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48 The High Potential and the Little Use of Brazilian Class Actions for Prevention and Penalization Due to Workplace Accidents in Brazil

Authors: Sandra Regina Cavalcante, Rodolfo A. G. Vilela


Introduction: Work accidents and occupational diseases are a big problem for public health around the world and the main health problem of workers with high social and economic costs. Brazil has shown progress over the last years, with the development of the regulatory system to improve safety and quality of life in the workplace. However, the situation is far from acceptable, because the occurrences remain high and there is a great gap between legislation and reality, generated by the low level of voluntary compliance with the law. Brazilian laws provide procedural legal instruments for both, to compensate the damage caused to the worker's health and to prevent future injuries. In the Judiciary, the prevention idea is in the collective action, effected through Brazilian Class Actions. Inhibitory guardianships may impose both, improvements to the working environment, as well as determine the interruption of activity or a ban on the machine that put workers at risk. Both the Labor Prosecution and trade unions have to stand to promote this type of action, providing payment of compensation for collective moral damage. Objectives: To verify how class actions (known as ‘public civil actions’), regulated in Brazilian legal system to protect diffuse, collective and homogeneous rights, are being used to protect workers' health and safety. Methods: The author identified and evaluated decisions of Brazilian Superior Court of Labor involving collective actions and work accidents. The timeframe chosen was December 2015. The online jurisprudence database was consulted in page available for public consultation on the court website. The categorization of the data was made considering the result (court application was rejected or accepted), the request type, the amount of compensation and the author of the cause, besides knowing the reasoning used by the judges. Results: The High Court issued 21,948 decisions in December 2015, with 1448 judgments (6.6%) about work accidents and only 20 (0.09%) on collective action. After analyzing these 20 decisions, it was found that the judgments granted compensation for collective moral damage (85%) and/or obligation to make, that is, changes to improve prevention and safety (71%). The processes have been filed mainly by the Labor Prosecutor (83%), and also appeared lawsuits filed by unions (17%). The compensation for collective moral damage had average of 250,000 reais (about US$65,000), but it should be noted that there is a great range of values found, also are several situations repaired by this compensation. This is the last instance resource for this kind of lawsuit and all decisions were well founded and received partially the request made for working environment protection. Conclusions: When triggered, the labor court system provides the requested collective protection in class action. The values of convictions arbitrated in collective actions are significant and indicate that it creates social and economic repercussions, stimulating employers to improve the working environment conditions of their companies. It is necessary to intensify the use of collective actions, however, because they are more efficient for prevention than reparatory individual lawsuits, but it has been underutilized, mainly by Unions.

Keywords: collective action, Brazilian Class Action, work accident penalization, workplace accident prevention, workplace protection law

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47 Medical Examiner Collection of Comprehensive, Objective Medical Evidence for Conducted Electrical Weapons and Their Temporal Relationship to Sudden Arrest

Authors: Michael Brave, Mark Kroll, Steven Karch, Charles Wetli, Michael Graham, Sebastian Kunz, Dorin Panescu


Background: Conducted electrical weapons (CEW) are now used in 107 countries and are a common law enforcement less-lethal force practice in the United Kingdom (UK), United States of America (USA), Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and others. Use of these devices is rarely temporally associated with the occurrence of sudden arrest-related deaths (ARD). Because such deaths are uncommon, few Medical Examiners (MEs) ever encounter one, and even fewer offices have established comprehensive investigative protocols. Without sufficient scientific data, the role, if any, played by a CEW in a given case is largely supplanted by conjecture often defaulting to a CEW-induced fatal cardiac arrhythmia. In addition to the difficulty in investigating individual deaths, the lack of information also detrimentally affects being able to define and evaluate the ARD cohort generally. More comprehensive, better information leads to better interpretation in individual cases and also to better research. The purpose of this presentation is to provide MEs with a comprehensive evidence-based checklist to assist in the assessment of CEW-ARD cases. Methods: PUBMED and Sociology/Criminology data bases were queried to find all medical, scientific, electrical, modeling, engineering, and sociology/criminology peer-reviewed literature for mentions of CEW or synonymous terms. Each paper was then individually reviewed to identify those that discussed possible bioelectrical mechanisms relating CEW to ARD. A Naranjo-type pharmacovigilance algorithm was also employed, when relevant, to identify and quantify possible direct CEW electrical myocardial stimulation. Additionally, CEW operational manuals and training materials were reviewed to allow incorporation of CEW-specific technical parameters. Results: Total relevant PUBMED citations of CEWs were less than 250, and reports of death extremely rare. Much relevant information was available from Sociology/Criminology data bases. Once the relevant published papers were identified, and reviewed, we compiled an annotated checklist of data that we consider critical to a thorough CEW-involved ARD investigation. Conclusion: We have developed an evidenced-based checklist that can be used by MEs and their staffs to assist them in identifying, collecting, documenting, maintaining, and objectively analyzing the role, if any, played by a CEW in any specific case of sudden death temporally associated with the use of a CEW. Even in cases where the collected information is deemed by the ME as insufficient for formulating an opinion or diagnosis to a reasonable degree of medical certainty, information collected as per the checklist will often be adequate for other stakeholders to use as a basis for informed decisions. Having reviewed the appropriate materials in a significant number of cases careful examination of the heart and brain is likely adequate. Channelopathy testing should be considered in some cases, however it may be considered cost prohibitive (aprox $3000). Law enforcement agencies may want to consider establishing a reserve fund to help manage such rare cases. The expense may stay the enormous costs associated with incident-precipitated litigation.

Keywords: Police, ARD, CEW, TASER

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46 Integration of Rapid Generation Technology in Pulse Crop Breeding

Authors: Saeid H. Mobini, Monika Lulsdorf, Thomas D. Warkentin


The length of the breeding cycle from seed to seed is a limiting factor in the development of improved homozygous lines for breeding or recombinant inbred lines (RILs) for genetic analysis. The objective of this research was to accelerate the production of field pea RILs through application of rapid generation technology (RGT). RGT is based on the principle of growing miniature plants in an artificial medium under controlled conditions, and allowing them to produce a few flowers which develop seeds that are harvested prior to normal seed maturity. We aimed to maintain population size and genetic diversity in regeneration cycles. The effects of flurprimidol (a gibberellin synthesis inhibitor), plant density, hydroponic system, scheduled fertilizer applications, artificial light spectrum, photoperiod, and light/dark temperature were evaluated in the development of RILs from a cross between cultivars CDC Dakota and CDC Amarillo. The main goal was to accelerate flowering while reducing maintenance and space costs. In addition, embryo rescue of immature seeds was tested for shortening the seed fill period. Data collected over seven generations included plant height, the percentage of plant survival, flowering rate, seed setting rate, the number of seeds per plant, and time from seed to seed. Applying 0.6 µM flurprimidol reduced the internode length. Plant height was decreased to approximately 32 cm allowing for higher plant density without a delay in flowering and seed setting rate. The three light systems (T5 fluorescent bulbs, LEDs, and High Pressure Sodium +Metal-halide lamp) evaluated did not differ significantly in terms of flowering time in field pea. Collectively, the combination of 0.6 µM flurprimidol, 217 plant. m-2, 20 h photoperiod, 21/16 oC light/dark temperature in a hydroponic system with vermiculite substrate, applying scheduled fertilizer application based on growth stage, and 500 µmole.m-2.s-1 light intensity using T5 bulbs resulted in 100% of plants flowering within 34 ± 3 days and 96.5% of plants completed seed setting in 68.2 ± 3.6 days, i.e., 30-45 days/generation faster than conventional single seed descent (SSD) methods. These regeneration cycles were reproducible consistently. Hence, RGT could double (5.3) generations per year, using 3% occupying space, compared to SSD (2-3 generation/year). Embryo rescue of immature seeds at 7-8 mm stage, using commercial fertilizer solutions (Holland’s Secret™) showed seed setting rate of 95%, while younger embryos had lower germination rate. Mature embryos had a seed setting rate of 96.5% without either hormones or sugar added. So, considering the higher cost of embryo rescue using a procedure which requires skill, additional materials, and expenses, it could be removed from RGT with a further cost saving, and the process could be stopped between generations if required.

Keywords: field pea, flowering, rapid regeneration, recombinant inbred lines, single seed descent

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45 A Proposal of a Strategic Framework for the Development of Smart Cities: The Argentinian Case

Authors: Luis Castiella, Mariano Rueda, Catalina Palacio


The world’s rapid urbanisation represents an excellent opportunity to implement initiatives that are oriented towards a country’s general development. However, this phenomenon has created considerable pressure on current urban models, pushing them nearer to a crisis. As a result, several factors usually associated with underdevelopment have been steadily rising. Moreover, actions taken by public authorities have not been able to keep up with the speed of urbanisation, which has impeded them from meeting the demands of society, responding with reactionary policies instead of with coordinated, organised efforts. In contrast, the concept of a Smart City which emerged around two decades ago, in principle, represents a city that utilises innovative technologies to remedy the everyday issues of the citizen, empowering them with the newest available technology and information. This concept has come to adopt a wider meaning, including human and social capital, as well as productivity, economic growth, quality of life, environment and participative governance. These developments have also disrupted the management of institutions such as academia, which have become key in generating scientific advancements that can solve pressing problems, and in forming a specialised class that is able to follow up on these breakthroughs. In this light, the Ministry of Modernisation of the Argentinian Nation has created a model that is rooted in the concept of a ‘Smart City’. This effort considered all the dimensions that are at play in an urban environment, with careful monitoring of each sub-dimensions in order to establish the government’s priorities and improving the effectiveness of its operations. In an attempt to ameliorate the overall efficiency of the country’s economic and social development, these focused initiatives have also encouraged citizen participation and the cooperation of the private sector: replacing short-sighted policies with some that are coherent and organised. This process was developed gradually. The first stage consisted in building the model’s structure; the second, at applying the method created on specific case studies and verifying that the mechanisms used respected the desired technical and social aspects. Finally, the third stage consists in the repetition and subsequent comparison of this experiment in order to measure the effects on the ‘treatment group’ over time. The first trial was conducted on 717 municipalities and evaluated the dimension of Governance. Results showed that levels of governmental maturity varied sharply with relation to size: cities with less than 150.000 people had a strikingly lower level of governmental maturity than cities with more than 150.000 people. With the help of this analysis, some important trends and target population were made apparent, which enabled the public administration to focus its efforts and increase its probability of being successful. It also permitted to cut costs, time, and create a dynamic framework in tune with the population’s demands, improving quality of life with sustained efforts to develop social and economic conditions within the territorial structure.

