News

RECENT PUBLICATIONS:

PRACTICAL, METHODICAL AND INFORMATIONAL PUBLICATIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS ON OHS PUBLISHED BY THE INSTITUTE OF HYGIENE IN 2021

Justyna Kolesnik, Vida Juškelienė. Vyresnio amžiaus žmonių ilgesnio dalyvavimo darbo rinkoje prielaidos, 2021. / Justyna Kolesnik, Vida Juškelienė. Preconditions for longer labor market participation of older people, 2021.

Methodical recommendations provide information about trends of ageing society and the solutions applied in different countries, older workers` health and health promotion possibilities, the specificities of occupational risks, highlighting the importance of psychosocial risks and their management. The recommendations emphasize the importance of career planning and training, taking into account the needs of older workers.

The presented material is based on the results of the Institute of Hygiene study „Factors of longer working life and retention in the labor market among older adults“ (2020-2021).

The methodical recommendations could be used by employers and heads of Lithuanian enterprises and organizations, their authorized persons responsible for occupational safety and health (occupational health and occupational safety and health specialists), human resources specialists, and representatives of other professions carrying out health promotion programs and organizing training in enterprises and organizations in different sectors.

For more information contact: Justyna Kolesnik, Institute of Hygiene, Occupational Health Centre, Division of Research, phone no. (370 5) 212 2589, e-mail: [email protected]

Skaistė Dreskinytė, Vida Juškelienė. Mokyklos bendruomenės profesinės gerovės įvertinimas, 2021. / Skaistė Dreskinytė, Vida Juškelienė. Evaluation of occupational well-being of the school community, 2021.

Methodical recommendations present an occupational well-being evaluation tool based on scientific evidence and practical experience and adapted for use in Lithuania. The presented material is based on the results of the Institute of Hygiene study “Assessment of the school community ‘s occupational well-being using the well-being at your work index” (2020).

During the research, the Well-being at your work index questionnaire was translated into Lithuanian and adapted for use in our country. The methodical recommendations could be used by heads of general education schools, occupational health and safety specialists, specialists of municipal public health bureaus in Lithuania, coordinator of The European Network of Health Promoting Schools in Lithuania - Center for Health Education and Disease Prevention (SMLPC) and other stakeholders who have the opportunity to recommend general education schools to use this tool.

For more information contact: Skaistė Dreskinytė, Institute of Hygiene, Occupational Health Centre, Division of Research, phone no. (370 5) 212 2589, e-mail: [email protected].

PRACTICAL, METHODICAL AND INFORMATIONAL PUBLICATIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS ON OHS PUBLISHED BY THE INSTITUTE OF HYGIENE IN 2020

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: [email protected].

PRACTICAL, METHODICAL AND INFORMATIONAL PUBLICATIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS ON OHS PUBLISHED BY THE INSTITUTE OF HYGIENE IN 2019

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: [email protected].

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: [email protected].

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: [email protected].


RECENT PROJECTS:

TELEWORK AND OCCUPATIONAL RISKS, TAKING INTO ACCOUNT THE EXPERIENCE OF THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC IN LITHUANIAN MUNICIPAL ENTERPRISES 

Project implementation period: 2022

Background. In the past, telework was mostly done by workers with a high degree of autonomy, but during the global pandemic, working from home was recommended for anyone who could work in this way. Since March 2020, telework has become almost the only safe form of work in Lithuania, implementing such requirements as ban of mobility, maintaining physical distance between people, self-isolation, etc. This has led to significant changes in work performance. This study aims to discuss the experience of telework using information and communication technologies (ICT) during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The aim of the study: To reveal the experiences of employees of Lithuanian municipal enterprises, and to detect the peculiarities of occupational risk when working remotely during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The aim of the study: To reveal the experiences of employees of Lithuanian municipal companies and the peculiarities of professional risks when they work remotely during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Tasks: 1) To reveal the experience of employees working remotely during the COVID-19 pandemic about changes in working conditions, measures to manage them, and to anticipate the possible perspective of telework after the end of the pandemic; 2) To describe the peculiarities of occupational risks for teleworkers, their significance for their safety and health.

