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Dace Visnola, Dagmāra Sprūdža, Mārīte Ārija Baķe and Anita Piķe

Effects of art therapy on stress and anxiety of employees

The study was designed to determine if art therapy has any effect on the stress and anxiety of employees. The results demonstrated that before and after art therapy in the study group, the level of the stress indicator (cortisol) over twenty-four hours and also the state of anxiety decreased significantly (P < 0.05). The mean final stress level and situational anxiety for the study group were significantly lower (P < 0.05) than those for the control group. No significant changes were found for trait anxiety in any of the groups. These findings suggest that art therapy for employees is a preventive measure for a person to understand stress situations and to be capable to manage their anxiety, react adequately and to cope with stress, thus improving the quality of life by creative means.

Open access

Tatjana Farbtuha, Žanna Martinsone, Ivars Vanadziņš, Jānis Dundurs, Inese Mārtiņsone and Anita Piķe

Work conditions and health risks of persons employed in construction in Latvia

The health effects of the work condition in construction were the focus for this study. The construction sector involves numerous risk factors, which can essentially endanger employee health and safety by causing accidents, occupational diseases and work-related diseases. The aim of this study was to examine the work condition, identity risk factors in the workplace, analyse the morbidity and accidents in the construction sector. According to the data of the State Revenue Service, the number of persons employed in construction in Latvia is growing each year. In the construction sector the number of accidents per 100 000 employees has tended to fall between 2003 and 2005, but the number of serious accidents has risen 1.3 times. Employees in construction companies are not sufficiently informed about the work environment risk factors and their influence on health and safety.

Open access

Mārīte Ārija Baķe, Maija Eglīte, Žanna Martinsone, Inita Buiķe, Anita Piķe and Pāvels Sudmalis

Organic solvents as chemical risk factors of the work environment in different branches of industry and possible impact of solvents on workers' health

The aim of our study was to investigate organic solvents as chemical risk factors of the work environment in different branches of the industry in Latvia during 1998-2006 and to evaluate the possible impact of solvents to worker health according to the exposure index. The work conditions were studied in 116 enterprises of different branches of industries in Latvia. The analysis of 1790 measurements showed that organic solvents in the work environment have different degrees of exposure probability risk on worker health. The exposure levels in workplaces differ. More than half of surveyed workplaces (56.7%) had a low organic solvent exposure probability level, in 25.2% workplaces it was medium, and in 18.1% workplaces high. The most widely used organic solvents were aromatic hydrocarbons, which was recorded in 35% of the measurements made during assessment of aromatic hydrocarbon group organic solvent exposure in the work environment. In most workplaces several solvents were present simultaneously. Since solvents have a one-way effect on the human body, the actual exposure risk level is higher than shown when evaluating the exposure index of a single solvent only.

Open access

Dagmāra Sprūdža, Maija Eglīte, Mārīte Baķe, Žanna Martinsone, Linda Matisāne, Inese Mārtiņsone, Anita Piķe, Ivars Vanadziņš and Vija Kluša

Evaluation of work conditions and occupational health risk factors in enterprises within a 10-year period in Latvia

The objective of the study was to conduct a survey in the field of occupational health and safety the results of which could be used in rational and effective decision making for elaboration of employment and social policy programmes and for ensuring occupational safety and health programme development. During the study the following groups of people were surveyed: employers, occupational health and safety specialists, and employees. The traditional work risk factors (physical, chemical, biological) have changed to new risks (psychosocial, ergonomic, microclimatic) in Latvia today. The study included objective assessment of occupational health and safety situation (analysis of work environment risk factors measurement data bases, information on occupational diseases, workplace accidents). Results of measurements showed that one-third of measured risk factors values exceeded mandatory or recommended limits but situation has been improved during the last years (2002 compared to 2006). The results of surveys reveal insufficient assessment of risk factors in workplaces and selection of most hazardous ones only. Awareness and understanding of employers and employees regarding occupational health and safety requirements was dissatisfactory. The results of the study reveal a low level of workplace accidents compared to other countries within EU, which may be the result of poor registration system in Latvia. Strengthening of occupational safety and health normative basis and improvement of qualification of occupational physicians has increased the number of occupational diseases and patients revealed for the first time from 1996 to 2006. Early diagnose of occupational diseases and effective rehabilitation is an important question to favour a more rapid return of workforce after occupational morbidity. Study showed that attention should further be paid to simplification of legal requirements, development of alternative methods for informing and educating people, as well as recurrent definition of national indicators to assess efficacy of implemented measures related to occupational health and safety.

Open access

Ivars Vanadziņš, Maija Eglīte, Mārīte Baķe, Dagmāra Sprūdža, Žanna Martinsone, Inese Mārtiņsone, Ņina Rusakova, Anita Piķe and Pāvels Sudmalis

Estimation of risk factors of the work environment and analysis of employees' self estimation in the wood processing industry

The aims of our study were to determine risk factors of the work environment in the wood processing industry in Latvia during 1998-2006, to conduct a survey and self- evaluation of health of the employees and to elaborate a set of preventive measures for improvement of the work environment. The work conditions in wood processing companies in Latvia over the study period were poor; of a total of 940 evaluated workplaces/processes in more than one half of cases (n = 483), the risk factors of the working environment exceeded the occupational exposure limits. Measurements made in wood processing and furniture manufacturing most frequently limiting values or recommended values of the occupational exposure were exceeded for noise, indoor air, lighting, welding spray, whole-body vibration, wood dust and other risk factors. Self-evaluation of health by employees indicates that the main health problems were pain in the back and joints, poor hearing, eye irritation, skin irritation and inflammation, chronic coughing, rhinitis, recurring windpipe inflammations, and frequent headaches. Self-evaluation of employees indicated poor diagnostics of occupational diseases and work related diseases as for 82% of the respondents with health complaints they were not confirmed with medical diagnosis.