News

RECENT PUBLICATIONS:

Jūratė Tamašauskaitė. Rizikos vertinimo ir valdymo priemonės  susijusios su kaulų ir raumenų sistemos sutrikimų prevencija  /  Risk assessment and management measures with regard to musculoskeletal disorders prevention, 2020.

Methodical recommendations have been prepared in the framework of the National Action Plan for Occupational Safety and Health 2017–2021. The methodological recommendations are intended for employers, their authorized persons responsible for occupational health and safety, and in enterprises (occupational health and safety and health specialists). Their purpose to help assess the risks and implement risk management measures with regard to musculoskeletal disorders prevention. These methodological recommendations can help to create and maintain a sustainable and supportive working environment for all workers: men and women, young and older workers, migrant workers, part-time workers, shift workers or teleworkers, and others. Recommendations provide information about what is musculoskeletal disorders, explain the concept of ergonomics and ergonomic risk factors described. Also, the steps of risk assessments described. In methodical recommendations are examples of ergonomic risk factors in the workplace. The main legal documents with regard to musculoskeletal disorders prevention are also presented.

For more information contact: Jūratė Tamašauskaitė, Institute of Hygiene, Occupational Health Centre, Division of Occupational Health Research, phone no. +370 5 212 2589, e-mail: jurate.tamasauskaite@hi.lt.


V. Ivleva, V. Juškelienė. Grįžimo į darbą po onkologinės ligos organizavimo gairės, 2019. / V. Ivleva, V. Juškelienė. Guidelines for Organizing Return to Work after Oncological Disease, 2019.

Due to advanced medical technology and early diagnosis more and more oncology patients have the opportunity to return to work. However, due to illness and side effects of treatment, returnees are often less able to work than before illness. The methodological guidelines describe the peculiarities of returning to work after oncological disease, present the difficulties experienced by patients and the factors that encourage returning to work.

Methodical recommendations have been prepared in accordance with the study “Returning to work after cancer: subjective experience of employees” 2018–2019. The information analyzed aims helping Lithuanian companies and organizations to ensure a smooth return to work for those affected by oncological disease. It could also contribute to educationof the public and raise awareness of the needs of post-oncologic returnees, and to reduce cancer stigma and discriminatory treatment in the workplace. The methodological recommendations are intended for managers of companies and institutions, human resources and occupational health professionals and other persons who can contribute to the smooth return to work. They are also useful for oncology patients planning to return to work.

For more information contact: Viktorija Ivleva, Institute of Hygiene, Occupational Health Centre, Division of Research, phone no. (370 5) 212 2589, e-mail: viktorija.ivleva@hi.lt.


J. Tamašauskaitė, S. Vainauskas. Kompiuterizuotos darbo vietos rizikos veiksnių identifikavimas, 2019. / J. Tamašauskaitė, S. Vainauskas.
Identification of risk factors in computer workstation, 2019.

Methodical recommendations have been prepared in accordance with adaptation study of computer workstation checklist for Lithuanian enterprises. The original checklist was development by the United Kingdom Health and Safety Executive practitioners’ experience in the office ergonomics.

Methodical recommendations have been prepared to use by employers, health and safety executive practitioners, occupational health specialists, who need to comply with the Health and Safety requirements. It can be used as an aid to risk assessment of risk factors associated with musculoskeletal disorders related to computer work.

For more information contact: Jūratė Tamašauskaitė, Institute of Hygiene, Occupational Health Centre, Division of Research, phone no. +370 5 212 2589, e-mail: jurate.tamasauskaite@hi.lt.

L. Pilipavičienė, S. Vainauskas. Dirbančių asmenų, kuriems prieinamos profesinės sveikatos priežiūros paslaugos, dalies (procentais) rodiklio apskaičiavimas, 2019. / L. Pilipavičienė, S. Vainauskas. Calculation of the percentage of employed persons who have access to occupational health care services. Methodical recommendations, 2019.

