Objectives: This study aimed to investigate the work-related health and social problems among Japanese female workers and the expected research in the workplace. Method: A cross-sectional study using an Internet survey was conducted on female workers in Japan. Using an original questionnaire, we obtained data on “a system that can be used by female workers,” “female workers’ problems (physical symptoms, mental symptoms, menstrual problems, pregnancy/childbirth problems, work-life balance, etc.),” and “expected research in the workplace.” The last two were compared using the chi-square test and considering demographic characteristics (age, marital status, having children, having preschool children, employment status, occupation). We conducted the chi-square test to examine the relationship between the presence of symptoms and four expected studies. The survey was carried out in July 2019 by using a patient and public involvement (PPI) framework in medical research. Results: We obtained 416 responses that highlighted that those who have work-related problems also have physical symptoms (89%), menstrual problems (65%), psychiatric symptoms (49%), and work-life balance problems (39%), followed by career as well as pregnancy and childbirth concerns (38%). Regarding the system, the respondents’ usage rate was an infertility treatment communication card (0%), flextime and telework (1 to 3%), menstrual leave (4%), and short-time work system (8%). Expected workplace studies included “Research to ease stiff shoulders and back pain” (45%), “Research to improve women’s mental health” (41%), “Research on menstruation and work performance” (35%), and “Research to improve work-life balance” (34%). Expectations for research on “mental health” and “menstruation” were high among subjects in their 20s and 30s, with no spouse or children, and working full-time. Among those who lived with preschoolers, expectations for research on “mental support after childbirth,” “physical support after childbirth,” and “prevention of postpartum depression” were significantly higher, but research related to work-life balance was not remarkably different. There was a significant association between having menstrual problems, work-life balance challenges, and study expectations. However, the percentage of those experiencing certain symptoms who expected workplace studies was about 48%. Conclusions: Menstruation-related symptoms are frequently observed to make work difficult and it is expected that health issues, such as mental and physical conditions related to gynecology, will be the subject of future research regarding female workers. However, discrepancies between having difficulties and whether or not they wish to accept research in the workplace should be carefully considered in each context.
Objectives: This study aimed to clarify the competencies required for occupational health professionals in disaster management based on their personal experiences of workplaces damaged by the Kumamoto earthquakes. Methods: This study adopted a qualitative descriptive design using semi-structured interviews. The study participants included eight occupational health professionals who had been engaged in occupational health practice at workplaces affected by the Kumamoto earthquakes and subsequently employed at the same workplace. Data analyses were performed using a qualitative data analysis method. The researcher read transcripts of the interviews verbatim and extracted subcategories and categories, seeking points of commonality among homogeneous and heterogeneous elements while identifying content related to the competencies of the professionals during a disaster. Results: Nine categories and 29 subcategories were extracted. The following competencies were identified as skills required for occupational health professionals when a disaster occurred: “perceiving the essentials of the situation through a comprehensive understanding of the health impacts caused by disasters,” “prioritizing tasks while appropriately understanding a situation that is changing over time,” “starting from what one can do while ensuring one’s own health and safety,” “continuing occupational health practice by devising efficient approaches while flexibly responding to the situation,” “creating an environment that enables each occupational health team member to fulfill their role,” and “adjusting the positions of occupational health departments within organizations to utilize networks.” The following competencies were identified as skills required for occupational health professionals’ disaster response and preparedness: “having the essential personal qualities of occupational health professionals,” “establishing relationships of trust with employees and companies,” and “linking one’s experience of a disaster to future occupational health practice.” Conclusions: The competencies required for occupational health professionals in disaster management are disaster response and preparedness. Moreover, these aspects in disaster response and preparedness suggest that occupational health professionals are required to have strategic and creative thinking skills including organizational approaches such as boosting networking in the workplace and establishing employer–employee relationships based on multifaceted assessment and situational flexibility.
Objectives: The number of part-time staff is increasing every year, and they are becoming very essential in completing the workforce. Healthcare and assurance for part-timers will be an important issue in the future. The purpose of our study was to collect recent data and examine the status of health management for part-time employees in workplaces. Methods: We administered a questionnaire to part-time staff at 14,000 workplaces that were randomly selected from a nationwide list of workplaces. Of the 4,718 respondents, 4,652 valid cases were analyzed. Part-timers were classified as those working more than 3/4 (Category 1), more than 1/2 and less than 3/4 (Category 2), and less than 1/2 (Category 3) of the routine working hours of full-time employees. Results: A total of 97.2% of workplaces conducted regular medical health check-ups (medical check-ups) for full-time employees. The percentage of workplaces conducting medical check-ups for part-timers was lower as their working hours were fewer; only 32.2% of workplaces conducted medical check-ups for Category 3 part-timers. The percentages were lower for smaller workplaces, and workplaces with 29 or fewer employees had the lowest percentage for Category 3 part-timers (27.9%). The percentage of employers bearing the full cost of medical check-ups was lower for Category 1 (90.5%), 2 (87.7%), and 3 (85.0%) part-timers than that for full-time employees (93.7%). Conclusions: The rate of regular medical check-ups in workplaces was lower for part-timers, as their working hours were shorter, and workplaces were smaller. Expanding health management in workplaces may be necessary owing to the diversity in working styles.