Understanding adverse events: human factors.
(1) Human rather than technical failures now represent the greatest threat to complex and potentially hazardous systems. This includes healthcare systems. (2) Managing the human risks will never be 100% effective. Human fallibility can be moderated, but it cannot be eliminated. (3) Different error types have different underlying mechanisms, occur in different parts of the organisation, and require different methods of risk management. The basic distinctions are between: Slips, lapses, trips, and fumbles (execution failures) and mistakes (planning or problem solving failures). Mistakes are divided into rule based mistakes and knowledge based mistakes. Errors (information-handling problems) and violations (motivational problems) Active versus latent failures. Active failures are committed by those in direct contact with the patient, latent failures arise in organisational and managerial spheres and their adverse effects may take a long time to become evident. (4) Safety significant errors occur at all levels of the system, not just at the sharp end. Decisions made in the upper echelons of the organisation create the conditions in the workplace that subsequently promote individual errors and violations. Latent failures are present long before an accident and are hence prime candidates for principled risk management. (5) Measures that involve sanctions and exhortations (that is, moralistic measures directed to those at the sharp end) have only very limited effectiveness, especially so in the case of highly trained professionals. (6) Human factors problems are a product of a chain of causes in which the individual psychological factors (that is, momentary inattention, forgetting, etc) are the last and least manageable links. Attentional "capture" (preoccupation or distraction) is a necessary condition for the commission of slips and lapses. Yet, its occurrence is almost impossible to predict or control effectively. The same is true of the factors associated with forgetting. States of mind contributing to error are thus extremely difficult to manage; they can happen to the best of people at any time. (7) People do not act in isolation. Their behaviour is shaped by circumstances. The same is true for errors and violations. The likelihood of an unsafe act being committed is heavily influenced by the nature of the task and by the local workplace conditions. These, in turn, are the product of "upstream" organisational factors. Great gains in safety can ve achieved through relatively small modifications of equipment and workplaces. (8) Automation and increasing advanced equipment do not cure human factors problems, they merely relocate them. In contrast, training people to work effectively in teams costs little, but has achieved significant enhancements of human performance in aviation. (9) Effective risk management depends critically on a confidential and preferable anonymous incident monitoring system that records the individual, task, situational, and organisational factors associated with incidents and near misses. (10) Effective risk management means the simultaneous and targeted deployment of limited remedial resources at different levels of the system: the individual or team, the task, the situation, and the organisation as a whole. (+info)
Mortality and cancer morbidity in a group of Swedish VCM and PCV production workers.
The cohort of workers employed in a Swedish vinyl chloride/poly(vinyl chloride) plant since its start in the early 1940's has been followed for mortality and cancer morbidity patterns. Only 21 of the 771 persons could not be traced. Difficulties in establishing exposure levels at different work areas in the past makes an evaluation of dose-effect relationships impossible. A four- to fivefold excess of pancreas/liver tumors was found, including two cases later classified as angiosarcomas of the liver. The number of brain tumors and suicide do not deviate significantly from expected. Cardiovascular and cerebrovascular diseases, on the other hand, differ significantly from the expected. The discrepancies between previous reports on VCM/PVC workers and this report are discussed. The possible etiology of the cardiovascular deaths is also discussed. (+info)
Occupational health psychology: an emerging discipline.
There is growing concern that rapidly changing patterns of work organization and employment pose risk for occupational illness and injury. In the present article, we assert that these changes create new needs and opportunities for research and practice by psychologists in the area of work organization and health. We begin with an historical overview of the contribution of psychologists to the occupational safety and health field, and to the study of work organization and health. We then describe new initiatives by the American Psychological Association and national health organizations in the United States and Europe to frame a new field of study--called "occupational health psychology"--that focuses on the topic of work organization and health. We conclude with a discussion of emerging research needs and trends within this field. (+info)
Pressure gun injection injuries of the hand.
