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Occupational Health Risk Assessment

A special issue of International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health (ISSN 1660-4601). This special issue belongs to the section "Occupational Safety and Health".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 March 2023) | Viewed by 34021

Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor
Department of Health and Safety Convergence Science, Graduate School, Korea University, 145 Anam-ro, Seongbuk-gu, Seoul 02841, Korea
Interests: public health risk assessment; chemical risk assessment; workplace exposure assessment; priority control method for hazards; passive sampling methods; respiratory assessment

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Guest Editor
Department of Environmental Health, Korea National Open University, 86 Daehak-ro, Jongno-gu, Seoul 03087, Republic of Korea
Interests: semiconductor process health risk; humidifier disinfectant health risk assessment

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The increasing importance of conducting a risk assessment of hazardous substances in the efficient prevention and management of occupational diseases is due to the scientific basis of setting standards. Risk assessment can provide comprehensive and quantitative information on the effects of exposure to hazardous substances in the workplace on the human body, thereby contributing to the acquisition of trust between workers, employers, and governments and providing reasonable regulatory standards to establish engineering and administrative management goals. Risk assessment entails, in chronological order, the identification of hazardous substances, hazard assessment, exposure assessment, risk characterization, and risk management. Risk assessment is possible for the various harmful factors that may occur in occupational health and safety, and this will be the focus of this Special Issue.

Prof. Dr. Sang Hoon Byeon
Prof. Dr. Donguk Park
Guest Editors

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Keywords

  • risk assessment to occupational health;
  • risk assessment to occupational safety;
  • exposure assessment;
  • hazard assessment;
  • risk characterization;
  • priority control method for hazards

Published Papers (16 papers)

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Research

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24 pages, 2007 KiB  
Article
Construction of a Musculoskeletal Discomfort Scale for the Lower Limbs of Workers: An Analysis Using the Multigroup Item Response Theory
by Joel Gomes da Silva, Jonhatan Magno Norte da Silva, Lucas Gomes Miranda Bispo, Deividson Sá Fernandes de Souza, Rômulo Silva Serafim, Manoel Gerônimo Lino Torres, Wilza Karla dos Santos Leite and Elamara Marama de Araujo Vieira
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2023, 20(7), 5307; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph20075307 - 29 Mar 2023
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1745
Abstract
Musculoskeletal symptoms are a major occupational health problem in workers, and these can affect all professional occupations. Previous studies have proposed metrics capable of evaluating the musculoskeletal discomfort experienced by workers. However, no study has developed a metric that considers professional groups. Thus, [...] Read more.
Musculoskeletal symptoms are a major occupational health problem in workers, and these can affect all professional occupations. Previous studies have proposed metrics capable of evaluating the musculoskeletal discomfort experienced by workers. However, no study has developed a metric that considers professional groups. Thus, this study aimed to develop a scale for musculoskeletal discomfort in the lower limbs to compare self-reported symptoms among education, health, and industry professionals. The sample included 159 teachers, 167 health professionals, and 401 industrial operators who relayed their symptoms using a diagram of the hips, thighs, knees, lower legs, and feet. Factor and multigroup item response theory analyses were used to construct a musculoskeletal discomfort scale consisting of seven levels and to assess and compare the identified symptoms. The results showed that the progressive evolution of discomfort differed for each profession, demonstrating that each context and work environment affects workers differently, which may explain the different patterns of symptom responses among professional groups. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Occupational Health Risk Assessment)
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16 pages, 3775 KiB  
Article
Occupational Risk Factors by Sectors: An Observational Study of 20,000 Workers
by Luther Dogbla, Cédric Gouvenelle, Florence Thorin, François-Xavier Lesage, Marek Zak, Ukadike Chris Ugbolue, Barbara Charbotel, Julien S. Baker, Bruno Pereira and Frédéric Dutheil
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2023, 20(4), 3632; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph20043632 - 18 Feb 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1605
Abstract
Objective: We aimed to assess the prevalence of exposure by sector and the sectors of activity most exposed to each exposure, using routine occupational health data, and to quantify the risk of being exposed. Method: Occupational risk factors were assessed by workers followed [...] Read more.
