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Work and organisational and psychosocial factors I
O6.1 TIME PRESSURE AS A DETERMINANT FOR CHEMICAL EXPOSURE: EXPERIENCE FROM AN EPIDEMIOLOGICAL STUDY ON HEALTH EFFECTS FROM ACRYLAMIDE EXPOSURE AMONG TUNNEL WORKERS.
H. Kjuus1, L. O. Goffeng1.Department of Occupational Medicine, National Institute of Occupational Health, Oslo, Norway
Introduction: A major challenge in the prevention of health effects from exposures to chemicals in the working place is to identify important and modifiable determinants for the exposure in question. Organisational factors, such as time pressure and long working hours working may contribute to the pattern of exposure to chemicals, and thereby indirectly to adverse health effects.
Methods: We have recently reported health effects among 74 tunnel workers exposed to N-methylolacrylamide during grouting work. Group I (n = 24) was examined four and 12 months after cessation of exposure, and Group II (n = 50) was examined more than 18 months after last exposure. We measured nerve conduction velocities (NCV), visual evoked response (VER), and electroretinography (ERG) in both groups, in addition to chromosome aberrations in Group I and vision field and colour vision in Group II. Fifty non-exposed tunnel workers were selected as referents. Exposure was assessed by questionnaires, qualitative exposure indices, and measurements of haemoglobin adducts. Organisational factors were not systematically examined.
Results: The results indicated slight effects on the peripheral nervous system, which to some extent seemed to be reversible. Slight persistent effects were observed in the visual system for VER, ERG, and colour discrimination. Increased number of chromatid gaps, indicating a slight genotoxic effect was also observed. For Group I, very restricted time schedules in all phases of the tunnel project resulted in lack of product information to the workers, insufficient worker protection, choice of a production process based on “fast” grouts leading to unnecessary use of acrylamide-containing agents, in addition to long working hours for the tunnel workers.
Conclusion: Organisational factors, such as time pressure and long working hours, may represent important determinants for adverse health effects from chemical …