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  1. 1. Promoting Safety and Health in the Workplace - CONTACT CENTER - Occupational Safety and Health Center Department of Labor and Employment
  2. 2. Occupational Safety and Health • encompasses the social, mental and physical well-being of workers, that is the “whole person”
  3. 3. Lesson 1. Learn from the past and prepare for a better future
  4. 4. The World of Work then … "a foul and poisonous dust [that] flies out from these materials, enters the mouth, then the throat and lungs, makes the workmen cough incessantly, and by degrees brings on asthmatic troubles." "in whom he found heaps of sand that in running the knife through the pulmonary vesicles he thought he was cutting through some sandy body."
  5. 5. Bernardini Ramazzini Father of Occupational Medicine 1713 – Published “De Morbis Artificum” (Diseases of Workers)
  6. 6. Paracelsus (1493-1541) Father of Modern Toxicology Areolus Phillipus Theophrastus Bombastus von Hohenheim "All substances are poisons; there is none which is not a poison. The right DOSE differentiates a poison from a remedy."
  7. 7. Lesson 2. Know the conditions of work and workplace
  8. 8. Occupational and Work-Related Diseases and Injuries • History of exposure to hazardous workplace factors becomes indispensable in determining whether an illness is because of workplace factors or not.
  9. 9. Types of Hazards Biologic Biologic hazards hazards Chemical Chemical hazards hazards Physical Physical hazards hazards Ergonomic Ergonomic stresses stresses
  10. 10. Types of Hazards Chemical Chemical hazards hazards •Formaldehyde •Cigarette smoke •Carbon monoxide •Carbon dioxide •Cleaning Agents
  11. 11. Types of Hazards Physical Physical hazards hazards •Poor office lighting •Noise •Dry air •Air currents
  12. 12. Types of Hazards Biologic Biologic hazards hazards •Pollens, allergens and dusts •People, plants, mites, pests •Condensed water in air conditioners, clogged drains, etc.
  13. 13. Types of Hazards Ergonomic Ergonomic stresses stresses •Limited workspace •Simplified work •Repetitive task •Shiftwork (esp. nightwork) •Mental and physical workload
  14. 14. Lesson 3. Mere exposure to hazard does not cause harm to safety or health
  15. 15. Hazards in the workplace can cause harm if there is undue exposure such as through elevated workplace concentration without proper control measures. Important to characterize exposure
  16. 16. Work-Related Musculoskeletal Disorders (WMSDs)  development requires weeks, months or years of exposure to ergonomic risk factors •Repetitive exertions •Posture stresses (including static posture) •Forceful exertions •Contact stresses •Job design •Work organization •Workstation dimension
  17. 17. Lesson 4. Take active part in keeping yourself safe and healthy.
  18. 18. Diseases of Workers • Many diseases of occupational cause are multifactorial,with non-occupational factors playing a role. • Personal characteristics, other environmental and socio-cultural factors usually play a role as risk factors for these diseases.
  19. 19. Total Health Promotion • Smoking cessation • Physical activity • Nutrition • Weight reduction • HIV/AIDS • Drug Abuse Prevention • TB Prevention and Control
  20. 20. Lesson 5. Prevention is better than treatment
  21. 21. HARMFUL EXPOSURES EARLY IN WORKING LIFE MODIFY NORMAL COURSE OF PHYSIOLOGICAL CHANGES DUE TO AGEING ALONE
  22. 22. Hearing loss comes with ageing But hearing loss can occur much earlier due to occupational exposure
  23. 23. Noise-Induced Hearing Loss
  24. 24. Loss of muscle strength comes with ageing • But muscle strength can be diminished even in young persons
  25. 25. Occupational Safety and Health is Prevention • Many occupational conditions are IRREVERSIBLE • Occupational conditions are PREVENTABLE
  26. 26. ENSURING WORKER WELL-BEING • “The choice of a starting age for attention should be selected as “young” enough that intervention efforts can be expected to make a difference during the working life.” Committee on the Health and Safety Needs of Older Workers National Research Council and Institute of Medicine
  27. 27. Occupational Safety and Health Conditions Contact Centers
  28. 28. Occupational Safety and Health in Call Centers (Secondary Data) • Musculoskeletal disorders – Linked to poorly designed workstations (Hoekstra et. al. 1995). – Associated with longer shift duration (Ferreira M and Saldiva PH, 2002) – Long uninterrupted hours of work with the computer – Invariable and sedentary work (Norman K et. al. 2001) – Low job satisfaction (Most IG, 1999)
  29. 29. Occupational Safety and Health in Call Centers (Secondary Data) • Voice disorders – Intensive verbal interaction with clients one of the contributing factors (Jones K et. al., 2002) • Eyestrain – Poor lighting conditions and intensive computer use (Putnam C et. al., 2000)
  30. 30. Occupational Safety and Health in Call Centers (Secondary Data) • Problems due to psychosocial and work organization stressors (Putnam C et. al., 2000) – Increased reporting of health disorders – Negative work attitude (boredom, job dissatisfaction, anger, etc.)
