Now showing 1 - 10 of 11
  • Publication
    Protecting the Health and Wellbeing of Rugby Players and Support Staff from an Occupational Safety and Health Perspective during Return to Play in A Global Pandemic
    (Journal of Sports Medicine and Orthopedic Advances, 2021-03-08) ; ;
    Background: The contact nature of rugby with intensive physical interaction often exposes its players to a high risk of injury and illness. Compliance with prescribed safety guidelines when returning to play during the COVID-19 pandemic is important for both rugby players and their support staff ’s health and wellbeing. Methods: This paper explores health and hygiene awareness in a rugby context and provides insights on practical return-to-play (RTP) solutions during the COVID-19 crisis. This study was conducted through interviews with 15 senior rugby support staff employed in elite rugby. A thematic analysis was adopted emphasising the need for a consideration of hygiene and social distancing practices arising from COVID-19. Results: Players are exposed to the risk of trauma resulting in skin abrasions and lacerations etc. which may aggregate the risk of infectious diseases. A level of micromanagement practices that builds on the current situation are essential, considering rugby players in a high level of fitness condition and at a relatively young age can be overly confident with their ability to deal with the risk of illness. Player awareness such as symptom reporting and RTP after unwellness is required for ensuring their health and wellbeing and of their fellow players as well as support staff during the back to field process. Conclusions: Returning to rugby practice and competition will require a level of micromanagement and player safety awareness education to achieve the goal of optimally protecting the players from potential illness and/or spreading it to fellow players and support staff.
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  • Publication
    COVID-19 and its impact on Irish workplaces – OSH professionals experience and observations of preparation and adaptation
    Introduction: An investigation of Irish workplace adaptation to COVID-19 was conducted to assess impact to workers, their organisations and to develop new OSH adaptation mechanisms for future health emergencies. Materials and Methods: As part of the study, OSH professionals (n=60), each representing their workplace, took part in a series of semi-structured online focus groups. Each focus group incorporated twenty quantitative questions (covering four themes: organisational preparedness; organisational impacts; worker impacts; and the future of OSH) that were answered anonymously via a poll function. Results: 59 participants completed the questions. 58% of workplaces began pandemic preparations prior to COVID-19 emerging in Ireland. 66% of workplaces remained open while 27% were partially closed. 34% of workplaces had more than half their workforce working from home (5% pre-pandemic). 37% of workplaces had a working from home policy with 54% of workplaces having risk assessments for infectious diseases in place prior to the pandemic. 41% of workplaces had identified a viral pandemic scenario as part of its emergency planning prior to COVID-19. OSH professionals indicated that the majority (63%) of their colleagues understood the control measures instigated as a response to COVID-19 with a greater majority (90%) more willing to accept future workplace changes if they know it is to keep them safe and healthy. Conclusion: Irish workplaces adapted well to the changing OSH landscape that emerged in response to COVID-19. Irish workplaces are now more likely to be able to adapt and respond well to future public health emergencies.
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  • Publication
    COVID-19 workplace impacts - Irish OSH professionals experience and observations
    COVID-19 has had a significant impact on workers, arising from adaptations to control measures and consequent behaviour changes that minimise disease spread in the workplace. From an occupational safety & health (OSH) perspective, understanding how adaptations and behaviour changes have impacted workers is relevant to how organisations can preserve the health of their workers when adapting to future health emergencies.
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  • Publication
    COVID-19 prevention and control measures in workplace settings: a rapid review and meta-analysis
    Workplaces are high-risk environments for SARS-CoV-2 outbreaks and subsequent community transmission. Identifying, understanding, and implementing effective workplace SARS-CoV-2 infection prevention and control (IPC) measures is critical to protect workers, their families, and communities.
