National Institute of Occupational Health

Oslo, Norway

National Institute of Occupational Health

Oslo, Norway
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Christensen J.O.,National Institute of Occupational Health | Christensen J.O.,University of Oslo | Knardahl S.,National Institute of Occupational Health
Pain | Year: 2014

The current study estimated the impact of psychological and social work factors over time on neck pain. A sample of Norwegian employees (n = 1250) was surveyed on 3 occasions spanning 4 years. Five exposures were studied: quantitative demands, decision control, social climate, empowering leadership, and role conflict. Group-based trajectory models suggested factors changed little over time - employees could be classified by mean levels of exposure into groups exhibiting stable "high", "middle", and "low" levels. The exception was decision control, for which a 4-level classification was derived: "high", "high-middle", "low-middle", and "low". Pain prevalence at the end of the study period was compared across groups. Risk and prognosis were also assessed separately by dividing the sample according to pain status at baseline. For all factors, distinct differences in risk were observed between exposure groups, controlled for pain at baseline, skill level, sex, and age. Statistically significant effects ranged from 0.38 (CI 0.20-0.73, P < 0.01) for high social climate to 3.00 (CI 1.63-5.50, P < 0.01) for high role conflict. The risk of new-onset pain was predicted by all factors. ORs ranged from 0.32 (CI 0.16-0.67, P < 0.01) for high empowering leadership to 2.61 (CI 1.09-6.21, P < 0.05) for high role conflict. Pain persistence was predicted by high role conflict (OR 3.26, CI 1.30-8.18, P < 0.05), high quantitative demands (odds ratio [OR] 3.66, CI 1.58-8.49, P < 0.01), and high-middle decision control (OR 0.45, CI 0.21-0.99, P < 0.05). Future studies should collect information at multiple time points to clarify the impact of prolonged and changing exposure on musculoskeletal pain. ©2014 International Association for the Study of Pain. Published by Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.


Christensen J.O.,National Institute of Occupational Health | Christensen J.O.,University of Oslo | Knardahl S.,National Institute of Occupational Health
Pain | Year: 2012

Headache is a common health complaint responsible for substantial suffering and disability. Although musculoskeletal complaints such as back and neck pain have frequently been associated with occupational psychological and social factors, headache has received less attention as a possible outcome of such exposures. The aim of the present study was to identify occupational psychological, social, and mechanical factors that predicted headache severity. Furthermore, using a full panel design, cross-lagged and synchronous structural equation models were employed to test reverse causality. Data were obtained by work environment surveys in a wide variety of organizations in Norway, with a two-year follow-up period. At baseline 6421 employees responded and 3574 employees also responded at follow-up. Ordinal logistic regression models revealed that 7 of 16 psychological/social/mechanical factors were prospectively related to headache severity. Most consistently, higher quantitative demands and role conflict, and lower decision control, control over work intensity, and job satisfaction were related to more severe headache at follow-up. Cross-lagged models indicated an impact across a 2-year period of decision control, control over work intensity, and job satisfaction on headache severity. Reverse effects from headache severity to quantitative demands were indicated. For role conflict, no cross-lagged effects were observed. However, synchronous models supported the notion of an effect of each of these factors on headache severity over a time span shorter than 2 years. © 2012 International Association for the Study of Pain. Published by Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.


Wagstaff A.S.,National Institute of Occupational Health | Wagstaff A.S.,Institute of Aviaton Medicine | Lie J.-A.S.,National Institute of Occupational Health
Scandinavian Journal of Work, Environment and Health | Year: 2011