Methodology. Qualitative method used in the study. 2 focus discussions groups were organized. Group 1–11 occupational safety and health (OSH) specialists, occupational health specialists, employers or persons authorized by employers; Group 2–18 employees. Research participants worked in Lithuanian municipal enterprises and had telework experience during the COVID-19 pandemic. The guidelines for the discussions are based on a study commissioned by the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work (EU-OSHA) in 2021 „Telework and health risks in the context of the conducted COVID-19 pandemic: evidence from the field and policy implications". The authors of the study revised the discussion guidelines taking into account the Lithuanian context and suitability for the selected target group. The discussion guidelines consist of 5 parts: 1. Introduction, characteristics of the participant; 2. The order of telework; 3. Organization of telework; 4. Occupational health and safety; 5. Concluding remarks. The analysis of the qualitative research data was based on the principles of thematic analysis.

Result and conclusions. 1. The experiences of Lithuanian  municipal enterprices managers,  occupational health and safety specialists and employees have revealed that during the pandemic, remote work has positively changed the attitudes of employers and employees in terms of remote work, and created sustainable experiences of corporate work organization that will be applied in the future. The development of remote work has accelerated the trends of digitization of work, improved the skills of employees to manage IT, increased the flexibility of working conditions, encouraged those who did not use this form of work to work remotely. Managers, hoccupational health and safety specialists and employees would prefer a mixed work in the future. 2. Remote work is difficult to apply where it is difficult to replicate the performed functions with virtual means without losing the quality of work. These are jobs that require direct interaction, have social communication, emotional requirements, in those cultural environments where there are deep traditions of contact communication, in small municipalities that do not have enough resources to organize remote work. The autonomy of the employee and the support of the organization are the main prerequisites for achieving the best work result and harmonious team work.  3. Due to the exceptional intensity and duration, forced remote work led to significant changes in working conditions and increased psychosocial risks. Working remotely for employees were not provided with any guidelines or instructions on how to avoid occupational risks. The main challenges were related to work organization and coordination, working time management, work control, information and virtual communication management, work-life balance, difficulties in ensuring equal working conditions for all employees in proportion to their contribution and result. Research participants said they felt increased anxiety, depressed mood, isolation, uncertainty about the future, which they associated with the pandemic and the need to learn new forms of work. Employees also considered impaired communication, insufficient emotional contact with other employees, and insufficient support from managers as causes of tension. Some companies have managed to create a certain professional culture based on mutual trust and support. 4. According to the participants of the study, occupational risk assessment was not carried out at remote workplaces.  In the absence of prepared solutions and recommendations, employees were usually officially requested to declare compliance with safety and health requirements at home. In fact, for some employees, the working conditions during remote work were not ergonomic enough. Because of this and because of the long time spent with the computer, employees complained of general fatigue at work, exacerbation of various diseases, back pain, and eye fatigue. Increasing competencies in matters of occupational risk management would be very useful for both employees and employers.

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: [email protected].

THE PECULIARITIES OF THE PSYCHOSOCIAL WORK ENVIRONMENT IN PERSONAL HEALTHCARE INSTITUTIONS DURING THE CHANGE: PROFESSIONAL HEALTH AND PERSONNEL SAFETY AND HEALTH SPECIALISTS APPROACH

The head of research: PhD Toma Jasiukevičiūtė-Zelenko

Executing researcher: Justyna Kolesnik (up to October, 2022), Neringa Bagdonaitė (from November, 2022)

Research implementation period: year 2022

Research rationale: In 2019 the COVID-19 pandemics focused attention on the elimination of extreme consequences related to the professional health of doctors. During this stressful pandemic period, the professional health of doctors and all hospital personnel were faced with new psychosocial challenges within the working environment, with special attention paid to professional health and personnel safety as well as health specialists. These professionals and other administrative staff related to the welfare of personnel makes an important link, which is crucial to maintain the hospital’s human resources – the medical personnel’s – ability to work smoothly, healthily and safely during crisis.

The purpose of this research: to reveal the characteristics of the psychosocial work environment in personal health care institutions (PHCI) during the period of change, based on the point of view of personnel safety and health (PSH), professional health (PS) and specialists performing these functions.

Research objectives: 1) To reveal the attitude of PSH and PS specialists of PHCI to changes in the psychosocial environment of medical personnel during the COVID-19 pandemic; 2) To present a structured analytical scheme of psychosocial processes occurring in PHCI during pandemic, such as personnel interactions, expected resources and disruptions within the institution, and other important elements.

Research methods: Eighteen specialists from 14 hospitals located in different geographical areas of Lithuania participated in this study: 6 of them were in cities, 8 in smaller towns. Five professional health, 9 professional safety and health specialists and 4 executing their functions, 14 women and 4 men took place in this study. Participants were selected by theoretical sampling. Data were collected using a semi-structured interview, analyzed applying the thematic analysis method.

