Health Related Report – Health and Hygiene report Essay.

Health Related Report – Health and Hygiene report Essay.


Health Related Report – Health and Hygiene report – Formal dehyde and Occupational hazards – its ethical aspects  –

Question Asked??

Write a report for OHS concerning health hazards and its ethical aspects ??


Solutions Proposed::


In the recent past it has been observed that workers belonging to sawmill or particleboard mill were significantly exposed to the occupational hazard of developing nasal cancer or sinuses due to the use of formaldehyde in these industries. Though the correlation of toxicity of organic chemical upon the health condition of workers is to be confirmed, past trends indicate negligence on the part of industry management in maintaining a safe and hygienic condition for work. The survey has been undertaken on the basis of such need which is solely based upon the feedback received from the workers of these mills. An attempt has been made through this survey to assess the actual working condition of the mills from a closer proximity. For effectively carrying forth the survey the entire approach is meticulously planned such that the final results depicts a true picture while provides the required direction in combating the challenges of health hazards in particleboard industry.Health Related Report – Health and Hygiene report Essay.


Aim of the study is to analyze the following objectives:

  • Estimate the risk associated with exposure to formaldehyde while working in the particleboard industry.
  • To develop an understanding of exposure limits of industry while safeguarding human life.
  • Evaluate if there exists any correlation between timber processing experiences with current health symptoms.Health Related Report – Health and Hygiene report Essay.


Health, hygiene and safety are some are attributes which are considered critical in maintaining the working standards of industry in the contemporary business environment. Absence of security and healthy condition of working can significantly impact the operational efficiency of the worker, which impairs not just their capacity to work but also their psychological behaviour (Brown, 2010)1. Studies focusing occupational hazards have pinpointed the fact that workers working in a factory processing wood or particleboard are usually exposed to a greater degree of dust and other waste which are emitted during various stages of processing in these industries (Cormier et. al, 2000)2. Similarly studies carried forth for the sawmill industries of New Zealand have also reported significant rise in the case of nasal and respiratory infection (Douwes, 2001)3.Health Related Report – Health and Hygiene report Essay.


In this case the major cause of concern was the gradual development of nasal cancer amongst the workers. The rising case of cancer in the factory was increasing the rate of apprehension which led the workers community to doubt the use of formaldehyde. The nature of work at particle board industry required workers to expose themselves to formaldehyde which was used during production. There is little doubt that a chemical like formaldehyde is associated with risk of cancer. Meta analyses from various epidemiological researches have established the correlation that exists between formaldehyde and cancer.Health Related Report – Health and Hygiene report Essay.

Though not much research data is available on the hazardous affects of particleboard industry, it was interesting to note that workers belonging to this industry were primarily exposed to formaldehydes which were majorly used in the pressing section of boards. The sawmill study has also established that once a worker is exposed to formaldehyde without adequate protection, the risk of developing nasopharyngeal cancer and sinuses increases manifold (Fransman,, 2003)4. Basis the study of sawmills data a plausible association is established between workers exposure to organic chemicals and probability of occurrences of respiratory diseases. In another study, conducted by International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC, 1995) 5 identified wood as one of the primary element, which happens to be carcinogenic to human, that usually is acquired through exposure to wood dust and has an increasing tendency of impacting the nasal cavities and paranasal sinuses of workers. It was understood that there exists natural chemicals in wood which when combines with other chemicals like preservative and varnishes creates an intricate case of exposure when introduced into the environment of formaldehyde for pressing the boards.Health Related Report – Health and Hygiene report Essay.

Formaldehyde, which is considered as one of the major chemical ingredient required for effectively pressing the wood particles for processing of particleboards of higher density; has been identified as one of the major element which increases the risk of health hazard amongst the workers. Despite knowing the closer proximity at which the workers operate in the environment rich in formaldehyde, management of these industries were not considering this aspect with serious contemplation. The primary deliberation of management till this time was upon profit making which relegated the attributes of maintaining a healthy working condition to a back seat. In the contemporary context however, due to stringent guidelines from the industry regulators, the level of formaldehydes which is used in industries of such kind has been reduced significantly in the last few decades. Also it was the increase in awareness amongst the public which has led to reduction in the level of formaldehyde use.  It was also observed that consumers were increasingly growing aware and hence preferred the use of those products which did not use hazardous products. Such change in the business environment has also exerted additional pressure upon the business community in adhering to the standards of chemical usage in the industry such that attributes like health, hygiene and security of the workers are considered.Health Related Report – Health and Hygiene report Essay.