Objective: We aimed to assess the prevalence of exposure by sector and the sectors of activity most exposed to each exposure, using routine occupational health data, and to quantify the risk of being exposed. Method: Occupational risk factors were assessed by workers followed by the Occupational Health Service of Cher, using self-reported questionnaires. The sectors of activity were grouped into seven sectors, and the risks were grouped into six occupational exposure groups. Comparisons were made using the Chi-squared test and Cramer’s V, and the odds ratios were calculated by using logistic regression. Results: We included 19,891 workers. The construction sector had the highest prevalence (p < 0.05 vs. all other sectors) of exposure to physical (76%) and biomechanical factors (82%), as well as chemical risks (75%). Human health and social work was the sector with the highest prevalence of exposure to biological factors (69%), psychosocial factors (90%), and atypical working hours (61%). With workers from administrative and support sectors as the reference, construction workers had more chance of declaring exposure to physical factors (OR = 3.28, 95%CI = 2.89 to 3.72), biomechanical factors (1.82, 1.58 to 2.09), and chemical agents (3.83, 3.38 to 4.33). Workers from the human health and social sectors had more chance of being exposed to biological agents (13.4, 11.9 to 15.2), atypical working hours (1.93, 1.75 to 2.14), and psychosocial factors (2.74, 2.38 to 3.16). Conclusion: Psychosocial risk factors were commonly reported in all sectors. Workers in the construction, human health, and social sectors seem to report more exposures than those in other sectors. The analysis of occupational exposures is a necessary basis to build an efficient preventive strategy for occupational health. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Occupational Health Risk Assessment)
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17 pages, 2884 KiB  
Article
Commonly Used Subjective Effort Scales May Not Predict Directly Measured Physical Workloads and Fatigue in Hispanic Farmworkers
by Ornwipa Thamsuwan, Kit Galvin, Pablo Palmandez and Peter W. Johnson
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2023, 20(4), 2809; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph20042809 - 05 Feb 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1880
Abstract
In North America, Hispanic migrant farmworkers are being exposed to occupational ergonomic risks. Due to cultural differences in the perception and reporting of effort and pain, it was unknown whether standardized subjective ergonomic assessment tools could accurately estimate the directly measured their physical [...] Read more.
In North America, Hispanic migrant farmworkers are being exposed to occupational ergonomic risks. Due to cultural differences in the perception and reporting of effort and pain, it was unknown whether standardized subjective ergonomic assessment tools could accurately estimate the directly measured their physical effort. This study investigated whether the subjective scales widely used in exercise physiology were associated with the direct measures of metabolic load and muscle fatigue in this population. Twenty-four migrant apple harvesters participated in this study. The Borg RPE in Spanish and the Omni RPE with pictures of tree-fruit harvesters were used for assessing overall effort at four time points during a full-day 8-h work shift. The Borg CR10 was used for assessing local discomfort at the shoulders. To determine whether there were associations between the subjective and direct measures of overall exertion measures, we conducted linear regressions of the percentage of heart rate reserve (% HRR) on the Borg RPE and Omni RPE. In terms of local discomfort, the median power frequency (MPF) of trapezius electromyography (EMG) was used for representing muscle fatigue. Then full-day measurements of muscle fatigue were regressed on the Borg CR10 changes from the beginning to the end of the work shift. The Omni RPE were found to be correlated with the % HRR. In addition, the Borg RPE were correlated to the % HRR after the break but not after the work. These scales might be useful for certain situations. In terms of local discomfort, the Borg CR10 were not correlated with the MPF of EMG and, therefore, could not replace direct measurement. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Occupational Health Risk Assessment)
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15 pages, 362 KiB  
Article
Health Risk Assessment of Informal Food Vendors: A Comparative Study in Johannesburg, South Africa
by Maasago Mercy Sepadi and Vusumuzi Nkosi
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2023, 20(3), 2736; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph20032736 - 03 Feb 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 2743
Abstract
According to the best of our knowledge, there are no critical studies to date about associations between the work environment and prevalence of respiratory diseases and their symptoms among urban informal vendors in South Africa. This study followed a risk assessment methodology to [...] Read more.