Keywords: Smart Cities, composite index, comprehensive model, strategic framework

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44 Clean Truck Propulsion Solutions Using NG-Diesel Hybrid Electric or Fuel Cell Hybrid Electric Powertrains: Modeling, Design and Control Optimization

Authors: Li Chen, Zuomin Dong, Yanbiao Feng


Hybrid electric propulsion has served as an advantageous powertrain solution for improving the performance, fuel efficiency and emissions of passenger vehicles using well-established fueling infrastructure of gasoline and diesel, and with low conversion cost. Natural gas (NG) presents as a promising alternative fuel to replace diesel for heavy-duty vehicles with prominent potentials of fuel cost and emissions reduction, but its wide adoption still faces a number of technical challenges, including weaker engine performance, and sharply increased hydrocarbon and carbon monoxide emissions at certain engine operation states. This work first introduces an approach to integrate the NG-diesel compression ignited (CI) engine, hybrid electric powertrain system, and optimal powertrain control and energy management to address these issues. The introduction of a global optimization problem ensures the NG engine to operate within its ideal speed and torque zone with high fuel-efficiency, low overall emissions, and improved propulsion system performance. The mining vehicle’s hybrid powertrain system and component models, including NG engine fuel efficiency and emission models, have been introduced to support the work. An advanced surrogate model-based global optimization method is extended to solve the computational intensive, black-box optimization problem for optimal power control and energy management. The results of the optimization have been incorporated into control rules for the real-time control operation of the vehicle. The method integrates NG engine, hybrid electric powertrain, and the globally optimal control strategies, considering both fuel efficiency and HC/CO/NOx emissions jointly. Significant reductions of fuel cost, greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, and other pollutants have been achieved in comparison to its conventional diesel counterpart. Hydrogen fuel cell system is also emerging as a much more energy-efficient and cleaner proportion technology. Its wide adoption faces a number of technical challenges too, including high initial investment cost and limited operating life. The combination of fuel cell power system, battery energy storage system (ESS), and optimal control of the hybrid electric powertrain system can reduce the size of a fuel cell system and extend its operational life, thus lowering the lifecycle cost of the propulsion system. Applications of the state of art proton electrode membrane (PEM) fuel cell stack technology to small commercial trucks have been studied through integrated modeling of fuel cell engine and hybrid powertrain system, as well as system design and control optimizations. The energy efficiency, emissions, and costs of the two cleaner truck propulsion solutions are compared with the trucks with a diesel engine and mechanical propulsion. The results showed the benefits of emerging clean propulsion technologies in fuel efficiency improvement and emission reduction. The studies formed the foundation for further researches in these areas.

Keywords: fuel cell system, hybrid electric powertrain, NG engine, mining truck, WTW (well-to-wheel) emissions, powertrain design optimization, optimal control and energy management

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43 Bio-Hub Ecosystems: Investment Risk Analysis Using Monte Carlo Techno-Economic Analysis

Authors: Kimberly Samaha


In order to attract new types of investors into the emerging Bio-Economy, new methodologies to analyze investment risk are needed. The Bio-Hub Ecosystem model was developed to address a critical area of concern within the global energy market regarding the use of biomass as a feedstock for power plants. This study looked at repurposing existing biomass-energy plants into Circular Zero-Waste Bio-Hub Ecosystems. A Bio-Hub model that first targets a ‘whole-tree’ approach and then looks at the circular economics of co-hosting diverse industries (wood processing, aquaculture, agriculture) in the vicinity of the Biomass Power Plants facilities. This study modeled the economics and risk strategies of cradle-to-cradle linkages to incorporate the value-chain effects on capital/operational expenditures and investment risk reductions using a proprietary techno-economic model that incorporates investment risk scenarios utilizing the Monte Carlo methodology. The study calculated the sequential increases in profitability for each additional co-host on an operating forestry-based biomass energy plant in West Enfield, Maine. Phase I starts with the base-line of forestry biomass to electricity only and was built up in stages to include co-hosts of a greenhouse and a land-based shrimp farm. Phase I incorporates CO2 and heat waste streams from the operating power plant in an analysis of lowering and stabilizing the operating costs of the agriculture and aquaculture co-hosts. Phase II analysis incorporated a jet-fuel biorefinery and its secondary slip-stream of biochar which would be developed into two additional bio-products: 1) A soil amendment compost for agriculture and 2) A biochar effluent filter for the aquaculture. The second part of the study applied the Monte Carlo risk methodology to illustrate how co-location derisks investment in an integrated Bio-Hub versus individual investments in stand-alone projects of energy, agriculture or aquaculture. The analyzed scenarios compared reductions in both Capital and Operating Expenditures, which stabilizes profits and reduces the investment risk associated with projects in energy, agriculture, and aquaculture. The major findings of this techno-economic modeling using the Monte Carlo technique resulted in the masterplan for the first Bio-Hub to be built in West Enfield, Maine. In 2018, the site was designated as an economic opportunity zone as part of a Federal Program, which allows for Capital Gains tax benefits for investments on the site. Bioenergy facilities are currently at a critical juncture where they have an opportunity to be repurposed into efficient, profitable and socially responsible investments, or be idled and scrapped. The Bio-hub Ecosystems techno-economic analysis model is a critical model to expedite new standards for investments in circular zero-waste projects. Profitable projects will expedite adoption and advance the critical transition from the current ‘take-make-dispose’ paradigm inherent in the energy, forestry and food industries to a more sustainable Bio-Economy paradigm that supports local and rural communities.

Keywords: Economic Modelling, bio-economy, investment risk, circular design

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42 Lessons Learnt from Industry: Achieving Net Gain Outcomes for Biodiversity

Authors: Julia Baker


Development plays a major role in stopping biodiversity loss. But the ‘silo species’ protection of legislation (where certain species are protected while many are not) means that development can be ‘legally compliant’ and result in biodiversity loss. ‘Net Gain’ (NG) policies can help overcome this by making it an absolute requirement that development causes no overall loss of biodiversity and brings a benefit. However, offsetting biodiversity losses in one location with gains elsewhere is controversial because people suspect ‘offsetting’ to be an easy way for developers to buy their way out of conservation requirements. Yet the good practice principles (GPP) of offsetting provide several advantages over existing legislation for protecting biodiversity from development. This presentation describes the learning from implementing NG approaches based on GPP. It regards major upgrades of the UK’s transport networks, which involved removing vegetation in order to construct and safely operate new infrastructure. While low-lying habitats were retained, trees and other habitats disrupting the running or safety of transport networks could not. Consequently, achieving NG within the transport corridor was not possible and offsetting was required. The first ‘lessons learnt’ were on obtaining a commitment from business leaders to go beyond legislative requirements and deliver NG, and on the institutional change necessary to embed GPP within daily operations. These issues can only be addressed when the challenges that biodiversity poses for business are overcome. These challenges included: biodiversity cannot be measured easily unlike other sustainability factors like carbon and water that have metrics for target-setting and measuring progress; and, the mindset that biodiversity costs money and does not generate cash in return, which is the opposite of carbon or waste for example, where people can see how ‘sustainability’ actions save money. The challenges were overcome by presenting the GPP of NG as a cost-efficient solution to specific, critical risks facing the business that also boost industry recognition, and by using government-issued NG metrics to develop business-specific toolkits charting their NG progress whilst ensuring that NG decision-making was based on rich ecological data. An institutional change was best achieved by supporting, mentoring and training sustainability/environmental managers for these ‘frontline’ staff to embed GPP within the business. The second learning was from implementing the GPP where business partnered with local governments, wildlife groups and land owners to support their priorities for nature conservation, and where these partners had a say in decisions about where and how best to achieve NG. From this inclusive approach, offsetting contributed towards conservation priorities when all collaborated to manage trade-offs between: -Delivering ecologically equivalent offsets or compensating for losses of one type of biodiversity by providing another. -Achieving NG locally to the development whilst contributing towards national conservation priorities through landscape-level planning. -Not just protecting the extent and condition of existing biodiversity but ‘doing more’. -The multi-sector collaborations identified practical, workable solutions to ‘in perpetuity’. But key was strengthening linkages between biodiversity measures implemented for development and conservation work undertaken by local organizations so that developers support NG initiatives that really count.

Keywords: Development, biodiversity offsetting, nature conservation planning, net gain

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41 Chemical Synthesis and Microwave Sintering of SnO2-Based Nanoparticles for Varistor Films

Authors: Glauco M. M. M. Lustosa, João Paulo C. Costa, Leinig Antônio Perazolli, Maria Aparecida Zaghete


SnO2 has electrical conductivity due to the excess of electrons and structural defects, being its electrical behavior highly dependent on sintering temperature and chemical composition. The addition of metals modifiers into the crystalline structure can improve and controlling the behavior of some semiconductor oxides that can therefore develop different applications such as varistors (ceramic with non-ohmic behavior between current and voltage, i.e. conductive during normal operation and resistive during overvoltage). The polymeric precursor method, based on the complexation reaction between metal ion and policarboxylic acid and then polymerized with ethylene glycol, was used to obtain nanopowders ceramic. The metal immobilization reduces its segregation during the decomposition of the polyester resulting in a crystalline oxide with high chemical homogeneity. The preparation of films from ceramics nanoparticles using electrophoretic deposition method (EPD) brings prospects for a new generation of smaller size devices with easy integration technology. EPD allows to control time and current and therefore it can have control of the thickness, surface roughness and the film density, quickly and with low production costs. The sintering process is key to control size and grain boundary density of the film. In this step, there is the diffusion of metals that promote densification and control of intrinsic defects or change these defects which will form and modify the potential barrier in the grain boundary. The use of microwave oven for sintering is an advantageous process due to the fast and homogeneous heating rate, promoting the diffusion and densification without irregular grain growth. This research was done a comparative study of sintering temperature by use of zinc as modifier agent to verify the influence on sintering step aiming to promote densification and grain growth, which influences the potential barrier formation and then changed the electrical behavior. SnO2-nanoparticles were obtained with 1 %mol of ZnO + 0.05 %mol of Nb2O5 (SZN), deposited as film through EPD (voltage 2 kV, time of 10 min) on Si/Pt substrate. Sintering was made in a microwave oven at 800, 900 and 1000 °C. For complete coverage of the substrate by nanoparticles with low surface roughness and uniform thickness was added 0.02 g of solid iodine in alcoholic suspension SnO2 to increase particle surface charge. They were also used magneto in EPD system that improved the deposition rate forming a compact film. Using a scanning electron microscope of high resolution (SEM_FEG) it was observed nanoparticles with average size between 10-20 nm, after sintering the average size was 150 to 200 nm and thickness of 5 µm. Also, it was verified that the temperature at 1000 °C was the most efficient in sintering. The best sintering time was also recorded and determined as 40 minutes. After sintering, the films were recovered with Cr3+ ions layer by EPD, then the films were again thermally treated. The electrical characterizations (nonlinear coefficient of 11.4, voltage rupture of ~60 V and leakage current = 4.8x10−6 A), allow considering the new methodology suitable for prepare SnO2-based varistor applied for development of electrical protection devices for low voltage.

