Health and Medical News and Resources

General interest items edited by Janice Flahiff

[Psychology Resource] APA Center for Organizational Excellence

APA Center for Organizational Excellence

·http://www.apaexcellence.org

From the Scout Report

The science of psychology is often associated with either carefully controlled lab experiments or the soft-spoken tones of a therapist’s office. But psychologists actually study a huge range of behavioral phenomena. This site from the American Psychological Association (APA) focuses on work and work environments, asking questions such as: What makes work meaningful? How can companies help people love their jobs? And what’s in it for the companies if they invest in making the workplace healthier? There is a lot to discover here, including the Articles & Research section, which links readers to coverage of workplace research by such media outlets as USA Today and Market Watch. The Good Company section is another great find and features Podcasts as well as a Newsletter and Blog that provide focused, research-based content for both employers and workers. Company executives may also want to look into the Psychologically Healthy Workplace Award, which has been “shining the spotlight on exemplary organizations” since 1999. [CNH]

November 25, 2014 Posted by | Psychology, Uncategorized, Workplace Health | , , , | Leave a comment

[Press release] Emerging trends in worker health and safety

From the 8 May 2014 EurkAlert

Abstracts at AIHce 2014 to cover several major areas including healthcare, ergonomics and public health and safety

FALLS CHURCH, Va. (May 8, 2014) – Eleven abstracts to be presented at the 2014 American Industrial Hygiene Conference and Exposition (AIHce) will reveal some exciting new strategies to protect worker health. These approaches range from advancing the safety culture in academic laboratories to minimizing the risks to workers in healthcare settings.

“These scientific abstracts and case studies show us exciting new opportunities and methods for providing workers and communities with a healthier and safer environment,” said AIHA President Barbara J. Dawson, CIH, CSP. “We’re certain that these presenters will inspire their colleagues with the solutions and best practices they will need to excel in their daily workplace challenges.”

Nearly 350 abstracts will be presented May 31 through June 5, 2014, at the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center in San Antonio. The meeting, based on the theme, “Evolution and Journey to a Safer Tomorrow,” is expected to draw more than 5,000 occupational and environmental health and safety professionals from around the world.

Below are short summaries of the 11 conference presentations highlighting new trends in the IH industry in the fields of ergonomics, air quality, noise exposure, healthcare, and public health and safety. For additional information on these presentations, please contact Nicole Racadag at (703) 846-0700 or nracadag@aiha.org.

Ergonomics

Musculoskeletal Disorders in Texas and the United States 
Michelle Cook, PhD(c), MPH
University of Texas Health Science Center School of Public Health, Austin, TX

From 2003 to 2009, trends in nonfatal occupational musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) declined from 26,810 to 14,690 in Texas and from 435,180 to 283,800 in the United States. In 2009, occupational MSDs accounted for 24.4 percent and 29.4 percent of all nonfatal occupational injuries and illnesses (NOII) in Texas and the U.S., respectively. This presentation will look at how occupational MSDs, which cost U.S. businesses $15.2 billion in 2008, still account for a large number of NOII and continue to be a public health concern.

Safe Patient Handling Technologies
Elise Condie, MS
RMIT University, Melbourne, VIC, Australia

This research discusses ways to help nursing staff use modern patient mobilization technology in hospital settings. Use of this equipment is better for nurses and prevents injuries to staff while reducing falls and pressure ulcers among patients who need help to move, thus helping patients get discharged from the hospital sooner.

Laboratory Health and Safety

Advancing Safety in Academic Research Laboratories
Lawrence M. Gibbs, MEd, MPH, CIH
Stanford University, Stanford, CA

Stanford University convened a faculty-led task force to review and evaluate safety in campus research laboratories and to recommend ways to promote and advance a robust and positive safety culture among researchers.

Infection Control Issues

Occupationally-Acquired Influenza among Healthcare Workers
Rachael M. Jones, PhD, MPH
University of Illinois at Chicago School of Public Health, Chicago, IL

Healthcare workers provide care to patients with influenza and may develop influenza as a result of occupational exposures, but they may not recognize the infection as being related to their work environment. Influenza has not been widely recognized as an occupationally-acquired infection. This is the first effort to tabulate its burden on healthcare workers.

Specialty Building IAQ

Secondhand Tobacco Smoke Exposure in New Orleans Bars and Casinos
Daniel J. Harrington, ScD, CIH
Louisiana State University School of Public Health, New Orleans, LA

Secondhand tobacco smoke is a significant health hazard that causes a wide range of cardiovascular and respiratory health effects, including cancer. The researchers measured levels of secondhand smoke in smoking bars, casinos, and smoke-free bars in New Orleans in 2011.

Airborne Hazardous Chemicals in Hairdressing Salons in Taiwan
Che-Jung Chang
National Taiwan University, Taipei, Taiwan

This study found that the levels of formaldehyde in hair salon products and other hazardous chemicals found in hair salons in Taiwan might exceed the World Health Organization’s indoor air guideline for the public.

Occupational Injuries of Healthcare Workers

Nonwage Losses Associated with Occupational Injury Among Healthcare Workers
Hasanat Alamgir, PhD, MBA
University of Texas School of Public Health, San Antonio, TX

This study was designed to quantify the economic and quality of life consequences experienced by healthcare workers in Canada for the most common types of occupational injuries. Findings showed that many of these occupational injuries in healthcare workers are not usually captured or recorded in official workers’ compensation statistics.

Biosafety and Environmental Microbiology

Public Health Risk from Legionella Pneumophila in Whirlpool Spas
Thomas Armstrong, PhD
TWA8HR Occupational Hygiene Consulting, LLC, Branchburg, NJ

Legionella bacteria thrive in warm water, such as in that of whirlpool spas and whirlpool spas’ water mist. An estimated 10 to 20 percent of the community-acquired pneumonia cases (more than 60,000 deaths in the U.S. per year and 4.2 million treatments for pneumonia) may be caused by Legionnaires’ disease.

Protecting the Public and Workers

Employee Exposure to Air Contaminants After Hurricane Sandy
Kerry-Ann Jaggassar, MSc
ENVIRON, Boston, MA

This presentation will discuss how an industrial hygiene-based assessment was used to evaluate the risk of potential worker exposure to air contaminants of concern during the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.

Lessons in CSR from Hurricanes Katrina and Sandy
William Sothern, MA, MS
Microecologies Inc., New York, NY

This presentation will look at the “reciprocal generosity paradigm” which, if embraced by businesses on a large scale, could promote substantial corporate investment in public health initiatives, while at the same time serving the interests of corporate stakeholders.

Community Noise

Noise Controls for Indoor and Outdoor Shooting Ranges
Stephen Katz, Academy Award® winner
Stephen Katz & Associates, Los Angeles, CA

This case study examined the measurement of noise at shooting ranges using multiple high-level instrumentation microphones and a high-speed, multi-channel recorder.

###

AIHce 2014 is co-sponsored by the American Industrial Hygiene Association® (AIHA) and the American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists® (ACGIH). AIHA will mark the 75th anniversary of the industrial hygiene profession at this premier event, and celebrate its long history of protecting worker health and serving the IH community.

Information for Media: http://aihce2014.org/general-information/press/

 

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May 10, 2014 Posted by | Workplace Health | , , , | Leave a comment

[Journal Article] My Manager Took My Lunch Money: A Look at Workplace Bullying

From the March 2014 article by  Pamela Kravitz at International Journal of Business, Humanities and Technology

Workplace bullying is when a person is singled out by others for embarrassing or intimidating treatment. Studies find that 37-50 percent of workers have been exposed to bullying. This paper defines behaviors, recognizes methods, and discusses the policies managers and employees can use in an attempt to eliminate bullying in the workplace.

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May 2, 2014 Posted by | Workplace Health | , , , | Leave a comment

[Reblog] Good News! A Workplace Wellness Vendor Saying You’re Sick Means You’re Probably Healthy | The Health Care Blog

Good News! A Workplace Wellness Vendor Saying You’re Sick Means You’re Probably Healthy | The Health Care Blog.

From the 25 January 2014 blog item

Your wellness vendor says you are: But are you really sick?

Don’t take our for it that these workplace wellness programs are a complete and utter waste of your time and blood and your employer’s money, and can even generate medical treatments you don’t need.  Do the arithmetic yourself.  (The next paragraph does contain a little math but on the bright side if you can follow it, you can probably continue to live independently for at least a few more years.)

Assume a vendor finger-stick test that you get at your company’s “health fair” is 96 percent accurate. Further assume that vendors are seeking silent disorders that on average have a 1 percent prevalence.  Do you suppose your odds of a false positive in those circumstances are 4 percent? To use a technical clinical term, nope. Out of 100 employees, the single employee who is actually afflicted with this disorder should test positive. Unfortunately, 4 of the other 99 will also test positive even though they are fine…because a 96%-accurate test is also 4%-inaccurate. This means of the 5 people who test positive, only 1 has the disorder—a false positive rate of 80 percent!

And that’s just on one test. With that kind of accuracy, it’s odds-on that if you get all the tests with all the frequencies that a wellness vendor recommends, at least one lab value will eventually be outside a normal range…and potentially thrust you into the treatment trap. The key to surviving this testing jihad without being trapped is–as with just about everything else in wellness–to start with the assumption that the vendor is wrong. This is a pretty safe bet. How safe? I don’t even know you, but if you tell me the sky is green and a wellness vendor profiled in this book tells me the sky is blue, I’d at least go look out the window.

Those false-positives make overdiagnosis (finding and treating maladies that don’t exist) the rule, not the exception.