According to the best of our knowledge, there are no critical studies to date about associations between the work environment and prevalence of respiratory diseases and their symptoms among urban informal vendors in South Africa. This study followed a risk assessment methodology to assess the risks associated with the occurrence of respiratory health problems among 617 indoor and outdoor market vendors in the inner city of Johannesburg, South Africa. A walkthrough survey using a checklist was conducted in 16 Markets for identification of respiratory risk factors and description of sanitary conditions. Face-to-face interviews were conducted amongst informal food vendors using a previously validated questionnaire to collect information on demographics and occupational and respiratory health. In addition, a single day area air pollution monitoring of PM2.5, SO2, NO2, CO, and CO2 was conducted in two stalls (indoor and outdoor). The Chi-squared test of association and frequency distribution were used to analyse data. Female vendors aged between 30 to 39 years dominated the trade. The results revealed that a majority of the vendors’ work shifts are longer than the recommended eight hours per day (73%), six to seven days per week (90%), and most of them have been working for six to ten years (41%). Poor sanitary conditions were observed in 75% of the markets. The concentrations of air pollutants at the outdoor markets were much greater than those in the indoor markets. All air pollution concentrations were below the recommended national and international standards. The risk of outdoor vendors developing any symptoms were extremely greater than those of indoor vendors, especially cooking vendors. Upper respiratory symptoms were the highest amongst the vendors. The results demonstrated a significant association between work-related risk factors, such as type of work location, duration, type of cooking fuel or heat, vendor training, frequency of hand hygiene practice, and using of a mask, and the upper respiratory symptoms. Based on the findings, there is a need for formalization of the trade, improvement in infrastructure, respiratory health care assessments, and sustainable educational programs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Occupational Health Risk Assessment)
12 pages, 372 KiB  
Article
Ratings of Hand Activity and Force Levels among Women and Men Who Perform Identical Hand-Intensive Work Tasks
by Gunilla Dahlgren, Per Liv, Fredrik Öhberg, Lisbeth Slunga Järvholm, Mikael Forsman and Börje Rehn
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(24), 16706; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph192416706 - 13 Dec 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1344
Abstract
We compared hand activity and force ratings in women and men doing identical hand-intensive work tasks. Musculoskeletal disorders are more common in women and hand-intensive work leads to an increased risk of these disorders. Knowledge of the gender influence in the rating of [...] Read more.
We compared hand activity and force ratings in women and men doing identical hand-intensive work tasks. Musculoskeletal disorders are more common in women and hand-intensive work leads to an increased risk of these disorders. Knowledge of the gender influence in the rating of work exposure is lacking. The aim of this study was to investigate whether women and men performing identical hand-intensive work tasks were equally rated using hand activity and normalized peak force levels with the Hand Activity Threshold Limit Value®. Fifty-six workers participated, comprising 28 women–men pairs. Four observers—two woman–man pairs—were also involved. Self-ratings and observers’ ratings of hand activity and force level were collected. The results of these ratings showed no significant gender differences in self-rated hand activity and force, as well as observer-rated hand activity. However, there was a significant gender difference in the observer-rated force, where the women were rated higher (mean (SD): women 3.9 (2.7), men 3.1 (1.8) (p = 0.01)). This difference remained significant in the adjusted model (p = 0.04) with grip strength and forearm–finger anthropometrics. The results provide new insights that observers’ estimates of force can be higher in women compared with men in the same work tasks. Force should be further investigated and preferably compared to objective measurements. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Occupational Health Risk Assessment)
19 pages, 4607 KiB  
Article
Trends in Occupational Infectious Diseases in South Korea and Classification of Industries According to the Risk of Biological Hazards Using K-Means Clustering
by Saemi Shin, Won Suck Yoon and Sang-Hoon Byeon
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(19), 11922; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph191911922 - 21 Sep 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1657
Abstract
Against the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is necessary to identify these risks and determine whether the current level of management is appropriate to respond to the risk of biological hazards depending on the occupation. In this study, the incidence and fatality [...] Read more.