Pressure gun injection injuries are becoming increasingly common. Their effect on the fingers and hands, especially when improperly managed, can be devastating. Therefore it is important to review features, clinical course, anatomic distribution and operative management of such injuries. If a useful hand and fingers are to be attained, rapid and thorough decompression and debridement of these injuries are essential. (+info)
Two cases of Chromobacterium violaceum infection after injury in a subtropical region.
Chromobacterium violaceum is a gram-negative rod and is isolated from soil and water in tropical and subtropical regions. The species have pigmented and nonpigmented colony types. Infections caused by nonpigmented strains are rare. We report on two cases of infection caused by both pigmented and nonpigmented strains of C. violaceum. Two 24-year-old Korea Airline stewardesses were admitted to Inha University Hospital, Inchon, South Korea, on 9 August 1997, 3 days after an airplane accident in Guam. Both had multiple lacerations on exposed parts of their bodies. There was swelling, tenderness, and pus discharge. The wounds contained many small fragments of stones and weeds. A pigmented strain was isolated from the left hand and a nonpigmented strain was isolated from the left knee of one patient. For the other patient only a nonpigmented strain was isolated from a foot wound. The nonpigmented colonies from the left-knee and the left-foot wounds did not produce any pigment even after an extended period of incubation. The biochemical characteristics were the same for each strain except for oxidase and indole reactions. The pigmented strain was oxidase negative and indole positive, whereas the nonpigmented strains were oxidase positive and indole negative. The patients were successfully treated by debridement and with appropriate antibiotics. (+info)
Prognosis of accidental low back pain at work.
Accidental low back pain at the workplace was classified into two groups; 177 cases of the organic type and 176 cases of the non-specific type. Concerning the recuperation period, the length of leave, and the amount of compensation for recuperation, medical cost and leave of absence, a comparison was made between two groups. Regarding age, sex, and the type of work, no difference was found between the organic and the non-specific groups. However, the non-specific group showed lower values than the organic one for the duration of recuperation and leave and the amount of compensation for medical cost and leave of absence. Multiple regression analysis showed that the difference in the type of low back pain had more influence on the duration and cost than that in sex and age. The prognosis of non-specific low back pain is better than that of organic one in terms of cost and duration. (+info)
Needlestick and sharps injuries among health-care workers in Taiwan.
Sharps injuries are a major cause of transmission of hepatitis B and C viruses and human immunodeficiency virus in health-care workers. To determine the yearly incidence and causes of sharps injuries in health-care workers in Taiwan, we conducted a questionnaire survey in a total of 8645 health care workers, including physicians, nurses, laboratory technicians, and cleaners, from teaching hospitals of various sizes. The reported incidence of needlestick and other sharps injuries was 1.30 and 1.21 per person in the past 12 months, respectively. Of most recent episodes of needlestick/sharps injury, 52.0% were caused by ordinary syringe needles, usually in the patient units. The most frequently reported circumstances of needlestick were recapping of needles, and those of sharps injuries were opening of ampoules/vials. Of needles which stuck the health-care workers, 54.8% had been used in patients, 8.2% of whom were known to have hepatitis B or C, syphilis, or human immunodeficiency virus infection. Sharps injuries in health-care workers in Taiwan occur more frequently than generally thought and risks of contracting blood-borne infectious diseases as a result are very high. (+info)
Agriculture is one of the most hazardous industries in the United States, with the second highest work-related fatality rate during 1992-1996 (21.9 deaths per 100,000 workers). During 1992-1995, 155 deaths were reported among agricultural workers aged < or =19 years; 64 (41%) of these youths were working in their family's business . In Minnesota during 1992-1996, agriculture had the highest fatality rate of any industry (21.3 per 100,000 workers). To characterize agriculture work-related deaths among youths in Minnesota during 1994-1997, the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) analyzed data from the state's Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation (FACE) program. This report presents five cases of agriculture work-related fatalities among youths in Minnesota. (+info)