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Occupational Medicine Advance Access





Published: Sat, 17 Feb 2018 00:00:00 GMT

Last Build Date: Fri, 16 Feb 2018 21:50:01 GMT

 



Farming characteristics and self-reported health outcomes of Irish farmers

Sat, 17 Feb 2018 00:00:00 GMT

Abstract
Background
Irish farmers represent a ‘high-risk’ group for non-communicable diseases, which, arguably, pose a greater occupational health challenge for farmers. To date, there has been little exploration of the farming characteristics associated with farmers’ poor health outcomes.
Aims
To examine the relationship between farming and male farmers’ self-reported health outcomes and to compare the study findings to national health studies to explore which factors specifically are associated with Irish farmers’ poorer health outcomes relative to the general population.
Methods
This cross-sectional survey research used self-reported quantitative data on the health outcomes and health behaviours of male farmers from the South-East of Ireland. Data were entered into SPSS and descriptive and binary regression techniques were used for data analysis.
Results
There were 314 participants (99% response rate). Age, full-time farming and dairy farming significantly impacted self-reported health outcomes and health behaviours. There was a high prevalence of self-reported arthritis compared with the national average of Irish males. ‘Younger’ farmers (<45 years) were more likely to engage in harmful health behaviours such as smoking and ‘binge-drinking’ one or more times per week.
Conclusions
This study identified self-reported patterns of risky lifestyle behaviours among particular subgroups of Irish farmers for whom targeted health interventions are warranted. Interventions are particularly important for younger farmers who may see themselves as invincible and impregnable to ill-health.



Skin-specific training experience of workers assessed for contact dermatitis

Sat, 17 Feb 2018 00:00:00 GMT

Abstract
Background
Contact dermatitis is a common and preventable work-related disease. Skin-specific training may be effective for preventing occupational contact dermatitis, but little information is available regarding actual workplace training and its effectiveness.
Aims
To describe workplace skin-specific training among workers with suspected contact dermatitis.
Methods
Patch test patients being assessed for suspected contact dermatitis at an occupational health clinic in Toronto, Canada, completed a questionnaire on training experiences, workplace characteristics, exposures and skin protection practices.
Results
Of 175 patients approached, 122 (71%) workers completed questionnaires. Many (80%) had received general occupational health and safety and hazardous materials training (76%). Fewer (39%) received skin-specific training. Of those with work-related contact dermatitis, 52% did not receive skin-specific training. Skin-specific training was commonly provided by health and safety professionals or supervisors using video, classroom and online techniques. Content included glove use, exposure avoidance and hand washing information. Workers that received skin-specific training found it memorable (87%), useful (85%) and common sense in nature (100%).
Conclusions
This study indicates gaps in workplace training on skin disease prevention for workers with contact dermatitis. Workers perceived skin-specific training to be useful. Understanding worker training experiences is important to prevention programme development and reducing work-related skin disease.



Reproducibility of work ability and work functioning instruments

Sat, 17 Feb 2018 00:00:00 GMT

Abstract
Background
Work ability (WA) and work functioning (WF) instruments can be useful in occupational health practice. The reproducibility of both instruments is important to their relevance for daily practice. Clinimetrics concerns the methodological and statistical quality of instruments and their performance in practice.
Aims
To assess the reproducibility of WA and WF instruments.
Methods
Dutch workers completed a questionnaire containing WA questions and the WF questionnaire twice with a 7-day interval between. The questionnaire included an appraisal of current general, physical and mental/emotional WA (0–10) and the composite WF questionnaire of 49 items (0–100). We measured reproducibility, reliability and agreement by calculating the intraclass correlation coefficient (ICC), the standard error of measurement (SEM) and the smallest detectable change (SDC).
Results
The answers of 104 respondents were available for analysis. General, physical and mental/emotional WA had ICC values of 0.52, 0.69 and 0.56, respectively. For WF, the ICC value was 0.85. For general WA, the SEM was 0.71. For physical and mental/emotional WA, the SEMs were 0.75 and 0.74, respectively. For general, physical and mental/emotional WA, the SDC was 1.98, 2.09 and 2.05 respectively. The SEM of the WF score was 4.78, and the SDC was 13.25.
Conclusions
The WA questions showed moderate reliability, while the WF instrument showed good reliability. Occupational health professionals can use the SDCs of the instruments to monitor changes in WA and WF in workers over time.



Underestimation of spirometry if recommended testing guidance is not followed

Mon, 12 Feb 2018 00:00:00 GMT

Abstract
Background
Lung function measured at work is used to make important employment decisions. Improving its quality will reduce misclassification and allow more accurate longitudinal interpretation over time.
Aims
To assess the amount by which lung function (forced expiratory volume in 1 second [FEV1] and forced vital capacity [FVC]) values will be underestimated if recommended spirometry testing guidance is not followed.
Methods
Lung function was measured in a population of workers. Knowledge of the final reproducible FEV1 and FVC for each worker allowed estimation of the underestimates that would have occurred if less forced manoeuvres than recommended had been performed.
Results
A total of 667 workers (661 males, mean age 43 years, range 18–66) participated. Among them, 560 (84%) achieved reproducible results for both FEV1 and FVC; 470 (84%) of these did so after three technically acceptable forced expiratory manoeuvres, a cumulative total of 533 after four, 548 after five, 557 after six, 559 after seven and 560 after eight blows. If only one (or first two) technically acceptable blow(s) had been performed, mean underestimates were calculated for FEV1 of 115.1 ml (35.4 ml) and for FVC of 143.4 ml (42.3 ml).
Conclusions
In this study, reproducible spirometry was achievable in most workers. Not adhering to standards underestimates lung function by clinically significant amounts.