Against the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is necessary to identify these risks and determine whether the current level of management is appropriate to respond to the risk of biological hazards depending on the occupation. In this study, the incidence and fatality rates of occupational diseases were calculated using industrial accident statistics of South Korea, and trends by year using joinpoint regression and relative risk by industry using k-means clustering were evaluated for infectious diseases. We found that infectious diseases had the third highest incidence and fourth highest fatalities among all occupational diseases. In the incidence rate, joinpoints appeared in 2009 and 2018, and the annual percent change changed to 7.79, −16.63, and 82.11. The fatality rate showed a consistent increase with an annual percent change of 4.37, but it was not significant. Industries were classified into five groups according to risk, and the legal control measures of certain industries were not sufficient. Follow-up studies are needed to rectify the structural limitations of industrial accident statistics. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Occupational Health Risk Assessment)
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17 pages, 1431 KiB  
Article
Role of Ape1 in Impaired DNA Repair Capacity in Battery Recycling Plant Workers Exposed to Lead
by Pablo Hernández-Franco, María Maldonado-Vega, José Víctor Calderón-Salinas, Emilio Rojas and Mahara Valverde
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(13), 7961; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19137961 - 29 Jun 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1262
Abstract
Exposure to lead in environmental and occupational settings continues to be a serious public health problem. At environmentally relevant doses, two mechanisms may underlie lead exposition-induced genotoxicity, disruption of the redox balance and an interference with DNA repair systems. The aim of the [...] Read more.
Exposure to lead in environmental and occupational settings continues to be a serious public health problem. At environmentally relevant doses, two mechanisms may underlie lead exposition-induced genotoxicity, disruption of the redox balance and an interference with DNA repair systems. The aim of the study was to evaluate the ability of lead exposition to induce impaired function of Ape1 and its impact on DNA repair capacity of workers chronically exposed to lead in a battery recycling plant. Our study included 53 participants, 37 lead exposed workers and 16 non-lead exposed workers. Lead intoxication was characterized by high blood lead concentration, high lipid peroxidation and low activity of delta-aminolevulinic acid dehydratase (δ-ALAD). Relevantly, we found a loss of DNA repair capacity related with down-regulation of a set of specific DNA repair genes, showing specifically, for the first time, the role of Ape1 down regulation at transcriptional and protein levels in workers exposed to lead. Additionally, using a functional assay we found an impaired function of Ape1 that correlates with high blood lead concentration and lipid peroxidation. Taken together, these data suggest that occupational exposure to lead could decrease DNA repair capacity, inhibiting the function of Ape1, as well other repair genes through the regulation of the ZF-transcription factor, promoting the genomic instability. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Occupational Health Risk Assessment)
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10 pages, 331 KiB  
Article
Risk Factors for Locomotive Crew Members Depending on Their Place of Work
by Elena A. Zhidkova, Ekaterina M. Gutor, Inga A. Popova, Victoria A. Zaborova, Kira Kryuchkova, Konstantin G. Gurevich, Natella I. Krikheli and Katie M. Heinrich
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(12), 7415; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19127415 - 16 Jun 2022
Viewed by 1545
Abstract
Purpose: The purpose of this study is to examine the prevalence of workplace exposure, behavior, and individual health conditions, along with resulting medical activity among locomotive crew members depending on their place of work. Patients and methods: Participants included 5585 train drivers and [...] Read more.