Objective In order to devise effective preventive strategies, it is important to study workplace stressors that might increase the risk of workplace accidents - both affecting workers themselves as well as causing harm to third-parties. The aim of this report is to provide a systematic, updated overview and scientific review of empirical research regarding accidents in relation to long work hours and shift work, primarily based on epidemiological studies. Methods The search for articles was part of a large review study on the effects of work hours on various health outcomes, safety, and performance. The search strategy included 5 international scientific databases, and nearly 7000 articles were initially identified using our search string. Following the application of inclusion and exclusion criteria, 443 publications were found and evaluated using a pre-defined scoring system. Of these, 43 concerned safety and accidents but only 14 were considered to be of high quality (total score 2 or 3 on a scale from 0-3) and therefore used for this study. Results Both shift work and long working hours present a substantial and well-documented detrimental effect on safety - all the studies that are included in this review have one or more significant findings in this respect. The trends are quite coherent although the increases in accident rates are mostly from 50% to 100%. In epidemiological terms, these may be considered rather small differences. The use of such data is therefore only of importance if the accident incidence is high or if accidents may have large effects. Conclusions The findings are most relevant to safety-critical activities such as the transport and health sectors. Work periods >8 hours carry an increased risk of accidents that cumulates, so that the increased risk of accidents at around 12 hours is twice the risk at 8 hours. Shift work including nights carries a substantial increased risk of accidents, whereas "pure" night work may bring some protection against this effect due to resynchronization. The evaluated studies give no clear indications of any age or gender being specifically susceptible to or protected against the effects of work times scheduling on accident risk.


Verma Y.,National Institute of Occupational Health
Toxicology and Industrial Health | Year: 2011

Toxicity of dye containing effluent of tannery, textile, dyes and pulp-paper industries was evaluated in an acute toxicity test using Daphnia magna. The 48-hour EC 50 values were 4.33% and 19.5% for tannery effluents (Tn1 and Tn2). Textile effluents (Tx1-Tx7) had 48-hour EC 50 values; >100%, >100%, 62.9%, 63.0%, 40.3%, >100% and >100%, respectively. Dye industries (D1-D7) had 48-hour EC 50 values; 14.1%, 15.5%, 24.5%, 29.7%, 23.2%, >100% and >100%, respectively. Similarly pulp-paper effluents (P1-P5) showed acute toxicity as 100%, 77.87%, 46.44%, 69.55% and 82.84%, respectively. These results showed linear relationship with high degree of confidence (r 2 ? 0.84-0.99) between immobility and test concentrations. Toxicity classification criteria showed that out of five effluents from pulp-paper mill, four were minor acutely toxic having 48-hour EC 50 value in between >46%-100%. Out of seven textile effluents, four were not acutely toxic (48-hour EC 50 value >100%) and three were minor acutely toxic (48-hour EC 50 value in the range of 40.3%-63.0%). Similarly, out of seven dye industrial effluents, two were not acutely toxic and five minor acutely toxic. One of the two tanneries was moderately acutely toxic and another one was minor acutely toxic. Classification based on toxic unit revealed that four out of five pulp-paper effluent, three out of seven textile effluents, five out of seven dye effluents and both the tannery effluents were toxic. Overall, 66.67% effluents were found toxic and 33.33% as non-toxic. In general, tannery and dyes effluents showed more toxicity than textile and paper mill effluents. © 2011 The Author(s).


Sterud T.,National Institute of Occupational Health
European Journal of Public Health | Year: 2013

Background: The overall evidence for work-related mechanical exposures as risk factors for long-term sick leave (LTSL) in the general working population is limited. Methods: The study cohort was randomly drawn from the general population in Norway, aged 18-69 years (n = 12 255, response at baseline = 60.9%). Eligible respondents were interviewed in 2009 and were registered with an active employee relationship of at least 100 actual working days in 2009 and 2010 (n = 6758). The outcome of interest was medically confirmed LTSL â 40 working days during 2010. Results: In total, 9.4% (635 individuals) were classified with LTSL during 2010. The risk of LTSL was higher in women, employees with fewer years of education, regular smokers, employees with chronic health complaints and employees with LTSL during 2009. After adjusting for these factors, we estimated that 24.6% of LTSL cases were attributable to work-related mechanical exposure. Mechanical risk factors were neck flexion, hand/arm repetition, standing, working with upper body bent forward and awkward lifting. The odds ratio for highest exposure levels ranged from 1.32 (95% confidence interval 1.04-1.69) for standing to 2.15 (95% confidence interval 1.24-3.73) for awkward lifting. A test for trend was statistically significant for all contributing factors (P ≤ 0.05), except standing. No psychosocial factors acted as major confounders related to any of the mechanical risk factors. Conclusion: This study underlines the importance of work-related mechanical exposures as risk factors for LTSL in the general working population. An exposure-response relationship was indicated for 5 of the 10 factors evaluated. © 2013 The Author.


