Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/2440/95107
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Type: Journal article
Title: Chronic respiratory conditions in a cohort of metropolitan fire-fighters: associations with occupational exposure and quality of life
Author: Schermer, T.
Malbon, W.
Morgan, M.
Smith, M.
Crockett, A.
Citation: International Archives of Occupational and Environmental Health, 2014; 87(8):919-928
Publisher: Springer
Issue Date: 2014
ISSN: 0340-0131
1432-1246
Statement of
Responsibility: 
Tjard R. Schermer, Winifred Malbon, Michael Morgan, Michael Smith, Alan J. Crockett
Abstract: Objectives To assess the prevalence of chronic respiratory conditions in metropolitan fire-fighters and to study associations between occupational exposure, use of respiratory protection and health-related quality of life(HRQoL) in fire-fighters with and without chronic respiratory conditions. Methods Cross-sectional cohort analysis: Respiratory symptoms, medical conditions, occupational tasks and exposures and consistency of using respiratory protection were inquired by questionnaire. The SF12 V2 Health Survey was used to measure physical (PCS-12) and mental(MCS-12) HRQoL. Fire-fighters were categorised in sub- groups: asthma; COPD/emphysema/chronic bronchitis; no chronic respiratory conditions; and as being ‘not involved’ or ‘involved’ in fire-fighting tasks, the latter further categorised as ‘consistent’ or ‘inconsistent’ use of respiratory protection. PCS-12 and MCS-12 scores were compared between subgroups and categories using linear regression. Results Five hundred and seventy fire-fighters were analysed, 24 (4 %) fulfilled the criteria for asthma, 39 (7 %)for COPD/emphysema/chronic bronchitis. Fire-fighters with asthma were older than those in the other two sub-groups and had been employed in the fire service longer. Respiratory subgroups did not differ in their involvement in fire-fighting tasks. Ninety-one percent of fire-fighters reported relevant occupational exposure in the past year. Mean PCS-12 scores for fire-fighters with no chronic respiratory conditions, asthma and COPD/emphysema/ bronchitis were 52.0 (SD 6.9), 47.0 (8.5) and 48.1 (9.4). For PCS-12 (but not for MCS-12), interaction between having a chronic respiratory condition and inconsistent use of respiratory protection during fire knockdown was observed (p\0.001). Conclusions Ten percent of metropolitan fire-fighters reported underlying chronic respiratory conditions. Presence of such a condition in combination with suboptimal protection from inhaled exposures may lead to poorer physical HRQoL.
Keywords: Chronic respiratory conditions; occupational health; respiratory exposure; protective equipment; health status
Rights: © Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014
RMID: 0030011165
DOI: 10.1007/s00420-014-0935-8
Appears in Collections:Medical Sciences publications

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