Literature Review (Research Design Unit II)

Literature Review

Particulate Matter (PM) Article

Air pollution refers to a complex mixture of particulate components and gases which have pernicious effects on the respiratory and cardiovascular systems (Hamanaka & Mutlu, 2018). Particulate matter is a form of air pollution. Ambient particulate matter refers to a composition of liquid and solid particles in air (Adams et al., 2015).

 The Chemical, physical and biological properties vary depending on time and location. According to Adams et al. (2015), the varying properties result from having different pollutant sources. They further reveal that sources could be natural or as a consequence of human activities.

Adams et al. (2015) point out that particulate matter is comprised of metals, organic compounds, inorganic carbonaceous material, ammonium, sulfate, nitrate, and other ions. Studies have been done using epidemiologic and toxicologic approaches to evaluate the toxicity of PM under controlled exposure; this is according to reviews in Health Effects Institute and EPA (as cited in Adams et al., 2015).

Differing toxicity of ambient particulate matter (PM) in global cities -  ScienceDirect

Godleski et al. (as cited in Adams et al., 2015) reveal that these studies have used concentrated ambient particles (to avoid the technical complexity of representing ambient PM), they involve exposure to PM and gas mixtures that are varied significantly from ambient mixtures to reproduce a daily variation of PM composition.

Other studies: Riediker et al., Clarke et al., Laden et al., and Stanek (as cited in Adams et al., 2015), by use of statistical approaches such as principal component analysis and factor analysis, have tried to relate associate health effects with PM source exposures by basing assumptions about group compounds and elements that characterize emission source.

According to Hamanaka & Mutlu (2018), the subclassification of PM particles according to size result into coarse (PM10, with diameter <10μm), fine (PM2.5, having diameter <2.5μm), and ultrafine (PM0.1, with diameter <0.1μm). It is evident from the works of Chin (2015), Brook RD et al. (2004), Pope CA III (2000), and Miller MR et al. (as cited in Hamanaka & Mutlu, 2018) that the source of coarse particles is industrial and natural emissions which seldom penetrate past the upper bronchus.

Also, fine and ultrafine particles source are fossil fuel combustion and are more hazardous than coarse particles since they are capable of perforating alveoli. Moreover, independent of location, there exists a direct correlation between PM2.5 levels and detrimental cardiovascular effects.

Atkinson R.W. et al. (as cited in Hamanaka & Mutlu, 2018) recent meta-analysis of about 110 studies shows that for every 10 μ g/cm3 increase in the concentration of PM2.5, there exists a 1.04% (95% CI 0.52%-1.56%) increase in mortality and hospitalization since respiratory and cardiovascular health complications increases with PM2.5 concentrations.

Hamanaka & Mutlu (2018) observe that the existing biphasic relationship between adverse health and PM concentration means that significant health benefits resulting from reducing PM levels will occur in jurisdictions with cleaner air resulting in improved cardiovascular health.

However, countries with higher PM levels face a challenge in improving health unless PM levels are reduced. A study on assessment of global mortality characterized by risk factors such as air pollution was done in the Global Burden of Disease, Injuries, and Risk Factors (as cited in Hamanaka & Mutlu, 2018 ) estimated PM2.5 as the fifth-ranking mortality risk factor causing 103.1 million disability-adjusted life years and 4.2 million deaths in 2015.

Old age, preexisting heart and lung disease, low socioeconomic status, and smoking have been linked to enhanced risk of cardiovascular death resulting from PM exposure, and women may be more susceptible than men (Hamanaka & Mutlu, 2018).

Safety Training Effectiveness Article

Several models on general training evaluation have been published, but less have looked into safety training and safety interventions (Vignoli et al., 2014). Jabbour (as cited in Vignoli et al., 2014) reports that safety training is related to an organization’s environmental maturity, which could be influenced by human factors such as motivation.

Evaluation of such training to improve awareness and health assures an organization’s return on investment. Fraccaroli and Vergani (as cited in Vignoli et al., 2014) reveal that most peer-reviewed studies on training evaluation issues follow a quantitative approach.

The most widely used model of evaluation is the Kirkpatrick four-level model (1965), with levels being a reaction (feedback on training), learning (acquired skills and knowledge by the trainees), behavior (application of skills and knowledge gained), and results (impact of the training on the organization).

