Communications industry - 139 entries found
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El-Bestar S.F., El-Mitwalli A.A., Khashaba E.O.
Neck-upper extremity musculoskeletal disorders among workers in the telecommunications company at Mansoura City
The objective of this study was to determine the prevalence and work-related risk factors of neck-upper extremity musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) among video display terminal (VDT) users. A comparative cross-sectional study was conducted; there were 60 VDT users and 35 controls. The participants filled in a structured questionnaire and were subjected to electrophysiological tests and an X-ray of the neck. The prevalence of MSDs was higher (28.3%) among VDTs users compared to controls (14.3%), however with no statistically significant difference. The prevalence of cervical disorders with or without radiculopathy (18.3%) was the most common disorder followed by carpal tunnel syndrome (6.6%). The mean (SD) age of MSD cases (51 ± 7.2 years) was statistically significantly higher than of the controls (42.8 ± 9). Physical exposure to prolonged static posture (odds ratio OR 6.9), awkward posture (OR 5.5) and repetitive movements (OR 5.5) increased risk of MSDs with a statistically significant difference for static posture only. VDT users experienced more job dissatisfaction, work-overload and limited social support from supervisors and colleagues.
International Journal of Occupational Safety and Ergonomics, 2011, Vol.17, No.2, p.195-205. 27 ref.
Neck-upper_extremity_[INTERNET_FREE_ACCESS] [in English]
Chouanière D., Boini S., Colin R.
Working conditions and health in call centres
Conditions de travail et santé dans les centres d'appels téléphoniques [in French]
This epidemiological survey on working conditions on call centres and the state of health of phone operators was carried out by INRS. It involved more than 4000 voluntary operators who were examined by one of 40 participating occupational physicians throughout France. The aim of the survey was to identify relationships between organizational factors, occupational health constraints perceived by the operators and health markers. Fourteen organizational factors were identified as being most frequently associated with constraints. Furthermore, the study highlighted indirect relationships between organizational factors and health markers, which most often involve perceptions of constraints.
Documents pour le médecin du travail, 2nd quarter 2011, No.126, p.241-259. Illus. 80 ref.
TF_191.pdf [in French]
Crawford J. O., George P., Graveling R.A., Cowie H., Dixon K.
Good work - Good health. Research report
Gute Arbeit - Gute Gesundheit. Forschungsbericht [in German]
Good work - Good health. Rapport de recherche [in French]
Buen trabajo - Buena salud. Informe de investigación [in Spanish]
The aim of the "Good Work, Good Health" was to examine mental wellbeing in the telecommunications industry in Europe. This was done through a systematic literature review of workplace factors that impact on mental wellbeing, together with interviews of telecommunications companies to identify good practice occurring. This report presents the findings of this research. It is also available in French, Spanish and German. See also ISN 110741.
Institute of Occupational Medicine (IOM), Research Avenue North, Riccarton, Edinburgh, EH14 4AP, United Kingdom, 2010. xii; 97p. 43 ref. (PDF-Document).
Research_report.pdf [in English]
Rapport_de_recherche.pdf [in French]
Informe_de_investigación.pdf [in Spanish]
Research_report.pdf [in German]
Good Work - Good Health - Good Practice Guidelines
Dobrá Práce - Dobré Zdraví - Pruvodce dobrou praxí [in Czech]
Gute Arbeit - Gute Gesundheit - Good Practice Richtlinien [in German]
Καλή Εργασία - Καλή Υγεία - ΟΔΗΓΟΣ ΚΑΛΗΣ ΠΡΑΚΤΙΚΗΣ [in Greek]
Buen Trabajo - Buena Salud - Guía de buenas prácticas [in Spanish]
Bra Arbete - God Hälsa - Riktlinjer För God Praxis [in Swedish]
Good Work - Good Health - Guide des bonnes pratiques [in French]
Buon lavoro - Buona salute - Norme di buona prassi [in Italian]
Dobre Praca - Dobre Zdrowie - Wytyczne Dobrej Praktyki [in Polish]
Bom Trabalho - Boa Saúde - Guia de boas Práticas [in Portuguese]
Good Work - Good Health - Ghid de bune practici [in Romanian]
Hea töo - Hea tervis - Hea tava juhised [in Estonian]
The "Good Work, Good Health" project was aimed at defining good practices on how to improve mental wellbeing of workers. A working group examined the scientific literature on mental health at work as well as policies and practices of a panel of representative European organizations in the telecommunication industry. These good practice guidelines are based on the results of the project. The guidelines are also available in French, Spanish, Czech, German, Estonian, Greek, Italian, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian and Swedish. See also 110742.
European Telecommunications Network Operators' Association (ETNO), 54 avenue Louise, 1050 Brussels, Belgium, 2010. 20p. Illus. (PDF-Document).
Good_Practice_Guidelines.pdf [in English]
Guide_des_bonnes_pratiques.pdf [in French]
Guía_de_Buenas_Prácticas.pdf [in Spanish]
Good_Practice_Guidelines.pdf [in German]
Good_Practice_Guidelines.pdf [in Estonian]
Good_Practice_Guidelines.pdf [in Greek]
Good_Practice_Guidelines.pdf [in Italian]
Good_Practice_Guidelines.pdf [in Polish]
Good_Practice_Guidelines.pdf [in Portuguese]
Good_Practice_Guidelines.pdf [in Romanian]
Good_Practice_Guidelines.pdf [in Swedish]
Good_Practice_Guidelines.pdf [in Czech]
Safety induction for Queensland's film, television and new media industry
Studies of Queenslands' film, television and new media industry demonstrate that OSH is not appropriately managed in some sectors of the industry. Of particular note is a lack of understanding of legislation, as well as a failure to conduct risk assessments and establish effective OSH systems and programmes. Although there is a commitment among industry workers to improve their OSH performance and culture, many lack the basic skills and knowledge with which to achieve this goal. This article proposes that a general safety induction course be provided for all workers entering the industry. It discusses the challenges of implementing such a strategy and the benefits that would accrue from the scheme, and proposes further action for implementation.