Purpose: The purpose of this study is to examine the prevalence of workplace exposure, behavior, and individual health conditions, along with resulting medical activity among locomotive crew members depending on their place of work. Patients and methods: Participants included 5585 train drivers and 3723 train drivers’ assistants (7% of the total train operators in the Russian Federation). Measured height and weight were used to calculate body mass index (BMI), and waist circumference, pulse rate, and blood pressure were also measured. The risk assessment was conducted using the STEPS tool. The level of commitment to a Healthy Lifestyle was assessed based on World Health Organization recommendations. Occupational risk factors were surveyed. Morbidity was analyzed over the past year. Results: The lowest frequency of work exposure risk factors was found for employees of the Trans-Baikal railway; the highest was among Krasnoyarsk, North, and South-East. The participants from the Far East and October Railways had the lowest self-reported frequency of behavioral risk factors. The participants from the Eastern Siberian, October, and Southern Urals railways had the lowest occurrence of individual health conditions. The participants from the East Siberian, Far East, Kuibyshev, and Sverdlovsk railways were the least likely to visit their doctor, take temporary disability leave, or be hospitalized. The total assessed Healthy Lifestyle commitment index was higher for participants from the Far Eastern and Southern Urals railways. The participants from the Moscow and October railways were the least committed to a Healthy Lifestyle. Conclusions: Significant differences exist between risk factors and Healthy Lifestyle commitment between railways. Future research should examine changes due to a new corporate health program introduced in 2020. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Occupational Health Risk Assessment)
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21 pages, 2562 KiB  
Article
Design of a Fuzzy Logic Evaluation to Determine the Ergonomic Risk Level of Manual Material Handling Tasks
by Martha Roselia Contreras-Valenzuela, Diego Seuret-Jiménez, Ana María Hdz-Jasso, Viridiana Aydeé León Hernández, Alma Nataly Abundes-Recilla and Eduardo Trutié-Carrero
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(11), 6511; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19116511 - 27 May 2022
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1736
Abstract
In this work, we propose a fuzzy inference as a decision support system built in the MATLAB Fuzzy Logic Designer for evaluating manual material handling risk conditions. The input variables for the fuzzy decision were: (1) the total time duration of the manual [...] Read more.
In this work, we propose a fuzzy inference as a decision support system built in the MATLAB Fuzzy Logic Designer for evaluating manual material handling risk conditions. The input variables for the fuzzy decision were: (1) the total time duration of the manual material handling in one shift of 450 min, with 3 h considered the maximal exposition time; (2) 25 kg as a maximal mass reference which should never be exceeded; (3) the repetitiveness of the manual material handling task through the shift considering as the maximal frequency of four lifts per min. Results of 135 earlier direct ergonomic evaluations made using the method proposed by the ISO 11228-1 were used as validator results, and called “expected results”. The experimentation intended to simulate an ergonomic evaluation in different boundary conditions of work and verify if the fuzzy interface could correctly replicate the results of the ergonomic evaluations. As validation, the list with the 135 expected results was compared against the evaluation made by the fuzzy logic interface, called “Work_Conditions”. From the comparison, only three evaluations (0.02%) differed with respect to the expected results. Consequently, it is concluded that the fuzzy interface can be used as a tool for automating the determination of manual material handling ergonomic risk levels, with great precision. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Occupational Health Risk Assessment)
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15 pages, 362 KiB  
Article
Influence of Prolonged Visual Display Terminal Use on Physical and Mental Conditions among Health Care Workers at Tertiary Hospitals, Taiwan
by Meng-Ting Tsou
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(7), 3770; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19073770 - 22 Mar 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1555
Abstract
This study aimed to examine the effects of prolonged VDT working time on physical and mental health disadvantages among health care workers (HCWs) in tertiary hospitals based on their work characteristics, age, and sex. Included in the study were 945 and 1868 participants [...] Read more.
