Institute for Science of Labour

Kawasaki, Japan

Institute for Science of Labour

Kawasaki, Japan
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Kogi K.,Institute for Science of Labour
Human Factors | Year: 2012

Objective: Recent advances in participatory programs for improving workplace conditions are discussed to examine practical ways to facilitate ergonomics improvements. Background: Participatory training programs are gaining importance, particularly in promoting occupational health and safety in small-scale workplaces. These programs have led to many improvements that can reduce work-related risks in varied situations. Materials: Recent experiences in participatory action-oriented training programs in small workplaces and agriculture are reviewed. The emphasis of the review is on training steps, types of improvements achieved, and the use of action tools by trainers and training participants. Results: Immediate improvements in multiple technical areas are targeted, including materials handling, workstation design, physical environment, welfare facilities, and work organization. In facilitating ergonomics improvements in each local situation, it is important to focus on (a) building on local good practices; (b) applying practical, simple improvements that apply the basic principles of ergonomics; and (c) developing action-oriented toolkits for direct use by workers and managers. This facilitation process is effective when locally designed action toolkits are used by trainers, including local good examples, action checklists, and illustrated how-to guides. Intervention studies demonstrate the effectiveness of participatory steps that use these toolkits in promoting good practices and reducing work-related risks. Conclusion: In facilitating ergonomics improvements in small-scale workplaces, it is important to focus on practical, low-cost improvements that build on local good practices. The use of action-oriented toolkits reflecting basic ergonomics principles is helpful. The promotion of the intercountry networking of positive experiences in participatory training is suggested. © 2012, Human Factors and Ergonomics Society.

Takada H.,University of Fukui | Fujikake K.,Institute for Science of Labour | Matsuura Y.,University of Fukui | Miyao M.,Nagoya University
Lecture Notes in Computer Science (including subseries Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence and Lecture Notes in Bioinformatics) | Year: 2013

It is physiologically known that the vestibular system and the autonomic nervous system interact with each other. The motion sickness can affect both these systems, and severity of the motion sickness is expected to be measured by dysfunction of the equilibrium system. We have proposed a new index, sparse density (SPD), of stationary stabilograms for detecting the metamorphism in the (temporally averaged) potential function of stochastic differential equations, which occurs when a human attempts to maintain an upright posture. It is known that a mathematical model of the body sway can be developed by a stochastic process. The authors have succeeded in finding the nonlinearity in the potential function. Subjects in a standing position were stimulated by a movie scrolling from left to right on a liquid crystal display (LCD) in measurement 1 and a stereoscopic video clip on an LCD in measurement 2. As a result, the dynamics of the body sway in the presence of the stimulus as well as in its absence were considered to be stochastic. The metamorphism in the potential function during exposure to blurred images and a stereoscopic video clip could be detected by using the SPD. © 2013 Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg.

Nohara M.,Tokyo Women's Medical University | Yoshikawa T.,Institute for Science of Labour | Nakajima N.,Tokyo Women's Medical University | Okutsu K.,Tokyo Women's Medical University
BMC Health Services Research | Year: 2014

Background: Physicians are expected to perform three unique roles as a clinician, educator, and researcher in university hospitals. However, the actual practices of physicians performing different duties are relatively unknown. Therefore, the authors conducted an observational study at a university hospital to examine physicians' work activities. Methods: Between 2011 and 2013, ten observers shadowed 20 physicians from different specialties for a day at the Tokyo Women's Medical University Hospital. Observers recorded physicians ' activities every 30 seconds that were subsequently categorized into work types. The number of work types and activity changes performed by a physician in one observational period were counted. Results: Authors categorized physicians' work activities into five groups: patient care (direct and indirect), education, research, professional development, and administration. All physicians performed at least one type of activity in addition to patient care. Activity change occurred 1.86 times per hour, on average. The median time-distribution of 20 physicians was 173.8 minutes, 213.8 minutes, 3.3 minutes, 5.0 minutes, 0 minutes, and 0.8 minutes for direct patient care, indirect patient care, education, research, professional development, and administration, respectively. Conclusion: Japanese hospital physicians performed multiple work duties including professional development and administrative activities in addition to triple duties. © 2014 Nohara et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.

