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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. Source

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. Source

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. Source

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). Source

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. Source

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