 

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February 2, 2014 Posted by | Workplace Health | , , | Leave a comment

[Reblog] A Workplace Counters Ageism – National Institutes of Health

Just had to repost this. Last week at the Area Office on Aging (where I volunteer 6 hours or so a week), one of my clients was a 70 year old woman.  She voiced much of what the woman below said, including feeling unwelcome.  And this after 30+ years with the company!   Maybe all workplaces should have time to read and discuss the article below…Multigenerational Teams Work best.

Thank you Marti Weston, thank you.

 

From the 13 November 2013 post by Marti Weston at As Our Parents Age

Last Thursday, on the Washington DC Metro, a woman sitting in front of me spoke to a seat mate about ageism, a term first coined by Dr. Robert Butler, the first director of the National Institute of Aging (NIA).

As I eavesdropped, the woman on the Metro spoke about comments from younger colleagues, the tendency of some to roll their eyes when she speaks, and remarks about her retirement, still about five years away if she waits until she is 65. “I feel so unwelcome,” she commented,” that sometimes I make jokes about my own retirement just to counteract what I hear.”

Yet as the conversation went on — my apologies for listening in — it was clear that this woman loved her job and was engaged in her work. Lots of people in their late 50s and 60’s can identify with this situation.

So I read with interest the November 10, 2013, Washington Post article, In an Era Plagued by Ageism, NIH Prizes Older Workers. Written by Post reporter Tara Bahrampour, the report details how the National Institutes of Health (NIH) has created a work environment that accepts — and even celebrates — its older and veteran staff members. The article also includes a link to the AARP 2013 list of best employers for people over age 50.

A Few Interesting Excerpts

    • This year, NIH topped AARP’s list of best employers for workers over 50, based on criteria including career development opportunities, workplace accommodations, flexible scheduling, job sharing and other employee benefits.
    • NIH offers perks with particular appeal for older employees, including flexible work schedules, generous telecommuting policies, opportunities to mentor younger workers and fitness programs geared for older bodies.
    • The benefits were not part of a master plan but rather something that evolved, said Phil Lenowitz, deputy director of NIH’s office of human resources.
    • A big draw for scientists such as Waldmann is the ability to view a project in terms of decades, rather than years.

Read the entire article to learn much more.

A Few More Links Where You Can Learn About Ageism

 

November 11, 2013 Posted by | Workplace Health | , , , | 1 Comment

Handbook on strategies to reduce overcrowding in prisons

Screen Shot 2013-11-06 at 6.51.04 AM

Here in Toledo, Ohio my (Catholic) parish boundary includes a nearby state prison.
The bishop’s office redrew parish boundaries a few years back and decided our parish, three miles from the prison, includes the Catholics at Toledo Correctional Institution. Quite a challenge for us, we have about 100 “churchgoers” on the average Sunday, about 2/3 are over age 60. About 20 baptized Catholics (of an inmate population of 1,220)  are registered within our parish.

We were encouraged to write the inmates. So I did. After about 3 letter exchanges, one asked me to visit him. So, after 3 weeks of pondering, I did.  It really isn’t any big deal.  Robb is very articulate and we do have some lively discussions in areas of politics, Catholic Church “hot topics”, and philosophy.

In the past year, four inmates have been murdered. at Toledo Correctional.  Allegedly by other inmates.  In Michigan, only one inmate was murdered in the whole state in the last year.  The rise in violence is in tandem with increasing overcrowding, especially double bunking in cells designed for single occupancy.

I am including this item because overcrowding is a safety and (mental) health issue.  The murders here at Toledo Correctional were in the higher security levels, Robb is in the lowest security level. Still, I cannot imagine how this is impacting Robb’s mental health.

Excerpts from the handbook
(I realize American prisons are probably better than the worst of the worst internationally, still, there is room for improvement)

In very diverse environments and over many years, the ICRC has witnessed first- hand the consequences of overcrowding on detainees and on the authorities. Indeed, overcrowding is an increasingly widespread problem in a number of countries and places of detention. In itself, it is a very serious humanitarian concern, as it auto- matically generates substandard and often inhumane conditions of detention. Tens of thousands of people are forced to live for extended periods in congested accom- modation, with insufficient space to move, sit or sleep. This seriously compromises the ability of the administration to fulfil detainees’ basic needs in terms of living conditions, medical care, legal aid and family visits. Being squeezed into cramped living quarters, often in appalling hygiene conditions and with no privacy, makes the experience of being deprived of freedom—already stressful in normal circumstances— exponentially worse. It erodes human dignity and undermines detainees’ physical and mental health, as well as their reintegration prospects. In addition to putting excessive strain on infrastructures, it heightens the potential for tensions and conflicts among detainees and with staff. It quickly leads to difficulties in maintaining good order within the prison, resulting in potentially severe consequences in terms of safety for the detainees, as well as in terms of supervision and security.

While the consequences are particularly grave for the men, women and children deprived of their liberty, they also affect the frontline staff whose job it is to protect and meet the needs of the detainees. Overwhelmed by excessive numbers and directly exposed to the frustration of the detainees without the resources needed to guarantee security or access to the most basic services, detention staff work in difficult condi- tions and are exposed to constant pressure and risk.

ICRC knows from experience that situations of overcrowding, once established, trig- ger a downward spiral which has a negative impact on the entire criminal justice system as a result of increasing congestion, staff demotivation and the development of parallel coping mechanisms or corruption.

3. Broader consequences of excessive imprisonment

The impact of overcrowding does not remain within the prison walls. It can have a detrimental impact on public health. The cost of the excessive use of imprisonment, which is a fundamental reason for prison overcrowding in countries worldwide (see chapter B), can be significant, increasing the poverty levels and socio-economic mar- ginalization of certain groups of people and reducing funds available for other spheres of government expenditure.

….

3.1 The cost of imprisonment

Numerous studies have shown that imprisonment disproportionately affects people living in poverty. When an income generating member of the family is imprisoned, the sudden loss of income can have a severe impact on the economic status of the rest of the family—especially so in low resource countries where the state does not usually provide financial assistance to the poor and where it is not unusual for one person to financially support an extended family network. When released, often with no prospects for employment due to their criminal record, former prisoners are generally subjected to socio-economic exclusion and are vulnerable to an endless cycle of poverty, marginalization, criminality and imprisonment. Thus, imprisonment contributes directly to the impoverishment of the prisoner and his or her family. Studies have also shown that children of parents who have been imprisoned are more likely to come into conflict with the law and that once detained, they are likely to be further criminalized. Thus the cycle is expanded, creating future victims and reducing future potential economic performance

…….

  • State report rips Toledo prison (toledoblade.com, 09/13/2013)
    “A state committee on Thursday issued a harsh, lengthy inspection report of the Toledo Correctional Institution, citing significant increases in assaults, high employee-turnover rates, rampant drug trading, and three homicides reported there in the past year.The 164-page report from the Correctional Institution Inspection Committee shows that inmate-on-inmate assaults increased by nearly 113 percent and inmate-on-staff assaults increased nearly 74 percent from 2010 to 2012. The legislatively established committee monitors prison facilities, conducts unannounced inspections of prisons, and writes reports of their activities.”
    “The prison has the highest staff turnover rate — 16.5 percent — of all prisons in the state, according to the report. Most staff resignations come while employees are being investigated, according to the report.

    Toledo Correctional “has historically had challenges recruiting quality staff, particularly in health care,” the report states.
    Read more at http://www.toledoblade.com/State/2013/09/13/State-report-rips-Toledo-prison.html#RzJGpLqojeJcCKFA.99

  • Prison’s acts failed to halt homicides (toledoblade.com)

November 6, 2013 Posted by | Consumer Health, Consumer Safety, Workplace Health | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Job Strain Helps Explain Adverse Effects of Workaholism

From the 4 November 2011 ScienceDaily article

Workaholics work hard, but still have poor job performance — mainly because of high mental and physical strain, according to a study in the November Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, official publication of the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine (ACOEM).

Alexander Falco, PhD, and colleagues of University of Padova, Italy, analyzed survey responses from a sample of more than 300 private-sector workers. Workaholism is defined as working excessively and working compulsively — workaholics “work hard, rather than smart.”

The workers in the study had “moderate” levels of workaholism overall. Workaholics showed evidence of high job strain, with physical and mental symptoms such as digestive, memory, and sleep problems.

In turn, high strain was associated with worse job performance — thus workaholism led indirectly to decreased performance, via increased mental and physical strain. After accounting for strain, there was no direct link between workaholism and job performance.

 

Read entire article here

 

November 5, 2013 Posted by | Workplace Health | , , , , , | Leave a comment

[Press release] The benefits of crying wolf

From the 28 October 2013 Indiana State University press release

Crying wolf: Who benefits and when?

A crisis at work can bring out the best in colleagues, often inspiring more cooperation and self-sacrifice. A new study from Indiana University and the University of Guelph has found the benefits are not shared equally, with higher-ranking group members having the most to gain by perceived threats to the group.

“Sociologists have known for a long time that groups tend to come together when they face adversity,” said social psychologist Stephen Benard, assistant professor in the Department of Sociology at IU Bloomington. “What our research highlights is that there is a downside to our tendency to stick together when things are tough — powerful group members can exploit that tendency to distract us from competing with them.”

The study, “Who cries wolf, and when? Manipulation of perceived threats to preserve rank in cooperative groups,” was published in the online journal Proceedings of the Library of Science One in September. Pat Barclay, assistant professor in the Department of Psychology at University of Guelph in Canada is the co-author.