This study aimed to examine the effects of prolonged VDT working time on physical and mental health disadvantages among health care workers (HCWs) in tertiary hospitals based on their work characteristics, age, and sex. Included in the study were 945 and 1868 participants in the non-doctor/nurse and doctor/nurse groups, respectively. The questionnaire included VDT usage-related information, the Nordic Musculoskeletal Questionnaire (NMQ), computer vision syndrome (CVS), perceived occupational stress, burnout, the Brief Symptom Rating Scale-5 (BSRS-5), and self-rated health (SRH). After adjustment, multiple logistical regression analysis revealed that the two groups showed that the longer the VDT working time, the higher the risk of muscle pain, severe headaches, severe job stress, and self-assessed bad sleep quality. This showed that the condition of the doctor/nurse group was more severe than that of the non-doctor/nurse group. According to the stratified analysis by sex and age, in the group of women under the age of 30, the adjusted odds ratio value of physical and mental conditions increased with longer VDT working time and was statistically significant. The result show that it is important to reduce daily VDT exposure for doctor, nurses, and women under 30. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Occupational Health Risk Assessment)
25 pages, 1129 KiB  
Article
HBM4EU Chromates Study: Determinants of Exposure to Hexavalent Chromium in Plating, Welding and Other Occupational Settings
by Susana Viegas, Carla Martins, Beatrice Bocca, Radia Bousoumah, Radu Corneliu Duca, Karen S. Galea, Lode Godderis, Ivo Iavicoli, Beata Janasik, Kate Jones, Elizabeth Leese, Veruscka Leso, Sophie Ndaw, An van Nieuwenhuyse, Katrien Poels, Simo P. Porras, Flavia Ruggieri, Maria João Silva, Jelle Verdonck, Wojciech Wasowicz, Paul T. J. Scheepers, Tiina Santonen and HBM4EU Chromates Study Teamadd Show full author list remove Hide full author list
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(6), 3683; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19063683 - 19 Mar 2022
Cited by 14 | Viewed by 4256
Abstract
Work-related exposures in industrial processing of chromate (chrome plating, surface treatment and welding) raise concern regarding the health risk of hexavalent chromium (Cr(VI)). In this study, performed under the HBM4EU project, we focused on better understanding the determinants of exposure and recognising how [...] Read more.
Work-related exposures in industrial processing of chromate (chrome plating, surface treatment and welding) raise concern regarding the health risk of hexavalent chromium (Cr(VI)). In this study, performed under the HBM4EU project, we focused on better understanding the determinants of exposure and recognising how risk management measures (RMMs) contribute to a reduction in exposure. HBM and occupational hygiene data were collected from 399 workers and 203 controls recruited in nine European countries. Urinary total chromium (U-Cr), personal inhalable and respirable dust of Cr and Cr(VI) and Cr from hand wipes were collected. Data on the RMMs were collected by questionnaires. We studied the association between different exposure parameters and the use of RMMs. The relationship between exposure by inhalation and U-Cr in different worker groups was analysed using regression analysis and found a strong association. Automatisation of Cr electroplating dipping explained lower exposure levels in platers. The use of personal protective equipment resulted in lower U-Cr levels in welding, bath plating and painting. An effect of wearing gloves was observed in machining. An effect of local exhaust ventilation and training was observed in welding. Regression analyses showed that in platers, exposure to air level of 5 µg/m3 corresponds to U-Cr level of 7 µg/g creatinine. In welders, the same inhalation exposure resulted in lower U-Cr levels reflecting toxicokinetic differences of different chromium species. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Occupational Health Risk Assessment)
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17 pages, 2046 KiB  
Article
Noise Parameters of Headsets Designed for Communication Platforms
by Emil Kozlowski
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(6), 3369; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19063369 - 12 Mar 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1733
Abstract
Headsets are increasingly used in the working environment. In addition to being frequently used by call-centre staff, they are also becoming more popular with remote workers and teleconference participants. The aim of this work was to describe and evaluate the acoustic signal parameters [...] Read more.