Various studies related to occupational hazards in the industries across the globe reflect that there is increase in respiratory and other related disorders of workers in various countries. This rise in occupational risk has triggered various studies, which despite being limited in number has been effective in driving in change in the accepted standards of use and emission of toxic chemicals. Also when the studies specifically related to the epidemiological segment attests the impact of formaldehyde upon human health, dark clouds of apprehension engulfs the workers. Moreover, as evident in the given case, the instant fear amongst the employees for nasal sinuses was the threat of cancer.


Fig: 1(Marutzky, 2008)6

The above trend substantiates the fact that standards of new emission has led to depletion of formaldehyde release across the industries. Different countries thereby started stating their limits of occupational exposure for formaldehyde levels. For New Zealand, this level was established at a concentration level of 1.0ppm for ceiling types (IARC, 2006) 7.  This change was also effective in devising other alternative means of gluing in the industry while at the same time enhancing the working condition of the industry.Health Related Report – Health and Hygiene report Essay.

One of the major challenges in understanding the correlation of organic chemical in triggering cancer was that there was lack of relevant data which conducted a quantitative assessment of such cases. Data was essential in accurately identifying the risks associated with the process of production and implement corrective measures for combating the same. Absence of data in previous studies leads towards rational conclusion that studies conducted for plywood mills workers occupational hazards was insufficient and was incorrectly estimated. However, it was with the recent findings by IARC Monograph Working Group that led to reaffirmation of the fact that formaldehyde has a major role in increasing the risk in causing nasal cancer. Also as nasal cancer is one of the rarest forms of cancer there is urgent demand for conducting detailed and thorough research which would be capable of establishing the exact correlation of disease with histological sites and exposure to occupational hazard. Such challenges have also led to shifting organizations hazards in a manner such that occupational dangers are minimized and industry focuses mostly towards implementation of curative as well as preventive health services.Health Related Report – Health and Hygiene report Essay.

In this case an attempt has been made to assess the correlation of health hazard such as rising risk of nasal cancer with exposure to formaldehyde. For an industry of the kind of particle board majority of workers population is exposed to the hazardous impacts of formaldehyde.Health Related Report – Health and Hygiene report Essay.

Significance of the Study

The undertaken study is considered relevant from various perspectives. The rising case of nasal cancer amongst the workers is a matter of great concern. Cancer being a life threatening disease further intensifies the case, for it not just facts a handful of workers, but also the business and the society at large. Such high rate of exposure can endanger the life of every living human being. Also the rate at which it is spreading in the factory it seems that all the 500 workers are at risk of endangering their lives. The study is thereby expected to bring forth some feasible and effective means of reducing the exposure. The study will also help in understanding the degree of correlation of such organic chemicals upon human health and assess the best possible way of preventing workers from its toxicity without impacting the regular production of the plant.Health Related Report – Health and Hygiene report Essay.

Additionally it has also been observed that the primary focus of such manufacturing plants have been upon strengthening their bottom-line, while welfare of workers takes a backseat (Chernova and Sherpovalova, 2011)8. It is thereby expected that the study while reinstating the importance of workers safety and welfare, is also capable of imbibing the fact that reputation of industry is attached with the organization’s welfare policies for employees. If the factory is incapable of addressing the basic amenities like safety of its workers, it increases the risk of diluting its reputation in the competitive market which can then adversely impact its profitability. Also with the growing interest of the government in devising means of averting occupational hazards, any study focused in such aspects is likely to add value while enhancing its implication for a larger audience. Furthermore not much research was conducted that focused upon occupational hazard, specifically in particleboard industry. Though the idea of direct association of formaldehyde in causing cancer and other respiratory issues is yet to be formally established, the notion of correlation has been an aspect of severe criticism amongst scholars and industry analysts. An attempt to assess one such pertinent topic heightens the importance of this study for even available data and information in this area is noticeably limited.Health Related Report – Health and Hygiene report Essay.

This study attempts to make an objective assessment of the degree of exposure that factory workers of New Zealand particleboard industry have towards various organic chemicals like formaldehyde which is used in the process of production in the timber mills and particleboard mills. The study makes a comparative analysis of respiratory symptoms amongst the workers who have exposure to timber industry prior to their experience in particleboard and critically evaluate any correlation that might have existed between the two industry exposures.Health Related Report – Health and Hygiene report Essay.  At the same time the undertaken study has an ulterior motive of addressing those concerns which is bothering the working population and is on a consistent rise as large number of workers are developing nasal cancer or sinuses after working in the particleboard factory. The findings are expected to direct some preventive means of tackling the challenge attached with occupational exposures.Health Related Report – Health and Hygiene report Essay.