Benard and Barclay tested their theories by creating three-person groups and having them play a cooperative group game in which people could pay money to increase the perception of threat to their group. They found that people with higher-ranking positions paid more to manipulate the threat and the action helped maintain their privileged positions.

“With this approach, we find people in high-ranking positions are more likely to manipulate apparent threats when their position is precarious, compared to when it is secure,” Benard said.
But this doesn’t mean the next crisis at work is a ploy by the boss to boost her job security. Social science predictions involve the average person, in general, not specific people or situations.

“When groups face potential threats, it’s important to judge those threats carefully,” Benard said. “On one hand, you want to be alert to the fact that other group members might have an incentive to exaggerate the threat. On the other hand, it’s also important not to underestimate threats that could be real.”

The study was supported by the National Science Foundation in conjunction with the Minerva Initiative of the U.S. department of Defense and the Cornell University Institute for Social Sciences.

 

 

October 30, 2013 Posted by | Psychology, Workplace Health | , | Leave a comment

EPA Web Tool Expands Access to Scientific, Regulatory Information on Chemicals

Environmental Protection Agency Seal

Environmental Protection Agency Seal (Photo credit: DonkeyHotey)

 

From the 9 September 2013 EPA press release

 

Release Date: 09/09/2013
Contact Information: Cathy Milbourn, Milbourn.cathy@epa.gov, 202-564-7849, 202-564-4355

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has launched a web-based tool, called ChemView, to significantly improve access to chemical specific regulatory information developed by EPA and data submitted under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). 

“This online tool will improve access to chemical health and safety information, increase public dialogue and awareness, and help viewers choose safer ingredients used in everyday products,” said James Jones, assistant administrator for the Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention. “The tool will make chemical information more readily available for chemical decision-makers and consumers.”

The ChemView web tool displays key health and safety data in an online format that allows comparison of chemicals by use and by health or environmental effects. The search tool combines available TSCA information and provides streamlined access to EPA assessments, hazard characterizations, and information on safer chemical ingredients. Additionally, the new web tool allows searches by chemical name or Chemical Abstracts Service (CAS) number, use, hazard effect, or regulatory action. It has the flexibility to create tailored views of the information on individual chemicals or compare multiple chemicals sorted by use, hazard effect or other criteria. The new portal will also link to information on manufacturing, processing, use, and release data reported under the Chemical Data Reporting Rule, and the Toxics Release Inventory. 

In the months ahead, EPA will be continuously adding additional chemicals, functionality and links. When fully updated, the web tool will contain data for thousands of chemicals. EPA has incorporated stakeholder input into the design, and welcomes feedback on the current site.

By increasing health and safety information, as well as identifying safer chemical ingredients, manufacturers and retailers will have the information to better differentiate their products by using safer ingredients. 

In 2010, EPA began a concerted effort to increase the availability of information on chemicals as part of a commitment to strengthen the existing chemicals program and improve access and usefulness of chemical data and information. This included improving access to the TSCA inventory, issuing new policies for the review of confidential business information claims for health and safety studies, and launching the Chemical Data Access Tool. Today’s launch of the ChemView provides the public with a single access point for information that has been generated on certain chemicals regulated under TSCA.

View and search ChemView: http://www.epa.gov/chemview

 

 

 

October 15, 2013 Posted by | Consumer Health, Consumer Safety, Tutorials/Finding aids, Workplace Health | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

[Re-post] The Advantages of Not Multi-Tasking

Tantek Multitasking

Tantek Multitasking (Photo credit: Thomas Hawk)

 

Always thought it was best to focus on one thing at a time….

 

From the 8 August 2013 article at Higher Ed Jobs by Kelly A. Cherwin, Communications Editor, HigherEdJobs

 

Although I did turn off my cell phone, I attended the recent ACUHO-I conference session eating my yogurt and drinking a cup of coffee as I was taking notes on why most people are not efficient at multi-tasking. This is why I’m sharing tips from the presentation: “I’m Really Good at Multi-tasking” – No You Are Not!

Many people feel that if they multi-task, they can be more efficient and effective. However, the truth is that most people don’t do it well and often times the quality of each task completed may decrease. As discussed by the presenter, Cathy Bickel from Ball State University, a study by Microsoft found that it takes an employee an average of 15 minutes to return their attention back to the previous task when distracted by email, instant message, etc. If a person is in a meeting and then decides they must return a text message, they are no longer really focusing on the meeting details. They are physically sitting in the meeting, but they are not present because their attention is diverted to the text and then later more time is spent focusing their attention back to the meeting. Someone is on a phone call and then suddenly hears the “ding” of new emails in their inbox. They check the emails, while still talking on the phone but again, their attention is diverted from the phone call as well as possibly missing details in the emails. Examples of inefficient multi-tasking are plentiful. So, what is the answer? In most non-urgent cases, it is better to complete one task with one’s full attention and then move on to the next. Yes, the definition of urgent is subjective but most professionals should be able to distinguish between something urgent and the newest funny picture of a cat.

As Bickel mentioned, attention is a more limited resource than time and people need to manage their attention in order to be more productive. Here are strategies on how to manage attention and be more efficient without multi-tasking:

  • Prioritize the day. Try to schedule the most important tasks in the morning. Don’t move on to next task until the first one is complete. Having a to-do list of these necessary tasks is a must.
  • Consider time periods. Similar to what is encountered in school or in a sporting event, block the day into time periods. Work through these specific time periods accomplishing set tasks without allowing for interruptions. Schedule a bit of downtime in between periods for a breather or to take care of an urgent matter that may arise.
  • Remove negative attention. For example, turn off the phone during the meeting or set incoming message alerts to mute while on a phone call.
  • Don’t constantly fill the white space. There isn’t a need for technology all of the time. While waiting in line at the store or for the train, don’t always check the phone. Enjoy the surroundings!
  • Invest attention in high returns. Consider eliminating “non-essential” websites and only check your favorites like HigherEdJobs.com or others once a day.
  • Prevent distractions. Close the door if it is apparent that people or other noise will constantly be causing interruptions.
  • Discuss boundaries. Let friends and family know when it is appropriate to be contacted at work. If there is an illness, “yes” but to ask what is for dinner is a “no.”
  • Share commitments with others. If you tell people that you are not going to look at your emails the entire night, they can help hold you accountable.

It is not breaking news that we live in a chaotic world and often are forced to juggle many roles. But if we could all take a few minutes to slow down and truly focus on the task at hand (the meeting, an email, a co-worker, your family), both efficiency and effectiveness will follow even without multi-tasking.

 

 

August 29, 2013 Posted by | Psychology, Workplace Health | , , , | Leave a comment

RAND Shrugged | The Health Care Blog

Janice Flahiff:

The comments section was the most interesting part of this Web page.

Originally posted on Khanna On Health Blog:

Al Lewis and I write our unique take on the meaning of the RAND report on workplace wellness programs…

RAND Shrugged | The Health Care Blog.

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July 14, 2013 Posted by | Medical and Health Research News, Workplace Health | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Infographic: How to Get 30 Minutes of Exercise at Your Desk

Janice Flahiff:

Who actually has time to exercise? As life gets busy, taking care of yourself is usually the first thing to move to the back burner. But to help you out, we looked at the average work day, and realized that there’s lots of potential for exercising at work, you just need to get a little creative.

This infographic has a series of circuits that will get your heart pounding at your desk. Good luck, and let us know what you think of the plan.

 

Originally posted on Million Ideas:

30 Minutes at Desk_circuit work out_millionideas

Who actually has time to exercise? As life gets busy, taking care of yourself is usually the first thing to move to the back burner. But to help you out, we looked at the average work day, and realized that there’s lots of potential for exercising at work, you just need to get a little creative.

This infographic has a series of circuits that will get your heart pounding at your desk. Good luck, and let us know what you think of the plan.

30 Minute Desk_Thumbnail

Related Posts: Infographic: Conquering Workplace Wellness, Workplace wellness: 5 tips to stay healthy in the office

View original

July 14, 2013 Posted by | Workplace Health | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Patients Can Emit Small, Influenza-Containing Particles Into the Air During Routine Care

From the 31 January 2013 article at KevinMD.com

[The]majority of influenza virus in the air samples analyzed was found in small particles during non-aerosol-generating activities up to a 6-foot distance from the patient’s head..

Vaccination of health providers remains a fundamental and key part of protecting them from influenza

 

A new study suggests that patients with influenza can emit small virus-containing particles into the surrounding air during routine patient care, potentially exposing health care providers to influenza. Published in The Journal of Infectious Diseases, the findings raise the possibility that current influenza infection control recommendations may not always be adequate to protect providers from influenza during routine patient care in hospitals…

The current belief is that influenza virus is spread primarily by large particles traveling up to a maximum of 3 to 6 feet from an infected person. Recommended precautions for health providers focus on preventing transmission by large droplets and following special instructions during aerosol-generating procedures. In this study, Dr. Bischoff and his team discovered that the majority of influenza virus in the air samples analyzed was found in small particles during non-aerosol-generating activities up to a 6-foot distance from the patient’s head, and that concentrations of virus decreased with distance. The study addressed only the presence of influenza-containing particles near patients during routine care, not the actual transmission of influenza infection to others.

Fitted respirators are currently required for health care providers during aerosol-generating procedures with patients. During routine, non-aerosol-generating patient care, the current precautions recommend that providers wear a non-fitted face mask. Based on their findings, Dr. Bischoff and investigators are concerned that providers may still be exposed to infectious dosages of influenza virus up to 6 feet from patients with small wide-spreading particles potentially exceeding the current suggested exposure zones.

