First published by Safety+Health an NSC publication.
New York — Exposure to pollutants such as vehicle exhaust, pesticides and wood smoke may be linked to structural and functional heart abnormalities that could lead to cardiovascular disease among Latino workers, results of a recent study published by the American Heart Association indicate.
Researchers studied 782 adult workers with Mexican, Puerto Rican, Cuban, Dominican, Central American or South American backgrounds, gauging their exposure to pollutants at their current and longest-held job via questionnaires. Ultrasounds were taken of the participants’ hearts. Among the findings:
- Workers exposed to vehicle exhaust, pesticides, burning wood and metals who have been at their jobs for an average of 18 years or more were more likely to “have features of abnormal heart function and structure.”
- Exposure to burning wood or wood smoke was linked to a “decreased ability” (3.1% lower) of the heart’s left ventricle to pump blood.
- Exposure to vehicle exhaust was linked to indicators of reduced pumping ability for the heart.
- Workplace exposure to pesticides was associated with an abnormal ability to contract in the left ventricle.
- Exposure to metals was linked to a risk factor for cardiovascular disease: increased muscle mass and abnormal ability to contract in the left ventricle.
“These findings support the notion that where people live and work affects cardiovascular health,” researcher Jean Claude Uwamungu, cardiology fellow in training at Montefiore Health System/Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York, said in a press release from AHA. “Policies and interventions to protect the environment and safeguard workers’ health could reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease such as heart failure, especially among low-income occupations that have higher exposure to these harmful pollutants. Health care professionals should routinely ask patients about exposure to pollutants at work to guide prevention, diagnosis and treatment of early stages of heart disease.”
The study was published online Aug. 26 in the Journal of the American Heart Association.
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Boston — People who are “strivers” at work but struggle with job-related anxiety may face a heightened risk of burnout, a recent analysis shows.
Researchers from online stress management platform provider meQuilibrium surveyed 2,000 adult full-time workers, classifying them into one of six segments based on burnout risk: soulful sufferers, checked out, status quos, strivers, stretched superstars and change masters.
Findings show that strivers have the highest risk of burnout because of their combination of high agility and low resilience – despite exhibiting “a growth mindset” that results in them “brimming with untapped potential,” according to an Aug. 22 press release. Workers in this segment were linked to greater risks of anxiety (54%) and depression (27%), while 66% reported experiencing more negative emotions than positive ones.
The researchers also found that 44% of “soulful sufferers” – identified as “caring people who are struggling to be adaptive, and worrying about relationships and work” – are at high risk of burnout. This group’s low resilience and low agility contribute to its average use of 13 sick days a year. Seventy percent of soulful sufferers reported feeling accelerated pressure on the job, while group members faced a 49% greater risk of depression and anxiety.
“We can’t totally eliminate stress, which is one of the root causes of burnout, from business – but we can support employees by training them to manage stress better, and address the consequences before they impact business metrics such as revenue and profit,” Lucy English, vice president of research at meQuilibrium, said in the release.
In a June revision of its International Classification of Diseases, the World Health Organization calls burnout an “occupational phenomenon” and outlines three dimensions:
- Feelings of energy depletion or exhaustion
- Increased mental distance from one’s job, or feelings of negativity or cynicism related to the work
- Reduced effectiveness on the job
Nearly 4 out of 5 millennial workers say their employers should do more to support their health and well-being, including making resources more readily available, according to the findings of a recent survey.
National polling firm Ipsos Public Affairs, on behalf of Welltok – an employee health and well-being software provider – surveyed more than 1,000 full-time workers, of whom 330 were millennials (age 21-34), in December 2018.
Results show that 78% of the millennial workers said companywide health and well-being initiatives are falling short.
- 44% of the millennial workers said occupational stress is negatively impacting their lives.
- 51% have seriously considered changing their work situation because of stress.
- Among the support resources millennial workers want most, emotional health (75%) led the way, followed by financial (73%), physical (70%) and social health (64%).
In an Aug. 8 press release, Welltok recommends that, in addition to making resources more easily available, employers should use incentives to motivate millennial workers to participate in wellness programs. Among the top rewards the millennials said they would be motivated by are extra vacation time (64%), wellness benefits such as gym memberships (56%) and flexible work schedules (53%).