injuries in european communities by: aaron baker, curtis cox, neil esarte, toby mattson, steve...

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  • Injuries in European Communities By: Aaron Baker, Curtis Cox, Neil Esarte, Toby Mattson, Steve Meagher

  • Selection Criteria for ExpertsThe experts selected for this study had to meet the following criteria:Be a researcher involved in the areas related to Occupational Health and Safety (OSH) and physical risksHave at least five years of experience in the sub-field he replies to Have authored at least two publication in this sub-fieldIn further steps to make the study more complete the study included experts with a less academic background but still high-level expertise This was extended to labour inspectors, policy-makers, safety practitioners and to people involved in activities related to the field of physical OSH risk

  • Responses to the SurveyIn the first round 62 experts were approached to participate in this survey48 returned the questionnaireIn the second round 110 experts were approached to participate in this survey47 returned the questionnaireIn the third round 137 experts were approached to participate in this survey66 returned the questionnaireOver the three rounds of surveys experts from 53 organization from 14 European countries and from USA participated in this predictor of emerging risks.

  • Characteristics of RespondentsMajority responded as Head of a Department ResearcherPresident/ DirectorProfessor/LecturerTechnicianLabour InspectorOther

  • Characteristics of Respondents ContMain Fields of ActivitiesResearchDevelopmentPolicy & StandardsTesting & CertificationLaw EnforcementResearch ManagementLabour InspectorTraining &TeachingConsultingOther

  • What are emerging risks?An emerging risk can be defined as any risk that is both new and increasingNew means:The risk was previously non-existent; orA long-standing issue is now considered to be a risk due to a change in social or public perceptions or to new scientific knowledgeThe risk is increasing if:The number of hazards leading to the risk is growing; or The likelihood of exposure to the hazard leading to the risk is increasing; orThe effect of the hazard on workers health is getting worse

  • How to identify emerging risks?Consists of a three-round Delphi surveyThe Delphi method is based on an alliteration process in which the results of the previous rounds are feedback to the experts for new evaluation Rating of risk is done using a five point Likert scale

  • What is the DELPHI METHODWidely used methodology to create foresight information on topics for which only uncertain or incomplete knowledge is available. Based on a process consisting of at least 2 survey rounds in which the results from the previous rounds are re-submitted for new evaluationEnsures experts are aware of views of other experts and allows for revisions of their first evaluation.


  • DELPHI METHOD: First Survey RoundAn exploratory survey carried out in 2002 aimed at identifying the emerging risks related OSH (open end questions)Risks were sorted into 9 categories according to the field they are related to: musculoskeletal disorders, noise, vibration, thermal risks, non-ionizing radiation, ionizing radiation, risks related to machinery, work processes and technologies, mechanical risks and other general ergonomic risks.

  • DELPHI METHOD: Second Survey RoundSecond questionnaire-based survey round in 2003 aiming at validating and completing the first roundExperts had to indicate which of the issues listed they identified as emerging risks (yes or no closed questions)Result of the second survey was a prioritized list of risks based on: Frequency of rating (the number of experts who considered a specific item to be a risk)The mean value of the points attributed to an item, which represents the weight the experts allocate to the riskThe standard deviation of the mean was also calculated as an indication of the degree of consensus amongst the experts

  • DELPHI METHOD: Third Survey RoundCarried out in 2004Additional experts were invited to participate in the survey to have a larger number of responses within each risk categoryThe category mechanical risks was removed from the third survey because it is actually related to personal protective equipment (PPE) matters, these issue were then included into the category other ergonomic risksRespondents were asked to rate each issue independently from the others on a five-point scale, 1 strongly disagree to 5 strongly agreeOnly data collected from experts meeting the selected criteria for the risk category in concern were taken into consideration

  • AnalysisRisk is strongly agreed to be emerging if mean value is above 4Mean value between 3.15 and 4 is considered an emerging riskIf the mean value is 2.85 and 3.15 is undecidedA mean between 2 and 2.85 is considered NOT an emerging riskA mean value below 2 indicates a string agreement that a risk is not emerging

  • Lack of Physical ActivityCorrelation between prolonged sitting and musculoskeletal disorders.Lack of physical activity usually results in the worker gaining weight which in turn raises not only the obesity population but also raises the risk factors for various health problems.Prolonged sitting can cause a lack of energy that can effect production at work. To help reduce the complications associated with prolonged sitting the equipment and work schedule should accommodate various body positions spaced out throughout the day.