Journal of Occupational Health and Safety - Australia and New Zealand, 2009, Vol.25, No.2, p.99-106. 6 ref.
Chatillon J., Trompette N., Ottaviani P., Pelletier E.
Observation of the activity in call centres and noise exposure limits
Observation de l'activité en centre d'appels téléphoniques et limites d'exposition au bruit [in French]
Call centre operators are exposed to noise from conversations received in the headset, for which the risk should be evaluated. French regulations stipulate that these exposure levels be evaluated in the diffuse sound field (external to the ear). For this purpose, INRS uses a standardized measurement method based on an artificial head and an ear simulator. This evaluation also requires defining the duration of conversations over the course of the working day, a very variable duration depending on the functions occupied by the employees in call centres. A study by a major French telecom company has shown that these durations vary between two and three hours per day. The maximum sound exposure level in the telephone headsets of the operators was deduced from these observations to ensure conformity with the regulations. Nowadays, these levels are often set by level limiters installed at the telephone workstations. Limitation of the emission level of the headsets must be accompanied by an ambient noise check in order to guarantee the intelligibility of the conversations. This check can be done through an approach intended to improve the acoustics of the open-plan offices in which they are located. These prevention measures have demonstrated their effectiveness and are worthy of being generalized in order to guarantee the absence of risk of hearing impairment of call centre employees. This article highlights the issues related to exposure measurement.
Cahiers de notes documentaires - Hygiène et sécurité du travail, 3rd Quarter 2009, No.216, p.33-39. Illus. 11 ref.
http://www.hst.fr/inrs-pub/inrs01.nsf/IntranetObject-accesParReference/ND%202314/$File/ND2314.pdf [in French]
Vicente-Herrero M.T., López-González A.A., Pont-Martínez P., Santamaría-Navarro C., De Paz Merchan S., Rodríguez-Fernández R.
Current situation with respect to smoking among workers of the Spanish postal service after the coming into force of Law 28/2005
Situación actual des tabaquismo entre los trabajadores de Correos-España tras la Ley 28/2005 [in Spanish]
This article presents the findings of a survey on smoking among employees of the Spanish postal service. It was carried out in the form of a questionnaire survey in a sample of 1432 volunteers among employees in five Spanish provinces. The overall prevalence was found to be slightly higher than in the general population of Spain (35% compared to national survey findings of 31% in 2003 and 30% in 2006). Other findings are discussed.
Medicina y seguridad del trabajo, 4th quarter 2008, Vol.54, No.213, p.87-95. Illus. 19 ref.
http://scielo.isciii.es/pdf/mesetra/v54n213/original8.pdf [in Spanish]
van Rhenen W., Schaufeli W.B., van Dijk F.J.H., Blonk R.W.B.
Coping and sickness absence
The aim of this study was to examine the role of coping styles in sickness absence. Based on the fact that, contrary to reactive-passive focused strategies, problem-solving strategies are generally associated with positive results in terms of well-being and overall health outcome, the hypothesis was that such strategies are positively related to a low frequency of sickness absence and with short durations per spell. Data were collected from 3628 employees of a Dutch telecom company who were subsequently followed for one year for sickness absence. In accordance with the hypothesis, and after adjustment for potential confounders, employees with an active problem-solving coping strategy were less prone to sickness absence in terms of frequency and duration. The median time before the onset of a new episode of absenteeism is significantly extended for active problem-solving and reduced for avoidance and for a palliative response.
International Archives of Occupational and Environmental Health, Feb. 2008, Vol.81, No.4, p.461-472. 64 ref.
Ospina González M.F., Villegas Carrasquilla L., Arévalo R., Mancera J.R.
Safety in the telecommunications sector
Seguridad en el sector telecomunicaciones [in Spanish]
Collection of articles on safety in the telecommunications sector. Contents: working on telecommunication towers; safety in telecommunication networks; safety in voice over IP (VOIP) networks; mounting and working with equipment at height (including regulations and standards applicable to harnesses and fall arresters); protection and safety in telecommunication network operations.
Protección y seguridad, May-June 2007, Vol.53, No.313, p.53-79. Illus. 12 ref.
Mayer J.A., Slymen D.J., Clapp E.J., Pichon L.C., Eckhardt L., Eichenfield L.F., Elder J.P., Sallis J.F., Weinstock M.A., Achter A., Balderrma C., Galdino G.R., Oh S.S.
Promoting sun safety among US Postal Service letter carriers: Impact of a 2- year intervention
This study examined whether U.S. Postal Service letter carriers who were made aware of the risks from solar radiation would wear wide-brim hats and sunscreen significantly more often than those who did not receive this information. The study involved 2662 participants from 70 postal stations, divided randomly into two groups, one receiving the information (intervention group) and the other not. Evaluations were conducted at baseline, three months, one year and two years. At the three-month follow-up evaluations, the odds ratio (OR) for regular sunscreen use was 2.8 times higher among the intervention group than among the control group; at the two-year follow-up evaluations, the rate was still significantly higher (OR=2.0). Intervention group participants also had significantly higher rates of hat use, with the differences remaining consistent across all follow-ups (OR=2.9). This information should be disseminated to postal stations nationwide and possibly to other occupational groups that work outdoors.
American Journal of Public Health, Mar. 2007, Vol.97, No.3, p.559-565. Illus. 46 ref.
Cole D.C., Hogg-Johnson S., Manno M., Ibrahim S., Wells R.P., Ferrier S.E.