Headsets are increasingly used in the working environment. In addition to being frequently used by call-centre staff, they are also becoming more popular with remote workers and teleconference participants. The aim of this work was to describe and evaluate the acoustic signal parameters reproduced by headsets and examine the factors affecting the values of these parameters. The tests were carried out in laboratory conditions using a manikin (head and torso simulator) designed for acoustic research. A total of 12 headset models were tested during the research. The results show that the A-weighted sound pressure level of the test signal reproduced by four (100% gain) and two (75% gain) headsets exceeded 85 dB. The highest equivalent A-weighted sound pressure level was 92.5 dB, which means that the headset should not be used for more than approx. 1 h and 25 min; otherwise, the criterion value will be exceeded. The analysis of the acoustic signal reproduced by the headsets confirmed that the A-weighted sound pressure level affected the gain level in the test signal reproduction path. This value also depended on the type of connector used, the computer from which the test signal was reproduced and the type of sound card used. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Occupational Health Risk Assessment)
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20 pages, 2824 KiB  
Article
Review and Improvement of Chemical Hazard Risk Management of Korean Occupational Safety and Health Agency
by Saemi Shin and Sang-Hoon Byeon
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(17), 9395; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18179395 - 06 Sep 2021
Viewed by 2495
Abstract
In 2012, the Korean Occupational Safety and Health Agency developed Chemical Hazard Risk Management (CHARM) as a risk assessment tool. This study aims to reorganize the CHARM technique by complementing its logical loopholes, while evaluating the risk to enterprises and verifying this technique [...] Read more.
In 2012, the Korean Occupational Safety and Health Agency developed Chemical Hazard Risk Management (CHARM) as a risk assessment tool. This study aims to reorganize the CHARM technique by complementing its logical loopholes, while evaluating the risk to enterprises and verifying this technique by applying it to some enterprises in Korea. The optimized technique changed the method of quantitative assessment and evaluation criteria, matched the risk level with the required control level, and specified the use of control practice. For the target enterprises, for several assessment methods, risk levels, hazard bands, exposure bands, and the risk assessment results were derived, and the same types of options were compared. Fewer informational methods resulted in more conservative results of risk levels and hazard bands. Since the control status of the enterprises could not be confirmed and the substances handled at the target enterprises were limited in this study, a follow-up study should be performed with more target materials and additional information on the current control status of the enterprises. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Occupational Health Risk Assessment)
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8 pages, 555 KiB  
Communication
Risk Assessment and Deployment for Safety Showers and Eyewash Stations in the Process Plant Industry
by Jae-Young Choi and Sang-Hoon Byeon
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(16), 8707; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18168707 - 18 Aug 2021
Viewed by 3057
Abstract
Safety showers and eyewash stations are equipment used for primary washing if their operator is exposed to hazardous chemicals. Therefore, safety showers and eyewash stations should be installed to ensure operator safety in process plants with excessive hazardous chemicals. International guidelines related to [...] Read more.
Safety showers and eyewash stations are equipment used for primary washing if their operator is exposed to hazardous chemicals. Therefore, safety showers and eyewash stations should be installed to ensure operator safety in process plants with excessive hazardous chemicals. International guidelines related to safety showers and eyewash stations are introduced in ANSI Z358.1, BS EN 15154, and German DIN 12899-3:2009, but only mechanical specifications regarding safety showers and eyewash stations are suggested. As such, there are currently no engineering guidelines, books, or technical journal papers requiring safety showers or eyewash stations and their efficient deployment. Thus, this study conducted risk assessment from an industrial hygiene perspective, suggesting which process equipment requires a safety shower and eyewash, including their economical and efficient deployment for operator safety. In industry, safety showers and eyewash stations are considered part of the process safety field; this study attempted to contribute to the safety improvement of operators by applying risk assessment of the industrial hygiene field. More studies are needed that contribute to operators’ safety by incorporating industrial hygiene fields for other process safety fields, including safety showers and eyewash stations. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Occupational Health Risk Assessment)
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Review

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16 pages, 1744 KiB  
Review
Occupational Exposure to Halogenated Anaesthetic Gases in Hospitals: A Systematic Review of Methods and Techniques to Assess Air Concentration Levels
by Marta Keller, Andrea Cattaneo, Andrea Spinazzè, Letizia Carrozzo, Davide Campagnolo, Sabrina Rovelli, Francesca Borghi, Giacomo Fanti, Silvia Fustinoni, Mariella Carrieri, Angelo Moretto and Domenico Maria Cavallo
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2023, 20(1), 514; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph20010514 - 28 Dec 2022
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 2213
Abstract
Objective During the induction of gaseous anaesthesia, waste anaesthetic gases (WAGs) can be released into workplace air. Occupational exposure to high levels of halogenated WAGs may lead to adverse health effects; hence, it is important to measure WAGs concentration levels to perform risk [...] Read more.