Methodical recommendations have been prepared in the framework of the National Public Health Care Development Programme for the year 2016–2023. Their purpose of the recommendations is to ensure that the dynamics of the change in the percentage of employed persons who have access to occupational health services, i.e. services provided by occupational health care professionals, is monitored using a single indicator calculation methodology. Methodical recommendations are intended for specialists of state institutions planning to monitor the dynamics of the indicator.

For more information contact: Lolita Pilipavičienė, Institute of Hygiene, Occupational Health Centre, Division of Occupational Health Research, phone no. +370 5 212 2589, e-mail: lolita.pilipaviciene@dmc.lt.


RECENT PROJECTS:

CHARACTERISTICS OF EVALUATION OF PSYCHOSOCIAL OCCUPATIONAL RISK FACTORS IN PERSONAL HEALTH CARE INSTITUTIONS

Project implementation period: 2021

Background.  The employer is obliged to ensure the safety and health of workers in all work-related aspects, including psychosocial risks. Work-related psychosocial risks are among the key emerging risks of occupational health and safety.

The aim of the study is to investigate the characteristics of psychosocial risk assessment in personal health care institutions.

Tasks
1. To determine whether the employer conducted a risk assessment and whether psychosocial factors have been properly identified and assessed.
2. To determine what psychosocial risk factors have been identified and assessed.
3. To determine whether   the risk assessment has led to preventive actions, whether there are planned procedures for managing the risk factors, and whether the effectiveness of the preventive measures has being assessed. 

Methodology. Type of the study is a quantitative cross-sectional study. All 241 Lithuanian personal health care institutions (data is taken from the Compulsory Health Insurance Information System SVEIDRA under the Ministry of Health) will be invited to participate in the study.  Research instrument is the personal health care institution’s questionnaire. It was prepared in accordance with following documents: the European Commission's (EC) 2018 publication "Guide for assessing the quality of risk assessments and risk management measures with regard to prevention of psychosocial risks" (questions from the “List of questions for assessing the quality of risk assessment and measures concerning psychosocial risks”), Guidelines for Psychosocial Risk Factors Research (Lithuanian legislation governing psychosocial risk assessment in workplaces), and the questions from the questionnaire used in the EU-OSHA's Third European Survey of Enterprises on New and Emerging Risks on health and safety(ESENER).  Three original questions were also included in the questionnaire in order to obtain the views of health and safety professionals on the assessment of psychosocial risk factors (including emerging risks related to COVID-19) and on the improvement of the implementation of preventive measures in the personal health care institutions.

Expected results. The characteristics of psychosocial risk assessment in personal health care institutions will investigated and described. A training program and methodological material will be developed to improve the competencies of health and safety professionals in the field of psychosocial risk assessment.

For more information contact: Jūratė Tamašauskaitė, Institute of Hygiene, Occupational Health Centre, Division of Occupational Health Research, phone no. +370 5 212 2589, e-mail: jurate.tamasauskaite@hi.lt.


FACTORS OF A LONGER WORKING LIFE AND RETENTION IN THE LABOR MARKET AMONG OLDER ADULTS

Project implementation period: 2020–2021

Introduction. During last few decades the population across Europe has faced rapid aging, leading to structural changes in the labor market that threatens the countries’ social security system and the economic situation. Countries are increasingly facing the lack of qualified workers, so there is a need to extend the working life of employees. Strategies to increase a working life do not always correspond to the real potential and abilities of older people to work longer, so many of them opt for retirement. The scientific literature highlights various factors of participation in the labor market among older adults. However, it is still not fully clear what determines workers' decision and ability to stay longer in the labor market.

Objective of the research. To reveal factors relevant to the longer working life and retention in the labor market among older adults.