These findings suggest that current infection control recommendations may need to be reevaluated, the study authors concluded. The detection of “super-emitters” raises concerns about how individuals with high viral load may impact the spread of influenza, they noted. “Our study offers new evidence of the natural emission of influenza and may provide a better understanding of how to best protect health care providers during routine care activities,” the study authors wrote. However, studies of influenza virus transmission will be necessary before the role of super-emitters can be firmly established, they noted…

Whatever protective equipment or infection control practices are used for preventing influenza transmission, vaccination of health providers remains a fundamental and key part of protecting them from influenza, noted Dr. William Schaffner, professor medicine and chair of the department of preventive medicine at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine in Nashville, Tenn., who was not involved with the study. “Influenza vaccination, although not perfect, is the best tool we have to protect health care workers — and their patients — from influenza illness.

 

 

February 1, 2013 Posted by | Consumer Health, Workplace Health | , , | Leave a comment

Burnout In Middle-Aged Women

Over the years I’ve noticed quite a few middle aged women who burned out.
Far from being an indicator of personal failure, I am now seeing burn out at least partially “caused” by work conditions.
Work conditions which are over controlling to the point of demeaning. Work conditions which do not recognize and build on the full range of employees talents.

From the 21 January 2013 article at Medical News Today

Emotional exhaustion and physical and cognitive fatigue are signs of burnout, often caused by prolonged exposure to stress. Burnout can cause negative health effects including poor sleep, depressionanxiety, and cardiovascular and immune disorders. The findings of a 9-year study of burnout in middle-aged working women are reported in an article in Journal of Women’s Health, a peer-reviewed publication from Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., publishers. The article is available on the Journal of Women’s Healthwebsite.*….

Read the entire article here

 

The full text of the article may be found here 

Some excerpts

“Burnout has been considered a predominantly work-related phenomenon, and, thus, high work demands, job strain, lack of control, and social support at work have been identified as psychosocial factors that contribute to stress and subsequently to burnout.7,22–24 Little research has been focused on the prevalence of work-related stress and burnout in the general working population, however, particularly among middle-aged women,25 as burnout has been studied most frequently in particular occupational groups, such as teachers and healthcare providers. Therefore, the present study is important by addressing this question and by investigating a random population-based sample of middle-aged women employed in various occupations, using a longitudinal approach”

“The present study is important because of our focus on a random sample of the general working population of middle-aged women. To a large extent, earlier research has focused on particular occupational groups, such as teachers or healthcare providers, and this age group of women has rarely been the focus of research concerning work stress and burnout. Another strength of our study is its longitudinal design, including three waves of measurements during a 9-year period. The majority of studies on burnout have been cross-sectional, and those with a longitudinal design mainly have used only two waves of measurements.”

Results: When using a variable-based approach, the results showed no significant changes in burnout over time. However, underlying these levels, six trajectories were identified. These clusters represented four different developmental patterns: high levels followed by recovery, increasing levels, increasing and diminishing levels, and stable levels.

Conclusions: In contrast to previous research suggesting that burnout is a stable construct over time, the present study identified distinct subgroups of women showing different developmental patterns of burnout during a 9-year period. Furthermore, our findings showed that the development of burnout was accompanied by concurrent changes in life stress as well as work-related and individual factors.”

 

 

 

January 22, 2013 Posted by | Workplace Health | , | Leave a comment

UC Davis study links low wages with hypertension, especially for women and younger workers

This study rightly talks about an association between low wages and hypertension, not a cause/effect.
A public health issue that I hope is pursued at national and local levels.

From the 1 January 2013 EurkAlert article

(SACRAMENTO, Calif.) — Workers earning the lowest wages have a higher risk of hypertension than workers with the highest wages, according to new research from UC Davis.

The correlation between wages and hypertension was especially strong among women and persons between the ages of 25 to 44.

“We were surprised that low wages were such a strong risk factor for two populations not typically associated with hypertension, which is more often linked with being older and male,” said J. Paul Leigh, senior author of the study and professor of public health sciences at UC Davis. “Our outcome shows that women and younger employees working at the lowest pay scales should be screened regularly for hypertension as well.”

The study, published in the December issue of the European Journal of Public Health, is believed to be the first to isolate the role of wages in hypertension, which occurs when the force of circulating blood against artery walls is too high. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, hypertension affects approximately 1 in 3 adults in the U.S. and costs more than $90 billion each year in health-care services, medications and missed work days. It also is a major contributor to heart disease and stroke, both of which are leading causes of death and disability.

While there is a known association between lower socioeconomic status (SES) and hypertension, determining the specific reason for that association has been difficult, according to Leigh. Other researchers have focused on factors such as occupation, job strain, education and insurance coverage, with unclear results. Leigh’s study was the first to focus on wages and hypertension….

f there were 110 million persons employed in the U.S. between the ages of 25 and 65 per year during the entire timeframe of the study — from 1999 until 2005 — then a 10 percent increase in everyone’s wages would have resulted in 132,000 fewer cases of hypertension each year,” said Leigh.

Read the entire article here

 

January 4, 2013 Posted by | Workplace Health | , | Leave a comment

Delusions Of Gender: Men’s Insecurities May Lead To Sexist Views Of Women

Delusions of Gender

Delusions of Gender (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

Thinking insecurities lead to sexist attitudes in other realms, including government, religious, and civic organizations….

 

From the 29 December 2012 article at Medical News Today

 

A new study led by Joshua Hart, assistant professor of psychology, suggests that men’s insecurities about relationships and conflicted views of women as romantic partners and rivals could lead some to adopt sexist attitudes about women…

..

Hart’s study found that anxiously attached men tend to be ambivalent sexists – both hostile and benevolent – whereas avoidantly attached men typically endorse hostile sexism, while rejecting benevolent sexism.

“In other words, anxious men are likely to alternate between chivalry and hostility toward female partners, acting like a knight in shining armor when she fulfills his goals and ideals about women, but like an ogre when she doesn’t,” Hart explained this month to the Society of Personality and Social Psychology’s web-based news site, Connections. “Avoidant men are likely to show only hostility without any princely protectiveness.”

The survey results also showed that anxiously attached men tend to be romantics at heart who adopt benevolently sexist beliefs, while avoidantly attached men lean toward social dominance. That, in turn, leads them to embrace hostile sexism.

The findings highlight how personality traits could predispose men to be sexists, according to Hart. This information could help couples build stronger relationships, particularly during therapy.

For the full study in the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, click here. To read Hart’s summary for the Society of Personality and Social Psychology, click here.

 

Read the entire article

 

 

 

December 29, 2012 Posted by | Psychology, Workplace Health | , , , , | Leave a comment

[Reblog] Exposure to Animal Agriculture Increases Prevalence of Nerve Damage

ARS Campylobacter jejuni

ARS Campylobacter jejuni (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

[Reblog] From the 25 November 2012 post at Scot Nass MD’s blog

 

From Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine: Beef and dairy farmers are more likely to suffer from numbness and weakness, characteristics of peripheral neuropathy, compared with farmers who do not work with animals, according to new analysis of 16,340 participants of the Agricultural Health Study. The authors hypothesized that exposure to the common intestinal bacteria Campylobacter jejuni leads to greater risk of symptoms associated with Guillain-Barré Syndrome. Guillain-Barré Syndrome is an autoimmune disorder that can lead to muscle and nerve damage; it has no clear origin, although it usually appears after a minor infection. Dairy farmers also had a significantly higher prevalence of blurred vision, compared with farmers who had no exposure to animals.

Vegosen L, Davis MF, Silbergeld E, et al. Neurologic symptoms associated with cattle farming in the Agricultural Health Study. J Occup Environ Med. 2012;54:1253-1258. (12/13/12)

 

 

 

December 13, 2012 Posted by | Workplace Health | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

[Reblog] Take A Break

Always thought it was a good idea to take a break from sitting every hour or so…
This came from a post at LearnStuff.org
Take A BreakIf you think working overtime, skipping your lunch hour and staying chained to your desk will make you more productive, you need to cut yourself some slack and take a break.Working non-stop without taking a break can increase your chances of weight gain, heart disease and worse. Staring at a computer screen for more than 2 hours per day can cause Computer Vision Syndrome, a real affliction, which causes blurry vision, headaches, dry eyes and can lead to long-term nearsightedness. However, getting up and away from your desk for just 5 minutes can alleviate eye strain and reduce fatigue in addition to making you feel better. The mere act of standing at your desk instead of sitting at it can help you burn up to 2500 calories per week. Not bad for just standing around.Work hard and break hard; doing so will make you a healthier, happier and more productive employee.

November 6, 2012 Posted by | Workplace Health | , , , , | Leave a comment

Stress May Hamper Worker Performance and Health (& rebuttal article)

Yes, this is just anecdotal, but I believe there is more to this than an either/or debate.
My husband took high blood pressure medicine for years. And he often complained about the stress at work.
Within a month of changing jobs to an organization that was less stressful, his blood pressure went down and he no longer needed the blood pressure medication.

 

From the 14 September article at news@JAMA

Some bad news for workers facing stress on the job and elsewhere in their life, suggested by 2 studies published this week: stress may contribute to an increased risk of heart disease and may impair short-term memory.

Workers who encounter substantial demands at work and have little control over their situations have an elevated risk of developing heart disease compared with individuals who don’t have to face such psychological stress in the workplace, according to results of  an analysis published in the Lancet yesterday…

..