Takahashi M.,Japanese National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health | Iwasaki K.,Japanese National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health | Sasaki T.,Japanese National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health | Kubo T.,Japanese National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health | And 2 more authors.
Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine | Year: 2012

OBJECTIVE:: We examined how change in work time control was associated with sleep and health 1 year later. METHODS:: Work time control, sleep, fatigue, recovery, and depression were assessed at baseline (T1) and at follow-up (T2) for 2382 daytime workers. The change in work time control from T1 to T2 was classified into four groups: low to low, low to high, high to low, and high to high. RESULTS:: A repeated-measures analysis of covariance showed significant decreases in the frequency of insomnia symptoms and depressive symptoms from T1 to T2 for the low to high group, which were similar to the high to high group. Significantly lower fatigue was found for these two groups at T2. CONCLUSION:: An increase in work time control, in addition to its stable high level, may produce beneficial effects upon sleep and health. . Copyright © 2012 by American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine.

Stevens R.G.,University of Connecticut Health Center | Hansen J.,Danish Cancer Society | Costa G.,University of Milan | Haus E.,University of Minnesota | And 19 more authors.
Occupational and Environmental Medicine | Year: 2011

Based on the idea that electric light at night might account for a portion of the high and rising risk of breast cancer worldwide, it was predicted long ago that women working a non-day shift would be at higher risk compared with day-working women. This hypothesis has been extended more recently to prostate cancer. On the basis of limited human evidence and sufficient evidence in experimental animals, in 2007 the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) classified 'shift work that involves circadian disruption' as a probable human carcinogen, group 2A. A limitation of the epidemiological studies carried out to date is in the definition of 'shift work.' IARC convened a workshop in April 2009 to consider how 'shift work' should be assessed and what domains of occupational history need to be quantified for more valid studies of shift work and cancer in the future. The working group identified several major domains of non-day shifts and shift schedules that should be captured in future studies: (1) shift system (start time of shift, number of hours per day, rotating or permanent, speed and direction of a rotating system, regular or irregular); (2) years on a particular non-day shift schedule (and cumulative exposure to the shift system over the subject's working life); and (3) shift intensity (time off between successive work days on the shift schedule). The group also recognised that for further domains to be identified, more research needs to be conducted on the impact of various shift schedules and routines on physiological and circadian rhythms of workers in real-world environments.

Wada K.,Kitasato University | Yoshikawa T.,Institute for Science of Labour | Murata M.,Waseda University
Archives of Environmental and Occupational Health | Year: 2012

This article describes occupational health measures for workers involved in decontamination of radioactive material discharged around Fukushima Dai-ichi Nuclear Power Plant after the explosions in 2011. Decontamination is performed by removing radioactive particles (mainly cesium) from surfaces of soil, grass and trees, and buildings. Measurement of radiation doses is necessary to reduce exposure, and to determine whether workers can work below dose limits. Protective equipment for decontamination is determined based on the concentration of radiation in contaminated soil and the exposure to dust. Health examinations by physicians are mandated for decontamination workers upon hiring and every 6 months. While there is no possibility of acute radiation injury from decontamination, workers may be anxious about the unclear effects of chronic low level radiation exposure on health. Measures to protect the decontamination workers are the top priority. Copyright © 2012 Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.

Ohta H.,Kitasato University | Wada K.,Kitasato University | Kawashima M.,Kitasato University | Arimatsu M.,University of Occupational and Environmental Health Japan | And 3 more authors.
International Archives of Occupational and Environmental Health | Year: 2011

