Mental workload and affecting factors among firefighters in Tehran, Iran, in 2017
Authors: Laal F, PhD Student1, Jafari MJ, PhD, Noorizadeh N, MSc, Fallah Madvari R, MSc, Rahimi E, PhD, Ahmadi E, BSc
Number of views: 20
Background: Firefighting and rescue require high physical and psychological needs under unpredictable and dangerous conditions. Thus, this study aimed to investigate mental workload and affecting factors in firefighters.
Materials and Methods: This is a descriptive study which was conducted on 250 firefighters of Tehran, Iran. National Aeronautics and Space Administration Task Load Index (NASA-TLX) survey was used in order to evaluate the mental load among firefighters. This tool evaluates mental workload in 6 areas of mental need, physical need, time pressure, endeavor level, performance (efficiency) and disappointment level. Each area is investigated with a scale from zero to 100. Finally, data were analyzed using descriptive statistics, Pearson correlation test and linear regression.
Results: The mean and standard deviation (SD) of age in firefighters was 32.20 ± 4.54 years. The physical load dimension (93.48 ± 8.93) had highest value and disappointment and failure feeling (25.85 ± 23.38) had the lowest value in terms of mental workload. Association with educational level and the physical load was direct and significant (P = 0.035). None of the demographic variables including age, working history, educational level, marital status, as well as being smoker had an impact on total mental workload (P > 0.050).
Conclusions: Overall mental workload was high in firefighters which can influence working efficiency and increase errors in this occupational group. Hence, implementing effective programs for adjusting mental workload such as ergonomic and psychological interventions are recommended for reducing mental and psychological errors and stress.