Stress may also impair an individual’s performance, a study published in PLOS Computational Biology suggests. The researchers found that exposure of rats to stress in the form of blasts of sound alter the firing of neurons in the prefrontal cortex. These changes in firing impair the ability of rats to retain short-term memory, hampering their performance in a maze task. Animals under stress completed the task only about 65% of the time compared with 90% of the unstressed rats.

The rebuttal

Don’t Blame Your Employer If You Are Feeling Stressed By Your Job

From the 18 September 2012 article at Medical News Today

Work stress, job satisfaction and health problems due to high stress have more to do with genes than you might think, according to research by Timothy Judge, professor of management at the University of Notre Dame’s Mendoza College of Business. This information has been published two days after a separate study suggesting that work stress increases an employee’s risk of heart attack by 23%.

The lead author of “Genetic influences on core self-evaluations, job satisfaction, work stress, and employee health: A behavioral genetics mediated model,” published inOrganizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Judge studied nearly 600 twins – some identical, some fraternal – who were raised together and reared apart. He found that being raised in the same environment had very little effect on personality, stress and health. Shared genes turned out to be about four times as important as shared environment.

September 16, 2012 Posted by | Workplace Health | , , | Leave a comment

Hard Questions For Medical Humanitarian Organizations Provoked By Adverse Effects Of Mining Industry

 

Médecins Sans Frontières logo

Médecins Sans Frontières logo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

From the 30 August 2012 article at Medical News Today

 

Increasingly humanitarian organizations will find themselves responding to health emergencies provoked by the adverse effects of mining and other extractive industries, setting up a potential clash to do with the core principles and values at the heart of humanitarian medicine, writes Philippe Calain from the humanitarian medical organization, Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF), in this week’s PLOS Medicine.

“A pragmatic approach of engagement with the corporate sector for the delivery of aid, or an implicit support to mainstream development agendas could compromise the legitimacy of humanitarian medicine,” argues Calain. He continues, “A principled understanding of humanitarian medicine entails selfless moral commitments that are incompatible with the for-profit objectives of corporate industries.”

Drawing on MSF’s experience responding to the “worst lead poisoning epidemic in modern history” resulting from artisanal gold mining in Nigeria’s Zamfara state, Calain explores the pitfalls, difficult alliances, and challenges medical humanitarian organizations must navigate in confronting the dire health consequences resulting from extractive industries, whether informal, illegal, or sanctioned.

He argues that, in developing countries, extractive industries (including ore mineral mining and oil extraction) have far reaching consequences on health through environmental pollution, communicable diseases, violence, destitution, and compromised food security. While humanitarian organisations might be called to intervene in areas occupied by the extractive sector, Calain argues that oil and mineral exploitation reveals a fundamental clash of values between humanitarianism, the for-profit sector, and privatised global philanthropy.

Operating in this relatively new terrain for medical humanitarian organizations – outside the traditional humanitarian response to armed conflict, epidemics, and natural disasters – requires a deeper examination of which types of compromises and alliances are acceptable. Responding to these kinds of emergencies, warns Calain, cannot be reduced to the development of medical and technical expertise alone….

 

 

September 4, 2012 Posted by | Workplace Health | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Why The Circadian Rhythm Affects Health

 

Overview of biological circadian clock in huma...

Overview of biological circadian clock in humans. Biological clock affects the daily rhythm of many physiological processes. This diagram depicts the circadian patterns typical of someone who rises early in morning, eats lunch around noon, and sleeps at night (10 p.m.). Although circadian rhythms tend to be synchronized with cycles of light and dark, other factors – such as ambient temperature, meal times, napping schedule and duration, stress and exercise – can influence the timing as well. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

From the 30 August 2012 article at Medical News Today

 

Disruptions to the circadian rhythm can affect the growth of blood vessels in the body, thus causing illnesses such asdiabetesobesity, and cancer, according to a new study from Linkoping University and Karolinska Institutet.

The circadian rhythm is regulated by a “clock” that reacts to both incoming light and genetic factors.

In an article now being published in the scientific journal Cell Reports, it is demonstrated for the first time that disruption of the circadian rhythm immediately inhibits blood vessel growth in zebra fish embryos.

Professor Yihai Cao leads a research group, which has demonstrated that the breaking point is the production of a very important signalling substance: vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF). The formation of this substance requires a normal circadian rhythm…

..

“The results can definitely be translated into clinical circumstances. Individuals with disrupted circadian rhythms – for example, shift workers who work under artificial lights at night, people with sleep disorders or a genetic predisposition – should be on guard against illnesses associated with disrupted blood vessel growth,” says Lasse Dahl Jensen (pictured), researcher in Cardiovascular Physiology at Linköping University (LiU), and lead writer of the article.

Such diseases include heart attackstroke, chronic inflammation, and cancer. Disruptions in blood vessel growth can also affect foetal development, women’s reproductive cycles, and the healing of wounds.

 

 

September 4, 2012 Posted by | environmental health, Workplace Health | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Why Do Good People Sometimes Do Bad Things?: 52 Reflections on Ethics at Wor

 

From the Full Text Reports abstract of August 25, 2012

M. Kaptein , Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR) – Rotterdam School of Management (RSM)

Source: Social Science Research Network

Why do good people sometimes do bad things in their work? This important question for the management of the ethics and integrity of an organization is addressed in this book. Drawing on social-psychological experiments, a model of 7 cultural factors is presented.

 

August 27, 2012 Posted by | Psychology, Workplace Health | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Day Dreaming Good for You? Reflection Is Critical for Development and Well-Being

Attention

Attention (Photo credit: aforgrave)

Now I understand the sign outside a co-worker’s cubicle….Please do not disturb now, I am thinking…

 

From the 2 July 2012 article at Science News Daily

As each day passes, the pace of life seems to accelerate — demands on productivity continue ever upward and there is hardly ever a moment when we aren’t, in some way, in touch with our family, friends, or coworkers. While moments for reflection may be hard to come by, a new article suggests that the long-lost art of introspection — even daydreaming — may be an increasingly valuable part of life…

“Balance is needed between outward and inward attention, since time spent mind wandering, reflecting and imagining may also improve the quality of outward attention that kids can sustain,” says Immordino-Yang.

She and her colleagues argue that mindful introspection can become an effective part of the classroom curriculum, providing students with the skills they need to engage in constructive internal processing and productive reflection. Research indicates that when children are given the time and skills necessary for reflecting, they often become more motivated, less anxious, perform better on tests, and plan more effectively for the future.

And mindful reflection is not just important in an academic context — it’s also essential to our ability to make meaning of the world around us. Inward attention is an important contributor to the development of moral thinking and reasoning and is linked with overall socioemotional well-being.

Immordino-Yang and her colleagues worry that the high attention demands of fast-paced urban and digital environments may be systematically undermining opportunities for young people to look inward and reflect, and that this could have negative effects on their psychological development. This is especially true in an age when social media seems to be a constant presence in teens’ day-to-day lives…
According to the authors, perhaps the most important conclusion to be drawn from research on the brain at rest is the fact that all rest is not idleness [my emphasis!]

July 3, 2012 Posted by | Psychology, Workplace Health | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Should Your Boss Encourage You to Take Drugs?

And if so, is the workplace still drug free??? And if an employee would prefer not to follow advice on using a drug??

From the 6 June 2012 article at The Health Care Blog

A top executive I know recently decided to takeInderal before making high-pressure/high-anxiety presentations. The impact was immediate. She felt more relaxed, confident and effective. Her people agreed.

Would she encourage a comparably anxious subordinate to take the drug? No. But if that employee’s anxiety really undermined his or her effectiveness, she’d share her story and make them aware of the Inderal option. She certainly wouldn’t disapprove of an employee seeking prescription help to become more productive.

No one in America thinks twice anymore if a colleague takes Prozac. (Roughly 10% of workers in Europe and the U.K. use antidepressants, as well). Caffeine has clearly become the (legal) stimulant of business choice and Starbucks its most profitable global pusher (two shots of espresso, please).

Increasingly, prescription ADHD drugs like Adderall, dedicated to improving attention deficits, are finding their way into gray market use by students looking for a cognitive edge. When one looks at existing and in-the-pipeline drugs for Alzheimer’s and other neurophysiological therapies for aging OECD populations with retirements delayed, the odds are that far more employees are going to be taking more drugs to get more work done better….

June 8, 2012 Posted by | Workplace Health | , , , | Leave a comment

Hiding True Self at Work Can Result in Less Job Satisfaction, Greater Turnover

From the 31 May article at Science News Daily

Hiding your true social identity — race and ethnicity, gender, age, religion, sexual orientation or a disability — at work can result in decreased job satisfaction and increased turnover, according to a new study from Rice University, the University of Houston and George Mason University….

“When individuals embrace their social identity in the workplace, other co-workers might be more sensitive to their behavior and treatment of individuals like them,” said Juan Madera, a University of Houston professor, Rice alumnus and lead study author. “And quite often, what’s good for the worker is good for the workplace. The employees feel accepted and have better experiences with co-workers, which creates a positive working environment that may lead to decreased turnover and greater profits.”

The authors hope their research will encourage the general public to be accepting of people with diverse backgrounds and become allies to them and encourage employers to implement policies that foster a positive organizational culture.