Design of Study

Strategy of Survey

A design or a layout is essential in determination of the logical flow of information in any study or survey. Research survey is one such arena that focuses upon collection of data from various credible sources and then interpreting the results in a manner that delivers a meaningful result out of it and helps in providing feasible recommendation for handling the issue under consideration.Health Related Report – Health and Hygiene report Essay. The course of action which is expected to be followed in this survey is the cohort study technique. This approach of conducting epidemiological study has a typical tendency of evaluating several cases of occupational exposures, so that the cause of occurrence of nasal cancer in the factory can be easily established. Using this method will also help in defining the subjects considered for research on the basis of their level of exposure. That ways it would help in defining the appropriate preventing option for different workers so that the risk of developing cancer is mitigated. The method is also useful in analyzing the degree of exposure with the rate of cancer occurrence. Contrasting this method is the case-control research design, which makes a comparative assessment of historical exposure of cases as well. This method further attempts to segregate the subject for study as case and control. From the perspective of the given case, cohort approach is seemingly more fitting as it attempts to track occurrence of cancer on the basis of exposure level of the workers. As per cohort study three comparison group would be formed called internal, general and cohort group which eases the study process.Health Related Report – Health and Hygiene report Essay.

The approach is thus straight and lucid which fits the requirement of a research design so that it is easily comprehended by the researcher or the third party who attempts to validate the findings.Health Related Report – Health and Hygiene report Essay.

Philosophy of Survey

It is through the philosophy of research that the perspective of any given research problem is understood and then dealt with. One such approach is that of positivism wherein the researcher deems the scientific method as the best suited approach of handling the research problem. On the other hand the according to the realistic philosophy, the events or the issues defined in a research problem are believed to oppose the established patterns of behaviour.Health Related Report – Health and Hygiene report Essay.

The positive philosophy is adopted in a research work whenever there is a certain mathematical structure in the proposed research problem or the qualitative variables of the survey demands careful attention by the researcher (Saunders,, 2007)9. The facts on the basis of such research philosophies then help in collecting data through various instruments like survey, interviews etc. The philosophy adhered in this survey would therefore be of positivist nature.Health Related Report – Health and Hygiene report Essay.

Sample Size

The study is based upon the workers of New Zealand particleboard mill; the sample chosen for conducting this study would thus include the mill workers and supervisors. The technique of sampling is also crucial in conducting a survey and deriving meaningful results. In this case therefore the technique of non-random will be used which is very simple in nature and is doesn’t take into account the total number of population (Burns and Burns, 2008)10. Another advantage of using this sampling technique is that it doesn’t consider the sample size vis-à-vis the population. The sample considered is this case was also within the limited boundaries of survey. Considering every aspect it seems selection of sample size of 100 will be apt as the number of workers in the mill were 500 and will act as representative of the entire population.Health Related Report – Health and Hygiene report Essay.

Data collection

The process of data collection is very crucial from the research point of view, for it is only though these collected pieces of information that forms the base for testing certain established facts. For this study a two way approach will be adopted which will include questionnaire and observational technique.Health Related Report – Health and Hygiene report Essay.

Once the questionnaire method is decided, proper care is required to be taken in the entire planning process which decides the sequence of questions along with the language to be used in each and every question. After considering this aspect the next step is to work upon the look and feel of the questionnaire which determines the presentation, for presentation of data is equally important in establishing their validity and achieving quality of output (Cooper, 2006)11. Careful consideration of such factors makes questionnaire an effective tool for primary data collection that ensures quality in terms of information. In this case survey interview questionnaire will be used.Health Related Report – Health and Hygiene report Essay.

As a sample of 100 workers is considered for this study, it would be questioned and kept under observation for some time. The details captured during this stage of observation will be captured in the Sorahan table. To establish a positive correlation between cancer and formaldehyde it is expected that at least 0.2 cases are found. However, considering the size of population (500), if no results are established the test can be re-run by re-aligning the three cohort groups. Also cost attached with a small cohort is not significantly high hence can be considered feasible.Health Related Report – Health and Hygiene report Essay.

Primary Data

Collection of primary data for conducting research and deducing meaning is of vital importance as the primary category of data ensures in collecting relevant information directly and freshly from the targeted group of audience/ respondents. Apart from filling of the questionnaire, the attributes of observations are also fairly used in developing a clear idea of not just the working environment prevailing in the factories but also other aspects like collection of samples of equipments and their assessment is carried out.Health Related Report – Health and Hygiene report Essay.

The expected structured of the collected data after refining them for conducting the analysis is roughly stated as given. A table is expected to be prepared which will detail the summary of concentration level of formaldehyde in the mill and assess the same with every cubic meter of air as per the established norms as provided by WHO. On the basis of collected data occupational groups will be categorized which is done with the aim of making the task of analysis more objective in nature. The use of protective equipment is another aspect which needs to be assessed for determining if the working condition of mill is conducive and whether workers are following the procedures while processing the boards.Health Related Report – Health and Hygiene report Essay.