Sterud T.,National Institute of Occupational Health | Tynes T.,National Institute of Occupational Health
Occupational and Environmental Medicine | Year: 2013

Aims: This study examines the impact of work-related psychosocial and mechanical exposure on the development of low back pain (LBP) in the general working population. Methods: A randomly drawn cohort from the general population in Norway aged 18-66 years was followed up for 3 years (n=12 550, response rate at baseline=67%). Eligible respondents were in paid work during a reference week in 2006 and 2009, or temporarily absent from such work (n=6745). Five work-related psychosocial factors and seven mechanical exposures were measured. Outcomes of interest were moderate or severe LBP at follow-up adjusted for baseline LBP. Results: In total, 12.8% (861 individuals) reported LBP during the last month at follow-up. Work-related psychosocial predictors of LBP were high job demands (OR 1.41, 95% CI 1.16 to 1.72) and low job control (OR 1.26, 95% CI 1.01 to 1.57). Mechanical factors were prolonged standing (OR 1.48, 95% CI 1.20 to 1.83), awkward lifting (OR 1.55, 95% CI 1.28 to 1.88) and squatting/kneeling (OR 1.29, 95% CI 1.04 to 1.61). The estimated population risk attributable to these factors was approximately 42%. The risk for LBP associated with psychosocial exposure was not influenced by adjustment for mechanical risk factors, and vice versa. There was no substantial confounding related to age, gender, education, occupation or psychological distress. Conclusions: Highly demanding jobs, prolonged standing and awkward lifting appear as the most consistent and important predictors of LBP.


Sharma M.,National Institute of Occupational Health
Indian Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine | Year: 2010

Manmade nanoparticles range from the well-established multi-ton production of carbon black and fumed silica for applications in plastic fillers and car tyres to microgram quantities of fluorescent quantum dots used as markers in biological imaging. While benefits of nanotechnology are widely publicized, the discussion of the potential effects of their widespread use in the consumer and industrial products are just beginning to emerge. Acceptance of nanoparticle toxicity led to wide acceptance of the fact that nanotoxicology, as a scientific discipline shall be quite different from occupational hygiene in approach and context. Understanding the toxicity of nanomaterials and nano-enabled products is important for human and environmental health and safety as well as public acceptance. Assessing the state of knowledge about nanotoxicology is an important step in promoting comprehensive understanding of the health and environmental implications of these new materials. Very limited data exist for health effects secondary to inhalation of very fine respirable particles in the occupational environment. Nanomaterials may have effects on health due to their size, surface, shape, charge, or other factors, which are not directly predictable from mass concentration measurements. Numerous epidemiological studies have associated exposure to small particles such as combustion-generated fine particles with lung cancer, heart disease, asthma and/or increased mortality. The omnipresence of nanoparticles shifts focus of research toward efforts to mitigate the health effects of nanoparticles. Newer health assessment methods and newer techniques need to be developed for diagnosing sub-optimal health in populations exposed to carbon nanoparticles.