“I think this study really demonstrates that everyone can have a role in making the workplace more inclusive,” Hebl said. “Individuals tell co-workers, who can act as allies and react positively, and organizations can institute protective and inclusive organizational policies. All of these measures will continue to change the landscape and diversity of our workforce.”…

June 4, 2012 Posted by | Workplace Health | , , , | Leave a comment

The Dirtiest Places In The Office

From the 24 May 2012 Medical News Today article

If you think the restroom is the place you are most likely to pick up germs at the office, perhaps you should think again, because new findings from the US suggest the dirtiest places in the office are in break rooms and kitchens, with sink and microwave door handles topping the list of germ “hot spots”…

..
An ATP **count of 300 or more means the surface has a high level of contamination and there is a high risk of illness transmission. When they analyzed the samples, the researchers found ATP counts of 300 and higher on:

  • 75% of break room sink faucet (tap) handles,
  • 48% of microwave door handles,
  • 27% of keyboards,
  • 26% of refrigerator door handles,
  • 23% of water fountain buttons, and
  • 21% of vending machine buttons.

**ATP  (adenosine triphosphate) is the universal energy molecule found in all animal, plant, bacteria, yeast and mold cells. Large amounts are present in food and organic residues, which when left on a surface can harbor and grow bacteria.

May 25, 2012 Posted by | Workplace Health | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

OSHA Regulations Can Be Good For Workers’ Health, Save Lives

From the 19 May 2012 article at Medical News Today

Research published in Science sheds light on a hot-button political issue: the role and effectiveness of government regulation. Does it kill jobs or protect the public? ..

..The results overturn conventional wisdom: Workplace inspections do reduce on-the-job injuries and their associated costs, and the researchers could not detect any harm to companies’ performance or profits. ..

..The study found that within high-hazard industries in California, inspected workplaces reduced their injury claims by 9.4 percent and saved 26 percent on workers’ compensation costs in the four years following the inspection, compared to a similar set of uninspected workplaces. On average, inspected firms saved an estimated $355,000 in injury claims and compensation for paid lost work over that period. What’s more, there was no discernible impact on the companies’ profits. ..
In future work, the research team hopes to better understand which subsets of firms benefit most from inspections and whether the inspections yield benefits in other domains such as improved compliance with environmental regulations.

Beyond workplace safety, the authors believe that randomized trials could be used widely throughout government and business to evaluate new policies, from environmental regulations to educational programs.

“More trials like this would help us find out where regulations work and where they don’t,” Toffel said. “Because the cost of regulations is very real, governments should be investing constantly to learn how to make them as effective and efficient as possible.”

May 21, 2012 Posted by | Workplace Health | , , , | Leave a comment

Why Do More People Die During Economic Expansions?

St Annes Nursing Home

St Annes Nursing Home (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

From the April 2012 brief at the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College

The brief’s key findings are:

  • When economic times are good, deaths in the United States increase.
  • Previous research suggests that a likely culprit is poorer health habits tied to greater job demands.
  • However, the increase in mortality is largely driven by deaths among elderly women in nursing homes.
  • These nursing home deaths may reflect increased shortages of caregivers during economic expansions.

April 17, 2012 Posted by | Public Health, Workplace Health | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Employers Tie Financial Rewards, Penalties To Health Tests, Lifestyle Choices

From the 2 April 2012 Kaiser article

Once a year, employees of the Swiss Village Retirement Community in Berne, Ind., have a checkup that will help determine how much they pay for health coverage. Those who don’t smoke, aren’t obese and whose blood pressure and cholesterol fall below specific levels get to shave as much as $2,000 off their annual health insurance deductible…

…Gone are the days of just signing up for health insurance and hoping you don’t have to use it. Now, more employees are being asked to roll up their sleeves for medical tests — and to exercise, participate in disease management programs and quit smoking to qualify for hundreds, even thousands of dollars’ worth of premium or deductible discounts.

Proponents say such plans offer people a financial incentive to make healthier choices and manage chronic conditions such as obesity, high blood pressure and diabetes, which are driving up healthcare costs in the USA. Even so, studies of the effect of such policies on lifestyle changes are inconclusive. And advocates for people with chronic health conditions, such as heart disease and diabetes, fear that tying premium costs directly to test results could lead to discrimination.

Consumer Tips: Workplace Wellness Plans

More and more employers are tying financial reward and penalties to workers completing a set of medical tests. KHN’s Julie Appleby says the tests can include blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar. Watch the video.
Employee reaction has also been mixed….

..Some workers complain the programs are an intrusion into their private lives.

“They portrayed it as voluntary, which it isn’t, because if you don’t participate, they fine you every paycheck,” says Seff, the former Broward employee who is suing over the program. He has since retired on disability with back and neck problems. “I don’t think any employer should do it.”

In an effort to slow rising health care costs, Broward County in 2009 began asking workers to fill out a health information form and have a finger-stick blood test each year to check blood sugar and cholesterol levels, according to court filings. Workers who declined were docked $40 a month.

Those who did participate were offered disease management programs if they had asthma, high blood pressure, diabetes, congestive heart failure or kidney disease. The county stopped docking those who declined to participate Jan. 1, 2011, after Seff’s suit was filed, court documents say.

The lawsuit, which argues the county’s program violates the Americans with Disabilities Act, is likely the first of its kind in the nation, says Seff’s attorney Daniel Levine in Boca Raton, Fla. Without ruling on whether the wellness effort was voluntary, a federal district court judge backed the county in April, 2011, saying the plan fell under provisions of the law meant to protect bona fide benefit programs. The case is now on appeal. Broward County attorneys did not return requests for comment.

Some state lawmakers are also concerned about the potential for discrimination. ..

..Given the available data, it’s hard to parse how much of the reported savings from such programs come from improved health, and how much from the frequent pairing of such programs with high deductible policies, which shift more costs onto workers.

“We just don’t know how effective (incentives) are,” says Volpp. There is pretty good evidence they help smokers quit, he says, but less that they prompt workers to lose weight and keep it off.

Weight gain is partly a function of genes and environment, he says, so programs that tie incentives to achieving a particular weight range are “in essence, penalizing people for factors they can’t control or can only partly control” – either because they’ve failed to lose weight or haven’t participated in the program.

Volpp says the medical literature shows that incentives work best when participants have choices: get below a certain BMI, or lose 5 percent of current body weight, for example. And, he says, rewards should be immediate.

“If you want the employee to do a health assessment or (medical) screening, you should give them the reward right after they do it” he says.

At Jones Lang LaSalle, workers who make a pledge — on the honor system — that they don’t smoke, or will take a stop-smoking class, and achieve a healthy weight, get 10 percent off their contribution toward insurance premiums….

Read the entire article here

April 10, 2012 Posted by | health care, Workplace Health | , | Leave a comment

Even Without Combat, Military Service Changes Personality, Makes Vets Less Agreeable

From the 20 February Medical News Today article

“Military recruits are a little less warm and friendly to begin with and the military experience seems to reinforce this – as after service, men score even lower on agreeableness when compared to individuals who did not go into the military,” Jackson says. “Interestingly, this influence appears to linger long after the soldier has re-entered the workforce or returned to college.”
Jackson points out that being less agreeable is not always a negative human trait. While it may make it more challenging to maintain positive relationships with friends and romantic partners, it can be seen as a positive influence on career success.

“On the flip side,” he says, “people with lower levels of agreeableness are often more likely to fight their way up the corporate ladder and to make the sometimes unpopular decisions that can be necessary for business success.”

 

February 20, 2012 Posted by | Psychology, Workplace Health | , , | Leave a comment

Systematic review of beliefs, behaviours and influencing factors associated with disclosure of a mental health problem in the workplace

From the 19 February Full Text Report summary

Background
Stigma and discrimination present an important barrier to finding and keeping work for individuals with a mental health problem. This paper reviews evidence on: 1) employment-related disclosure beliefs and behaviours of people with a mental health problem; 2) factors associated with the disclosure of a mental health problem in the employment setting; 3) whether employers are less likely to hire applicants who disclose a mental health problem; and 4) factors influencing employers’ hiring beliefs and behaviours towards job applicants with a mental health problem….

February 20, 2012 Posted by | Workplace Health | , , , | Leave a comment

Depleted Uranium Weapons – A Short Introduction on the Adverse Health Effects to Soldiers and Others

Last week my “cousin” [actually it is more complicated than that] asked me for information about the effects of depleted uranium weapons.
She had read about a soldier who died from uranium poisoning.
Here is a portion of the email she sent me

There was an obit in our local newspaper,  2/4/12  of a young man who died, and had some Tiffin connection.
Here I quote from his obit:
“Travis Carson, age 25, died Feb. 2, 2012 of uranium poisoning lung cancer….Travis was serving active duty in the U.S.Army from 2006 until his death. He had served one tour of duty I Iraq.” (he is survived by his wife and four children.)
Approximate area and major clashes in which DU...

Image via Wikipedia

My cousin also asked me to look up information on depleted uranium which could be used to present to members at her local (Tiffin, OH)  Pax Christi meeting. (I am also a member of Pax Christi here in Toledo, OH)
This is what I sent her. It is a bit sketchy, I admit. But I hope it does give one an idea of what DU can do not only to our military members, but civilians and the environment in general.
I find it distressing that time and time again war materials are used without due regard to long term effects to people (military and civilians alike) and the environment. Agent Orange is another example.
English: Sites in Kosovo and southern Central ...

Sites in Kosovo and southern Central Serbia where NATO aviation used forbidden munition with depleted uranium during 1999 bombing.

                                                   

   

Depleted Uranium (DU)  Weapons- A  Short Introduction 

What is DU and where does it come from ? Depleted Uranium (DU) is nuclear waste that is a product of uranium processing. Uranium found in nature occurs in different isotopes: U234, U235, and U238. Each isotope has a different number of neutrons, but the same number of electrons.