Vignoli et al. (2014) vouch for a mixed-method approach involving the integration of both quantitative and qualitative data because it provides inherently meaningful information to members of an organization.

Sound-Level Exposure Article

A safe sound level recommended by health professionals in publications, media reports, and organizations is 85 decibels (dB). However, this is without consideration to exposure times (Fink, 2016).

The Environmental Protection Agency (as cited by Fink, 2016) in 1974 through the Office of Noise Abatement and Control (ONAC) reviewed the recommended level and dropped it down to 70-decibels time-weighted average of 24 hours by the use of a logarithmic decibel scale in their research which revealed that 85dB sound had 31.6 times more energy than that of 70dB.

Fink (2016) observes that noise has other health impacts that are not auditory-related. These include increased stress hormones, cardiac disease, mortality, and hypertension at an average daily exposure of just 55dB.

He further gives possible solutions to these, such as consumer products to be labeled with noise ratings, noise levels that can not be made quieter to be insulated or isolated, and the use of effective noise control technologies.

Organize group training for health and safety by Bill Carson - issuuA scientific study by (Li et al., 2019) using scientific, statistical methods to gather and analyze data reveal that workers with high noise exposure had a high threshold value compared to those with low exposure ones with a probability value of less than 0.05.
The study employed the use of interviews, questionnaires, and audiometry assessment to obtain variables such as blood pressure.
Statistical data analyzed using Pearson contingency tables with multivariate logistic regression at 95 % confidence intervals revealed noise as a psychological stressor that may cause hypertension by activating sympathetic nervous systems and hypothalamus pituitary adrenal axis leading to elevated adrenaline, noradrenaline, and cortisol levels.

New Employee Training Article

Human capital brings out the difference between great and good organization; therefore, investment in human resource development is beneficial both short term and long term due to its ability to improve employee productivity (Nda & Dr. Fard, 2013). 

Kate Hutchings et al. (2009) (as cited in Nda & Dr. Fard, 2013) view training as the most effective way of motivating human resources within an organization. A workforce is ideally as efficient as its training and development program.

Training develops employees by increasing their skill set and competence, which breeds productivity and consequently revenue for an organization. NDA & Dr. Fard (2013) further propose that training should be packaged in such a way that it meets all, if not most, of employees’ needs.

New employee orientation programs help acclimatize employees to the work environment whilst gaining valuable knowledge, skills, and abilities (Acevedo & Yancey, 2011).

 Positive outcomes after training are observed when employees are comfortable in their environment, especially when the organization matches the right person to the right task; this is referred to as person-job fit by Carless (2005) (as cited in Acevedo & Yancey, 2011).

An empirical study by Akdere & Schmidt (2008) on the effects of employee orientation training, with a view of quality management, shows that learning during employee training did not continue.

The study involved a series of hypothesis testing in the line of trainee perception about quality management and random sampling to obtain quantitative data, which also revealed the importance of organizational proactivity in teaching employee prospects about quality management.

Learning about the quality efforts of an organization ought not to terminate at the orientation training (Akdere & Schmidt, 2008).

Lead Exposure Article

Lead is an element found in the Earth’s crust in low concentrations (Kim, et al., 2015). It is a toxic metal with the potential to affect almost all body organs, the most critical being the nervous system (Wani, Ara, & Usmani, 2015).

Long exposure to it causes anemia, hypertension, severe brain damage and kidney complications, miscarriage in pregnant women, and fertility in males. Organic lead is more toxic than inorganic due to its lipid-soluble nature.

Measuring lead levels in the blood is taken as a bona fide method of detecting lead poisoning. However, this can not show the quantity of lead stored in the body.

Wani et al. (2015) reiterate the set standard by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2012) of blood lead level of adults to be 10μg/dL, half of this value being set for children and that more than 3 million workers in the United States are exposed to lead according to the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). Lead exposure mostly occurs at occupational sites, metal recycling, lead-acid batteries, and foundries. (Woolf et al., 2007).

Exposure levels of 25 to 60μg/dL lead to neuropsychiatric effects such as delayed stimulus-response time. For those higher than 50μg/dL, anemia is prevalent, as observed by Merill et al.(2007)(cited in Wani et al.,2015).

