Monday, April 27, 2009

Quit Smoking Talk

On 26 April, I was invited by Pengangkutan Mekar Tiasa (PMT), one of SHELL Timur Sdn Bhd's haulier to give a talk to their HGV drivers.
I gave an hour health talk on Tobacco Addiction.
My talk covered the following topics:
1. Who and Why people smoke?
According to National Health & Mortality Survey 3 (NHMS3 2006), it is estimated about 3 million smokers in Malaysia in 2007. 1 in 2 males population is smokers. At workplace, (study by Giovino GA: NIOSH US Scientific Workshop on Work, Smoking & Health, 2000) showed that more smokers amongst blue collar and service workers as compare to white collar. Blue collar are usually a heavier smoker and less likely to quit.
2. The dangers of smoking
Cigarette contains 4000 chemicals of which 43 are confirmed carcinogenic including benzene. All these chemicals except one causing health problem. The one that has short term pleasure BUT causing addiction to smoker is nicotine. Nicotine increases the production of dopamine in the brain which cause a feeling of calmness and peaceful. But the problem is this effect is only short term and smoker keeps taking another cigarette (craving) after the effect decreases. Nicotine also causes withdrawal symptoms. Craving and withdrawal symptoms are the two problems that cause majority of smokers fail to quit.
Smoking also costly to safety and workplace productivity. Ill health and damage to property and life as well as decrease productivity due to smoking cause leakage of money to the employer/s income.
3. How to Quit Smoking?
Quit smoking is a long process and it cannot be done overnight although few people claimed they quit by so called 'cold turkey' method. Pharmacotherapy and Behaviour Counselling need to be used to help heavy smoker who are addictive with Fagerstrom Score > 4 or smoking > 10 sticks per day, to quit.

Friday, April 10, 2009


So far, I am talking about ergonomics hazards which affect our physical body (hardware) namely the musculoskeletal system. Based on the definition and concept of ergonomics in my previous ergonomics series posting, it is clear that ergonomics hazards not only affecting our physical body(hardware) but also our psychological domain(software). Before I go into detail about Musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs), here is the list of the most common and important ergonomics hazards (ergonomics risk factors) :

1. Physical (causing human physical/hardware overburden):
•Loading (lifting and handling)
•Poor posture
•Repetition particularly at high speed
•High forces
•Individual differences e.g. extremes of anthropometry
•Poor equipment and workplace design
(mentioned in my previous postings)
2. Psychological (causing human psychological/software overburden)
Task overload/underload
•Mental workload
•Control over work
•Social support
•Individual differences e.g. poor reaction times,mental ill health
•Poor design of information, displays, controls
•Poor system realiability
•Human error

3. Organizational (can cause both human hardware and software overburden)
•Long working hours
•Shift work
•Short deadlines
•Excessive workload
•Poor staffing levels
•Lack of worker development in system design
*Reference: Oxford handbook of occupational Health (Chapeter 4: pg 156)
It is obvious that ergonomics hazards cause overburden of human physical body in the form of musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) and also overburden of human psychological domain in the form of STRESS which will affect their mental health.