Image from http://www.world-nuclear.org/eduation.uran.htm (What is Uranium, How Does It Work- World Nuclear Association)This Web site also has great basic information on uranium and how reactor fuel is extracted from uranium ore

When uranium ore is processed for nuclear fuel, the product is usually pellets made containing the isotopes U-238 and U-235. Most of the fuel is made of the stable isotope U-238 which is barely radioactive.  U-238 is also called a “fertile” fuel; it is acted upon by the U-235 isotope to create energy. The U-235 isotope is much more volatile, radioactive, and “fissile”. When neutrons are fired at it, it produces a self-sustaining series of nuclear reactions, releasing huge amounts of energy. The U-238 atoms can capture neutrons shot off during the U-235 nuclear reactions, and split to become unstable plutonium atoms which also emit energy.

All this energy is converted to steam to produce electricity.   U-235 is one of the waste products of nuclear reactors (as Davis Bessie). Nuclear waste products can be processed for disposal at storage sites or reused as a fuel component or in manufacturing (as weapons).

[For a fuller detailed descriptions, please go to http://www.world-nuclear.org/education.uran.htm and http://www.world-nuclear.org/education/wast.htm]

 What are DU weapons and why are they used?   Depleted Uranium itself is a chemically toxic and radioactive compound, which is used in armour piercing munitions because of its very high density. It is 1.7 times denser than lead, giving DU weapons increased range and penetrative power. They belong to a class of weapons called kinetic energy penetrators. The part of the weapon that is made of DU is called a penetrator: this is a long dart weighing more than four kilograms in the largest examples: it is neither a tip nor a coating. The penetrator is usually an alloy of DU and a small amount of another metal such as titanium and molybdenum. These give it extra strength and resistance to corrosion.

In addition to armour-piercing penetrators, DU is used as armour in US M1A1 and M1A2 battle tanks and in small amounts in some types of landmines (M86 PDM and ADAM), both types contain 0.101g of DU in the resin cases of the individual mines. 432 ADAM antipersonnel landmine howitzer shells were used on the Kuwaiti battlefields during the 1991 Gulf War. Both M86 PDM and ADAM mines remain in U.S. stockpiles.

Where have DU weapons been used?    Governments have often initially denied using DU because of public health concerns. It is now clear that DU was used on a large scale by the US and the UK in the Gulf War in 1991, then in Bosnia, Serbia and Kosovo, and again in the war in Iraq by the US and the UK in 2003. It is suspected that the US also used DU in Afghanistan in 2001, although both the US and UK governments have denied using it there.

While we have a reasonable idea how much DU was used in the Balkans (12,700kg) and the 1991 Gulf War (290,300kg), there is little data on the extent of its use following the 2003 invasion in Iraq. One estimate put the total at 140,000kg by early 2004; with far more being used in urban areas than in 1991. This was chiefly a product of a move towards asymmetric warfare but also an increasingly casual approach to DU’s use. The US consistently refused to release data on the locations of DU strikes to UNEP and post-conflict instability has made assessing the true extent of contamination virtually impossible.

How does the DU in weapons get into the body?   The DU oxide dust produced when DU munitions burn has no natural or historical analogue. This toxic and radioactive dust , which can travel many kilometres when “kicked up” in arid climates, are readily inhaled and retained in the lungs by civilians and the military alike. From the lungs they travel to and are deposited in the lymph nodes, bones, brain and testes.

It is thought that DU is the cause of a sharp increase in the incidence rates of some cancers, such as breast cancer and lymphoma, in areas of Iraq following 1991 and 2003. It has also been implicated in a rise in birth defects from areas adjacent to the main Gulf War battlefields. A Balkan focused UNEP reported that these corroding penetrators were likely to contaminate groundwater and drinking water supplies and should be removed.

What are the radioactive hazards of uranium weapon? Radiation has three basic forms, all are emitted when DU “burns” as in munitions being fired

Alpha -fast moving atoms that are slowed by a few inches of air or piece of paper because of their relatively large size

Beta – fast moving electrons with higher energy than alpha because they are lighter and faster, can go through several feet of air or thin metal

Gamma- most damaging radiation, made of photons (much like light), their high energy can penetrate up to several inches of lead
The chief radiological hazard from uranium 238 is alpha radiation. When inhaled or ingested, alpha radiation is the most damaging form of ionising radiation. However, as U238 decays into its daughter products thorium and protactinium, both beta and gamma radiation are released, increasing the radiation burden further. Therefore DU particles must be considered as a dynamic mixture of radioactive isotopes.

Inside the body alpha radiation is incredibly disruptive. The heavy, highly charged particles leave a trail of ionised free radicals in their wake, disrupting finely tuned cellular processes. In one day, one microgram, (one millionth of a gram), of pure DU can release 1000 alpha particles. Each particle is charged with more than four million electron volts of energy; this goes directly into whichever organ or tissue it is lodged in. Ionizing radiation is a human carcinogen at every dose-level, not just at high doses; there is no threshold dose and any alpha particle can cause irreparable genetic damage.

What are the chemical toxicity hazards of uranium weapons?  While many studies have only investigated the possibility of kidney damage, since 1991, and triggered by concerns over DU, dozens of papers have highlighted other, more worrying effects of uranium toxicity. Repeated cellular and animal studies have shown that uranium is a kidney toxin, neurotoxin, immunotoxin, mutagen, carcinogen and teratogen. Compared to the uranium naturally present in the environment and the ore in mine workings, DU dust is a concentrated form of uranium. Uranium has been shown to cause oxidative damage to DNA. Recent studies in hamsters found that uranium formed uranium-DNA adducts (bonds),these make it more likely that the DNA will be repaired incorrectly. If this occurs, adducts can lead to genetic mutations that may be replicated leading to carcinogensis.  In 2007 DU compounds were shown to damage experimental human lung cells and disrupt DNA repair.

Are there any organizations addressing DU health and environment concerns?

The International Coalition to Ban Uranium Weapons [http://www.world-nuclear.org/education/wast.htm] has information on current legal status, their campaign (news, events, timeline, projects), how to take action, and resources. They have a social media presence via YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook. Most of the information on this page came from this organization.

 

Related Resource

  • Uranium (ToxTown – summaries of environmental concerns and toxic chemicals where you work, live, and play)
              Excerpts

Military personnel may be exposed to uranium if they work on a ship or submarine, or handle ammunition or nuclear weapons. They can be exposed through shrapnel that contains depleted uranium or dust from ammunition. Personnel may be exposed if their armored vehicle is penetrated by uranium munitions, or if they salvage vehicles that have been in contact with uranium munitions. When a depleted uranium projectile hits a vehicle, the projectile forms particles of varying sizes. Personnel in or near such vehicles may breathe or swallow depleted uranium, or have tiny uranium fragments in their bodies.

 

How can uranium affect my health?
The health effects of natural and depleted uranium are caused by its chemical properties as a heavy metal and not by radiation.

Eating or breathing very high levels of uranium can cause acute kidney failure and death. Exposure to high levels of uranium may lead to increased cancer risk, liver damage, and internal irradiation. Exposure to uranium can damage the kidneys and respiratory tract, and cause dermatitis and blood changes.

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health considers uranium compounds to be potential occupational carcinogens. Uranium is not listed as a known or anticipated carcinogen in the Twelfth Report on Carcinogens published by the National Toxicology Program.

Radon is listed as a human carcinogen in the Twelfth Report on Carcinogens because it causes lung cancer. Exposure to high levels of radon can cause other lung diseases such as emphysema and thickening of lung tissues. Simultaneous exposure to radon and cigarette smoking can increase the incidence of lung cancer and lung disease.

February 14, 2012 Posted by | Consumer Health, environmental health, Workplace Health | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

MSN Careers – Tense times: Overcoming workplace incivility – Career Advice Article

Tense times: Overcoming workplace incivility

via MSN Careers – Tense times: Overcoming workplace incivility – Career Advice Article

Excerpt

some tips:

Take rudeness for what it’s worth.
Being on the receiving end of an unnecessarily sharp barb or inconsiderate brush-off can ruin your day. Why let it? Constructive criticism merits reflection; rudeness does not. So, don’t overthink the situation. While you can’t control how someone else treats you, you can limit how much it affects you. A person’s poor manners or behavior says less about you than it does about him or her.

Don’t go it alone.
What do you say at the end of a hard day when you’re asked about work? “I don’t want to talk about it” is a common response. But in many cases, bottling your feelings only exacerbates the problem.

Opening up to supportive friends or family can be cathartic. Likewise, seeking the wisdom of a mentor or sharing work-related war stories with a trusted member of your network often yields valuable insights and new coping strategies.

Rise above the fray.
Pessimism is contagious, and it’s all too easy for chronic complainers to bring others down. Don’t get caught up in the negativity. It’s possible to keep tabs on office undercurrents without feeding the grapevine with additional gripes, groans or gossip. Displaying a toxic attitude doesn’t solve anything, but it will likely make you look bad — and feel worse.

Give yourself a break.
You might believe you can’t afford to take time off. But can you afford not to? Whether you jet off to a tropical island or do a “staycation,” stepping away to recharge your batteries is healthy. Getting some distance and decompressing has a way of putting even your biggest workplace woes in perspective.

Similarly, it’s smart to take mini-breaks during the day. When tensions are running high, go for a quick stroll to collect your thoughts and cool off.

Finally, take an honest look at yourself. It’s very easy to point fingers and identify others’ annoying personality flaws. But what about your own? Try to be more mindful of how your bad habits, moods and behaviors might negatively impact co-workers….