Sterud T.,National Institute of Occupational Health
Scandinavian Journal of Work, Environment and Health | Year: 2013

Objectives This study examines the impact of work-related psychosocial and mechanical risk factors for work disability in the general working population. Methods A randomly drawn cohort from the general population in Norway aged 18-66 years was followed for 3 years (N=12 550, 67% response rate at baseline). Eligible respondents were in paid work for ≥10 hours per week in 2006 and were still in paid work or had quit working because of health problems (work disability) in 2009 (N=6745). Five work-related psychosocial factors and eight mechanical exposures were measured. The outcome of interest was self-reported work disability at 3-year follow-up. Results In total, 2.6% (176 individuals) reported work disability at the 3-year follow-up. Disability rates were higher among women, older workers, and those with fewer years of education and higher levels of psychological distress and musculoskeletal complaints. After adjusting for these factors, work-related psychosocial predictors of disability were low levels of supportive leadership [odds ratio (OR) 1.61, 95% confidence interval (95% CI) 1.02-2.56] and monotonous work (OR 1.53, 95% CI 1.09-2.16). Mechanical factors were neck flexion (OR 2.49, 95% CI 1.36-4.56), prolonged standing (OR 1.79, 95% CI 1.21-2.46), whole-body vibration (OR 4.15, 95% CI 1.77-9.71), and heavy physical work (OR 2.23. 95% CI 1.08-4.57). The estimated population risk attributable to these factors was about 45%. Conclusion Monotonous work, prolonged standing, neck flexion, and whole-body vibration appear to be the most consistent and important predictors of work disability.


Sterud T.,National Institute of Occupational Health
Scandinavian Journal of Work, Environment and Health | Year: 2014

Objectives This study aimed to examine gender differences in physician-certified sick leave and the extent to which these differences can be explained by work-related psychosocial and mechanical risk factors. Methods Randomly drawn from the general population in Norway, the cohort comprised working men and women aged 18-69 years (N=12 255, response rate at baseline = 60.9%). Eligible respondents were interviewed in 2009 and registered with an active employee relationship of ≥100 actual working days in 2009 and 2010 (N=3688 men and 3070 women). The study measured 11 work-related psychosocial factors and 11 mechanical exposures, and outcomes of interest were physician-certified general sick leave (GSL) >0 days and long-term sick leave (LTSL) ≥40 working days during 2010. Results Women reported a significantly higher level of exposure to 9 of the 11 psychosocial factors evaluated. For mechanical factors, the reporting was mixed. After controlling for age, educational level, sick leave during 2009, housework, working hours and family status, a 1.7-fold risk for GSL and LTSL were found among women. In comparison with the initial model, adjusting for psychosocial factors reduced the excess risk by 21% and 27% for GSL and LTSL, respectively. The total effect of mechanical factors was negligible. Differences between occupations held by women and men explained an additional one-tenth of the excess risk for LTSL among women. Conclusions Work-related psychosocial factors contributed significantly to a higher level of GSL and LTSL among women. The most important factors were demands for hiding emotions, emotional demands, and effortpayment imbalance.


Tiwari R.R.,National Institute of Occupational Health
Indian Pediatrics | Year: 2013

Children of footwear making units are working in the soling process. The process includes fixing of upper part with the sole of the footwear. The adhesives contain a mix of organic solvents, which are released in the working environment and cause irritation and lacrimation of eyes. In addition poor illumination and ventilation further aggravates the eyestrain. The present study was carried out to find out the prevalence and the associated factors of eyestrain in working children of footwear making units. The study included 139 exposed and 160 comparison group subjects. Self-reported eyestrain was recorded through personal interview. The prevalence of eyestrain in child laborers was 25.9%, which was significantly more than the 12.4% prevalence in comparison group subjects (P=0.01). Working children of footwear making units were at 2.4 times higher risk of developing eyestrain as compared to comparison group subjects, though statistically non significant. Significantly higher proportion of eyestrain was reported in those aged >12 years, males and those working daily for >4 hours. The higher prevalence of eyestrain in the working children of footwear units may be attributed to exposure to workplace factors.

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