Reducing musculoskeletal burden through ergonomic program implementation in a large newspaper
The objective of this study was to assess the impact of a workplace ergonomic programme to reduce musculoskeletal burden among employees of a large Canadian newspaper. It involved 1003 employees from all major departments who were surveyed in 1996 and 813 who were surveyed in 2001. Data were collected by means of questionnaires. Elements of the ergonomic program included employee repetitive strain injury training, proactive assessment of workstations and early treatment of injuries through on-site physiotherapy. Through the implementation of the programme, it was possible to bring about significant improvements in a number of physical and psychosocial risk factors. The frequency and duration of musculoskeletal pain episodes were reduced. Other findings are discussed.
International Archives of Occupational and Environmental Health, Nov. 2006, Vol.80, No.2, p.98-108. Illus. 51 ref.
Meguellati-Hakkas D., Cyr D., Stücker I., Févotte J., Pilorget C., Luce D., Guénel P.
Lung cancer mortality and occupational exposure to asbestos among telephone linemen: A historical cohort study in France
The objective of this cohort study was to analyse mortality from lung cancer in telephone linemen exposed to low levels of asbestos during the installation of telephone cables. A total of 308 lung cancer deaths were identified in the cohort. Exposure to asbestos and other occupational carcinogens was assessed using a job-exposure matrix. The relative risk for lung cancer death associated with an estimated exposure of approximately 2 fibres/cc-years was 2.1 as compared with workers exposed to less than 0.5 fibres/cc-years. Mean annual exposure or exposure duration were not clearly related to lung cancer. Adjustment for other occupational lung carcinogens did not change this finding. The observed mortality by lung cancer associated with asbestos exposure at low levels is higher than the prediction based on linear extrapolations from data on highly exposed occupational cohorts.
Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, Nov. 2006, Vol.48, No.11, p.1166-1172. 20 ref.
Electricians' perception of work-related risks in cold climate when working in high places
Work on telecommunications and electricity transmission masts can be especially demanding in cold winter climates. This study sought to evaluate workers' perception of work-related risks in the above conditions with special reference to the use of hand tools. A questionnaire and interviews about workers' risk perception were used. A total of 170 questionnaires were sent, of which 118 were returned. Six respondents were also interviewed. It is concluded that in both the telecommunications and electricity transmission sectors, tools, ice and equipment falling from masts were the greatest perceived risks, and preventing such occurrences is the key to any improvement of safety.
International Journal of Industrial Ergonomics, July 2006, Vol.36, No.7, p.661-670. Illus. 35 ref.
Good practice guidelines for the prevention of musculo-skeletal disorders within the telecommunications sector
Verhaltenskodex zur Vorbeugung von Muskel-Skelett-Erkrankungen im Telekommunikationssektor [in German]
Directrizes de boas práticas para a prevenção de pertubações músculo-esqueléticas no sector das telecomunicações [in Portuguese]
Guide de bonnes pratiques pour la prévention des troubles musculo-squelettiques dans le secteur des télécommunications [in French]
Contents of these guidelines for the prevention of musculoskeletal diseases (MSDs) within the telecommunications sector: general principles for the prevention of MSDs; conceptual model for MSDs; work organization; manual handling; work in awkward postures; vibration; repetitive work; display screen equipment; physical and psychosocial issues; specific work activities and tasks in the telecommunications sector associated with the risk of MSDs.
Internet document, [ca 2006]. 31p. Illus.
http://www.msdonline.org/docs/pdf/MSD_guidelines_PT.pdf [in Portuguese]
http://www.msdonline.org/docs/pdf/MSD_guidelines_EN.pdf [in English]
http://www.msdonline.org/docs/pdf/MSD_guidelines_FR.pdf [in French]
http://www.msdonline.org/docs/pdf/MSD_guidelines_DE.pdf [in German]
Safety in the telecommunications sector
Seguridad en el sector de las telecomunicaciones [in Spanish]
Series of articles on safety and health in the Colombian telecommunications sector. Topics addressed: general characteristics of the telecommunications sector; specific hazards and their control (construction and assembly work, electricity, power lines and their maintenance, telegraph services, telecommunications services); work at height and prevention of falls; safety of subcontractors.
Protección y seguridad, Mar.-Apr. 2006, Vol.52, No.306, p.52-71. Illus. 6 ref.
Ertel M., Pech E., Ullsperger P., von dem Knesebeck O., Siegrist J.
Adverse psychosocial working conditions and subjective health in freelance media workers
In recent years, there has been a steady growth of non-standard work contracts, characterized by the increased flexibility of work arrangements and increased job instability, particularly in the media industry. This pilot study analysed associations of work stress with subjective health in a group of 290 German freelancers working in the media industry. The measurement of work stress was based on the effort-reward imbalance model. Results of logistic regression analyses indicate significant effects of high effort in combination with low reward (money, esteem, promotion prospects, job security) on subjective health in men and women, with the effects being higher in men. Moreover, among men a critical pattern of coping with work stress enhanced the reported effect.
Work and Stress, July-Sep. 2005, Vol.19, No.3, p.293-299. 21 ref.
Beware of the dog. Utility workers need training and knowledge to avoid canine attacks
Utility workers encounter hundreds of dogs each month and are often attacked. Dog bites can cause severe physical and emotional damage. Good training and information can help reduce these incidents. This article provides basic guidance on avoiding attacks from dogs and on what to do if bitten by a dog.
Safety and Health, Sep. 2005, Vol.172, No.3, p.52-55. Illus. 2 ref.
Polanyi M.F., Cole D.C., Ferrier S.E., Facey M.
Paddling upstream: A contextual analysis of implementation of a workplace ergonomic policy at a large newspaper
Efforts to implement workplace ergonomic programs aimed at reducing work-related musculoskeletal disorders (WMSD) have to address multiple physical and psychosocial aspects of work environments, yet contextual factors often limit their success. This article describes the processes involved in an ergonomic program to reduce neck and upper limb WMSDs at a large Canadian newspaper. Using qualitative data collection and analysis methods, the impacts of key contextual characteristics are illustrated, including those relating to the programme (management commitment, union involvement, experience and skill of programme leaders, researcher involvement), the organization (drive for productivity, management control, organizational culture) and the broader social context (economic climate, nature of newspaper work, technology and nature of WMSD).
