Occupational Risk Perceptions Among Foreign-Born Construction Workers in Central Florida

Hispanic and Latino foreign-born construction workers in the United States experience higher rates of serious injuries and fatalities in the workplace than their native-born peers. Previous research has pointed to specific vulnerabilities among this population, including birthplace, age of the worker, language barriers, and education level, but little to no research has examined addressable risk factors, such as occupational risk perceptions, among this population. The purpose of this quantitative study was to determine the relationship between birthplace, number of years working in the United States, and occupational risk perceptions while controlling for age of the worker, language barriers, and education level. A modified conceptual model that links specific demographic factors to occupational risk perceptions served as the framework for the study. A convenience sample of construction workers in central Florida provided demographic information and self-reported risk perceptions in this cross-sectional study. Multiple linear regression analyses were used to examine potential relationships between birthplace and risk perceptions as well as number of years working in the United States and risk perceptions. The results of these analyses indicated a statistically significant difference in risk perceptions between foreign-born and native-born construction workers, but time spent working in the United States did not affect these risk perceptions. The implications for positive social change include the identification of risk factors that are addressable through improved training and better communication. Addressing these factors may help reduce injuries and fatalities among Hispanic and Latino foreign-born construction workers in central Florida.

To view Matt’s poster, click here.

Assessing Ecotoxicity of Surface Water and Sediment in the Little Scioto River

Environmental health and safety (EHS) is a globally interconnected discipline.  The health of benthic species, for example, can ultimately affect human health through bioaccumulation and biomagnification of contaminants up the food chain.  Characterizing the toxicological effects of anthropogenic pollution on ecological receptors helps EHS specialists develop plans for remediating contaminated sites and helps inform industrial policy regulation, providing a cleaner and safer environment for future generations.

To view Leah’s poster, click here.

Female Leaders in Occupational Safety & Health: Perceived Barriers & Potential Interventions

As a student in the Educational Leadership Doctoral Program at Western Kentucky University (WKU) I was fortunate enough to be able to complete a couple of elective courses specifically focused on female leadership. This led to my interest in wanting to know how women felt about their jobs and what could be done to improve not only their work life but their overall well-being. Women are usually balancing multiple roles and we know that can be both mentally and physically exhausting. After seeing the article from the American Society of Safety Professionals (ASSP) about the low number of women in the safety field, and being a female in this industry myself, it really made me want to understand how that influences women in the industry and how we could make it easier for other women to get into what I think is a great career.

To view Jacqueline’s poster, click here.

TiO^2/ZnO Composite Thin-Film Photocatalysts for Gas-Phase Oxidation of Ethanol

The aim of this project is to investigate the photocatalytic activity of ZnO/TiO2 composite films for the gas-phase oxidation of ethanol. Pure TiO2, pure ZnO, and their composites were formulated using a sol-gel synthesis method, and the resulting powders were cast and dried as thin films in a flat plate ultraviolet light-emitting- diode (UV LED reactor). P25 TiO2 and commercially-available ZnO were also used for comparison. Structural, morphological, and optical characteristics of the materials were characterized. The photocatalytic oxidation of ethanol vapors in air after 24 hours of reactor operation was used to assess the relative photocatalytic activity of the ZnO/TiO2 composite films. Our results show that as ZnO composition in the photocatalytic film increases, the apparent photocatalytic activity decreases, and pure ZnO (both sol-gel and purchased) had the least photocatalytic activity for vapor-phase ethanol oxidation in our test apparatus. ZnO-containing photocatalysts have lower surface areas than those of TiO2-based photocatalysts. For gas-phase photocatalysis, surface area was shown to be a critical feature for photocatalytic activity.

To see Ibrahim’s poster, click here.

Evaluation of Noise, Vibration, and Total Dust Exposures in Automotive Shops

More than 90,000 technicians are currently employed in the automotive maintenance and repair industry in the United States. Working in automotive shops may expose workers to multiple occupational risks, including noise, vibration, dust, fuel, and exhaust emissions. Air and battery-operated tools are widely used in daily activities. Such instruments generate sound pressure levels above 90 dBA and are known to transmit HAV. In addition, employees are exposed to aerosols from tires, suspension and brake systems, as well as gas and vapor emissions. This study focused on evaluation of exposures to noise, vibration, and total dust in automotive shops.

To view Damyan’s poster, click here.

Occupational Health and Safety Risk Factors Amongst Taxi Drivers in Kingston and St. Andrew, Jamaica

Like many occupations in the informal economy, the safety and health concerns and challenges among taxi operators are often under-researched. This study sheds light on the hazardous conditions in the taxi industry and provides information that can assist taxi operators and government agencies in implementing appropriate safety measures. Regardless of occupation, every worker should have access to a healthy and safe environment and receive fair treatment and protection.

To view Christian’s poster, click here.

An Investigation of the Ergonomics and Desirable Features of Hospital Beds for Medical Surgery, Critical Care, and Birthing Beds

Patients and health professionals interact frequently and at times urgently with the hospital bed. My research evaluates the usefulness and usability of hospital beds for critical care, medical surgery, and birthing beds. Additionally, my research examines desirable characteristics as well as the ergonomic effectiveness of hospital bed design. Hospital beds are built intending to provide safety, comfort, and mobility for a wide range of patients with various diseases and treatment schedules. It is essential to understand how the design of hospital beds affects patient outcomes and healthcare provider performance using ergonomics and human factors research. Hospital beds are an essential component of the healthcare environment.

To view Chiemezie’s poster, click here.

Investigation of the Relationship between Metal Concentrations in Welding Fumes and Toenails for Biomonitoring Chronic Exposures

Welding, soldering, and brazing workers are a critical part of the US workforce, with over 574, 000 employees in 2020. Unfortunately, these workers are frequently exposed to welding fumes that contain metallic particles such as chromium, copper, manganese, iron, and nickel, which can lead to serious adverse health effects such as lung disease, Parkinson-like symptoms, and metal fume fever. However, the dose-response of different metals in a chronic exposure setting is not fully understood. Therefore, the development of a biomarker to assess chronic exposure is critical for assessing potential health risks. This study aims to investigate the use of toenail metal concentrations as biomarkers for chronic exposure to metals.

To view Chang’s poster, click here.

Informal Safety Leadership Paradigm

Someone once told me, “You can’t change the world.” I took it as a challenge.

After witnessing a work-related injury very early in my career, I remember thinking to myself that someone should have done something to prevent that from happening. I then realized I was that someone. Over the last 15 years, I’ve tried to do whatever I could to improve the safety of workers. I have a genuine concern for workers’ well-being and safety. Workplace accidents and injuries can have significant physical, emotional, and financial consequences for individuals and their families. By focusing my research on workplace safety, I hope to contribute to creating a safer work environment that prioritizes the health and well-being of employees and prevents significant incidents from occurring.

To view Ashley’s poster, click here.