  31. 31. Occupational Safety and Health in Call Centers (Secondary Data) • Concern over potential hearing problems (Patel J and Broughton K, 2002) – Exposure to high intensity sound coming from the headsets – high sound levels in the room from the simultaneous talking of the employees
  32. 32. Occupational Safety and Health Conditions Contact Centers in the Philippines
  33. 33. Methods • Case study of 5 call centers • Purposively selected employees from one (1) company – Questionnaire to collect data about personal circumstances, occupational profile, medical and psychosocial conditions – Company profile • Data will be collected regarding the organization in terms of size, tasks, type of clients, work organization, working hours, etc. Information on incentive system will also be gathered.
  34. 34. Results • 5 call centers • Varying tasks of operators – 1 call center with only interactive computer task (internet online communication) – 4 call centers both voice and computer
  35. 35. Results A B C D E Year Established 1998 2002 2000 1999 1999 Task Intensive interactive computer work (chatting) Voice and computer Voice and computer Voice and computer Voice and computer Nature of business Customer assistance Telemarketing, outbound Telemarketing (outbound) and customer care services (inbound) Telemarketing, mostly outbound Telemarketing, inbound Gender Equal proportion of male and female Equal proportion of male and female 70% female 80% female 75% female Age of operators 20 - 25 20 - 20 - 35 20 - 25 20 - 25
  36. 36. Results Hazards Identified A B C D E Working Posture Rapid and repetitive keying, prolonged sitting, static exertions of neck, torso, elbow freedom of movement (sit, stand, walk about) Prolonged sitting, twisting of upper body and neck to view monitor Prolonged sitting, twisting of upper body and neck to view monitor Prolonged sitting, twisting of upper body and neck to view monitor
  37. 37. Results PARAMETERS Frequency of Extreme Posture Observed Eye position 39 agents with upward gaze Upper arm position Raised upper arms and elevated shoulders in 43 agents Lower arm position Elbow flexed in 28 agents Wrist/Hand position Wrist flexed in 4 agents Wrist extended in 38 agents Neck position Extremely flexed in 5 agents Erect position in 50 agents Trunk position 38 agents leaning forward Working Posture of Call Center Agents Company E (n=55)
  38. 38. Eye symptoms With symptom/s in the last 7 days With symptom/s in the last 6 months Smarting 22 (29%) 35 (47%) Gritty 4 (5%) 8 (11%) Itchiness 13 (17%) 24 (32%) Eye pain 15 (20%) 25 (33%) Redness 16 (21%) 29 (39%) Tearing 10 (13%) 21 (28%) Dryness 9 (12%) 15 (20%) Sensitivity to light 15 (20%) 31 (41%) Frequency of eye symptoms among call center agents (n=73)
  39. 39. Frequency of musculoskeletal symptoms among call center agents (n=72) Musculoskeletal symptoms With symptom/s in the last 7 days With symptom/s in the last 6 months Neck 4 (6%) 36 (50%) Shoulder 2 (2%) 22 (30%) Elbow - 2 (2%) Wrist - 10 (14%) Upper back 4 (5%) 41 (57%) Low back 3 (4%) 33 (46%) Hips or thigh 1 (1%) 11 (15%) Knee - 5 (7%) Ankle or feet - 7 (10%)
  40. 40. Frequency of hearing and voice disorders among call center agents (n=73) Hearing and Voice disorders With symptom/s in the last 7 days With symptom/s in the last 6 months Ear pain - 12 (16%) Ringing in the ear - 9 (12%) Need to raise voice when talking 1 (1%) 15 (20%) Hoarseness 1 (1%) 35 (48%) Tiredness or weakness of voice 3 (4%) 53 (73%) Exerting more effort to talk 2 (2%) 37 (51%) Cracking of voice 3 (4%) 30 (40%) Choking sensation 2 (2%) 20 (27%) Burning sensation in throat - 17 (23%) Dry throat 1 (1%) 52 (71%) Complete loss of voice 1 (1%) 4 (5%)
  41. 41. Lesson 6. Proactive measures are better than reactive efforts
  42. 42. Work Elements and associated Risk factors of voice disorders Work Environment Job Design/ Organization Individual/ Psychosocial Factors a. High intensity of background noise b. Poor room acoustic c. Low temperature and humidity d. Poor workplace air causing irritation a. Prolonged heavy use of voice b. Fast paced work brought about by automated call routing or dialing system c. Repetitive reading from long scripts d. Lack of or inadequate breaks a. Habit of speaking loudly b. Smoking c. Frequent intake of caffeinated beverages d. Infrequent hydration e. Infections involving the throat f. Intake of throat drying medications