Applied Ergonomics, Mar. 2005, Vol.36, No.2, p.231-239. Illus. 31 ref.
Voss M., Floderus B., Diderichsen F.
How do job characteristics, family situation, domestic work, and lifestyle factors relate to sickness absence? A study based on Sweden Post
This study examined the relationship between characteristics of working life and private life and sickness absence. Questionnaire data for 1557 female and 1913 male employees of the Swedish postal service were linked to registered sickness absence by multivariate regression analyses. Apart from health problems, clear associations with sickness absence were observed for complaints attributed to heavy, arduous work, and sickness presenteeism. The use of tranquilizers, the occurrence of bullying, and the existence of a high total workload from paid and unpaid work were associated with sickness absence in women. The use of alcohol as a sedative, anxiety of reorganization, not holding a supervisor position, adverse life events and divorce were related to sickness absence in men.
Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, Nov. 2004, Vol.46, No.11, p.1134-1143. 42 ref.
Terluin B., Ven Rhenen W., Schaufeli W.B., De Haan M.
The four-dimensional symptom questionnaire (4DSQ): Measuring distress and other mental health problems in a working population
In working populations, it is important to differentiate between general distress, on one hand, and the psychiatric symptoms of depression, anxiety and somatization on the other hand. The Four-Dimensional Symptom Questionnaire (4DSQ) is a new instrument that measures these four symptoms. This study investigated the psychometric properties of the 4DSQ in a working population. A questionnaire was addressed to all employees of a Dutch telecom company, 3852 (51%) of whom responded. The questionnaire included the 4DSQ together with a set of questions on job stress, coping style and indicators of strain. The validity of the 4DSQ was assessed using correlations with job stress, coping, and strain. As expected, the distress scale showed the strongest correlations with the indicators of strain, as well as with job stress and coping. In conclusion, the 4DSQ is a reliable and valid instrument that can be used in a working population to distinguish between stress-related symptoms and psychiatric illness.
Work and Stress, July-Sep. 2004, Vol.18, No.3, p.187-207. Illus. 55 ref.
Sánchez Pachón N.R.
Protection and safety in telecommunications
Protección y seguridad en las telecomunicaciones [in Spanish]
This article describes the hazards that are inherent in the telecommunications sector, together with measures aimed at minimizing these hazards. The main hazards include: work at height, in particular on poles, pylons or telecommunication towers; work on building facades and on messenger cables; electrical hazards; work in confined spaces; exposure to electromagnetic radiation; ergonomic risks (strain injuries, postural loads); mechanical hazards resulting from the use of tools at the workplace or during road work; use of subcontractors. Various types of personal protective equipment are listed, together with the basic safety measures to be observed before climbing on pylons, during the climb, during work at height, before descending and once on the ground.
Protección y seguridad, July-Aug. 2004, Vol.50, No.296, p.59-71. Illus.
Niedhammer I., Barouhiel L., Barrandon G., Chastang J.F., David S., Barragué A., Gaillot M.P., Guilman J., Heim A., Kerlirzin L., Laguitton E., Leget M.C.
Psychosocial working conditions and health in newspaper and magazine distribution - Descriptive results of an occupational medicine epidemiological survey
Conditions psychosociales de travail et santé dans la distribution de la presse - Résultats descriptifs d'une enquête épidémiologique menée en médecine du travail [in French]
The aim of this cross-sectional survey was to evaluate psychosocial work factors among workers of a newspaper and magazine distribution company and to examine their effects on various health outcomes. Data were collected by means of self-administered questionnaires and medical questionnaires administered by occupational physicians during regular medical check-ups. The survey was carried out during a period of major organizational change, including restructuring and downsizing. 1530 medical questionnaires were completed (80% participation), while the participation rate for the self-administered questionnaire was substantially lower (36%), with only 697 questionnaires being returned by post. Differences were observed by gender and work place for selected variables. Organizational changes contributed to the low participation rate for the self-administered questionnaire. Comparisons of the results for psychosocial factors at work with those obtained in a cohort of gas and electricity utility workers (GAZEL cohort) for which the same evaluation methods were applied do not show significant differences between these two populations. This study highlights the problems of performing surveys in firms or sectors during periods of major organizational change.
Archives des maladies professionnelles et de médecine du travail, July 2004, Vol.65, No.4, p.311-325. 28 ref.
Giga S.I., Hoel H., Cooper C.L.
Violence and stress at work in the postal sector
Postal service providers have traditionally operated in non-competitive, monopolistic, highly unionized environments aimed at providing a social service without any obligation for long-term financial viability. Globalization, deregulation, new technology and changing customer needs have demanded major changes not only to the products and services that these organizations provide, but also more fundamentally to the way they function. These unremitting changes over the past couple of decades have strained relationships between managers, employees and employee representatives and have given rise to job insecurity, dissatisfaction and conflict among the work force. This working paper examines the issue of violence and stress at work in the postal sector. Contents: sector-specific environment as originator of violence and stress at work; scope of violence and stress in the portal sector and their impact the sector and its workforce; causes of workplace violence and stress in the sector; information collection and reporting on violence and stress; illustrative cases of violence and stress in the sector; prevention, reduction, management and coping strategies.
ILO Publications, International Labour Office, 1211 Genève 22, Switzerland, 2003. vii, 24p. 52 ref.
http://www.ilo.org/public/english/dialogue/sector/papers/postelcm/wp200.pdf [in English]
Giga S.I., Hoel H., Cooper C.L.