Purpose: Fatigue experienced by physicians may not only endanger their own health but may also affect the safety of patients. Such fatigue may be associated with the work environment and personal factors such as work-family conflict (WFC). This study aimed to determine the association between WFC and prolonged fatigue among Japanese married male physicians. Methods: Physicians who graduated from a Japanese medical school answered a mailed anonymous self-report questionnaire. For assessment of WFC and prolonged fatigue, the Japanese versions of the WFC scale and the Checklist of Individual Strength questionnaire (CIS) were used. Prolonged fatigue was defined as the upper quartile of total CIS scores. The WFC scale comprises six dimensions. Total scores were divided into tertiles: low, intermediate, and high levels of WFC. A multiple logistic regression analysis was performed to examine the association between WFC and prolonged fatigue. Results: A total of 540 male physicians answered the questionnaire, and the data of 444 married male physicians were analyzed. The data were then adjusted for age and work condition factors. Prolonged fatigue was significantly associated with high strain-based work interference with family (WIF; corrected odds ratio, 5.56; 95% confidence interval, 2.55-12.1), intermediate strain-based WIF (2.53, 1.25-5.10), high time-based family interference with work (FIW; 1.92, 1.08-3.40), and there was a weak association with high strain-based FIW (1.93, 0.98-3.83). Conclusions: Employers should take measures to improve working conditions in hospitals, and give physicians the opportunity to learn how to cope with WFC. These measures could ultimately help prevent prolonged fatigue. © 2011 Springer-Verlag.

Takagawa K.,Japan Institute of Nuclear Safety System | Iida H.,Institute for Science of Labour
Transactions of the Atomic Energy Society of Japan | Year: 2011

Imperfect maintenance planning was frequently identified in domestic nuclear power plants. To prevent such an event, we analyzed causal factors in maintenance planning stages and showed the directionality of countermeasures in this study. There is a pragmatic limit in finding the causal factors from the items based on report descriptions. Therefore, the idea of the systemic accident model, which is used to monitor the performance variability in normal circumstances, is taken as a new concept instead of investigating negative factors. As an actual method for analyzing usual activities, cognitive task analysis (CTA) was applied. Persons who experienced various maintenance activities at one electric power company were interviewed about sources related to decision making during maintenance planning, and then usual factors affecting planning were extracted as performance variability factors. The tendency of domestic events was analyzed using the classification item of those factors, and the directionality of countermeasures was shown. The following are critical for preventing imperfect maintenance planning: the persons in charge should fully understand the situation of the equipment for which they are responsible in the work planning and maintenance evaluation stages, and they should definitely understand, for example, the maintenance bases of that equipment. © 2011 Atomic Energy Society of Japan, All Rights Reserved.

Kazutaka K.,Institute for Science of Labour
Safety and Health at Work | Year: 2012

Reflecting the current international trends toward proactive risk assessment and control at work with practical procedures, participatory action-oriented approaches are gaining importance in various sectors. The roles of these approaches in promoting the safety and health at work are discussed based on their recent experiences in preventing work-related risks and improving the quality of work life, particularly in small-scale workplaces. The emphasis placed on the primary prevention at the initiative of workers and managers is commonly notable. Participatory steps, built on local good practices, can lead to many workplace improvements when the focus is on locally feasible low-cost options in multiple aspects. The design and use of locally adjusted action toolkits play a key role in facilitating these improvements in each local situation. The effectiveness of participatory approaches relying on these toolkits is demonstrated by their spread to many sectors and by various intervention studies. In the local context, networks of trainers are essential in sustaining the improvement activities. With the adequate support of networks of trainers trained in the use of these toolkits, participatory approaches will continue to be the key factor for proactive risk management in various work settings. Copyright © 2012 by Safety and Health at Work (SH@W).

PubMed | Institute for Science of Labour
Type: | Journal: Work (Reading, Mass.) | Year: 2012

This study seeks to evaluate the effect of regular and new nursing methods in nursing care work. Nursing care work often causes low back pain in nursing care worker. The principle of not lifting when transferring patients has been proposed as one way to prevent low back pain. This principle incorporates the use of the patients strength and assistant aids. A sliding seats and transfer boards have been proposed as assistant aids for the transferring patients. It is necessary to evaluate the effectiveness of these assistant aids in preventing low back pain. Ten subjects performed two tasks in this experiment. Five were nursing experienced persons and five were the inexperienced. EMG results indicated that the new nursing method was less stressful than the methods. A questionnaire revealed that the new method was evaluated more highly than the regular method. Based on these results, we propose that a sliding seats and transfer boards be used in nursing care work.

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