  43. 43. Work Elements and associated Risk factors of hearing disorders Work Environment Job Design/ Organization Individual/ Psychosocial Factors a. High intensity background noise b. Noise from headsets c. Poor room acoustic a. Long duration of work b. Infrequent breaks c. Inadequate number of headsets a. Poor hygiene b. Lack of training on proper maintenance of headsets
  44. 44. Work Elements and associated Risk factors of visual fatigue Visual Display Work Environment Work Position Job Design/ Organization Individual/ Psychosocial Factors poor image quality, flicker, character size (too small or too big) a. poor illumination, excessive contrast in visual field, glare, reflections b. high vertical position of the display which may lead to dryness c. inappropriate viewing distance between worker and screen, keyboard, document d. dry air (relative humidity <40%) e. air movement >0.5 m/sec upward gaze direction a. long duration of work , esp. if without breaks b. high degree of concentration required c. fast pace of work d. repetitive and invariable task a. uncorrected visual deficiencies b. inadequate training on VDT operation
  45. 45. Work Elements and associated Risk factors of work- related musculoskeletal disorder Physical Work Environment Workstation Design Work Posture Job Design/ Organization Individual/ Psychosocial Factors Contributing to improper posture a. inadequate lighting b. presence of glare and reflections on the screen a. chair without proper lumbar support b. not height adjustable chair and keyboard c. too high or too low position of monitor or keyboard d. inadequate workspace a. static posture b. repetitive keying or mouse manipulation c. non-neutral posture (head or body twisted to one side; wrist flexed or extended; elevated shoulders) a. long duration of work , esp. if without breaks b. high degree of concentration required c. fast pace of work d. invariable, repetitive task e. high performance quotas a. uncorrected visual deficiencies b. inadequate training on computer operation c. lack of job control d. low job satisfaction
  46. 46. Health, Safety and Social Issues Risk Factors Associated with Night Work Sleep disorders • Continued poor quality sleep Gastrointestinal disorders a. Digestive function reduced at night. b. Intake of coffee and other drinks containing caffeine c. Increased incidence of smoking to keep awake at night d. No access to proper meals at night because canteens are closed at night e. irregular meal times and snack Errors and Accidents a. Decreased alertness corresponding to trough of circadian rhythm b. Sleep debt c. Cumulative fatigue Substance abuse a. Alcohol used to overcome fatigue and sleep debt b. Amphetamines and caffeine used to keep awake at night Physical attack • Walking very late at night or very early in the morning because public transport may not be available at these times Disruption in the pattern of social practices a. Exclusion from events and activities involving the family, friends or community b. Lack of contact with partners, children and friends c. Inability to pursue education, sports etc.
  47. 47. Implications of the Study • Knowledge gained to be used to improve working conditions – In existing and prospective new call centers – Address the OSH problems at an early stage • Policy/Program Implications – needs of women, mothers, young workers – policies concerning work shifts, esp. prolonged night work – adequate, on-site medical and health promotion facilities
  48. 48. Implications of the Study • Recognition of complex nature of safety and health issues in call centers – Interaction of psychosocial factors with other work factors – Unique work organization because of electronic monitoring – High performance standards – Issues on job security • Compensation implications – Recognition of problems of workers in call centers • Associated with air quality, ambient noise, noise from headset, human-computer interaction, shift work, etc.
  49. 49. Approach in Ensuring Well-Being of Workers • Looking at regulatory requirements • Relevant laws, standards, issuances and guidelines – Enforcement – Implementation – Inspection – Evaluation • Looking at developmental strategies • Information • Education • Training • Campaigns • Good practices • Successful cases • Competitions • Demonstrations • Interventions
  50. 50. Participatory approach Participation and involvement from stakeholders • Coordinated intervention • Learning from – specifications/guidelines, – scientific data – best practice
  51. 51. Prevention of disease/injury Promotion of good health and safety Improvement of safety and health HEALTHY, SAFE, COMFORTABLE PRODUCTIVIT Y “The Link”
  52. 52. Lesson 7. Prepare yourself

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