Protective Equipment Availability Effectiveness of Use
Protective Face Shields
Nose/ Mouth Mask
Any Other

Data is also expected to be collected for the extent of exposures so that it is easy to determine the extent of damage caused by the firm. Collected data is also expected to throw some light upon the deaths which have occurred. The questionnaire method is thus chosen not just to collect data for assessing the level of exposure but also to measure actual number of death vis-à-vis the degree of exposure.Health Related Report – Health and Hygiene report Essay.

Extent of Exposures Exposed Occasionally Always Tenure in the factory
Other Chemicals

After collecting the relevant data through primary sources the next step is to clean and process them which can lead to interpretation of meaningful results. Some of the simple mathematical as well as statistical tools like hlookup and vlookup were used which not just validates the collected data but also helps in ensuring that the authenticity of the collected data is maintained.Health Related Report – Health and Hygiene report Essay.

Analysis of Data

Forming various study group as per the cohort style, the effective analysis can be attained when for evaluating the findings the groups are put together. In this case it is expected that once the relevant quantitative data was collected through the use of survey questionnaire, the next was to analyze them by cross tabulating them with various variables specific traits related to health and work, habits of smoking, other symptoms of health etc. Cross tabulation is one of the effective techniques of data analysis which has similarity with the technique of correlation analysis. The technique of cross tabulation was chosen as it allows developing a connection between various variables with the data point established from the collected data through survey questionnaire.Health Related Report – Health and Hygiene report Essay.

Using the collected data the first task is to estimate the number of deaths, which is the extreme affect of exposure. For determining the degree of exposure it is essential that other aspects like number of fingers and toes and years spent in the factory are correlated. Along with this method the approach of adopting Sorahan table can also prove useful for representing the collected data in a manner that it yields meaningful results. It is in fact with proper presentation of findings that objective of research is accomplished as an effective presentation of data improves understanding and helps in designing feasible solution.Health Related Report – Health and Hygiene report Essay.

For effective analysis of the collected primary data, the statistical tool is expected to be used which will ease the analysis process. The correlation of data can be easily established when the appropriate statistical tools are used. Considering the backdrop of the study it seems like that use of Pearson’s correlation of coefficient would be an effective tool in establishing the innate relationship that exists between various agents impacting the working environment of the New Zealand particleboard industry. The degree of contamination in the work environment is expected to be measured with the use of lognormal distribution.Health Related Report – Health and Hygiene report Essay.

Parameters of Validity and Reliability in Research

The attributes of validity as well as reliability are one of the vital elements that help determining the credibility of the research results. In order to establish validity, the questionnaire prepared for conducting the survey was tested in a pilot batch before using the same in the sample population chosen for conducting the research.Health Related Report – Health and Hygiene report Essay. Testing the questionnaire in a pilot batch which consisted of a small third party sample is to ensure it validity, so that it became easier for the researcher in collecting the feedback from the users (third party sample users in this case) which in turn can help in making the necessary changes. This scope of bringing in the requisite changes for improving the effectiveness of the questionnaire increases the validity and reliability of research. It is critical to ensure the validity as well as the reliability of the collected data for the analysis as well as interpretation of the research findings is directly dependent upon them. The process of using cross tabulation of data for analysis of data provides the scope of conducting a comparative assessment with the data available through secondary sources and ensure that the results has a common trend line when equated with other researchers results. The validation of collected data is critical as even the slightest scope of misinterpreting data increases the chance of leading towards skewed results, which can defeat the purpose of conducting the research. Maintaining some of these steps also ensures that data is neither tampered nor manipulated for tailoring the results in the desired manner, which can then help in making a genuine assessment of the problem chosen for the survey.Health Related Report – Health and Hygiene report Essay.


Considering the Ethical Aspects while Conducting the Research

Ethics is considered as the basic foundation which has the capability of directing the behaviour of a human being and determines his actions as well as his relationships with his surroundings (Cooper, 2006)11. In the given research the ethical aspects were taken into consideration in order to prevent any unforeseen negative consequences that could befall upon the factory workers when they participated in the survey and provided candid feedback. Consideration of the ethical attributes also helped in ensuring the fact that there is no scope of misusing the personal as well as the sensitive form of information collected from the respondents group. At the same time ethical practices also ensures that the data collected for this research are not used for any other purposes and are destroyed once the analysis is completed. The care was thereby undertaken in maintaining the confidentiality of the collected information.Health Related Report – Health and Hygiene report Essay. At the same time it was also considered that the respondents are made aware of the nature as well as the scope of conducting the research, by defining the aim and objective of the conducted research before beginning the survey. A brief document of introduction detailing the nature, scope as well as the objective of the research was handed away to every worker chosen for the sample size of survey and willingly participated in the survey. The introductory document also ensured in taking the voluntary consent of the participants while providing them with every detail which they seek related to survey.Health Related Report – Health and Hygiene report Essay.