Keywords: Chemical Synthesis, microwave sintering, electrophoretic deposition, tin dioxide

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40 Implementation of Smart Card Automatic Fare Collection Technology in Small Transit Agencies for Standards Development

Authors: Walter E. Allen, Robert D. Murray


Many large transit agencies have adopted RFID technology and electronic automatic fare collection (AFC) or smart card systems, but small and rural agencies remain tied to obsolete manual, cash-based fare collection. Small countries or transit agencies can benefit from the implementation of smart card AFC technology with the promise of increased passenger convenience, added passenger satisfaction and improved agency efficiency. For transit agencies, it reduces revenue loss, improves passenger flow and bus stop data. For countries, further implementation into security, distribution of social services or currency transactions can provide greater benefits. However, small countries or transit agencies cannot afford expensive proprietary smart card solutions typically offered by the major system suppliers. Deployment of Contactless Fare Media System (CFMS) Standard eliminates the proprietary solution, ultimately lowering the cost of implementation. Acumen Building Enterprise, Inc. chose the Yuma County Intergovernmental Public Transportation Authority (YCIPTA) existing proprietary YCAT smart card system to implement CFMS. The revised system enables the purchase of fare product online with prepaid debit or credit cards using the Payment Gateway Processor. Open and interoperable smart card standards for transit have been developed. During the 90-day Pilot Operation conducted, the transit agency gathered the data from the bus AcuFare 200 Card Reader, loads (copies) the data to a USB Thumb Drive and uploads the data to the Acumen Host Processing Center for consolidation of the data into the transit agency master data file. The transition from the existing proprietary smart card data format to the new CFMS smart card data format was transparent to the transit agency cardholders. It was proven that open standards and interoperability design can work and reduce both implementation and operational costs for small transit agencies or countries looking to expand smart card technology. Acumen was able to avoid the implementation of the Payment Card Industry (PCI) Data Security Standards (DSS) which is expensive to develop and costly to operate on a continuing basis. Due to the substantial additional complexities of implementation and the variety of options presented to the transit agency cardholder, Acumen chose to implement only the Directed Autoload. To improve the implementation efficiency and the results for a similar undertaking, it should be considered that some passengers lack credit cards and are averse to technology. There are more than 1,300 small and rural agencies in the United States. This grows by 10 fold when considering small countries or rural locations throughout Latin American and the world. Acumen is evaluating additional countries, sites or transit agency that can benefit from the smart card systems. Frequently, payment card systems require extensive security procedures for implementation. The Project demonstrated the ability to purchase fare value, rides and passes with credit cards on the internet at a reasonable cost without highly complex security requirements.

Keywords: Smart Cards, near field communication, automatic fare collection, small transit agencies

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39 Ragging and Sludging Measurement in Membrane Bioreactors

Authors: Pompilia Buzatu, Mustafa Nasser, Hazim Qiblawey, Albert Odai, Jana Jamaleddin, Simon J. Judd


Membrane bioreactor (MBR) technology is challenged by the tendency for the membrane permeability to decrease due to ‘clogging’. Clogging includes ‘sludging’, the filling of the membrane channels with sludge solids, and ‘ragging’, the aggregation of short filaments to form long rag-like particles. Both sludging and ragging demand manual intervention to clear out the solids, which is time-consuming, labour-intensive and potentially damaging to the membranes. These factors impact on costs more significantly than membrane surface fouling which, unlike clogging, is largely mitigated by the chemical clean. However, practical evaluation of MBR clogging has thus far been limited. This paper presents the results of recent work attempting to quantify sludging and clogging based on simple bench-scale tests. Results from a novel ragging simulation trial indicated that rags can be formed within 24-36 hours from dispersed < 5 mm-long filaments at concentrations of 5-10 mg/L under gently agitated conditions. Rag formation occurred for both a cotton wool standard and samples taken from an operating municipal MBR, with between 15% and 75% of the added fibrous material forming a single rag. The extent of rag formation depended both on the material type or origin – lint from laundering operations forming zero rags – and the filament length. Sludging rates were quantified using a bespoke parallel-channel test cell representing the membrane channels of an immersed flat sheet MBR. Sludge samples were provided from two local MBRs, one treating municipal and the other industrial effluent. Bulk sludge properties measured comprised mixed liquor suspended solids (MLSS) concentration, capillary suction time (CST), particle size, soluble COD (sCOD) and rheology (apparent viscosity μₐ vs shear rate γ). The fouling and sludging propensity of the sludge was determined using the test cell, ‘fouling’ being quantified as the pressure incline rate against flux via the flux step test (for which clogging was absent) and sludging by photographing the channel and processing the image to determine the ratio of the clogged to unclogged regions. A substantial difference in rheological and fouling behaviour was evident between the two sludge sources, the industrial sludge having a higher viscosity but less shear-thinning than the municipal. Fouling, as manifested by the pressure increase Δp/Δt, as a function of flux from classic flux-step experiments (where no clogging was evident), was more rapid for the industrial sludge. Across all samples of both sludge origins the expected trend of increased fouling propensity with increased CST and sCOD was demonstrated, whereas no correlation was observed between clogging rate and these parameters. The relative contribution of fouling and clogging was appraised by adjusting the clogging propensity via increasing the MLSS both with and without a commensurate increase in the COD. Results indicated that whereas for the municipal sludge the fouling propensity was affected by the increased sCOD, there was no associated increased in the sludging propensity (or cake formation). The clogging rate actually decreased on increasing the MLSS. Against this, for the industrial sludge the clogging rate dramatically increased with solids concentration despite a decrease in the soluble COD. From this was surmised that sludging did not relate to fouling.

Keywords: Sludge, Membrane Bioreactors, ragging, clogging

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38 Upflow Anaerobic Sludge Blanket Reactor Followed by Dissolved Air Flotation Treating Municipal Sewage

Authors: Priscila Ribeiro dos Santos, Luiz Antonio Daniel


Inadequate access to clean water and sanitation has become one of the most widespread problems affecting people throughout the developing world, leading to an unceasing need for low-cost and sustainable wastewater treatment systems. The UASB technology has been widely employed as a suitable and economical option for the treatment of sewage in developing countries, which involves low initial investment, low energy requirements, low operation and maintenance costs, high loading capacity, short hydraulic retention times, long solids retention times and low sludge production. Whereas dissolved air flotation process is a good option for the post-treatment of anaerobic effluents, being capable of producing high quality effluents in terms of total suspended solids, chemical oxygen demand, phosphorus, and even pathogens. This work presents an evaluation and monitoring, over a period of 6 months, of one compact full-scale system with this configuration, UASB reactors followed by dissolved air flotation units (DAF), operating in Brazil. It was verified as a successful treatment system, and an issue of relevance since dissolved air flotation process treating UASB reactor effluents is not widely encompassed in the literature. The study covered the removal and behavior of several variables, such as turbidity, total suspend solids (TSS), chemical oxygen demand (COD), Escherichia coli, total coliforms and Clostridium perfringens. The physicochemical variables were analyzed according to the protocols established by the Standard Methods for Examination of Water and Wastewater. For microbiological variables, such as Escherichia coli and total coliforms, it was used the “pour plate” technique with Chromocult Coliform Agar (Merk Cat. No.1.10426) serving as the culture medium, while the microorganism Clostridium perfringens was analyzed through the filtering membrane technique, with the Ágar m-CP (Oxoid Ltda, England) serving as the culture medium. Approximately 74% of total COD was removed in the UASB reactor, and the complementary removal done during the flotation process resulted in 88% of COD removal from the raw sewage, thus the initial concentration of COD of 729 mg.L-1 decreased to 87 mg.L-1. Whereas, in terms of particulate COD, the overall removal efficiency for the whole system was about 94%, decreasing from 375 mg.L-1 in raw sewage to 29 mg.L-1 in final effluent. The UASB reactor removed on average 77% of the TSS from raw sewage. While the dissolved air flotation process did not work as expected, removing only 30% of TSS from the anaerobic effluent. The final effluent presented an average concentration of 38 mg.L-1 of TSS. The turbidity was significantly reduced, leading to an overall efficiency removal of 80% and a final turbidity of 28 NTU.The treated effluent still presented a high concentration of fecal pollution indicators (E. coli, total coliforms, and Clostridium perfringens), showing that the system did not present a good performance in removing pathogens. Clostridium perfringens was the organism which suffered the higher removal by the treatment system. The results can be considered satisfactory for the physicochemical variables, taking into account the simplicity of the system, besides that, it is necessary a post-treatment to improve the microbiological quality of the final effluent.

