Now showing 1 - 5 of 5
  • Publication
    Is personal discomfort a main factor in driving employees’ wearing of hearing protectors in a mine setting?
    Introduction: Continuous exposure to noise can have both physiological and psychological effects on workers. Where a worker is exposed to excessive noise, hearing protectors should be worn. Company policy and personal comfort were the main factors identified in the adherence to wearing hearing protectors. The objective was to answer if there is an association between personal comfort and wearing of hearing protectors if the company has already set up a health and safety policy. Material and Methods: The study employed a cross section research survey questionnaire. The target population involved was 107 workers in a heavy manufacturing and mine facility. Binary regression and descriptive analysis were conducted on the data collected. Results: The majority of the study population agree personal discomfort is a factor using hearing protectors in the workplace, 36.2% agree ears hurt when wearing, 49.1% feel uncomfortable when wearing especially in warm weather, and 27.6% feel itching when wearing. The adherence to wearing hearing protectors was not affected by years of employment or duration worn throughout the day. There is no significant association between reporting ears hurt while using hearing protectors and age or roles of workers. Workers are aware of sections of the company policy. Conclusions: Although the company has a strong safety policy, personal discomfort is a factor in wearing hearing protectors within the company. To influence the wearing of hearing protectors a company should give employees the option to select the type of hearing protector and provide more choices.
  • 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
    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.
      122Scopus© Citations 3
  • 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.
  • 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.
      107Scopus© Citations 1