Research findings: The study revealed the empirical theory grounded in the experience of hospital personnel during pandemic, consisting of 2 main elements: 1) the psycho-emotional background of the pandemic and the psychosocial risk factors related to it, and 2) response to the pandemic experience as an emergency situation by mobilizing “core” team inside the organization. The main aspects of the psycho-emotional background of the personnel within hospital during the pandemic were: the experiences of situational uncertainty and insecurity, as well as situational anxiety and fatigue states

leading to chronical burnout was characteristic of the pandemic period. The study also revealed the importance of professional health and safety and health specialists role at workplace regarding necessity to contribute to the management of pandemics and personnel safety and assurance of health in extreme situation conditions. New situations of lack - personal protective equipment, adequate information and human resources were faced by hospital specialists. These specialists describe the period of the pandemic, particularly its beginning, as stressful, full of changes of priorities and activities within hospital, emphasizing the importance of appropriate communication and team mobilizing when dealing with new challenges. In this study, social support emerged as extremely important working environment supporting factor, which helped to "survive" during the crisis period - emotionally contain uncertainty, insecurity, anxiety and fatigue, to go through intensive personnel change processes and withstand conflicts, as well as to transmit information related to safety and health at workplace, and educate personnel “gently": i. e. in an emotionally supporting, providing space and time for learning, tolerating mistakes and misunderstandings fashion.

More information can be provided by Toma Jasiukevičiūtė-Zelenko, Chief Specialist of the Professional Health Research Department of the Professional Health Center of the Institute of Hygiene, tel. no. +370 5 212 2589, e-mail: [email protected].

Contact: Toma Jasiukeviciute-Zelenko, Institute of Hygiene, Professional Health Centre, Department of Professional Health Research, phone no. +370 5 212 2589, e-mail: [email protected].

TELEWORK AND OCCUPATIONAL RISKS, TAKING INTO ACCOUNT THE EXPERIENCE OF THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC IN LITHUANIAN MUNICIPAL ENTERPRISES 

Project implementation period: 2022

Background. In the past, telework was mostly done by workers with a high degree of autonomy, but during the global pandemic, working from home was recommended for anyone who could work in this way. Since March 2020, telework has become almost the only safe form of work in Lithuania, implementing such requirements as ban of mobility, maintaining physical distance between people, self-isolation, etc. This has led to significant changes in work performance. This study aims to discuss the experience of telework using information and communication technologies (ICT) during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The aim of the study: to reveal the experience of employees of Lithuanian municipal enterprises, and to detect the peculiarities of occupational risk when working remotely during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Tasks: 1) To reveal the experience of employees working remotely during the COVID-19 pandemic about changes in working conditions, measures to manage them, and to anticipate the possible perspective of telework after the end of the pandemic; 2) To describe the peculiarities of occupational risks for teleworkers, their significance for their safety and health.

Methodology. Qualitative research method will be used. A focus group discussion will be conducted to examine the views of the participants in the study. It is planned to hold discussions in 2 groups of 8–12 participants: Group 1 – occupational safety and health (OSH) specialists, occupational health specialists, employers or persons authorized by employers; Group 2 – employees. The selection criteria of the research participants are the following: persons working in Lithuanian municipal institutions / enterprises; telework experience during the COVID-19 pandemic; consent to participate in the investigation. The guidelines for the discussions are based on a study commissioned by the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work (EU-OSHA) in 2021 „Telework and health risks in the context of the conducted COVID-19 pandemic: evidence from the field and policy implications". The authors of the study revised the discussion guidelines taking into account the Lithuanian context and suitability for the selected target group. The discussion guidelines consist of 5 parts: 1. Introduction, characteristics of the participant; 2. The order of telework; 3. Organization of telework; 4. Occupational health and safety; 5. Concluding remarks. The analysis of the qualitative research data will be based on the principles of thematic analysis.

The expected results. It is expected that the study results would provide new knowledge and insights about occupational safety and health associated with telework during the COVID-19 pandemic, main challenges and the measures to prevent them. Discussions with employers and employees will help to highlight the positive and negative effects of telework that would allow further application of the remote work form after the end of the pandemic.

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: [email protected].