Violence at work in the performing arts and in journalism
This working paper aims to identify issues relating to violence and stress affecting employees working in the media and the performing arts, covering a variety of jobs including acting, dancing, musical performance, media work and front-line journalism. Contents: sector-specific environment as originator of violence and stress at work; scope of violence and stress in media and entertainment; causes of violence and stress; information collection and reporting on violence and stress in media and entertainment; examples of cases of violence and stress in these sectors.
ILO Publications, International Labour Office, 1211 Genève 22, Switzerland, 2003. vii, 20p. 55 ref.
http://www.ilo.org/public/english/dialogue/sector/papers/media/wp201.pdf [in English]
Carol Llopart S.
Specific hazards associated with the job of call centre operator
Riesgos específicos asociados al puesto de operador telefónico [in Spanish]
This article presents a systematic analysis of the hazards associated with working in call centres. After identifying the general hazards associated with office work, it goes on to focus on the hazards associated more specifically with this type of work, such as mental workload, work organization and working conditions, as well as working at screens, with a keyboard and a mouse. Proposals are made for the ergonomic layout and organization of the workplace. A series of measures are proposed, aimed in particular at improving working conditions in call centres, preventing mental workload among operators, making their work easier and limiting errors.
Prevención, July-Sep. 2003, No.165, p.36-46. Illus. 3 ref.
Nevala-Puranen N., Pakarinen K., Louhevaara V.
Ergonomic intervention on neck, shoulder and arm symptoms of newspaper employees in work with visual display units
Shoulder and arm symptoms are typical in work with visual display units (VDUs) among newspaper employees. The aim of this study was to compare the effects of various ergonomic intervention models on neck, shoulder and arm symptoms among these exposed workers. In total, 20 newspaper employees participated in the study. Work posture, modes of monitor viewing, muscular activity, and subjective assessments of musculoskeletal pain were recorded before and after the seven-month intervention. Difference was statistically significant between the groups for the change in shoulder flexion and the muscular activity of right trapezius and right extensor carpi radials in the pre- and post-intervention measurements. The reduction of pain symptoms in the neck, shoulders and elbows was greater in the group where redesign measures involved both the work environment and work techniques than in the group where they involved only the environment.
International Journal of Industrial Ergonomics, Jan. 2003, Vol.31, No.1, p.1-10. Illus. 33 ref.
Patel J.A., Broughton K.
Assessment of the noise exposure of call centre operators
One of the potential hazards of working in call centres is hearing damage from using headsets. In this project, the noise exposure of 150 call centre operators was evaluated in call centres which included financial services, retail shopping and telecommunications services in the United Kingdom. Results show that the daily noise exposure of these call centre operators is unlikely to exceed the 85dB(A) action level defined in the Noise at Work Regulations 1989 (see CIS 90-21). A practical method of limiting exposure to unexpected loud noise from headsets is to ensure that the headsets incorporate acoustic shock protection meeting the requirements of Department of Trade and Industry specification 85/013. In the UK, this limit ensures that any noise above 118dB is not transmitted through the headset. Operators should also receive training on the correct use of the headset and the volume control facilities, and advice on cleaning and maintaining the headsets.
Annals of Occupational Hygiene, Nov. 2002, Vol.46, No.8, p.653-661. Illus. 10 ref.
Berquez-Doise C., Leroyer A., Frimat P., Werhly S.
Prevalence and risk factors of low back pain among postal delivery workers
Prévalence et facteurs de risque de lombalgies chez les préposés à la distribution de La Poste [in French]
To assess backache prevalence among postal delivery workers in France and to identify occupational and non-occupational risk factors, a cross-sectional epidemiological survey was carried out between Oct. 1999 and March 2000, involving all of the 393 postal delivery workers (114 women and 279 men) having been subjected to a medical examination by an occupational physician at the French Post Office. Their mean age was 44.3 years (range: 23-63 years). The prevalence of low back pain was 46.3% (182 subjects), 51.8% among women and 44.1% among men. Logistic regression analysis highlighted different risk factors for men and women, apart from a history of spinal disorders common to both sexes. Risk factors for women included having children, sleep disorders and stress at work, while for men, they included an age of 45 or more, stress at work and letter delivery in a mixed rural and urban area compared with a purely urban area. No clear differences were found in the prevalence of low back pain according to how the rounds were made (on motorcycle, by automobile, by bicycle or on foot).
Archives des maladies professionnelles et de médecine du travail, Sep. 2002, Vol.63, No.5, p.364-373. 29 ref.
Sust C.A., Lorenz D., Schleif H.D., Schubert P., Utsch A.
Bundesanstalt für Arbeitsschutz und Arbeitsmedizin
Call centre design - Planning and layout of call centres based on occupational safety and health science
Callcenter-Design - arbeitswissenschaftliche Planung und Gestaltung von Callcentern [in German]
The objective of this research project was to analyse the layout of call centres in Germany from the standpoint of occupational safety and health. Based on interviews of experts and responses to more than 1000 questionnaires addressed to centre managers, it was possible to classify the call centres into one of four types. Seven representative enterprises were then selected for in-depth ergonomic evaluation. A standardized questionnaire was sent to 144 operators and 12 supervisors. Noise, lighting and environmental measurements were also carried out. Several stress factors were identified (low control, poor acoustic and environmental conditions). Recommendations were made in the areas of work organization, work-time schedules, tools and working conditions. environment measurements. Two proposed call centre layouts are presented. A knowledge databank based on the information received for this project is available for downloading from the site www.baua.de .
Wirtschaftsverlag NW, Postfach 10 11 10, 27511 Bremerhaven, Germany, 2002. 228p. Illus. 46 ref. Price: EUR 18.50.
Health and Safety Executive
Safety implications of industrial uses of internet technology
This report examines the safety and health issues associated with the use of the internet and internet-related technologies in industry for process control. The technology to allow connection of manufacturing and control systems to the internet is readily available, but there is no evidence that adequate consideration has been given to the security and stability of these devices and systems. There are also disadvantages in exposing internal systems (business or control) to the outside world. The quality of publicized safety-related data varies, and is potentially dangerous. Network integrity is paramount in any internet-based system that is used for control and automation, where a breach could have serious safety repercussions. It is concluded that internet technology raises no fundamentally-new safety issues, but safety and security measures need to the thoroughly addressed.