Return on Investment Article

There are several objectives of investment: customer satisfaction, profit increase, increasing share market, among others. A comparison between assets and profit margins provides a view of adequate return based on invested capital. (Zamfir et al., 2016).

Return on investment gives a measure of the result of the amount invested in a particular project. It is a value used by investors to select a viable project easily.

Sometimes decisions made to reduce the return on investment improve an organization’s economic conditions, while others, those made to increase, degrade an organization’s economic health. (Diaconu, Albu, Mihai, Albu, & Guinea, 2003) An example of this would be a manager cutting down on advertisement expenditure which would lead to phasing out of the company’s image in the long run.

Research Evaluation

Particulate Matter (PM) Article

There exists a potential problem of understanding the correlation between PM size and employee health within Sun Coast. The research shows that PM2.5 poses much health risk compared to the others due to its size. Informed decisions can now be made on curbing such risks.

Safety Training Effectiveness Article

Prediction of lost-time hours in Sun Coast can be made using the Kirkpatrick four-level model (1965). It is efficient and serves the intended purpose.

Sound-Level Exposure Article

According to various studies, the recommended noise level is 85 decibels(dB); given that Sun Coast’s contracts involve work that may potentially reach if not exceed 120dB, then the appropriate noise reduction technique would be the use of earmuffs.

New Employee Training Article

From research use of a new employee orientation program within Sun Coast would bring in efficiency among the employees; this would consequently improve productivity.

Lead Exposure Article

Given the detrimental health effects of lead exposure as outlined in the research, a blood lead level test ought to be done as outlined in Wani et al. (2015).

Return on Investment Article

Return on investment is a quantifiable value making it easier to compare and contrast them in charts hence helping in making better decisions in Sun Coast’s project management.


Acevedo, J. M., & Yancey, G. B. (2011). Assessing new employee orientation programs. Journal of Workplace Learning, 23(5), 349 – 354.

Adams, K., Greenbaum, D. S., Shaikh, R., M. van Erp, A., & Russell, A. G. (2015). Particulate matter components, sources, and health: Systematic approaches to testing effects. Air & Waste Management Association, 65(5), 544 – 545.

Akdere, M., & Schmidt, S. W. (2008). Employee perceptions of quality management: Effects of employee orientation training.

Creswell, J. W., & Creswell, J. D. (2018). Research design: Qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods approach (5th ed.). SAGE.

Diaconu, P., Albu, N., Mihai, S., Albu, C., & Guinea, F. (2003). In-depth managerial accounting. Bucharest: Economic Publishing House.

Fink, D. J. (2016). What Is a safe noise level for the public? New York.

Hamanaka, R. B., & Mutlu, G. M. (2018). Particulate matter air pollution: Effects on the cardiovascular system. Frontiers in Endocrinology, 1 – 5.

Kim, H.-C., Jang, T.-W., Chae, H.-J., Choi, W.-J., Ha, M.-N., Ye, B.-J., . . . Hong, Y.-S. (2015). Evaluation and management of lead exposure. Annals of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, 27-30.

Kirkpatrick, D. (1959). Techniques for evaluating training programs. Journal of American Society of Training Directors, 13(3), 21-26.

Li, X., Dong, Q., Wang, B., Song, H., Wang, S., & Zhu, B. (2019). The influence of occupational noise exposure on cardiovascular and hearing conditions among industrial workers. Nanjing: Springer Nature.

NDA, M. M., & Dr. Fard, R. Y. (2013). The impact of employee training and development on employee productivity. Global Journal of Commerce & Management Perspective, 2(6), 91-93.

Vignoli, M., Punnettb, L., & Depoloa, M. (2014). How to measure safety training effectiveness? towards a more reliable model to overcome evaluation issues in safety training. Chemical Engineering Transactions, 36, 67 – 71.

Wani, A. L., Ara, A., & Usmani, J. A. (2015). Lead toxicity: a review. Interdisciplinary Toxicology, 89(2), 55-64.

Woolf, A., Goldman, R., & Bellinger, D. (2007). Update on the clinical management of childhood lead poisoning. Pediatr Clin North Am, 271-294.

Zamfir, M., Manea, M. D., & Ionescu, L. (2016). Return on investment – Indicator for measuring. Valahian Journal of Economic Studies.

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