Tasks 
1. To examine features of retirement in Lithuania and to compare participation in the labor market among older adults in Lithuania and other European countries. 
2. To analyze the factors hindering the retention in the labor market among older adults and to identify the most important factors facilitating a longer working life.
3. To assess the need of Lithuanian employers to employ older adults based on the type of activity, sectors and qualification.

Methods. The study will include several research strategies: a study of relevant sources, a qualitative study and a quantitative cross-sectional study. A qualitative study fragment will be conducted using a focus group method involving 4 groups from 8 to 12 participants. A quantitative fragment of the study will be carried out using data from the Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe (SHARE). The study will involve employees aged 60 and over (the qualitative fragment of the study will also include employers and various specialists working on occupational issues).

Expected results. Research results will allow the assessment of older adults’ participation in the labor market in Lithuania and reveal factors that might hinder or facilitate the retention in the labor market. The results will also provide a better understanding of employers' need, as well as possible barriers to employ older adults. The results will be used to produce recommendations for employers and human resources specialists on how to create safe and healthy working environment for older employees and prolong their participation in the labor market. The findings of the study might be also useful for increasing the social inclusion of older adults and reducing age discrimination. The results will be presented in seminars and conferences.

For more information contact: Viktorija Ivleva, Institute of Hygiene, Occupational Health Centre, Division of Research, phone no. +370 5 212 2589, e-mail: viktorija.ivleva@hi.lt.


THE FEATURES OF
PSYCHOSOCIAL RISK ASSESSMENT IN LITHUANIAN MUNICIPAL ENTERPRISES

Project implementation period: 2020

Background. The employer is obliged to ensure the safety and health of workers in all work-related aspects, including psychosocial risks. Work-related psychosocial risks are among the key emerging risks to occupational health and safety.

Aim. To investigate the features of psychosocial risk assessment in Lithuanian municipal enterprises.

Tasks
1. To investigate the features of identification of employees who may be at psychosocial risk.
2. To investigate the nature of the assessed psychosocial risk factors and the features of the identification of the most important psychosocial risk factors.
3. To investigate the features of taking preventive measures against psychosocial risk and evaluating their effectiveness.

Methodology. A cross-sectional study will be carried out. All Lithuanian municipal enterprises (n=463) will be invited to participate in the survey. The questionnaire was prepared by using the questions from the “List of questions for assessing the quality of risk assessment and measures concerning psychosocial risks” published by the European Commission, and Lithuanian legislation governing psychosocial risk assessment in workplaces.

Expected results. The features of psychosocial risk assessment in Lithuanian municipal enterprises will be investigated and described. Recommendations on how to improve psychosocial risk assessment will be prepared.

For more information contact: Lolita Pilipavičienė, Institute of Hygiene, Occupational Health Centre, Division of Occupational Health Research, phone no. +370 5 212 2589, e-mail: lolita.pilipaviciene@dmc.lt.


ASSESSMENT OF THE SCHOOL COMMUNITY‘S OCCUPATIONAL WELL-BEING USING THE WELL-BEING AT YOUR WORK INDEX

Project implementation period: 2020

Objective of the research. To adapt The Well-being at Your Work index form for Lithuanian school communities and to assess their occupational well-being.

Tasks
1. To estimate general psychometric characteristics of The Well-being at Your Work index form for Lithuanian school communities.
2. To assess occupational well-being of the participating school communities using The Well-being at Your Work index form.
3. To assess The Well-being at Your Work index form results’ differences according to general information and on available actions promoting occupational well-being variables.

Methodology. The study used the Well-Being at Your Work Index Questionnaire. The questionnaire was used with permission of the researchers of the University of Eastern Finland (T. Saaranen et al.). The research was organized among the European Network of Health Promoting Schools in Lithuania. The respondents' questionnaires were conducted in April-September 2020, using web-based and paper-based questionnaires. 460 questionnaires were analyzed. The psychometric characteristics of the questionnaire were assessed by calculating reliability and performing exploratory and confirmatory factor analysis. The occupational well-being of the participating schools was also assessed.

