Now showing 1 - 10 of 15
  • 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.
      352Scopus© Citations 58
  • Publication
    Managing the Wellbeing of Elite Rugby Union Players from an Occupational Safety and Health Perspective
    The intense, physical contact nature of rugby union often encourages the normalization of risk-taking behaviour resulting in a relatively high acceptance of risk. This study aims to explore safety culture in rugby union from an OSH perspective, with the purpose of assisting coaches and management in their decision-making processes to improve players’ health, welfare, and long-term well-being. In terms of data collection, this study involved semi-structured interviews with senior support staff (n = 15) in elite rugby union. Interview transcripts underwent inductive analysis prior to an abductive analysis that was guided by an established occupational-safety-and-health (OSH) framework. Rugby union players’ safety can be considered from two dimensions: management’s commitment to safety (i.e., safety prioritization, safety empowerment, and safety justice), players’ involvement in safety (i.e., safety prioritization, and trust in other players’ safety competence, and players’ safety concern for the opposition players). Within the themes identified, players’ attitude towards their opponents’ safety which has been rarely considered as a factor for injury prevention is also discussed in this study. If sport support staff (i.e., managers/coaches/medical) can become more involved in players’ performance-orientated training using OSH management processes to aid in their decision-making, their exists the capacity to benefit players’ safe return to play after injury rehabilitation. Meanwhile, directing the development of appropriate behavioural educational interventions to raise safety-awareness amongst players can improve their long-term health and well-being and provide them with the necessary safety and health information to support their own decision-making processes. As a multidisciplinary design, this study contributes new multidisciplinary insights that have the potential to advance managerial practices utilizing an OSH perspective, including decision-making supporting risk alleviation for safety and long-term health and wellbeing initiatives in competitive team sports.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Publication
    Barriers to uptake of Open-Source automated insulin delivery Systems: Analysis of socioeconomic factors and perceived challenges of adults with type 1 diabetes from the OPEN survey
    Aims: Social and technical trends are empowering people with diabetes to co-create or self-develop medical devices and treatments to address their unmet healthcare needs, for example, open-source automated insulin delivery (AID) systems. This study aims to investigate the perceived barriers towards adoption and maintaining of open-source AID systems. Methods: This is a multinational study based on a cross-sectional, retrospective web-based survey of non-users of open-source AID. Participants (n = 129) with type 1 diabetes from 31 countries were recruited online to elicit their perceived barriers towards building and maintaining of an open-source AID system. Results: Sourcing the necessary components, lack of confidence in one's own technology knowledge and skills, perceived time and energy required to build a system, and fear of losing healthcare provider support appear to be major barriers towards the uptake of open-source AID. Conclusions: This study identified a range of structural and individual-level barriers to uptake of open-source AID. Some of these individual-level barriers may be overcome over time through the peer support of the DIY online community as well as greater acceptance of open-source innovation among healthcare professionals. The findings have important implications for understanding the possible wider diffusion of open-source diabetes technology solutions in the future.
      57Scopus© Citations 4
  • 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.
  • 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.
      115Scopus© Citations 3
  • Publication
    ‘Communication, that is the key’: a qualitative investigation of how essential workers with COVID-19 responded to public health information
    Objectives: To understand how essential workers with confirmed infections responded to information on COVID-19. Design: Qualitative analysis of semistructured interviews conducted in collaboration with the national contact tracing management programme in Ireland. Setting: Semistructured interviews conducted via telephone and Zoom Meetings. Participants: 18 people in Ireland with laboratory confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infections using real-time PCR testing of oropharyngeal and nasopharyngeal swabs. All individuals were identified as part of workplace outbreaks defined as ≥2 individuals with epidemiologically linked infections. Results: A total of four high-order themes were identified: (1) accessing essential information early, (2) responses to emerging ‘infodemic’, (3) barriers to ongoing engagement and (4) communication strategies. Thirteen lower order or subthemes were identified and agreed on by the researchers. Conclusions: Our findings provide insights into how people infected with COVID-19 sought and processed related health information throughout the pandemic. We describe strategies used to navigate excessive and incomplete information and how perceptions of information providers evolve overtime. These results can inform future communication strategies on COVID-19.
      96Scopus© Citations 1
  • 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.
  • 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.