Keywords: treatment, Dissolved Air Flotation, UASB reactor, municipal sewage

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37 Learning Curve Effect on Materials Procurement Schedule of Multiple Sister Ships

Authors: Vijaya Dixit Aasheesh Dixit


Shipbuilding industry operates in Engineer Procure Construct (EPC) context. Product mix of a shipyard comprises of various types of ships like bulk carriers, tankers, barges, coast guard vessels, sub-marines etc. Each order is unique based on the type of ship and customized requirements, which are engineered into the product right from design stage. Thus, to execute every new project, a shipyard needs to upgrade its production expertise. As a result, over the long run, holistic learning occurs across different types of projects which contributes to the knowledge base of the shipyard. Simultaneously, in the short term, during execution of a project comprising of multiple sister ships, repetition of similar tasks leads to learning at activity level. This research aims to capture above learnings of a shipyard and incorporate learning curve effect in project scheduling and materials procurement to improve project performance. Extant literature provides support for the existence of such learnings in an organization. In shipbuilding, there are sequences of similar activities which are expected to exhibit learning curve behavior. For example, the nearly identical structural sub-blocks which are successively fabricated, erected, and outfitted with piping and electrical systems. Learning curve representation can model not only a decrease in mean completion time of an activity, but also a decrease in uncertainty of activity duration. Sister ships have similar material requirements. The same supplier base supplies materials for all the sister ships within a project. On one hand, this provides an opportunity to reduce transportation cost by batching the order quantities of multiple ships. On the other hand, it increases the inventory holding cost at shipyard and the risk of obsolescence. Further, due to learning curve effect the production scheduled of each consequent ship gets compressed. Thus, the material requirement schedule of every next ship differs from its previous ship. As more and more ships get constructed, compressed production schedules increase the possibility of batching the orders of sister ships. This work aims at integrating materials management with project scheduling of long duration projects for manufacturing of multiple sister ships. It incorporates the learning curve effect on progressively compressing material requirement schedules and addresses the above trade-off of transportation cost and inventory holding and shortage costs while satisfying budget constraints of various stages of the project. The activity durations and lead time of items are not crisp and are available in the form of probabilistic distribution. A Stochastic Mixed Integer Programming (SMIP) model is formulated which is solved using evolutionary algorithm. Its output provides ordering dates of items and degree of order batching for all types of items. Sensitivity analysis determines the threshold number of sister ships required in a project to leverage the advantage of learning curve effect in materials management decisions. This analysis will help materials managers to gain insights about the scenarios: when and to what degree is it beneficial to treat a multiple ship project as an integrated one by batching the order quantities and when and to what degree to practice distinctive procurement for individual ship.

Keywords: Shipbuilding, Materials Management, learning curve, sister ships

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36 A Perspective on Allelopathic Potential of Corylus avellana L.

Authors: Yoshiharu Fujii, Tugba G. Isin Ozkan


One of the most important constrains that decrease the crop yields are weeds. Increased amount and number of chemical herbicides are being utilized every day to control weeds. Chemical herbicides which cause environmental effects, and limitations on implementation of them have led to the nonchemical alternatives in the management of weeds. It is needed increasingly the application of allelopathy as a nonherbicidal innovation to control weed populations in integrated weed management. It is not only because of public concern about herbicide use, but also increased agricultural costs and herbicide resistance weeds. Allelopathy is defined as a common biological phenomenon, direct or indirect interaction which one plant or organism produces biochemicals influence the physiological processes of another neighboring plant or organism. Biochemicals involved in allelopathy are called allelochemicals that influence beneficially or detrimentally the growth, survival, development, and reproduction of other plant or organisms. All plant parts could have allelochemicals which are secondary plant metabolites. Allelochemicals are released to environment, influence the germination and seedling growth of neighbors' weeds; that is the way how allelopathy is applied for weed control. Crop cultivars have significantly different ability for inhibiting the growth of certain weeds. So, a high commercial value crop Corylus avellana L. and its byproducts were chosen to introduce for their allelopathic potential in this research. Edible nut of Corylus avellana L., commonly known as hazelnut is commercially valuable crop with byproducts; skin, hard shell, green leafy cover, and tree leaf. Research on allelopathic potential of a plant by using the sandwich bioassay method and investigation growth inhibitory activity is the first step to develop new and environmentally friendly alternatives for weed control. Thus, the objective of this research is to determine allelopathic potential of C. avellana L. and its byproducts by using sandwich method and to determine effective concentrations (EC) of their extracts for inducing half-maximum elongation inhibition on radicle of test plant, EC50. The sandwich method is reliable and fast bioassay, very useful for allelopathic screening under laboratory conditions. In experiments, lettuce (Lactuca sativa L.) seeds will be test plant, because of its high sensitivity to inhibition by allelochemicals and reliability for germination. In sandwich method, the radicle lengths of dry material treated lettuce seeds and control lettuce seeds will be measured and inhibition of radicle elongation will be determined. Lettuce seeds will also be treated by the methanol extracts of dry hazelnut parts to calculate EC₅₀ values, which are required to induce half-maximal inhibition of growth, as mg dry weight equivalent mL-1. Inhibitory activity of extracts against lettuce seedling elongation will be evaluated, like in sandwich method, by comparing the radicle lengths of treated seeds with that of control seeds and EC₅₀ values will be determined. Research samples are dry parts of Turkish hazelnut, C. avellana L. The results would suggest the opportunity for allelopathic potential of C. avellana L. with its byproducts in plant-plant interaction, might be utilized for further researches, could be beneficial in finding bioactive chemicals from natural products and developing of natural herbicides.

Keywords: Allelopathy, EC50, sandwich method, Corylus avellana L, Lactuca sativa L, Turkish hazelnut

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35 SkyCar Rapid Transit System: An Integrated Approach of Modern Transportation Solutions in the New Queen Elizabeth Quay, Perth, Western Australia

Authors: Jr., Arfanara Najnin, Michael W. Roach, Dr. Jianhong Cecilia Xia


The SkyCar Rapid Transit System (SRT) is an innovative intelligent transport system for the sustainable urban transport system. This system will increase the urban area network connectivity and decrease urban area traffic congestion. The SRT system is designed as a suspended Personal Rapid Transit (PRT) system that travels under a guideway 5m above the ground. A driver-less passenger is via pod-cars that hang from slender beams supported by columns that replace existing lamp posts. The beams are setup in a series of interconnecting loops providing non-stop travel from beginning to end to assure journey time. The SRT forward movement is effected by magnetic motors built into the guideway. Passenger stops are at either at line level 5m above the ground or ground level via a spur guideway that curves off the main thoroughfare. The main objective of this paper is to propose an integrated Automated Transit Network (ATN) technology for the future intelligent transport system in the urban built environment. To fulfil the objective a 4D simulated model in the urban built environment has been proposed by using the concept of SRT-ATN system. The methodology for the design, construction and testing parameters of a Technology Demonstrator (TD) for proof of concept and a Simulator (S) has been demonstrated. The completed TD and S will provide an excellent proving ground for the next development stage, the SRT Prototype (PT) and Pilot System (PS). This paper covered by a 4D simulated model in the virtual built environment is to effectively show how the SRT-ATN system works. OpenSim software has been used to develop the model in a virtual environment, and the scenario has been simulated to understand and visualize the proposed SkyCar Rapid Transit Network model. The SkyCar system will be fabricated in a modular form which is easily transported. The system would be installed in increasingly congested city centers throughout the world, as well as in airports, tourist resorts, race tracks and other special purpose for the urban community. This paper shares the lessons learnt from the proposed innovation and provides recommendations on how to improve the future transport system in urban built environment. Safety and security of passengers are prime factors to be considered for this transit system. Design requirements to meet the safety needs to be part of the research and development phase of the project. Operational safety aspects would also be developed during this period. The vehicles, the track and beam systems and stations are the main components that need to be examined in detail for safety and security of patrons. Measures will also be required to protect columns adjoining intersections from errant vehicles in vehicular traffic collisions. The SkyCar Rapid Transit takes advantage of all current disruptive technologies; batteries, sensors and 4G/5G communication and solar energy technologies which will continue to reduce the costs and make the systems more profitable. SkyCar's energy consumption is extremely low compared to other transport systems.

Keywords: Smart City, Urban built environment, SkyCar, rapid transit, Intelligent Transport System (ITS), Automated Transit Network (ATN)

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34 Prospective Museum Visitor Management Based on Prospect Theory: A Pragmatic Approach

Authors: Athina Thanou, Eirini Eleni Tsiropoulou, Symeon Papavassiliou


The problem of museum visitor experience and congestion management – in various forms - has come increasingly under the spotlight over the last few years, since overcrowding can significantly decrease the quality of visitors’ experience. Evidence suggests that on busy days the amount of time a visitor spends inside a crowded house museum can fall by up to 60% compared to a quiet mid-week day. In this paper we consider the aforementioned problem, by treating museums as evolving social systems that induce constraints. However, in a cultural heritage space, as opposed to the majority of social environments, the momentum of the experience is primarily controlled by the visitor himself. Visitors typically behave selfishly regarding the maximization of their own Quality of Experience (QoE) - commonly expressed through a utility function that takes several parameters into consideration, with crowd density and waiting/visiting time being among the key ones. In such a setting, congestion occurs when either the utility of one visitor decreases due to the behavior of other persons, or when costs of undertaking an activity rise due to the presence of other persons. We initially investigate how visitors’ behavioral risk attitudes, as captured and represented by prospect theory, affect their decisions in resource sharing settings, where visitors’ decisions and experiences are strongly interdependent. Different from the majority of existing studies and literature, we highlight that visitors are not risk neutral utility maximizers, but they demonstrate risk-aware behavior according to their personal risk characteristics. In our work, exhibits are organized into two groups: a) “safe exhibits” that correspond to less congested ones, where the visitors receive guaranteed satisfaction in accordance with the visiting time invested, and b) common pool of resources (CPR) exhibits, which are the most popular exhibits with possibly increased congestion and uncertain outcome in terms of visitor satisfaction. A key difference is that the visitor satisfaction due to CPR strongly depends not only on the invested time decision of a specific visitor, but also on that of the rest of the visitors. In the latter case, the over-investment in time, or equivalently the increased congestion potentially leads to “exhibit failure”, interpreted as the visitors gain no satisfaction from their observation of this exhibit due to high congestion. We present a framework where each visitor in a distributed manner determines his time investment in safe or CPR exhibits to optimize his QoE. Based on this framework, we analyze and evaluate how visitors, acting as prospect-theoretic decision-makers, respond and react to the various pricing policies imposed by the museum curators. Based on detailed evaluation results and experiments, we present interesting observations, regarding the impact of several parameters and characteristics such as visitor heterogeneity and use of alternative pricing policies, on scalability, user satisfaction, museum capacity, resource fragility, and operation point stability. Furthermore, we study and present the effectiveness of alternative pricing mechanisms, when used as implicit tools, to deal with the congestion management problem in the museums, and potentially decrease the exhibit failure probability (fragility), while considering the visitor risk preferences.