Results. The results of the research showed that the original structure of the questionnaire was confirmed.The reliability of the questionnaire was evaluated based on sum variables with Cronbach’s alpha coefficients, which were good.Assessing the situation of occupational well-being of the members of the Lithuanian school communities which participated in the study, it was found that inadequate physical work factors, high urgency and pace of work, insufficient information technology skills and lack of activities to support personal resources at work cause the most problems. One third of employees expressed the need for development these factors. Work management and time use, co-operation and information, atmosphere at work and appreciation of others’ work were rated the most favorably. Workers on temporary contract type and holding a part-time, as well as primary schools’ workers rated physical work factors better than others. Subject teachers were less satisfied with their substantive competence and interaction compared to other respondents. Women and older workers rated their ability to perform tasks during working hours worse than men and younger workers. Older workers also rated their work atmosphere worse and were more dissatisfied with their information technology skills.

For more information contact: Skaistė Dreskinytė, Institute of Hygiene, Occupational Health Centre, Division of Occupational Health Research, phone no. +370 5 212 2589, e-mail: skaiste.dreskinyte@hi.lt.


THE FEATURES OF ERGONOMIC RISK ASSESSMENT IN LITHUANIAN MUNICIPAL NSTITUTIONS/ENTERPRISES

Project implementation period: 2019–2020

Introduction. Occupational risk factors can cause injuries or other health-related disorders to workers due to harmful or hazardous work environment factors. The employer should investigate the work environment and assess and document any risk factors discovered. Risk factors relevant to the workplace should be assessed. The risk assessment should be carried out in a systematic way. It should be planned in advance and performed in cooperation with workers. Investigations should be based not only on the experiences of the individual worker but also on objective descriptions of the working conditions. It is important to include the entire workforce in the risk assessment (e. g., both women and men) and to take into account the age distribution at the workplace. In the case of ergonomic risk factors to be assessed, the frequency, duration, and intensity of the work should be considered as well as the number of workers exposed to risk factors. If protective and preventive measures cannot be organized due to a lack of competent personnel in the enterprise, the employer shall enlist competent external services or persons.

Aim. To investigate the features of ergonomic risk assessment in Lithuanian municipal institutions/enterprises.

Tasks
1. To investigate the features of the risk and those at risk.
2. To determine the features of risk characteristic evaluating and prioritizing.
3. To investigate the characteristic of action deciding on preventive measures and Monitoring and reviewing.

Methodology. Type of study – quantitative cross-sectional type of study. 389 Lithuanian municipal institutions/enterprises, the list of which is published on the website of the State of the Republic of Lithuania (https://lrvalstybe.lt/), were invited to participate in the study. In total, 54.5 % Lithuanian municipal institutions/enterprises agreed to participate in the survey and completed the questionnaires. Research instrument – a list of questions for assessing the quality of risk assessment and measures conserning ergonomic risks.

Results. The study revealed, that 60,8 % of Lithuanian municipal institutions/enterprises were evaluated occupational risk. The most valued ergonomic (92,2 %) risk factors, less – physical (lighting, noise, vibration) (79,8 %) psychosocial (66,7 %), chemical (49,6 %),  biological (25,6 %) risk factors. Increased ergonomic factors were found in 11 percentage of institutions/enterprises. It was determined that risk assessment at companies is mainly (86 %) carried out by specialized institutions or persons assessing occupational risk factors. In 88,4 percentage institutions/enterprises, the identified risks were being listed in order of importance. Mostly, the risk assessment covered the workers' groups: women and men, young and old, shift workers. Generally, the risk assessment covered existing ergonomic risks: manual handling, lifting, and carrying, repetitive work, work postures, prolonged sitting, visual ergonomics and knowledge of ergonomically correct working methods and how to use technical aids and, etc. 26, 4 % of institutions/enterprises were revised risk assessment, then working conditions changed. The actions taken to minimize or prevent MSDs were systematically evaluated to establish what works, to assess the effectiveness of the actions (92,2 % institutions/enterprises).