PECULIARITIES OF THE PSYCHOSOCIAL WORK ENVIRONMENT IN PERSONAL HEALTHCARE INSTITUTIONS DURING THE CHANGE: THE APPROACH OF OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH AND OCCUPATIONAL SAFETY AND HEALTH PROFESSIONALS

Project implementation period: 2022

Introduction. EU countries are encouraged to initiate changes in the psychological work environment and workplace culture of organizations to promote mental health and well-being. The health and job satisfaction of the medical professionals is one of the objectives identified in Lithuanian and international documents in order to achieve quality of health system services. In 2019, the COVID-19 pandemic has focused attention on addressing the extreme consequences for the occupational health of medical professionals. Healthcare professionals fatigue is becoming a critical problem leading to a weakening of the human resources of the healthcare system. In this stressful pandemic period, new psychosocial risk factors are emerging in the work environment, which causes unforeseen challenges to the occupational health of healthcare specialists.

Objective of the research is to reveal the psychosocial features of the work environment in healthcare institutions in a period of change, from the perspective of occupational safety and health (OSH), occupational health specialists (OHS), and the specialists who carry out their functions.

Tasks
1) To reveal the approach of OSH and OHS professionals towards the changes in the psychosocial environment of medical staff during the COVID-19 pandemic.
2) Provide a structured analytical framework of the psychosocial processes, staff interactions, foreseen institution resources, and disturbances, others relevant elements.

Methods. Qualitative research will be conducted using the Grounded Theory Methodology (GTM), which allows to analyze not only the experience of research participants, including internal psychological aspects of the research problem and meanings attributed to personal experiences, but also subjectively perceived context and processes in the organization. Data will be collected through a semi-structured interview.

Expected results. The study will provide new knowledge into the psychosocial work environment changes in healthcare institutions during a pandemic: which psychosocial risk factors in the work environment are relevant in general hospitals during a pandemic? How occupational safety and health, and occupational health professionals in general hospitals identify opportunities to influence them? Which supportive factors have enabled/are enabling healthcare specialists to remain able to work and which internal and external professional resources would enable them to help at stressful pandemic and post-pandemic period? Training materials will be made for occupational safety and health and occupational health professionals to develop their ability to recognize and respond to unfavorable psychosocial environment in the workplace and thus contribute to the mental health and emotional well-being of healthcare staff.

Contact: Justyna Kolesnik, Institute of Hygiene, Occupational Health Centre, Division of Occupational Health Research, phone no. +370 5 212 2589, e-mail: [email protected].


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: [email protected].


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

Project implementation period: 2020–2021

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. Analysis of relevant sources, qualitative study and a quantitative cross-sectional study were conducted. A qualitative study fragment was conducted with enterprises representatives using a focus group discussion method and with older workers (older people in this study are defined as those aged 60 and over) using a semi-structured interview method. The quantitative part of the study was carried out using data from the Survey on Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe (SHARE). The qualitative research involved 14 representatives of an enterprises of different sizes, locations and activities and 14 older workers. The quantitative study analyzed data on 6,517 workers aged 60 and over, compared labor market participation of older workers in European countries and Lithuania, and identified predictors of early retirement.

Results and conclusions. More than a tenth of people aged 65–74 are active labor market participants in Lithuania, which is higher than the European Union average. Men of retirement age are working almost twice as often as women. The qualitative research has revealed factors of a longer working life and retention in the labor market among older workers. The poor health of older workers in Lithuania is considered to be a key factor limiting their participation in the labor market. The high prevalence of chronic diseases, multiple chronic conditions, subjectively perceived poor health, and psychological fatigue highlights the need for health promotion strategies for all age groups of workers. Psychosocial and ergonomic factors in the working environment are crucial to workers' decisions to retire or to stay longer. The workload and working conditions of an employee should be reviewed and adjusted by mutual agreement between the employer and the employee. The professional well-being of the older workers is linked with the possibility of flexible work arrangements, an opportunity for training, good relations with managers and colleagues, non-discriminatory work environment. Career planning could contribute to a more successful adaptation of older workers to a changing labor market. Although the majority of the enterprises in the study does not perceive a serious shortage of labor, they expressed the need to retain older, highly qualified professionals, and attributed the main obstacles to the lack of flexibility in legal and tax policies. Nevertheless, Lithuanian employers are not yet sufficiently prepared to encourage older workers to remain active in the labor market. Organizational policies to support longer working lives are not sufficiently developed.
 
For more informatikon contact: Justyna Kolesnik, Institute of Hygiene, Occupational Health Centre, Division of Occupational Health Research, phone no. +370 5 212 2589, e-mail: [email protected].


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: [email protected].


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: [email protected].


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: [email protected].


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: [email protected].


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: [email protected].


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: [email protected].


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: [email protected].


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.