HSE Books, P.O. Box 1999, Sudbury, Suffolk CO10 2WA, United Kingdom, 2002. viii, 37p. Illus. 41 ref. Price: GBP 10.00.
Van der Hulst M., Geurts S.
Associations between overtime and psychological health in high and low reward jobs
This study focused on the relationship between overtime and psychological health as a function of reward and pressure to work overtime. Data were collected for 535 full-time employees of the Dutch Postal Service. Logistic regression analyses showed that employees reporting low psychological rewards had elevated risks of burnout, negative work-home interference and slow recovery. A second analysis was conducted separately for employees who worked overtime. In this subgroup, low psychological rewards were associated with elevated risks of health complaints, emotional exhaustion and negative home-work interference. Employees who worked overtime and reported a high pressure to work overtime in combination with low psychological rewards had elevated risks of poor recovery, cynicism, and negative work-home interference. The results suggest that even a limited number of hours of involuntary overtime in low psychological reward situations is associated with adverse mental health.
Work and Stress, July-Sep. 2001, Vol.15, No.3, p.227-240. 40 ref.
Bayeux-Dunglas M.C., Balty I., Le Bâcle C.
Anthrax: A "forgotten" disease that is now a bioterrorist risk
Le charbon: une maladie professionnelle "oubliée" devenue menace bioterroriste [in French]
Anthrax is an animal disease transmissible to humans. It has been listed in the French schedule of occupational diseases since 1938. It is not well understood and is often overlooked, because just a few general practitioners or occupational physicians have ever been confronted with cases. Since September 2001, this disease has emerged at the forefront of the news in a context of international terrorist risk. The French National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Research (INRS) has received numerous requests for information, both on the disease itself and on preventive measures to be adopted in the mailrooms of enterprises. Since it involves a terrorist threat, the recommendations presented in this article are in line with those adopted by public agencies and are aimed at minimizing the consequences both for exposed persons and for the enterprise as a whole.
Documents pour le médecin du travail, 4th Quarter 2001, No.88, p.375-387. 25 ref.
McCulloch J., Ozminkowski R.J., Cuffel B., Dunn R.L., Goldman W., Kelleher D., Comporato A.
Analysis of a managed psychiatric disability program
A case study of how a health care organization managed psychiatric disabilities among employees of a telecommunications company in the United States. The duration of disability was reduced by 23% (17.1 days), thus illustrating the potential for significantly reducing the costs of disability care.
Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, Feb. 2001, Vol.43, No.2, p.101-109. 23 ref.
Bentley T.A., Haslam R.A.
A comparison of safety practices used by managers of high and low accident rate postal delivery services
This study compared safety practices of managers of high and low accident-rate postal delivery offices, particularly with respect to slip, trip and fall accidents. Interviews were conducted with 20 Delivery Office Managers (DOMs), drawn equally from matched high- and low-accident-rate offices. DOMs from low accident rate offices appeared to have improved performance with respect to quality of safety communication, dealing with hazards reported on delivery walks, and accident investigation and remedial action. Efforts to reduce risks from severe weather were limited in both high and low accident offices. A model is described illustrating the hierarchy of factors that may affect occurrence of slip, trip and fall accidents within a large organization. The model indicates that managers' impact arises both from their attitudes and their actions.
Safety Science, Feb. 2001, Vol.37, No.1, p.19-37. Illus. 19 ref.
Voss M., Floderus B., Diderichsen F.
Physical, psychosocial, and organisational factors relative to sickness absence: A study based on Sweden Post
In a study on sickness absenteeism of Swedish post office workers, 1,557 female and 1,913 male employees were surveyed by postal questionnaire and incidence of sickness was established from company records. Complaints about lifting heavy loads and monotonous movements were associated with an increased risk of sickness among both women and men. For heavy lifting, an odds ratio (OR) of 1.70 was found for both women and men. For monotonous movements, the risk estimates were OR 1.42 and OR 1.45 for women and men, respectively. Working instead of taking sick leave when ill was more prevalent in the group with a high incidence of sickness (OR 1.74 for women, OR 1.60 for men). Overtime work of more than 50 hours a year was linked with low incidence of sickness for women and men. Among women, 16% reported bullying at the workplace, which was linked with a doubled risk of high incidence of sickness (OR 1.91). For men, the strongest association was found for those reporting anxiety about reorganization of the workplace (OR 1.93).
Occupational and Environmental Medicine, Mar. 2001, Vol.58, No.3, p.178-184. 37 ref.
Stress and strain in the call centre
Belastung und Beanspruchung im Call-Center [in German]
The results of interviews and questionnaire surveys conducted in call centres in Germany are summarized. Employees in call centres spend long hours at visual display units while answering customer queries on the phone. Noise levels above 55dB(A), low humidity and inadequate furniture were observed at these workplaces. In interviews, managers of these units reported the following stress factors: simultaneous communication with many clients, uncertainty with regard to the callers' needs and handling complaints. The employees mainly reported constant time pressures, lack of recognition and frequently having to cope with new software. Evaluations of the results of questionnaire surveys on the neuropsychic stress among workers in call centres yielded lower stress scores for varied and demanding work than for monotonous work with low decision latitude.
Computer Fachwissen für Betriebs- und Personalräte, May 2000, Vol.9, No.5, p.4-11. Illus. 2 ref.