For more information contact: Jūratė Tamašauskaitė, Institute of Hygiene, Occupational Health Centre, Division of Occupational Health Research, phone no. +370 5 212 2589, e-mail: jurate.tamasauskaite@hi.lt.


THE ACCESSIBILITY OF OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH SERVICES IN LITHUANIAN ENTERPRISES

Project implementation period: 2019

Objective. To assess the extent of the provision of occupational health services in Lithuanian enterprises and possibilities for its development.

Tasks
1. To assess the extent of the provision of occupational health services in Lithuanian enterprises.
2. To analyze which occupational health services are provided in Lithuanian enterprises.
3. To analyze stakeholders' attitudes towards the possibilities for the development of the provision of occupational health services in Lithuanian micro- and small-sized enterprises.

Methodology. A survey of Lithuanian enterprises (n=600) was carried out and the value of the indicator “The percentage of employed persons who have access to occupational health services” was calculated. A survey of occupational health professionals working in Lithuanian enterprises was carried out in order to find out which occupational health services they provided. A stakeholder roundtable was also held to discuss the possibilities for the development of the provision of occupational health services in Lithuanian micro- and small-sized enterprises.

Results. The extent of the provision of occupational health services in Lithuanian enterprises is 4 percent. The extent of provision of occupational health services provided at least partially is 11.5 percent. The most frequently provided occupational health services are related to workers’ health monitoring. The least frequently provided occupational health services are related to advising on health protection, adapting work processes to the workers’ capabilities, and using personal protective measures. Besides, only every second occupational health professional organizes activities of occupational health promotion. The main possibilities for the development of the provision of occupational health services in Lithuanian micro- and small-sized enterprises are long-term programs of occupational health promotion implemented by Lithuanian public health bureaus, improving the quality of workers‘health examinations by adoption of mobile health care cabinets, and dissemination of the information on the benefits that the employer receives when investing in workers’ health.

For more information contact: Lolita Pilipavičienė, Institute of Hygiene, Occupational Health Centre, Division of Occupational Health Research, phone no. (370 5) 212 2589, e-mail: lolita.pilipaviciene@dmc.lt.


RETURNING TO WORK AFTER CANCER: SUBJECTIVE EXPERIENCE OF EMPLOYEES 

Project implementation period: 2018–2019

Objective of the research. To disclose employees’ experiences of returning to work after cancer.

Tasks
1. To analyze and to describe the study participants’ experiences of returning to work after cancer.
2. To analyze factors, that facilitate and hinder the return to work of cancer.

Methods. 16 individuals working in Lithuania took part in this study. They were employees who have returned to work after fully completed cancer treatment. The study sample consisted of 2 males and 14 females aged 26 to 69 years. A qualitative study was conducted using a semi-structured interview, which consisted of three question topics related to the experience of taking a sick leave due to cancer, returning to work and questions about the organization in which study participant worked. Interview also consisted of introductory and situational questions. The analysis of data was based on the principles of thematic analysis.