Keywords: Congestion management, museum resource and visitor management, propsect theory, cyber physical social systems

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33 Temporal Delays along the Neurosurgical Care Continuum for Traumatic Brain Injury Patients in Mulago Hospital in Kampala Uganda

Authors: Silvia D. Vaca, Benjamin J. Kuo, Joao Ricardo N. Vissoci, Catherine A. Staton, Linda W. Xu, Michael Muhumuza, Hussein Ssenyonjo, John Mukasa, Joel Kiryabwire, Henry E. Rice, Gerald A. Grant, Michael M. Haglund


Background: While delays to care exist in resource rich settings, greater delays are seen along the care continuum in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) largely due to limited healthcare capacity to address the disproportional rates of traumatic brain injury (TBI) in Sub Saharan Africa (SSA). While many LMICs have government subsidized systems to offset surgical costs, the burden of securing funds by the patients for medications, supplies, and CT diagnostics poses a significant challenge to timely surgical interventions. In Kampala Uganda, the challenge of obtaining timely CT scans is twofold. First, due to a lack of a functional CT scanner at the tertiary hospital, patients need to arrange their own transportation to the nearby private facility for CT scans. Second, self-financing for the private CT scans ranges from $80 - $130, which is near the average monthly income in Kampala. These bottlenecks contribute significantly to the care continuum delays and are associated with poor TBI outcomes. Objective: The objectives of this study are to 1) describe the temporal delays through a modified three delays model that fits the context of neurosurgical interventions for TBI patients in Kampala and 2) investigate the association between delays and mortality. Methods: Prospective data were collected for 563 TBI patients presenting to a tertiary hospital in Kampala from 1 June – 30 November 2016. Four time intervals were constructed along five time points: injury, hospital arrival, neurosurgical evaluation, CT results, and definitive surgery. Time interval differences among mild, moderate and severe TBI and their association with mortality were analyzed. Results: The mortality rate of all TBI patients presenting to MNRH was 9.6%, which ranged from 4.7% for mild and moderate TBI patients receiving surgery to 81.8% for severe TBI patients who failed to receive surgery. The duration from injury to surgery varied considerably across TBI severity with the largest gap seen between mild TBI (174 hours) and severe TBI (69 hours) patients. Further analysis revealed care continuum differences for interval 3 (neurosurgical evaluation to CT result) and 4 (CT result to surgery) between severe TBI patients (7 hours for interval 3 and 24 hours for interval 4) and mild TBI patients (19 hours for interval 3, and 96 hours for interval 4). These post-arrival delays were associated with mortality for mild (p=0.05) and moderate TBI (p=0.03) patients. Conclusions: To our knowledge, this is the first analysis using a modified ‘three delays’ framework to analyze the care continuum of TBI patients in Uganda from injury to surgery. We found significant associations between delays and mortality for mild and moderate TBI patients. As it currently stands, poorer outcomes were observed for these mild and moderate TBI patients who were managed non-operatively or failed to receive surgery while surgical services were shunted to more severely ill patients. While well intentioned, high mortality rates were still observed for the severe TBI patients managed surgically. These results suggest the need for future research to optimize triage practices, understand delay contributors, and improve pre-hospital logistical referral systems.

Keywords: traumatic brain injury, care continuum, global neurosurgery, Kampala Uganda, LMIC, Mulago, prospective registry

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32 Medium-Scale Multi-Juice Extractor for Food Processing

Authors: Helen F. Gavino, Victorino T. Taylan, Teresito G. Aguinaldo, Flordeliza L. Mercado


Most fruits and vegetables are available in large quantities during peak season which are oftentimes marketed at low price and left to rot or fed to farm animals. The lack of efficient storage facilities, and the additional cost and unavailability of small machinery for food processing, results to low price and wastage. Incidentally, processed fresh fruits and vegetables are gaining importance nowadays and health conscious people are also into ‘juicing’. One way to reduce wastage and ensure an all-season availability of crop juices at reasonable costs is to develop equipment for effective extraction of juice. The study was conducted to design, fabricate and evaluate a multi-juice extractor using locally available materials, making it relatively cheaper and affordable for medium-scale enterprises. The study was also conducted to formulate juice blends using extracted juices and calamansi juice at different blending percentage, and evaluate its chemical properties and sensory attributes. Furthermore, the chemical properties of extracted meals were evaluated for future applications. The multi-juice extractor has an overall dimension of 963mm x 300mm x 995mm, a gross weight of 82kg and 5 major components namely; feeding hopper, extracting chamber, juice and meal outlet, transmission assembly, and frame. The machine performance was evaluated based on juice recovery, extraction efficiency, extraction rate, extraction recovery, and extraction loss considering type of crop as apple and carrot with three replications each and was analyzed using T-test. The formulated juice blends were subjected to sensory evaluation and data gathered were analyzed using Analysis of Variance appropriate for Complete Randomized Design. Results showed that the machine’s juice recovery (73.39%), extraction rate (16.40li/hr), and extraction efficiency (88.11%) for apple were significantly higher than for carrot while extraction recovery (99.88%) was higher for apple than for carrot. Extraction loss (0.12%) was lower for apple than for carrot, but was not significantly affected by crop. Based on adding percentage mark-up on extraction cost (Php 2.75/kg), the breakeven weight and payback period for a 35% mark-up is 4,710.69kg and 1.22 years, respectively and for a 50% mark-up, the breakeven weight is 3,492.41kg and the payback period is 0.86 year (10.32 months). Results on the sensory evaluation of juice blends showed that the type of juice significantly influenced all the sensory parameters while the blending percentage including their respective interaction, had no significant effect on all sensory parameters, making the apple-calamansi juice blend more preferred than the carrot-calamansi juice blend in terms of all the sensory parameter. The machine’s performance is higher for apple than for carrot and the cost analysis on the use of the machine revealed that it is financially viable with a payback period of 1.22 years (35% mark-up) and 0.86 year (50% mark-up) for machine cost, generating an income of Php 23,961.60 and Php 34,444.80 per year using 35% and 50% mark-up, respectively. The juice blends were of good qualities based on the values obtained in the chemical analysis and the extracted meal could also be used to produce another product based on the values obtained from proximate analysis.

Keywords: Food Processing, Fruits and Vegetables, juice extraction, multi-juice extractor

Procedia PDF Downloads 127
31 Trajectories of PTSD from 2-3 Years to 5-6 Years among Asian Americans after the World Trade Center Attack

Authors: Winnie Kung, Xinhua Liu, Debbie Huang, Patricia Kim, Keon Kim, Xiaoran Wang, Lawrence Yang


Considerable Asian Americans were exposed to the World Trade Center attack due to the proximity of the site to Chinatown and a sizeable number of South Asians working in the collapsed and damaged buildings nearby. Few studies focused on Asians in examining the disaster’s mental health impact, and even less longitudinal studies were reported beyond the first couple of years after the event. Based on the World Trade Center Health Registry, this study examined the trajectory of PTSD of individuals directly exposed to the attack from 2-3 to 5-6 years after the attack, comparing Asians against the non-Hispanic White group. Participants included 2,431 Asians and 31,455 Whites. Trajectories were delineated into the resilient, chronic, delayed-onset and remitted groups using PTSD checklist cut-off score at 44 at the 2 waves. Logistic regression analyses were conducted to compare the poorer trajectories against the resilient as a reference group, using predictors of baseline sociodemographic, exposure to the disaster, lower respiratory symptoms and previous depression/anxiety disorder diagnosis, and recruitment source as the control variable. Asians had significant lower socioeconomic status in terms of income, education and employment status compared to Whites. Over 3/4 of participants from both races were resilient, though slightly less for Asians than Whites (76.5% vs 79.8%). Asians had a higher proportion with chronic PTSD (8.6% vs 7.4%) and remission (5.9% vs 3.4%) than Whites. A considerable proportion of participants had delayed-onset in both races (9.1% Asians vs 9.4% Whites). The distribution of trajectories differed significantly by race (p<0.0001) with Asians faring poorer. For Asians, in the chronic vs resilient group, significant protective factors included age >65, annual household income >$50,000, and never married vs married/cohabiting; risk factors were direct disaster exposure, job loss due to 9/11, lost someone, and tangible loss; lower respiratory symptoms and previous mental disorder diagnoses. Similar protective and risk factors were noted for the delayed-onset group, except education being protective; and being an immigrant a risk. Between the 2 comparisons, the chronic group was more vulnerable than the delayed-onset as expected. It should also be noted that in both comparisons, Asians’ current employment status had no significant impact on their PTSD trajectory. Comparing between Asians against Whites, the direction of the relationships between the predictors and the PTSD trajectories were mostly the same, although more factors were significant for Whites than for Asians. A few factors showed significant racial difference: Higher risk for lower respiratory symptoms for Whites than Asians, higher risk for pre-9/11 mental disorder diagnosis for Asians than Whites, and immigrant a risk factor for the remitted vs resilient groups for Whites but not for Asians. Over 17% Asians still suffered from PTSD 5-6 years after the WTC attack signified its persistent impact which incurred substantial human, social and economic costs. The more disadvantaged socioeconomic status of Asians rendered them more vulnerable in their mental health trajectories relative to Whites. Together with their well-documented low tendency to seek mental health help, outreach effort to this population is needed to ensure follow-up treatment and prevention.

Keywords: PTSD, Asian Americans, World Trade Center Attack, racial differences

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30 The Science of Health Care Delivery: Improving Patient-Centered Care through an Innovative Education Model

Authors: Alison C. Essary, Victor Trastek


Introduction: The current state of the health care system in the U.S. is characterized by an unprecedented number of people living with multiple chronic conditions, unsustainable rise in health care costs, inadequate access to care, and wide variation in health outcomes throughout the country. An estimated two-thirds of Americans are living with two or more chronic conditions, contributing to 75% of all health care spending. In 2013, the School for the Science of Health Care Delivery (SHCD) was charged with redesigning the health care system through education and research. Faculty in business, law, and public policy, and thought leaders in health care delivery, administration, public health and health IT created undergraduate, graduate, and executive academic programs to address this pressing need. Faculty and students work across disciplines, and with community partners and employers to improve care delivery and increase value for patients. Methods: Curricula apply content in health care administration and operations within the clinical context. Graduate modules are team-taught by faculty across academic units to model team-based practice. Seminars, team-based assignments, faculty mentoring, and applied projects are integral to student success. Cohort-driven models enhance networking and collaboration. This observational study evaluated two years of admissions data, and one year of graduate data to assess program outcomes and inform the current graduate-level curricula. Descriptive statistics includes means, percentages. Results: Fall 2013, the program received 51 applications. The mean GPA of the entering class of 37 students was 3.38. Ninety-seven percent of the fall 2013 cohort successfully completed the program (n=35). Sixty-six percent are currently employed in the health care industry (n=23). Of the remaining 12 graduates, two successfully matriculated to medical school; one works in the original field of study; four await results on the MCAT or DAT, and five were lost to follow up. Attrition of one student was attributed to non-academic reasons. Fall 2014, the program expanded to include both on-ground and online cohorts. Applications were evenly distributed between on-ground (n=70) and online (n=68). Thirty-eight students enrolled in the on-ground program. The mean GPA was 3.95. Ninety-five percent of students successfully completed the program (n=36). Thirty-six students enrolled in the online program. The mean GPA was 3.85. Graduate outcomes are pending. Discussion: Challenges include demographic variability between online and on-ground students; yet, both profiles are similar in that students intend to become change agents in the health care system. In the past two years, on-ground applications increased by 31%, persistence to graduation is > 95%, mean GPA is 3.67, graduates report admission to six U.S. medical schools, the Mayo Medical School integrates SHCD content within their curricula, and there is national interest in collaborating on industry and academic partnerships. This places SHCD at the forefront of developing innovative curricula in order to improve high-value, patient-centered care.