Objective During the induction of gaseous anaesthesia, waste anaesthetic gases (WAGs) can be released into workplace air. Occupational exposure to high levels of halogenated WAGs may lead to adverse health effects; hence, it is important to measure WAGs concentration levels to perform risk assessment and for health protection purposes. Methods A systematic review of the scientific literature was conducted on two different scientific databases (Scopus and PubMed). A total of 101 studies, focused on sevoflurane, desflurane and isoflurane exposures in hospitals, were included in this review. Key information was extracted to provide (1) a description of the study designs (e.g., monitoring methods, investigated occupational settings, anaesthetic gases in use); (2) an evaluation of time trends in the measured concentrations of considered WAGs; (3) a critical evaluation of the sampling strategies, monitoring methods and instruments used. Results Environmental monitoring was prevalent (68%) and mainly used for occupational exposure assessment during adult anaesthesia (84% of cases). Real-time techniques such as photoacoustic spectroscopy and infrared spectrophotometry were used in 58% of the studies, while off-line approaches such as active or passive sampling followed by GC-MS analysis were used less frequently (39%). Conclusions The combination of different instrumental techniques allowing the collection of data with different time resolutions was quite scarce (3%) despite the fact that this would give the opportunity to obtain reliable data for testing the compliance with 8 h occupational exposure limit values and at the same time to evaluate short-term exposures. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Occupational Health Risk Assessment)
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24 pages, 1303 KiB  
Systematic Review
Interaction between Occupational and Non-Occupational Arsenic Exposure and Tobacco Smoke on Lung Cancerogenesis: A Systematic Review
by Giuseppina Folesani, Maricla Galetti, Pier Giorgio Petronini, Paola Mozzoni, Silvia La Monica, Delia Cavallo and Massimo Corradi
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2023, 20(5), 4167; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph20054167 - 25 Feb 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1511
Abstract
Although a higher lung cancer risk has been already associated with arsenic exposure, the contribution of arsenic and its compounds to the carcinogenic effects of other agents, such as tobacco smoke, is not well characterized. This systematic review examined the relationship between occupational [...] Read more.
Although a higher lung cancer risk has been already associated with arsenic exposure, the contribution of arsenic and its compounds to the carcinogenic effects of other agents, such as tobacco smoke, is not well characterized. This systematic review examined the relationship between occupational and non-occupational arsenic exposure and tobacco smoking on lung cancer risk using papers published from 2010 to 2022. Two databases, PUBMED and Scifinder, were used for the searches. Among the sixteen human studies included, four were about occupational exposure, and the others were about arsenic in drinking water. Furthermore, only three case-control studies and two cohort studies evaluated an additive or multiplicative interaction. The interaction between arsenic exposure and tobacco smoke seems to be negligible at low arsenic concentrations (<100 μg/L), while there is a synergistic effect at higher concentrations. Finally, it is not yet possible to assess whether a linear no-threshold (LNT) model for lung cancer risk can be applied to the co-exposure to arsenic and tobacco smoke. Although the methodological quality of the included studies is good, these findings suggest that rigorous and accurate prospective studies on this topic are highly needed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Occupational Health Risk Assessment)
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