metacrylate and Its Subjective Symptoms Among Dental Technicians, Tehran, Iran
Farideh Golbabaei, Maryam Mamdouh, Keramat Nourijelyani & Seyed Jamaleddin Shahtaheri

Exposure to methyl methacrylate (MMA), total dust and health symptoms were investigated in 20 dental laboratories located in Tehran, Iran. Time-weighted average (TWA) of MMA and peak concentrations were determined, using XAD-2 tubes followed by GC-ID analysis. Total dusts were evaluated gravimetrically. Health symptoms were asked using a questionnaire. TWA for technicians with direct and indirect exposure to MMA were 327.28 ± 79.42 and 282.9 ± 41.84 mg/m³, respectively. Peak concentration of MMA for those technicians were 337.0 ± 36.81 and 328.88 ± 45.40 mg/m³, respectively. There were no significant differences between TWA of MMA and peak concentration in different weekly workdays; however, within-day variations were observed (P < .05). TWA of MMA and peak concentration correlation with the laboratory volume were 0.61–0.65. Dust exposure of technicians was 2.35 ± 2.70 mg/m³. Cough and skin dryness were the common health symptoms. Smoking and asbestos exposure history were factors influencing cough prevalence (p < .05). It is concluded that the current Short-Term Exposure Limit (STEL) is not low enough to protect technicians against the adverse effects caused by MMA.

Workers' Perceptions of Workplace Safety and Job Satisfaction
Seth Ayim Gyekye

A lot of attention has been focused on workers’ perceptions of workplace safety but relatively little or no research has been done on the impact of job satisfaction on safety climate. This study investigated this relationship. It also examined the relationships between job satisfaction and workers’ compliance with safety management policies and accident frequency. A positive association was found between job satisfaction and safety climate. Workers
who expressed more satisfaction at their posts had positive perceptions of safety climate. Correspondingly, they were more committed to safety management policies and consequently registered a lower rate of accident involvement. The results were thus consistent with the notion that workers’ positive perceptions of organisational climate influence their perceptions of safety at the workplace. The findings, which have implications in the work
environment, are discussed.

Evaluation of Hook Handles in a Pulling Task
Yong-Ku Kong, Andris Freivalds & Sung Eun Kim

To evaluate the effect of handle design characteristics on subjective ratings and pulling forces, meat-hook handles with various handle shapes, sizes, and hook positions were tested in a pulling task. Finger and phalange force data measured by force sensitive resistors and subjective ratings of discomfort were also evaluated. Generally subjects preferred 37-mm double frustum, 30-mm oval handles followed by 30-mm double frustum handles, 37-mm oval, and 45-mm double frustum handles. In the analyses of total pulling force, 37- and 45-mm double frustum handles showed less required pulling force than the others. The averages of finger force contributions to the total pulling force were 27.2, 28.1, 23.9, and 20.8% in order from index to little fingers. The average of phalange force contributions were 28.8, 33.6, and 37.6% for the distal, middle, and proximal phalanges, respectively. The findings illustrate that the pulling finger forces and subjective discomfort ratings were related to the handle shape as well as handle size.

An Ergonomic Study on Posture-Related Discomfort Feeling Among Preadolescent Agricultural Workers of West Bengal, India
Somnath Gangopadhyay, Banibrata Das, Tamal Das & Goutam Ghoshal

In India, particularly in West Bengal, preadolescents are primarily associated with agricultural work in rural areas. Owing to poor socio-economic conditions, they are compelled to carry out a considerable number of manual, rigorous tasks in agricultural fields. The main aim of this study was to investigate postures adopted by preadolescent agricultural workers during individual agricultural activities and to analyze the causes of discomfort related to those postures. Fifty male and 50 female preadolescent agricultural workers were randomly selected and a detailed posture analysis was performed with the Ovako Working Posture Analysis System (OWAS). It was observed that those workers worked continuously in awkward postures during certain agricultural activities. Consequently they suffered from discomfort in different parts of their body. Even though they were very young, they were likely to suffer from serious musculoskeletal disorders in the future.

Percutaneous Exposure Incidents Among Australian Hospital Staff
Derek R. Smith, Peter A. Leggat & Ken Takahashi

We investigated all reported percutaneous exposure incidents (PEI) among staff from a large Australian hospital in the 3-year period, 2001–2003. There were a total of 373 PEI, of which 38.9% were needlestick injuries, 32.7% were cutaneous exposures and 28.4% sharps-related injuries. Nurses were the most commonly affected staff members, accounting for 63.5% of the total, followed by doctors (18.8%) and other staff (17.7%). Needlestick injuries were responsible for the majority of nurses’ PEI (44.7%). Sharps injuries constituted the major category for doctors (44.3%). Most needlestick injuries (67.6%) were caused by hollow-bore needles, while the majority of cutaneous exposures involved blood or serum (55.8%). Most sharps injures were caused by unknown devices (35.9%) or suture needles (34.9%). Overall, our investigation suggests that PEI is a considerable burden for health care workers in Australia. Further research is now required to determine the relationships, if any, between workers who suffer PEI and those who do not.

Ergonomics and Safety of Manual Bag Sealing
Marinka D. de Groot, Tim Bosch, Sandra M. Eikhout & Peter Vink

A variety of seals is used to close bags. Each seal has advantages and disadvantages. For shop assistants sealing bags could be a repetitive physically demanding action. Opening and closing the bags again can cause some discomfort or annoyance for consumers. Besides, it is an activity which can endanger safety, i.e., knives being used in opening, children swallowing the systems of sealing. To prevent these problems a new sealing system was developed.    In this paper the opinion of shop assistants, consumers and experts on several bag sealing systems was studied. It appeared that for sealing plastic bags, adhesive tape with paper is the best out of 4 systems, closely followed by adhesive tape. It is discussed that for the elderly, there is still room for improvement in opening bag seals.

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