Results. The research revealed three main theme groups, which describe the subjective experience of return to work after cancer: factors related to balancing work and illness (adaptation to work, working conditions, career opportunities and additional needs), barriers to return to work (side effects of the disease and its treatment, psychological difficulties, ethical issues, misunderstanding of others) and facilitating factors to return to work (motivation, support, flexible working arrangements). Due to the illness and its treatment, cancer survivors who return to work may have reduced working capacity and some physical activity restrictions. They often suffer from various physical and psychological difficulties. Finding a balance between work and illness becomes relevant even after total completion of the treatment. Employees, who have returned to work need continued medical care, additional rest and rehabilitation. The present study revealed, that in most cases rehabilitation and possibilities to have an additional rest are considered insufficient, the return to work is too abrupt. Thus, certain adjustments of working conditions are often needed. The analysis of the research participants’ experiences revealed that the confidentiality for cancer survivors who returned to work is not always guaranteed in Lithuanian workplaces. Their right to privacy is also often violated. Employees who have returned to work after cancer face stigma and are misunderstood by others. Working conditions are not always appropriate and adjusted to returnees’ needs. Inequality of career opportunities are also present in some cases. Cancer survivors who returned to work often feel socially and financially insecure. Due to the stigma, unequal opportunities at the workplace and misunderstanding from others, employees may face additional difficulties in the return to work process. In face of cancer, both colleagues and manager should avoid any prejudices towards the returnee. It is important to ensure the confidentiality, to ethically communicate disease-related issues and to take into account the disability of the returnee. Motivation of employees, the support of others and flexible working arrangements facilitate return to work. The present study reveals the need to educate society on cancer related issues and the topic of return to work after long-term illness. It is also crucial to develop an appropriate communication culture in Lithuanian workplaces and expand the availability of social and psychological services for cancer patients.

For more information contact: Viktorija Ivleva, Institute of Hygiene, Occupational Health Centre, Division of Research, phone no. +370 5  212 2589, e-mail: viktorija.ivleva@hi.lt.


ADAPTATION STUDY OF COMPUTER WORKSTATION CHECKLIST FOR LITHUANIAN ENTERPRISES

Study implementation period: 2018–2019
 
Introduction. The display screen equipment (DSE) workstation checklist can be used by employers who need to comply with the Health and Safety. It can be used as an aid to risk assessment of risk factors associated with musculoskeletal disorders related to computer work. Such a checklist must be valid and reliable. The original checklist was development by the United Kingdom Health and Safety Executive practitioners’ expierence in the office ergonomics.

Aim of the study – to adapt a display screen equipment (DSE) workstation checklist to Lithuanian enterprises and to evaluate the content validity and reliability of the checklist.

Methodology. The display screen equipment (DSE) workstation checklist is composed of 33 items related to risk  factors in six areas, with 'yes'/'no' tick boxes: keyboards, mouse andtrackball, display screens, software, furniture and work environment. First of all, two independent translators translated a checklist to theLithuanian language. Differences between the translations were considered. A panel of 16 experts validated the display screen equipment (DSE) workstation checklist. The Content Validity Index (CVI) was calculated after receiving all correspondence regarding content validity for each item of the checklist. A total of 33 computer professionals participated in the inter-rater reliability study. 2 raters assessed the ergonomic practice of the computer professionals using the checklist. Observations were recorded independently and not discussed among the raters.

Results. Results from the panel of experts yielded 0.940 overall Content Validity Index. Inter-rater reliability ranged from moderate to perfect (kappa 0,615–1,000).

Conclusion. The display screen equipment (DSE) workstation checklist has strong content validity and moderate to perfect reliability between two independent raters.
 
For more information contact: Jūratė Tamašauskaitė, Institute of Hygiene, Occupational Health Centre, Division of Research, phone no. + 370 5 212 2589, e-mail: jurate.tamasauskaite@hi.lt.


Competition “Health promoting workplace 2018“

The Occupational Health Centre of the Institute of Hygiene on a regular basis organises competitions „Health promoting workplace“. The topic of the announced competition is improving psychosocial environment of employees with the purpose to find out how much attention is given by companies to strengthening their employees mental health, what measures were taken in 2018, how the measures were assessed and how they affected the mental health of the employees and the overall psychosocial climate in the company. It is expected that the competition will encourage companies to share their experiences. Companies will share innovative ideas, which will improve the microclimate and psychosocial environment of employees. 

Public, business or non-governmental institutions or enterprises of various sizes registered in Lithuania are encouraged to participate in the competition by filling the application form. The applications are expected to be evaluated and the winners announced at the national scientific practical conference to be organised by the Institute of Hygiene in September 2019.