Keywords: Education, health care delivery, delivery science, high-value care, innovation in education, patient-centered

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29 Solar-Electric Pump-out Boat Technology: Impacts on the Marine Environment, Public Health, and Climate Change

Authors: Joy Chiu, Colin Hemez, Emma Ryan, Jia Sun, Robert Dubrow, Michael Pascucilla


The popularity of recreational boating is on the rise in the United States, which raises numerous national-level challenges in the management of air and water pollution, aquatic habitat destruction, and waterway access. The need to control sewage discharge from recreational vessels underlies all of these challenges. The release of raw human waste into aquatic environments can lead to eutrophication and algal blooms; can increase human exposure to pathogenic viruses, bacteria, and parasites; can financially impact commercial shellfish harvest/fisheries and marine bathing areas; and can negatively affect access to recreational and/or commercial waterways to the detriment of local economies. Because of the damage that unregulated sewage discharge can do to environments and human health/marine life, recreational vessels in the United States are required by law to 'pump-out' sewage from their holding tanks into sewage treatment systems in all designated 'no discharge areas'. Many pump-out boats, which transfer waste out of recreational vessels, are operated and maintained using funds allocated through the Federal Clean Vessel Act (CVA). The East Shore District Health Department of Branford, Connecticut is protecting this estuary by pioneering the design and construction of the first-in-the-nation zero-emissions, the solar-electric pump-out boat of its size to replace one of its older traditional gasoline-powered models through a Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection CVA Grant. This study, conducted in collaboration with the East Shore District Health Department, the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, States Organization for Boating Access and Connecticut’s CVA program coordinators, had two aims: (1) To perform a national assessment of pump-out boat programs, supplemented by a limited international assessment, to establish best pump-out boat practices (regardless of how the boat is powered); and (2) to estimate the cost, greenhouse gas emissions, and environmental and public health impacts of solar-electric versus traditional gasoline-powered pump-out boats. A national survey was conducted of all CVA-funded pump-out program managers and selected pump-out boat operators to gauge best practices; costs associated with gasoline-powered pump-out boat operation and management; and the regional, cultural, and policy-related issues that might arise from the adoption of solar-electric pump-out boat technology. We also conducted life-cycle analyses of gasoline-powered and solar-electric pump-out boats to compare their greenhouse gas emissions; production of air, soil and water pollution; and impacts on human health. This work comprises the most comprehensive study into pump-out boating practices in the United States to date, in which information obtained at local, state, national, and international levels is synthesized. This study aims to enable CVA programs to make informed recommendations for sustainable pump-out boating practices and identifies the challenges and opportunities that remain for the wide adoption of solar-electric pump-out boat technology.

Keywords: Marine Water, pump-out boat, solar-electric, zero emissions

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28 Ethnic Tourism and Real Estate Development: A Case of Yiren Ancient Town, China

Authors: Li Yang


Tourism is employed by many countries to facilitate socioeconomic development and to assist in the heritage preservation. An “ethnic culture boom” is currently driving the tourism industry in China. Ethnic minorities, commonly portrayed as primitive, colorful and exotic, have become a big tourist draw. Many cultural attractions have been built throughout China to meet the demands of domestic tourists. Sacred cultural heritage sites have been rehabilitated as a major component of ethnic tourism. The purpose of this study is to examine the interconnected consequences of tourism development and tourism-related leisure property development and, and to discuss, in a broader context, issues and considerations that are pertinent to the management and development of ethnic attractions. The role of real estate in tourism development and its sociocultural consequences are explored. An empirical research was conducted in Yiren Ancient Town (literally, "Ancient Town of Yi People") in Chuxiong City, Yunnan Province, China. Multiple research methods, including in-depth interviews, informal discussions, on-site observations, and secondary data review were employed to measure residents and tourism decision-makers’ perceptions of ethnic tourism and to explore the impacts of tourism on local community. Key informants from government officials, tourism developers and local communities were interviewed individually to gather what they think about benefits and costs of tourism, and what their concerns about and hopes for tourism development are. Yiren Ancient Town was constructed in classical Yi architecture style featuring tranquil garden scenery. Commercial streets, entertainment complexes, and accommodation facilities occupied the center of the town, creating culturally distinctive and visually stimulating places for tourists. A variety of activities are presented to visitors, including walking tours of the town, staged dance shows, musical performances, ethnic festivals and ceremonies, tasting minority food and wedding shows. This study reveals that tourism real estate has transformed the town from a traditional neighborhood into diverse real estate landscapes. Ethnic architecture, costumes, festivals and folk culture have been represented, altered and reinvented through the tourist gaze and mechanisms of cultural production. Tourism is now a new economic driver of the community providing opportunities for the creation of small businesses. There was a general appreciation in the community that tourism has created many employment opportunities, especially for self-employment. However, profit-seeking is a primary motivation for the government, developers, businesses, and other actors involved in the tourism development process. As the town has attracted an increasing number of visitors, commercialization and business competition are intense in the town. Many residents complained about elevated land prices, making the town and the surroundings comparatively high-value locales. Local community is also concerned about the decline of traditional ethnic culture and an erosion of the sense of identity and place. A balance is difficult to maintain between protection and development. The preservation of ethnic culture and heritage should be enhanced if long-term sustainable development of tourism is to occur and the loss of ethnic identities is to be avoided.

Keywords: Real Estate, China, Ethnic Tourism, local community, ancient town

Procedia PDF Downloads 183
27 The Impacts of New Digital Technology Transformation on Singapore Healthcare Sector: Case Study of a Public Hospital in Singapore from a Management Accounting Perspective

Authors: Junqi Zou


As one of the world’s most tech-ready countries, Singapore has initiated the Smart Nation plan to harness the full power and potential of digital technologies to transform the way people live and work, through the more efficient government and business processes, to make the economy more productive. The key evolutions of digital technology transformation in healthcare and the increasing deployment of Internet of Things (IoTs), Big Data, AI/cognitive, Robotic Process Automation (RPA), Electronic Health Record Systems (EHR), Electronic Medical Record Systems (EMR), Warehouse Management System (WMS in the most recent decade have significantly stepped up the move towards an information-driven healthcare ecosystem. The advances in information technology not only bring benefits to patients but also act as a key force in changing management accounting in healthcare sector. The aim of this study is to investigate the impacts of digital technology transformation on Singapore’s healthcare sector from a management accounting perspective. Adopting a Balanced Scorecard (BSC) analysis approach, this paper conducted an exploratory case study of a newly launched Singapore public hospital, which has been recognized as amongst the most digitally advanced healthcare facilities in Asia-Pacific region. Specifically, this study gains insights on how the new technology is changing healthcare organizations’ management accounting from four perspectives under the Balanced Scorecard approach, 1) Financial Perspective, 2) Customer (Patient) Perspective, 3) Internal Processes Perspective, and 4) Learning and Growth Perspective. Based on a thorough review of archival records from the government and public, and the interview reports with the hospital’s CIO, this study finds the improvements from all the four perspectives under the Balanced Scorecard framework as follows: 1) Learning and Growth Perspective: The Government (Ministry of Health) works with the hospital to open up multiple training pathways to health professionals that upgrade and develops new IT skills among the healthcare workforce to support the transformation of healthcare services. 2) Internal Process Perspective: The hospital achieved digital transformation through Project OneCare to integrate clinical, operational, and administrative information systems (e.g., EHR, EMR, WMS, EPIB, RTLS) that enable the seamless flow of data and the implementation of JIT system to help the hospital operate more effectively and efficiently. 3) Customer Perspective: The fully integrated EMR suite enhances the patient’s experiences by achieving the 5 Rights (Right Patient, Right Data, Right Device, Right Entry and Right Time). 4) Financial Perspective: Cost savings are achieved from improved inventory management and effective supply chain management. The use of process automation also results in a reduction of manpower costs and logistics cost. To summarize, these improvements identified under the Balanced Scorecard framework confirm the success of utilizing the integration of advanced ICT to enhance healthcare organization’s customer service, productivity efficiency, and cost savings. Moreover, the Big Data generated from this integrated EMR system can be particularly useful in aiding management control system to optimize decision making and strategic planning. To conclude, the new digital technology transformation has moved the usefulness of management accounting to both financial and non-financial dimensions with new heights in the area of healthcare management.