  • Lack of Physical Activity ContThe causes identified are:Growing use of visual display units and automated systems resulting in prolonged sitting at the workplace.Also increase time spent sitting during business travelA higher incidence of musculoskeletal disorders (MSD) due to prolonged sitting, but prolonged standing is also a concern Solutions:Multiple schedule breaks, alternate tasks, set-up different working stations

  • Exposure to MSD and Psychosocial Risk FactorsEuropean Foundation found that 33% of workers in EU-15 complained of back pain 25% complained of neck and shoulder pain. Absence from work because of MSD is rising in European communities having a gross impact economically. Emotional Stress and perceived muscle tension have an effect on musculoskeletal pains. The wellbeing of a worker must be assessed in order to relieve the stresses that add to the high prevalence of MSDs. Workers who experience frequent stressful situations have an increased risk of musculoskeletal pain. Job demand is also a factor when assessing a workers well being. High demand is associated with shoulder/Neck pain. Low demand can also be a risk factor for shoulder pain.

  • Exposure to MSD and Psychosocial Risk Factors Cont

    Psychosocial risk factors that increase incidence of MSDs are:Too high or too low of job demandComplex tasksHigh time pressureLow job controlLow decision levelPoor support from colleaguesJob insecurity or fear of the futureBullyingSolutions:Education on psychosocial health, changes to work organization and changes to workplace ergonomics

  • Multi-Factorial RisksLiterature focuses on call center workers. Visual display units (VDU) have been associated with physical complaints especially with regard to the shoulder and neck problems. Other tasks involved; talking on the phone, working a heavy schedule in a noisy environment and rarely standing are also regular stimulus received.The environment should be assessed and adjusted accordingly.Proper equipmentNoise should be limitedGood lighting

  • Multi-Factorial Risks ContThe causes identifiedProlonged sitting Background noiseInadequate headsetsPoor ergonomicsHigh mental and emotional demandsMSDsVaricose veins Nose and throat diseasesFatigueSolutionsMore breaksErgonomically friendly work environmentAccess to professional help

  • Complex Human-Machine Interaction Interface should be easy, comfortable and efficient to use in order to prevent human error. Operators not understanding the system they operate will lead to problems and potential accidents. To prevent accidents, the maximum amount of functions that an operator can handle without producing errors and developing stress must be determined. Human-Machine interfaces should be built for the workers acquired skills.Proper instruction and training is also essential when a worker is new to the skill/technology.

  • Complex Human-Machine Interaction ContThe causes identifiedPoor ergonomic designMental and emotional strain

    SolutionsProper training on the machinesInterfaces should be more user friendly so that it is easier to use by the worker

  • Ultraviolet Radiation (UVR)Efforts still need to be made to reduce the amount of radiation; in some parts of the world outdoor workers can be exposed to 250 times the minimal erythema dosage. Although UVR is more of a concern in outdoor environments, it is also seen in many indoor jobs; UVR is used to disinfect food packaging materials and to dry dyes and paints. Exposure to UVR is known to speed up the growth of and cause various cancers; skin cancer is more prominent in people who work outdoors. Raising awareness is an important struggle we need to accomplish in order to minimize the risks factors. Those who work with radiation can avoid potential risks by following proper procedure.

  • Ultraviolet Radiation ContThe causes identifiedCataractsDifferent types of cancer Malignant melanoma Squamous cell carcinomasSolutionEliminated source through technical measures, reduce exposure an acceptable level through organizational measures, individual measures need to be adopted Eye protection, sun hats