International Labour Office (ILO)
Technical report of two days training seminar on use of information technology for improving safety, health and environment
Report of a seminar on the use of information technology (IT) for improving safety, health and environment supported by ILO/DANIDA, held in Lahore, Pakistan, 13-14 September 2000. Main topics covered: new trends and prospects for information technology; use of IT for managing production and labour practices in the garment industry (case study); introduction to various databases and information sources on safety, health and environment (ILO Encyclopaedia of occupational health and safety, TOXLINE, MSDS database, HSELINE, CHEMINFO, etc.).
Centre for the Improvement of Working Conditions and Environment, Directorate of Labour Welfare, Government of the Punjab, Civic Centre Township (Near Chandni Chowk), Lahore, Pakistan, 2000. ii, 47p. Illus.
Toca Santamaría L.C.
Laying optical fibre cables - Occupational risks
Instalación de cables de fibra óptica - Riesgos laborales [in Spanish]
The risks inherent to the various tasks involving optical fibre cables are described, as well as the corresponding safety measures: laying of cables in underground tunnels; handling and preparation of cables; testing of installations. While working in cable tunnels, it is important to be able to detect toxic or explosive gases and to use appropriate signalling of the work site. The handling and assembly of cables requires the wearing of insulating gloves, protective masks and safety spectacles. When carrying out measurements on the installations, one must take care to avoid having one's eyes in the optical path of the fibres.
Prevención, Jan.-Mar. 2000, No.151, p.18-25. Illus.
Senecal S., Victor V., Choudat D., Hornez-Davin S., Conso F.
Semicircular lipoatrophy: 18 cases in the same company
Four cases of semicircular lipoatrophy having been reported, 58 employees of a telecommunication networking company were examined. 18 desk workers had subcutaneous depression, mostly bilateral. The position of the lesions on the thighs was different for each person, but it was observed that the height of the depression on the leg measured from the floor, plus the height of the shoe heel, was constant and at the same height as the desks (70cm). It is assumed that depression is due to repeated mechanical microtrauma.
Contact Dermatitis, Feb. 2000, Vol.42, No.2, p.101-102. 13 ref.
Choffat P., Desbazelle A., Eugène G.
Study of workplaces which require the use of both a screen and a telephone in customer-service jobs
Etude de postes de travail utilisant le couple téléphone-écran dans les services de relation-clientèle [in French]
This study investigated the working conditions of a total of 150 operators working in call centres of three catalogue-sales companies. Subjects were predominantly women. The tasks performed, environmental conditions, work organization and work evaluation were analysed. Findings include a high mental workload, as well as a risk that productivity targets imposed on workers goals give rise to stress. The use that supervisors and managers make of productivity-measuring tools could have important consequences on the mental health of call centre workers.
Archives des maladies professionnelles et de médecine du travail, Dec. 1999, Vol.60, No.8, p.755-759. 5 ref.
Trott H., Menzler-Trott E.
"Flexible work" schedules in call centres
"Flexible Arbeitszeit" im Call-Center [in German]
This article reviews the work organization problems encountered in call centres where the work schedules are mostly flexible (shift work, part time work, seasonal work, "stand-by"). In order to ensure acceptable work schedules and workloads, managers need to estimate the call flow as precisely as possible, which is done with the help of simulation software. Main topics covered: productivity, quality, absenteeism, workload, attitude towards the customer, rapid turn-over of personnel.
Computer Fachwissen für Betriebs- und Personalräte, Jan. 1999, Vol.8, No.1, p.12-20. Illus. 8 ref.
Burton W.N., Conti D.J., Chen C.Y., Schultz A.B., Edington D.W.
The role of health risk factors and disease on worker productivity
This study measures the actual decrease in the productivity of employees that is associated with health problems while they are on the job, in addition to measures of absenteeism and disability. These three measurements were combined to produce a Worker Productivity Index (WPI). The WPIs of 564 telephone customer-service agents were correlated with the employees' number and type of health risks. Additionally, the WPI was also examined across different disease states in the same population of employees. As the number of health risks increased, an employee's productivity decreased. The nature of the health risk may also differentially affect the pattern of the decrease. Finally, disease states were also associated with different patterns of productivity reduction.
Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, Oct. 1999, Vol.41, No.10, p.863-877. Illus. 46 ref.
Mikkelsen A., Saksvik P.Ø, Eriksen H.R., Ursin H.
The impact of learning opportunities and decision authority on occupational health
In an investigation of 418 employees in the Norwegian Postal Service, employees with high learning opportunities and high decision authority were found to be better off on psychological functioning, health and organizational outcome variables than employees with low scores on these variables. Decision authority and learning opportunities had specific and independent impact on subjective health, psychological functioning, coping style and organizational outcome variables. There were also, however, interaction effects between demands, learning opportunities and decision authority on subjective health. Learning opportunities and decision authority were operationalized with a questionnaire, supplemented with questions on the opportunities to learn skills beyond the present job situation. It is suggested that this is a particularly important dimension for coping with the present-day rapid changes in working life, where the objective for many workers will be to broaden their repertoire and competence to increase their flexibility in the labour market.
Work and Stress, Jan.-Mar. 1999, Vol.13, No.1, p.20-31. lllus. 35 ref.
Shopfloor safety initiatives: The example of atmospheric testing in telecommunications cable vaults
Strategies for occupational safety and health campaigns often overlook the possibilities afforded by initiatives centred in the workplace itself, as opposed to those determined at the bargaining table or by legislation, for example. Workers themselves sometimes may be more cognizant and informed of immediate health and safety issues than are their union representatives, and may formulate innovative or unorthodox approaches to hazard remediation. Such approaches may in fact succeed despite ineffectual contract language or weak regulatory protection. This article examines a successful struggle by a small group of telecommunications technicians to get the employer to revise its obsolete procedures for atmospheric testing of unventilated, underground cable vaults. It demonstrates that increased consideration should be given to shopfloor actions and creative use of the grievance procedure as useful tools in the struggle for occupational safety and health.
New Solutions, 1999, Vol.9, No.1, p.103-112. 8 ref.
Haslam R.A., Bentley T.A.