Keywords: Balanced Scorecard, integrated information system, digital technology transformation, healthcare ecosystem

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26 Lack of Regulation Leads to Complexity: A Case Study of the Free Range Chicken Meat Sector in the Western Cape, South Africa

Authors: A. Coetzee, C. F. Kelly, E. Even-Zahav


Dominant approaches to livestock production are harmful to the environment, human health and animal welfare, yet global meat consumption is rising. Sustainable alternative production approaches are therefore urgently required, and ‘free range’ is the main alternative for chicken meat offered in South Africa (and globally). Although the South African Poultry Association provides non-binding guidelines, there is a lack of formal definition and regulation of free range chicken production, meaning it is unclear what this alternative entails and if it is consistently practised (a trend observed globally). The objective of this exploratory qualitative case study is therefore to investigate who and what determines free range chicken. The case study, conducted from a social constructivist worldview, uses semi-structured interviews, photographs and document analysis to collect data. Interviews are conducted with those involved with bringing free range chicken to the market - farmers, chefs, retailers, and regulators. Data is analysed using thematic analysis to establish dominant patterns in the data. The five major themes identified (based on prevalence in data and on achieving the research objective) are: 1) free range means a bird reared with good animal welfare in mind, 2) free range means quality meat, 3) free range means a profitable business, 4) free range is determined by decision makers or by access to markets, and 5) free range is coupled with concerns about the lack of regulation. Unpacking the findings in the context of the literature reveals who and what determines free range. The research uncovers wide-ranging interpretations of ‘free range’, driven by the absence of formal regulation for free range chicken practices and the lack of independent private certification. This means that the term ‘free range’ is socially constructed, thus varied and complex. The case study also shows that whether chicken meat is free range is generally determined by those who have access to markets. Large retailers claim adherence to the internationally recognised Five Freedoms, also include in the South African Poultry Association Code of Good Practice, which others in the sector say are too broad to be meaningful. Producers describe animal welfare concerns as the main driver for how they practice/view free range production, yet these interpretations vary. An additional driver is a focus on human health, which participants achieve mainly through the use of antibiotic-free feed, resulting in what participants regard as higher quality meat. The participants are also strongly driven by business imperatives, with most stating that free range chicken should carry a higher price than conventionally-reared chicken due to increased production costs. Recommendations from this study focus on, inter alia, a need to understand consumers’ perspectives on free range chicken, given that those in the sector claim they are responding to consumer demand, and conducting environmental research such as life cycle assessment studies to establish the true (environmental) sustainability of free range production. At present, it seems the sector mostly responds to social sustainability: human health and animal welfare.

Keywords: Sustainability, free range, socially constructed, chicken meat production

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25 Traumatic Brain Injury Neurosurgical Care Continuum Delays in Mulago Hospital in Kampala Uganda

Authors: Silvia D. Vaca, Benjamin J. Kuo, Catherine A. Staton, Linda W. Xu, Michael Muhumuza, Hussein Ssenyonjo, John Mukasa, Joel Kiryabwire, Henry E. Rice, Gerald A. Grant, Michael M. Haglund, Joao Ricardo Nickenig Vissoci


Background: Patients with traumatic brain injury (TBI) can develop rapid neurological deterioration from swelling and intracranial hematomas, which can result in focal tissue ischemia, brain compression, and herniation. Moreover, delays in management increase the risk of secondary brain injury from hypoxemia and hypotension. Therefore, in TBI patients with subdural hematomas (SDHs) and epidural hematomas (EDHs), surgical intervention is both necessary and time sensitive. Significant delays are seen along the care continuum in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) largely due to limited healthcare capacity to address the disproportional rates of TBI in Sub Saharan Africa (SSA). While many LMICs have subsidized systems to offset surgical costs, the burden of securing funds by the patients for medications, supplies, and CT diagnostics poses a significant challenge to timely surgical interventions. In Kampala Uganda, the challenge of obtaining timely CT scans is twofold: logistical and financial barriers. These bottlenecks contribute significantly to the care continuum delays and are associated with poor TBI outcomes. Objective: The objectives of this study are to 1) describe the temporal delays through a modified three delays model that fits the context of neurosurgical interventions for TBI patients in Kampala and 2) investigate the association between delays and mortality. Methods: Prospective data were collected for 563 TBI patients presenting to a tertiary hospital in Kampala from 1 June – 30 November 2016. Four time intervals were constructed along five time points: injury, hospital arrival, neurosurgical evaluation, CT results, and definitive surgery. Time interval differences among mild, moderate and severe TBI and their association with mortality were analyzed. Results: The mortality rate of all TBI patients presenting to MNRH was 9.6%, which ranged from 4.7% for mild and moderate TBI patients receiving surgery to 81.8% for severe TBI patients who failed to receive surgery. The duration from injury to surgery varied considerably across TBI severity with the largest gap seen between mild TBI (174 hours) and severe TBI (69 hours) patients. Further analysis revealed care continuum differences for interval 3 (neurosurgical evaluation to CT result) and 4 (CT result to surgery) between severe TBI patients (7 hours for interval 3 and 24 hours for interval 4) and mild TBI patients (19 hours for interval 3, and 96 hours for interval 4). These post-arrival delays were associated with mortality for mild (p=0.05) and moderate TBI (p=0.03) patients. Conclusions: To our knowledge, this is the first analysis using a modified 'three delays' framework to analyze the care continuum of TBI patients in Uganda from injury to surgery. We found significant associations between delays and mortality for mild and moderate TBI patients. As it currently stands, poorer outcomes were observed for these mild and moderate TBI patients who were managed non-operatively or failed to receive surgery while surgical services were shunted to more severely ill patients. While well intentioned, high mortality rates were still observed for the severe TBI patients managed surgically. These results suggest the need for future research to optimize triage practices, understand delay contributors, and improve pre-hospital logistical referral systems.

Keywords: traumatic brain injury, care continuum, global neurosurgery, Kampala Uganda, LMIC, Mulago

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24 A Critical Evaluation of Occupational Safety and Health Management Systems' Implementation: Case of Mutare Urban Timber Processing Factories, Zimbabwe

Authors: Johanes Mandowa


The study evaluated the status of Occupational Safety and Health Management Systems’ (OSHMSs) implementation by Mutare urban timber processing factories. A descriptive cross sectional survey method was utilized in the study. Questionnaires, interviews and direct observations were the techniques employed to extract primary data from the respondents. Secondary data was acquired from OSH encyclopedia, OSH journals, newspaper articles, internet, past research papers, African Newsletter on OSH and NSSA On-guard magazines among others. Analysis of data collected was conducted using statistical and descriptive methods. Results revealed an unpleasant low uptake rate (16%) of OSH Management Systems by Mutare urban timber processing factories. On a comparative basis, low implementation levels were more pronounced in small timber processing factories than in large factories. The low uptake rate of OSH Management Systems revealed by the study validates the Government of Zimbabwe and its social partners’ observation that the dismal Zimbabwe OSH performance was largely due to non implementation of safety systems at most workplaces. The results exhibited a relationship between availability of a SHE practitioner in Mutare urban timber processing factories and OSHMS implementation. All respondents and interviewees’ agreed that OSH Management Systems are handy in curbing occupational injuries and diseases. It emerged from the study that the top barriers to implementation of safety systems are lack of adequate financial resources, lack of top management commitment and lack of OSHMS implementation expertise. Key motivators for OSHMSs establishment were cited as provision of adequate resources (76%), strong employee involvement (64%) and strong senior management commitment and involvement (60%). Study results demonstrated that both OSHMSs implementation barriers and motivators affect all Mutare urban timber processing factories irrespective of size. The study recommends enactment of a law by Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare in consultation with NSSA to make availability of an OSHMS and qualified SHE practitioner mandatory at every workplace. More so, the enacted law should prescribe minimum educational qualification required for one to practice as a SHE practitioner. Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare and NSSA should also devise incentives such as reduced WCIF premiums for good OSH performance to cushion Mutare urban timber processing factories from OSHMS implementation costs. The study recommends the incorporation of an OSH module in the academic curriculums of all programmes offered at tertiary institutions so as to ensure that graduates who later end up assuming influential management positions in Mutare urban timber processing factories are abreast with the necessity of OSHMSs in preventing occupational injuries and diseases. In the quest to further boost management’s awareness on the importance of OSHMSs, NSSA and SAZ are urged by the study to conduct OSHMSs awareness breakfast meetings targeting executive management on a periodic basis. The Government of Zimbabwe through the Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare should also engage ILO Country Office for Zimbabwe to solicit for ILO’s technical assistance so as to enhance the effectiveness of NSSA’s and SAZ’s OSHMSs promotional programmes.

Keywords: occupational safety health management system, national social security authority, standard association of Zimbabwe, Mutare urban timber processing factories, ministry of public service, labour and social welfare

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23 Planning Railway Assets Renewal with a Multiobjective Approach

Authors: João Coutinho-Rodrigues, Nuno Sousa, Luís Alçada-Almeida


Transportation infrastructure systems are fundamental in modern society and economy. However, they need modernizing, maintaining, and reinforcing interventions which require large investments. In many countries, accumulated intervention delays arise from aging and intense use, being magnified by financial constraints of the past. The decision problem of managing the renewal of large backlogs is common to several types of important transportation infrastructures (e.g., railways, roads). This problem requires considering financial aspects as well as operational constraints under a multidimensional framework. The present research introduces a linear programming multiobjective model for managing railway infrastructure asset renewal. The model aims at minimizing three objectives: (i) yearly investment peak, by evenly spreading investment throughout multiple years; (ii) total cost, which includes extra maintenance costs incurred from renewal backlogs; (iii) priority delays related to work start postponements on the higher priority railway sections. Operational constraints ensure that passenger and freight services are not excessively delayed from having railway line sections under intervention. Achieving a balanced annual investment plan, without compromising the total financial effort or excessively postponing the execution of the priority works, was the motivation for pursuing the research which is now presented. The methodology, inspired by a real case study and tested with real data, reflects aspects of the practice of an infrastructure management company and is generalizable to different types of infrastructure (e.g., railways, highways). It was conceived for treating renewal interventions in infrastructure assets, which is a railway network may be rails, ballasts, sleepers, etc.; while a section is under intervention, trains must run at reduced speed, causing delays in services. The model cannot, therefore, allow for an accumulation of works on the same line, which may cause excessively large delays. Similarly, the lines do not all have the same socio-economic importance or service intensity, making it is necessary to prioritize the sections to be renewed. The model takes these issues into account, and its output is an optimized works schedule for the renewal project translatable in Gantt charts The infrastructure management company provided all the data for the first test case study and validated the parameterization. This case consists of several sections to be renewed, over 5 years and belonging to 17 lines. A large instance was also generated, reflecting a problem of a size similar to the USA railway network (considered the largest one in the world), so it is not expected that considerably larger problems appear in real life; an average of 25 years backlog and ten years of project horizon was considered. Despite the very large increase in the number of decision variables (200 times as large), the computational time cost did not increase very significantly. It is thus expectable that just about any real-life problem can be treated in a modern computer, regardless of size. The trade-off analysis shows that if the decision maker allows some increase in max yearly investment (i.e., degradation of objective ii), solutions improve considerably in the remaining two objectives.