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  • Publication
    Considering Occupational Safety Awareness in Elite Rugby: A Game of Near-Misses
    (Journal of Interdisciplinary Sciences, 2021-05) ; ; ;
    Rugby players often experience risk exposure that has potentially very serious long-term health implications. Safety and risk awareness in rugby has thus become crucial especially considering the COVID-19 pandemic. This study aimed to advance understanding of safety awareness within elite rugby by exploring relationships between players, their behaviors, and the role stakeholders play in support and management. This study explored safety awareness in the context of elite rugby by utilizing document analysis, and an ethnographic approach incorporating observation, and semi-structured interviews. Participants were from rugby teams in Ireland. Observations occurred between August 2017 and May 2018, focusing on training sessions and competitive games. Data gathered were analyzed by thematic analysis using software NVivo. The findings identified three key themes: first, the risk to rugby players long-term health consequences tended to be underestimated; second, risk may be aggregated by players’ risk-taking behavior as a result of social exposure from stakeholders; third, safety practices in rugby, such as injury reporting, need to become more proactive rather than reactive. The dilemma that rugby players who prioritize their performance have to compromise their health-and-wellbeing can be ameliorated by safety culture cultivation, initiating with an encouragement of open communication on safety concerns.
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  • Publication
    Worker adaptation behaviours and mental health impacts in Irish workplaces arising from COVID-19 – observations of OSH professionals
    Introduction: Workers quickly adapted during the COVID-19 pandemic to comply with updated work arrangements, control measures and policies. Understanding adaptation difficulties/fatigue and mental health issues among workers is crucial for OSH professionals to plan for future emergencies. Materials and Methods: As part of a larger COVID-19 workplace study, 16 two-hour focus groups (4-6 participants each) were conducted with OSH professionals (n=60) in Ireland, covering four predetermined themes (organisational preparedness; organisational impacts; worker adaptation behaviour; and the future of OSH post-pandemic). Thematic analysis was conducted using Nvivo. Results: OSH professionals observed many workers rapidly adapted and became involved in organisational COVID-19 outbreak prevention and long-term adaptation, in contrast to some workers that exhibited mental health problems as they struggled to adapt. Adaptation fatigue was observed when staff were sent home to work due to a range of factors: 1) isolation at home 2) no boundary between work and life; and 3) inability to disconnect from negative media coverage. The situation can be alleviated by 1) increasing informal communication to cope with isolation; 2) Employee Assistance Programmes; and 3) additional consultation regarding their COVID-19 concerns. Conclusion: Most Irish workplaces focused more on employees’ physical safety rather than their mental wellbeing. The experiences shared by OSH professionals in this study illustrate their agility and ability to apply their risk management and control skills to any unanticipated public/occupational health crisis that arises.
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  • Publication
    Evaluating safety and risk awareness in contact sports: development of a quantitative survey for elite rugby
    (Sociedade Portuguesa de Segurança e Higiene Ocupacionais, 2022-04-29) ; ;
    Introduction: Considerable media attention has recently focused on an increased number of professional athletes that experience forced retirement due to severe injuries. Despite the highly completive, physical nature and tolerance of risk in contact sports, no Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) awareness-related measurement instrument exists in professional sports. As part of a wider project, this study aimed to develop a survey instrument to evaluate risk and safety awareness in sports, taking elite rugby (union) as an example. Methods: Based on the identified conceptual framework incorporating theories from the OSH discipline, the survey has been updated for three rounds according to the feedback from a multidisciplinary team of experts before the pilot test. The pilot test data (n=46, response rate 76.7%) were imported to SPSS for analysis and validation. The survey's key themes included health outlook, tackle behavior, awareness of risk acceptance, reasons for risk-taking, and safety consideration for other players. Results: Overall, the survey has a high internal consistency (Cronbach's α= 0.742). Some sections of the survey require a further factor analysis, such as awareness of risk acceptance during the competition (Kaiser-Meyer-Olkin Measure of Sampling Adequacy - KMO <0.767, p<0.001) and reasons for risk-taking (KMO<0.604, p=0.003). Some sections require a larger sample size for further validation, such as safety consideration for other players (KMO<0.481, p<0.001). Conclusion: This is the first survey that evaluates players' safety and risk awareness in rugby drawing upon OSH concepts. Such a survey has the potential to improve athletes' health and wellbeing by customized educational intervention, which could point the way forward for its application in a wider range of sport settings internationally.