Follow-up investigations of slip, trip and fall accidents among postal delivery workers
A sample of 40 slip, trip and fall accidents occurring during the delivery of mail were subject to detailed follow-up investigation. Interviews were conducted with accident-involved employees as soon as possible after each incident (mean time between accident and interview was 9.5 days). Interviews were held at the location of the accident and covered the sequence of events and related individual, equipment and organizational aspects. The study took place October-March, reflecting the period when most accidents occur. The majority of accidents involved snow or ice (70%). A combination of slippery conditions, use of footwear with worn tread, and time-saving behaviour was found in 50% of accidents. It is suggested that a second important combination is the presence of tripping hazards and the unsafe practice of preparing mail for the next delivery while walking. Poor lighting was considered a problem in 20% of cases. Other problems identified included deficiencies with training and a low level of safety-related activity by local managers. It is concluded that there are opportunities for intervention that should reduce the frequency of these accidents. Topics: accident investigation; analysis of accident causes; causes of accidents; falls on the level; lighting; outdoor work; postal services; risk factors; slippery floors; snow; unsafe practices.
Safety Science, June 1999, Vol.32, No.1, p.33-47. Illus. 18 ref.
Ayoub M.M., Smith J.L.
Evaluation of satchels for postal letter carriers
Four satchel designs were evaluated for the United States Postal Service using field surveys and a laboratory study. Each satchel had positive and negative attributes. A two-pouch system that distributed weight on both sides of the body proved to be the best alternative in the laboratory study. However, concerns regarding the use of this satchel for defence against a dog attack made its desirability questionable in the survey. The study showed that none of the four satchels was a universally accepted alternative. Recommendations are offered to improve the satchel design. Similar techniques could be used to evaluate industrial designs for tools, equipment, clothing, or other work items. Topics: body mechanics; comfort criteria; design of equipment; load carriage; postal services; spinal column; subjective assessment; tissue damage; work posture.
International Journal of Industrial Ergonomics, Mar. 1999, Vol.23, No.4, p.269-279. Illus. 8 ref.
The writing on the wall
Topics: journalism; safety and health training; safety programmes; survival; training course; traumatic neurosis; violence.
Safety and Health Practitioner, Jan. 1999, Vol.17, No.1, p.22-24.
Postmen: Occupational risks
Carteiros: risco ocupacional no trabalho [in Portuguese]
This study on occupational risks among postmen of São José dos Campos, Brazil, analyses more specifically their musculoskeletal disorders. It shows the distribution of symptoms according to age, years of employment and degree of the postural deviation (scoliosis, lumbar hyperlordosis and cyphosis). The highest incidence of pathological postures is found among 21 to 31 year old postmen with 1 to 5 years of employment.
Revista CIPA, Sep. 1998, Vol.19, No.226, p.82-90. Illus. 4 ref.
Bentley T.A., Haslam R.A.
Slip, trip and fall accidents occurring during the delivery of mail
Data on 1,734 fall cases during the delivery of mail were analysed. The most common initiating events were slips and trips. Slips most often occurred on snow, ice or grass, while trips tended to involve uneven pavements, obstacles and kerbs. Nearly one-fifth of falls occurred on steps, with step falls requiring longer absence from work than falls on the level. Half of all falls occurred during November-February and three-quarters of falls occurred between 7 and 9 a.m. Incidence rates for female employees were 50% higher than for their male colleagues. Further investigations provided data on risk factors related to task, behaviour, footwear and equipment. It is suggested that unsafe working practices, such as reading addresses while walking and taking shortcuts, increase the risk of falls. Organizational issues include management safety activities, training and equipment provision. Topics: analysis of accident causes; causes of accidents; falls on the level; information of personnel; postal services; questionnaire survey; risk factors; sex-linked differences; time of accident; unsafe practices.
Ergonomics, Dec. 1998, Vol.41, No.12, p.1859-1872. Illus. 16 ref.
Nielsen P.K., Andersen L., Jørgensen K.
The muscular load on the lower back and shoulders due to lifting at different lifting heights and frequencies
The muscular and circulatory loads on postal workers during repetitive lifting of mail transport boxes were investigated. In a laboratory study, surface electromyography and heart rate were measured for nine combinations of lifting height and frequency. Results showed a trade off between the low back and shoulders. The maximum load on the low back occurred at the low lifting height (36.3 and 54.4cm), whereas the maximum load on the shoulders occurred at the high lifting height (144.9 and 163.0cm). The circulatory response was highest during lifting from the extreme heights at the highest frequency. It is suggested that lifting mail boxes from the lowest and highest heights should be minimized. Preferred heights would be 72.5-126.8cm above floor level. Topics: electromyography; heart rate monitoring; lifting of loads; lumbar column; measurement of load on muscles; muscle contractor activity; physical workload; postal services; shoulder.
Applied Ergonomics, Dec. 1998, Vol.29, No.6, p.445-450. Illus. 39 ref.
Technological stress: Psychophysiological aspects of working with modern information technology
In a study of the bodily, mental and psychophysiological reactions of employees involved in the design of advanced telecommunications systems and of office employees using regular video display technology, several stress-related psychosomatic disorders were identified. They include sleep disturbances, psychophysiological stress and somatic complaints. Controlled intervention programmes aimed at enhancing organizational structures and individual coping strategies have proved effective in counteracting the negative effects of working with information technology. The two-way interaction between the external information technology environment and bodily and mental reactions needs to be taken into account in the design and use of modern information technology. Topics: biological effects; computers; CRT display terminals; human factors; mental health; neuropsychic stress; new technologies; office work; programme evaluation; psychological and psychiatric services; psychological effects; psychosomatic disorders; questionnaire survey; sleep disturbances; social aspects; telecommunications.
Scandinavian Journal of Work, Environment and Health, 1997, Vol.23, Suppl.3, p.97-103. Illus. 43 ref.
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