A literature review was performed based on quantitative research articles found through the Columbia Southern University Library. Peer-reviewed quantitative papers and reviews published between 2015 and 2020 were included to ensure the high quality of information gathered. A total of six studies on five problem areas were included in the review. The problem of return on investment was not explored in this literature review due to the absence of relevant quantitative research pertaining to this organizational issue. The findings from each article are presented in the following subsections.
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Particulate Matter and Employee Health
Air pollution is an important topic in occupational and population health fields of research. The study by Ostro et al. (2015) focused on the health effects of fine and ultrafine particulate matter by examining mortality in select populations. The authors of the paper have the necessary qualifications for conducting this research since they work in governmental and educational institutions considering air pollution and environmental health hazards and have Doctorate degrees in environmental health, medicine, and related study areas. Bart Ostro, who is cited as the primary author, works in the Air Pollution Epidemiology Section of the California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment.
The primary purpose of the paper was to evaluate the association between mortality and long-term exposure to fine and ultrafine particles. The study utilized a quantitative methodology with a cohort design and included a statewide cohort of over 100,000 women followed between 2001 and 2007. The Cox proportional hazards model, along with descriptive statistics and sensitivity analyses, was used to determine the effects of pollution on mortality. The findings of the study suggest that there is no statistically significant association between ultrafine particulate matter exposure and all-cause mortality, although individual components of ultrafine PM contributed to ischemic heart disease mortality (Ostro et al., 2015). These included EC, Cu, metals, mobile sources, and high-sulfur fuel combustion (Ostro et al., 2015).
The article relates to the problem of Sun Coast since it shows the possible association between some components of ultrafine particulate matter with health outcomes. The research can made a positive organizational impact since it highlighted the importance of measuring and reducing ultrafine PM pollution in the workplace.
Health and Safety Training
Since two of the problems at Sun Coast were related to occupational health and safety training, two articles related to this concern were reviewed as part of the research. First, the paper on participatory training for the prevention of occupational injuries was found (Yu et al., 2017). The authors of the report have doctorate degrees in health, medicine, and related subjects and work in educational and public sector organizations of China and Sweden.
For instance, one of the authors is employed at the China Center for Disease Control and Prevention, two authors working in public health schools of Chinese universities, and two other authors work in the healthcare setting. The primary purpose of the research was “to evaluate the effectiveness of a participatory training program in preventing accidental occupational injuries in factories in Shenzhen, China” (Yu et al., 2017, p. 226).
The study used a quantitative, cluster-randomized design with a sample size of 1654 workers, which contributed to the reliability and validity of the findings. The results suggest that participatory training plays a significant role in decreasing the rate of accidental occupational injuries, including re-injury rates (Yu et al., 2017). The article relates to the problem of safety training effectiveness in Sun Coast since it shows the potential of participatory training to reduce lost-time hours.
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The second study was a systematic review and meta-analysis of quantitative research studies on occupational health and safety training. The purpose of research by Ricci, Chiesi, Bisio, Panari, and Pelosi (2016) was to “verify the efficacy of occupational health and safety (OHS) training in terms of knowledge, attitude and beliefs, behavior and health” (p. 355). The authors are qualified to conduct studies in this field since they have at least a Master’s degree in social sciences, medicine, psychology, and other relevant areas. The research considered 28 quantitative studies, which highlighted the effectiveness of training on workers’ attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors.
Furthermore, the review identified the characteristics of training programs that had more positive effects than other courses. These characteristics include short session duration, administration by expert or researcher, ergonomic training design, voluntary nature of training, and limited group sizes (Ricci et al., 2016). This study is useful as it highlights the potential benefits of training while also suggesting possible training designs that could be used in Sun Coast. Hence, both articles have a positive organizational impact due to the applicability and relevance of the information they provide.
As one of the problems identified in the assessment is predicting noise exposure, the article on a stochastic simulation framework for predicting noise levels was also selected. The authors of the report have at least a Master’s degree in Engineering and work in the Malaysian educational sector, which means that they have appropriate qualifications for conducting this type of research. The study followed a quantitative, case-based design with the purpose of developing and testing a model for noise level prediction (Han, Haron, Yahya, Bakar, & Dimon, 2015).
The results suggest a high accuracy of predictions with low error margins, meaning that the model can be used in Sun Coast to predict sound-level exposure or develop a similar method. Thus, the article can have a positive organizational impact by contributing to Sun Coast’s occupational safety practices.
Occupational Lead Exposure Measurement and Control
Two papers on occupational lead exposure measurement and control were chosen for review. Both research studies were conducted by the same authors, Gorce and Roff (2015; 2016), who work in the Health and Safety Laboratory in the United Kingdom. The authors have excellent qualifications and professional experience in the field of chemistry and medicine, with Gorce now serving as the Health and Safety Executive in Liverpool, UK.
The purpose of the first research was to validate the use of a portable X-ray fluorescence spectrometer (PXRF) for the immediate screening of lead exposure in the workplace. The study utilized a quantitative field experiment design, which was suitable for its goals. The results confirmed the method to be accurate and useful for identifying lead, as well as traces of other metals, on people following exposure (Gorce & Roff, 2016). The study is helpful for Sun Coast as it provides information on a new method to measure lead exposure in workers, which does not require collecting blood samples. It could contribute to the organization by simplifying lead exposure measurement and improving health and safety tracking.
The purpose of the second research was to test the relative effectiveness of two protocols for hand-wiping to reduce lead residue on workers exposed to lead. As explained by authors, “a hand wiping protocol should maximize the recovery of lead-based residues present on employees’ hands in a cost-effective and reproducible manner” (Gorce & Roff, 2015, p. 699). The study followed a quantitative, field experimental methodology and found a self-wiping protocol that used four consecutive wipes to limit lead residue by over 80% (Gorce & Roff, 2015). This research can have a significant organizational impact as it provides a quick and efficient solution for reducing the influence of lead exposure on workers, which could potentially be implemented in Sun Coast.
Gorce, J. P., & Roff, M. (2015). Hand self-wiping protocol for the investigation of lead exposure in the workplace. Journal of Occupational and Environmental Hygiene, 12(10), 699-707.
Gorce, J. P., & Roff, M. (2016). Immediate screening of lead exposure in the workplace using portable X-ray fluorescence. Journal of Occupational and Environmental Hygiene, 13(2), 102-111.
Han, L. M., Haron, Z., Yahya, K., Bakar, S. A., & Dimon, M. N. (2015). A stochastic simulation framework for the prediction of strategic noise mapping and occupational noise exposure using the random walk approach. PloS One, 10(4), 1-28.
Ricci, F., Chiesi, A., Bisio, C., Panari, C., & Pelosi, A. (2016). Effectiveness of occupational health and safety training. Journal of Workplace Learning, 28(6), 355-377.
Ostro, B., Hu, J., Goldberg, D., Reynolds, P., Hertz, A., Bernstein, L., & Kleeman, M. J. (2015). Associations of mortality with long-term exposures to fine and ultrafine particles, species and sources: Results from the California Teachers Study Cohort. Environmental Health Perspectives, 123(6), 549-556.
Yu, I. T., Yu, W., Li, Z., Qiu, H., Wan, S., Xie, S., & Wang, X. (2017). Effectiveness of participatory training in preventing accidental occupational injuries: A randomized-controlled trial in China. Scandinavian Journal of Work, Environment & Health, 43(3), 226-233.