Keywords: Transport Infrastructure, asset renewal, railway maintenance, multiobjective modeling

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22 Identifying Effective Strategies to Promote Vietnamese Fashion Brands in an Internationally Dominated Market

Authors: Lam Hong Lan, Gabor Sarlos


It is hard to search for best practices in promotion for local fashion brands in Vietnam as the industry is still very young. Local fashion start-ups have grown quickly in the last five years, thanks in part to the internet and social media. However, local designer/owners can face a huge challenge when competing with international brands in the Vietnamese market – and few local case studies are available for guidance. In response, this paper studied how local small- to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) promote to their target customers in order to compete with international brands. Knowledge of both successful and unsuccessful approaches generated by this study is intended to both contribute to the academic literature on local fashion in Vietnam as well as to help local designers to learn from and improve their brand-building strategy. The primary study featured qualitative data collection via semi-structured depth interviews. Transcription and data analysis were conducted manually in order to identify success factors that local brands should consider as part of their promotion strategy. Purposive sampling of SMEs identified five designers in Ho Chi Minh City (the biggest city in Vietnam) and three designers in Hanoi (the second biggest) as interviewees. Participant attributes included: born in the 1980s or 1990s; familiar with internet and social media; designer/owner of a successful local fashion brand in the key middle market and/or mass market segments (which are crucial to the growth of local brands). A secondary study was conducted using social listening software to gather further qualitative data on what were considered to be successful or unsuccessful approaches to local fashion brand promotion on social media. Both the primary and secondary studies indicated that local designers had maximized their promotion budget by using owned media and earned media instead of paid media. Findings from the qualitative interviews indicate that internet and social media have been used as effective promotion platforms by local fashion start-ups. Facebook and Instagram were the most popular social networks used by the SMEs interviewed, and these social platforms were believed to offer a more affordable promotional strategy than traditional media such as TV and/or print advertising. Online stores were considered an important factor in helping the SMEs to reach customers beyond the physical store. Furthermore, a successful online store allowed some SMEs to reduce their business rental costs by maintaining their physical store in a cheaper, less central city area as opposed to a more traditional city center store location. In addition, the small comparative size of the SMEs allowed them to be more attentive to their customers, leading to higher customer satisfaction and rate of return. In conclusion, this study found that these kinds of cost savings helped the SMEs interviewed to focus their scarce resources on producing unique, high-quality collections in order to differentiate themselves from international brands. Facebook and Instagram were the main platforms used for promotion and brand-building. The main challenge to this promotion strategy identified by the SMEs interviewed was to continue to find innovative ways to maximize the impact of a limited marketing budget.

Keywords: Marketing, SMEs, Promotion, Fashion Brands, Vietnam, social listening

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21 Risk Factors Associated to Low Back Pain among Active Adults: Cross-Sectional Study among Workers in Tunisian Public Hospital

Authors: Lamia Bouzgarrou, Amira Omrane, Irtyah Merchaoui, Salma Kammoun, Amine Daafa, Neila Chaari


Backgrounds: Currently, low back pain (LBP) is one of the most prevalent public health problems, which caused severe morbidity among a large portion of the adult population. It is also associated with heavy direct and indirect costs, in particular, related to absenteeism and early retirement. Health care workers are one of most occupational groups concerned by LBP, especially because of biomechanical and psycho-organizational risk factors. Our current study aims to investigate risk factors associated with chronic low back pain among Tunisian caregivers in university-hospitals. Methods: Cross-sectional study conducted over a period of 14 months, with a representative sample of caregivers, matched according to age, sex and work department, in two university-hospitals in Tunisia. Data collection included items related to socio-professional characteristics, the evaluation of the working capacity index (WAI), the occupational stress (Karazek job strain questionnaire); the quality of life (SF12), the musculoskeletal disorders Nordic questionnaire, and the examination of the spine flexibility (distance finger-ground, sit-stand maneuver and equilibrium test). Results: Totally, 293 caregivers were included with a mean age equal to 42.64 ± 11.65 years. A body mass index (BMI) exceeding 30, was noted in 20.82% of cases. Moreover, no regular physical activity was practiced in 51.9% of cases. In contrast, domestic activity equal or exceeding 20 hours per week, was reported by 38.22%. Job strain was noted in 19.79 % of cases and the work capacity was 'low' to 'average' among 27.64% of subjects. During the 12 months previous to the investigation, 65% of caregivers complained of LBP, with pain rated as 'severe' or 'extremely severe' in 54.4% of cases and with a frequency of discomfort exceeding one episode per week in 58.52% of cases. During physical examination, the mean distance finger-ground was 7.10 ± 7.5cm. Caregivers assigned to 'high workload' services had the highest prevalence of LBP (77.4%) compared to other categories of hospital services, with no statistically significant relationship (P = 0.125). LBP prevalence was statistically correlated with female gender (p = 0.01) and impaired work capacity (p < 10⁻³). Moreover, the increase of the distance finger-ground was statistically associated with LBP (p = 0.05), advanced age (p < 10⁻³), professional seniority (p < 10⁻³) and the BMI ≥ 25 (p = 0.001). Furthermore, others physical tests of spine flexibility were underperformed among LBP suffering workers with a statistically significant difference (sit-stand maneuver (p = 0.03); equilibrium test (p = 0.01)). According to the multivariate analysis, only the domestic activity exceeding 20H/week, the degraded quality of physical life, and the presence of neck pain were significantly corelated to LBP. The final model explains 36.7% of the variability of this complaint. Conclusion: Our results highlighted the elevate prevalence of LBP among caregivers in Tunisian public hospital and identified both professional and individual predisposing factors. The preliminary analysis supports the necessity of a multidimensional approach to prevent this critical occupational and public health problem. The preventive strategy should be based both on the improvement of working conditions, and also on lifestyle modifications, and reinforcement of healthy behaviors in these active populations.

Keywords: Prevention, low back pain, risk factor, health care workers

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20 Benchmarking of Petroleum Tanker Discharge Operations at a Nigerian Coastal Terminal and Jetty Facilitates Optimization of the Ship–Shore Interface

Authors: Bassey O. Bassey


Benchmarking has progressively become entrenched as a requisite activity for process improvement and enhancing service delivery at petroleum jetties and terminals, most especially during tanker discharge operations at the ship – shore interface, as avoidable delays result in extra operating costs, non-productive time, high demurrage payments and ultimate product scarcity. The jetty and terminal in focus had been operational for 3 and 8 years respectively, with proper operational and logistic records maintained to evaluate their progress over time in order to plan and implement modifications and review of procedures for greater technical and economic efficiency. Regular and emergency staff meetings were held on a team, departmental and company-wide basis to progressively address major challenges that were encountered during each operation. The process and outcome of the resultant collectively planned changes carried out within the past two years forms the basis of this paper, which mirrors the initiatives effected to enhance operational and maintenance excellence at the affected facilities. Operational modifications included a second cargo receipt line designated for gasoline, product loss control at jetty and shore ends, enhanced product recovery and quality control, and revival of terminal–jetty backloading operations. Logistic improvements were the incorporation of an internal logistics firm and shipping agency, fast tracking of discharge procedures for tankers, optimization of tank vessel selection process, and third party product receipt and throughput. Maintenance excellence was achieved through construction of two new lay barges and refurbishment of the existing one; revamping of existing booster pump and purchasing of a modern one as reserve capacity; extension of Phase 1 of the jetty to accommodate two vessels and construction of Phase 2 for two more vessels; regular inspection, draining, drying and replacement of cargo hoses; corrosion management program for all process facilities; and an improved, properly planned and documented maintenance culture. Safety, environmental and security compliance were enhanced by installing state-of-the-art fire fighting facilities and equipment, seawater intake line construction as backup for borehole at the terminal, remediation of the shoreline and marine structures, modern spill containment equipment, improved housekeeping and accident prevention practices, and installation of hi-technology security enhancements, among others. The end result has been observed over the past two years to include improved tanker turnaround time, higher turnover on product sales, consistent product availability, greater indigenous human capacity utilisation by way of direct hires and contracts, as well as customer loyalty. The lessons learnt from this exercise would, therefore, serve as a model to be adapted by other operators of similar facilities, contractors, academics and consultants in a bid to deliver greater sustainability and profitability of operations at the ship – shore interface to this strategic industry.

Keywords: Benchmarking, Optimisation, petroleum jetty, petroleum terminal

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19 Experimental Characterisation of Composite Panels for Railway Flooring

Authors: S. Dias, A. Coelho, F. Pedro, A. Tadeu, J. António, Ó. López


Railway transportation is considered the most economical and sustainable way to travel. However, future mobility brings important challenges to railway operators. The main target is to develop solutions that stimulate sustainable mobility. The research and innovation goals for this domain are efficient solutions, ensuring an increased level of safety and reliability, improved resource efficiency, high availability of the means (train), and satisfied passengers with the travel comfort level. These requirements are in line with the European Strategic Agenda for the 2020 rail sector, promoted by the European Rail Research Advisory Council (ERRAC). All these aspects involve redesigning current equipment and, in particular, the interior of the carriages. Recent studies have shown that two of the most important requirements for passengers are reasonable ticket prices and comfortable interiors. Passengers tend to use their travel time to rest or to work, so train interiors and their systems need to incorporate features that meet these requirements. Among the various systems that integrate train interiors, the flooring system is one of the systems with the greatest impact on passenger safety and comfort. It is also one of the systems that takes more time to install on the train, and which contributes seriously to the weight (mass) of all interior systems. Additionally, it presents a strong impact on manufacturing costs. The design of railway floor, in the development phase, is usually made relying on a design software that allows to draw and calculate several solutions in a short period of time. After obtaining the best solution, considering the goals previously defined, experimental data is always necessary and required. This experimental phase has such great significance, that its outcome can provoke the revision of the designed solution. This paper presents the methodology and some of the results of an experimental characterisation of composite panels for railway application. The mechanical tests were made for unaged specimens and for specimens that suffered some type of aging, i.e. heat, cold and humidity cycles or freezing/thawing cycles. These conditionings aim to simulate not only the time effect, but also the impact of severe environmental conditions. Both full solutions and separated components/materials were tested. For the full solution, (panel) these were: four-point bending tests, tensile shear strength, tensile strength perpendicular to the plane, determination of the spreading of water, and impact tests. For individual characterisation of the components, more specifically for the covering, the following tests were made: determination of the tensile stress-strain properties, determination of flexibility, determination of tear strength, peel test, tensile shear strength test, adhesion resistance test and dimensional stability. The main conclusions were that experimental characterisation brings a huge contribution to understand the behaviour of the materials both individually and assembled. This knowledge contributes to the increase the quality and improvements of premium solutions. This research work was framed within the POCI-01-0247-FEDER-003474 (coMMUTe) Project funded by Portugal 2020 through the COMPETE 2020.

Keywords: Durability, Experimental Characterization, mechanical tests, railway flooring system

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