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  • Publication
    Development and validation of a multi-lingual online questionnaire for surveying the COVID-19 prevention and control measures used in global workplaces
    Introduction: There is an ongoing need for targeted disease prevention and control efforts in high-risk occupational settings. This study aimed to develop, pilot, and validate an instrument for surveying occupational COVID-19 infection prevention and control (IPC) measures available to the global workforce. Material and Methods: A 44-item QualtricsXM survey was developed, translated, and validated for face, content, and cross-cultural validity according to literature review, expert consultation, and pre-testing. The survey was piloted with 890 workers from diverse industries and countries. Exploratory factor analysis (EFA) was conducted, and internal consistency reliability verified with Cronbach’s alpha. Hypothesis testing and Pearson correlation coefficients verified construct validity (i.e., known-groups technique, discriminant validity), and criterion validity. Results: EFA revealed nine key IPC domains relating to: environmental adjustments, testing and surveillance, education, costs incurred, restricted movements, physical distancing, masking, isolation strategies, and areas for improvement. Each domain showed sufficient internal consistency reliability (Cronbach’s alpha ≥ 0.60). Hypothesis testing confirmed construct validity (p < 0.001), criterion validity (p ≤ 0.03), and discriminant validity (r = -0.45). Conclusions: The occupational IPC measures survey showed strong validity and reliability. It can be used by decision makers in the distribution of IPC resources, and to guide occupational health and safety (OSH) recommendations for preventing COVID-19 and future infectious disease outbreaks.
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  • Publication
    Employee Mental Health During COVID-19 Adaptation: Observations of Occupational Safety and Health/Human Resource Professionals in Ireland
    Objectives: This study aims to understand mental health issues among Irish employees arising from COVID-19 adaptation from the perspective of Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) and/or Human Resource (HR) professionals. Methods: Fifteen focus groups including 60 OSH/HR professionals from various sectors were conducted covering four predetermined themes. The data were transcribed verbatim, with transcripts entered into Nvivo for thematic analysis incorporating intercoder reliability testing. Results: The mental health impacts among employees are identified from three stages: pre-adaptation, during adaptation, and post-adaptation. Most issues were reported during the second stage when working conditions dramatically changed to follow emerging COVID-19 policies. The identified mental health support from participating organizations included providing timely and reliable information, Employee Assistance Programme (EAP), informal communication channels, hybrid work schedules and reinforcement of control measures. Conclusion: This study explores the challenges facing employees during the different stages of COVID-19 adaptation and the associated mental health impacts. Gender’s influence on mental health consultations should be considered when planning for public health emergencies, and further research conducted in male dominated industries.
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  • Publication
    COVID-19 prevention and control measures in workplace settings: a rapid review and meta-analysis
    Workplaces can be high-risk environments for SARS-CoV-2 outbreaks and subsequent community transmission. Identifying, understanding, and implementing effective workplace SARS-CoV-2 infection prevention and control (IPC) measures is critical to protect workers, their families, and communities. A rapid review and meta-analysis were conducted to synthesize evidence assessing the effectiveness of COVID-19 IPC measures implemented in global workplace settings through April 2021. Medline, Embase, PubMed, and Cochrane Library were searched for studies that quantitatively assessed the effectiveness of workplace COVID-19 IPC measures. The included studies comprised varying empirical designs and occupational settings. Measures of interest included surveillance measures, outbreak investigations, environmental adjustments, personal protective equipment (PPE), changes in work arrangements, and worker education. Sixty-one studies from healthcare, nursing home, meatpacking, manufacturing, and office settings were included, accounting for ~280,000 employees based in Europe, Asia, and North America. Meta-analyses showed that combined IPC measures resulted in lower employee COVID-19 positivity rates (0.2% positivity; 95% CI 0–0.4%) than single measures such as asymptomatic PCR testing (1.7%; 95% CI 0.9–2.9%) and universal masking (24%; 95% CI 3.4–55.5%). Modelling studies showed that combinations of (i) timely and widespread contact tracing and case isolation, (ii) facilitating smaller worker cohorts, and (iii) effective use of PPE can reduce workplace transmission. Comprehensive COVID-19 IPC measures incorporating swift contact tracing and case isolation, PPE, and facility zoning can effectively prevent workplace outbreaks. Masking alone should not be considered sufficient protection from SARS-CoV-2 outbreaks in the workplace.
      167Scopus© Citations 31