February 1, 2012 Posted by | Psychology, Workplace Health | , , | Leave a comment

Workstation – Building a Bridge to a Lonely Colleague – NYTimes.com and Related Article about Lonliness in General

Workstation – Building a Bridge to a Lonely Colleague – NYTimes.com

From the 28 January article

IT’S lonely at the top, or so it is said. But in fact it doesn’t matter where a person is in the office hierarchy — employees at all levels become lonely, even when other workers are all around them….

Because it is part of the human condition, loneliness is often regarded as a personal problem. But managers may need to view it as an organizational issue as well, according to research by Professor Barsade and Hakan Ozcelik, an associate business professor at California State University, Sacramento.

In a recent study of more than 650 workers, the two researchers found that loneliness — as reported both by the sufferer and his or her co-workers — reduces an employee’s productivity. This was true on both individual and team-oriented tasks.

Just look at what loneliness can do to a person, and you’ll see why. “Loneliness tends to distort social cognition and influences an individual’s interpersonal behavior, resulting in increased hostility, negativity, depressed mood, increased anxiety, lack of perceived control and decreased cooperativeness,” Dr. Wright says.

Professor Barsade is investigating whether loneliness may also be “contagious,” the way she has found emotions like anger and happiness to be in the workplace…

Read the entire NY Times article 

 

Feeling Left Out? Being Ignored Hurts, Even By A Stranger

From the Fri Jan 27, 2012 Medical News Today article

Feeling like you’re part of the gang is crucial to the human experience. All people get stressed out when we’re left out. A new study published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science, finds that a feeling of inclusion can come from something as simple as eye contact from a stranger. Psychologists already know that humans have to feel connected to each other to be happy. A knitting circle, a church choir, or a friendly neighbor can all feed that need for connection. Eric D…

February 1, 2012 Posted by | Workplace Health | , , , , , | Leave a comment

How You Envision Others Says A Lot About You In Real Life

How You Envision Others Says A Lot About You In Real Life

From the 14 January 2012 Medical News Today item

Quick, come up with an imaginary co-worker.

Did you imagine someone who is positive, confident, and resourceful? Who rises to the occasion in times of trouble? If so, then chances are that you also display those traits in your own life, a new study finds.

University of Nebraska-Lincoln researchers have found that study participants who conjured positive imaginary co-workers contributed more in the actual workplace, both in job performance and going above and beyond their job descriptions to help others.

The results showed that your perceptions of others – even ones that are made up – says a lot about what kind of person you really are, said Peter Harms, UNL assistant professor of management and the study’s lead author. Imagining coworkers instead of reporting on how you perceive your actual coworkers produces more accurate ratings of having a positive worldview, he said, because it strips away the unique relational baggage that one may have with the people they know.

“When you make up imaginary peers, they are completely a product of how you see the world,” Harms said. “Because of that we can gain better insight into your perceptual biases. That tells us a lot about how you see the world, how you interpret events and what your expectations of others are.” ….

January 29, 2012 Posted by | Psychology, Workplace Health | , , | Leave a comment

Is your office chair killing you? – The Globe and Mail

 

English: An office chair that can swivel and b...

Image via Wikipedia

Is your office chair killing you? – The Globe and Mail.

Excerpt from the article

…For decades, hundreds if not thousands of studies have examined the relationship between our activity levels and our health. Only recently have researchers turned their attention to the consequences of sitting at a desk all day and lying on the couch all evening.

 

“We’re talking extensively and producing public health messages about what we don’t do. And we don’t talk at all about what we do do: We don’t move very much, but we do sit idle,” says Dr. Mark Tremblay, director of healthy active living and obesity research at the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario Research Institute.

The average person now spends 9.3 hours a day sitting. People who sit for six or more hours per day are 40 per cent more likely to die within 15 years compared to someone who sits less than three hours a day, even if they exercise. Obese people sit 2½ hours more each day than people of normal weight, according to data compiled by Medical Billing and Coding, a U.S.-based organization….

December 11, 2011 Posted by | Medical and Health Research News, Workplace Health | , , , | Leave a comment

Study suggests flexible workplaces promote better health behavior and well-being

Fr0m the 6 December Eureka News Alert

WASHINGTON, DC, December 6, 2011 — A flexible workplace initiative improved employees’ health behavior and well-being, including a rise in the amount and quality of sleep and better health management, according to a new study by University of Minnesota sociology professors Erin Kelly and Phyllis Moen, which appears in the December issue of the Journal of Health and Social Behavior.

“Our study shows that moving from viewing time at the office as a sign of productivity, to emphasizing actual results can create a work environment that fosters healthy behavior and well-being,” says Moen. “This has important policy implications, suggesting that initiatives creating broad access to time flexibility encourage employees to take better care of themselves.”

Using longitudinal data collected from 608 employees of a white-collar organization before and after a flexible workplace initiative was implemented, the study examined changes in health-promoting behaviors and health outcomes among the employees participating in the initiative compared to those who did not participate.

Introduced at the Best Buy headquarters in Richfield, Minn. in 2005, the workplace initiative—dubbed the Results Only Work Environment (ROWE)—redirected the focus of employees and managers towards measurable results and away from when and where work is completed. Under ROWE, employees were allowed to routinely change when and where they worked based on their individual needs and job responsibilities without seeking permission from a manager or even notifying one.

KEY FINDINGS:

 

  • Employees participating in the flexible workplace initiative reported getting almost an extra hour (52 minutes) of sleep on nights before work. 

     

  • Employees participating in the flexible workplace initiative managed their health differently: They were less likely to feel obligated to work when sick and more likely to go to a doctor when necessary, even when busy. 

     

  • The flexible workplace initiative increased employees’ sense of schedule control and reduced their work-family conflict which, in turn, improved their sleep quality, energy levels, self-reported health, and sense of personal mastery while decreasing employees’ emotional exhaustion and psychological distress. 

“Narrower flexibility policies allow some ‘accommodations’ for family needs, but are less likely to promote employee health and well-being or to be available to all employees,” says Kelly.

 

December 6, 2011 Posted by | Workplace Health | , , | Leave a comment

The Brain Acts Fast To Reappraise Angry Faces

Angry Penguin

Image via Wikipedia

From the 17 November 2011 Medical News Today article

…They found that, once people had adjusted their attitude toward someone, they weren’t disturbed by that person’s angry face the next time it appeared. On the other hand, when participants were told to just feel the emotions brought on by an angry face, they continued to be upset by that face. In a second study, the researchers recorded electrical brain activity from the scalp and found that reappraising wiped out the signals of the negative emotions people felt when they just looked at the faces.

Psychologists used to think that people had to feel the negative emotion, and then get rid of it; this research suggests that, if people are prepared, it’s actually a much faster and deeper process.

“If you’re trained with reappraisal, and you know your boss is frequently in a bad mood, you can prepare yourself to go into a meeting,” says Blechert, who also works as a therapist. “He can scream and yell and shout but there’ll be nothing.” But this study only looked at still pictures of angry faces; next, Blechert would like to test how people respond to a video of someone yelling at them.

Read this article

Controlling anger before it controls you

November 18, 2011 Posted by | Psychology, Workplace Health | , , , | Leave a comment

The Consequences Of Co-Worker Rudeness Are Far-Reaching

From the 18 Aug 2011 Health News Today article

A co-worker’s rudeness can have a great impact on relationships far beyond the workplace, according to a Baylor University study published online in the Journal of Organizational Behavior. Findings suggest that stress created by incivility can be so intense that, at the end of the day, it is taken home by the worker and impacts the well-being of the worker’s family and partner, who in turn takes the stress to his/her workplace…

Read the article

August 18, 2011 Posted by | Workplace Health | , | Leave a comment

Animals in Schools and Daycare Settings

Photo: Girl looking in jar

From the CDC (US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) Web page

Animals can provide important opportunities for entertainment and learning. However, there is also a risk for getting sick or hurt from contact with animals, including those in school and daycare classrooms.

Animals can be effective and valuable teaching aids for children, but there is a risk of illness and injury from contact with animals. Young children are especially at risk for illness because their immune systems are still developing and because they are more likely than others to put their fingers or other items into their mouths, a behavior that can spread germs. …

Boy washing hands

The page also summarizes

  • Types of diseases animals can spread
  • How to reduce risk of illnesses from animals
  • How to check that animals are healthy
  • Links to further information, for both adults and children

 



August 17, 2011 Posted by | Public Health, Workplace Health | , , , | Leave a comment

Getting Along With Co-Workers Can Significantly Increase Your Lifespan

From the 8 August 2011 Medical News Today article

Companies like Google and Zappos.com are famous for their “work hard, play hard” attitudes and friendly work environments, but are their employees healthier too? According to a Tel Aviv University researcher, a positive relationship with your co-workers has long-term health benefits. Dr. Sharon Toker of the Department of Organizational Behavior at TAU’s Leon Recanati Graduate School of Business Administration says that employees who believe that they have the personal support of their peers at work are more likely to live a longer life…

Read the entire article

August 8, 2011 Posted by | Workplace Health | , , , | Leave a comment

Compassion, Not Sanctions, Is Best Response To Workplace Anger

From the 15 April 2011 Medical News Today article

Challenging traditional views of workplace anger, a new article by a Temple University Fox School of Business professor suggests that even intense emotional outbursts can prove beneficial if responded to with compassion.

Dr. Deanna Geddes, chair of the Fox School’s Human Resource Management Department, argues that more supportive responses by managers and co-workers after displays of deviant anger can promote positive change at work, while sanctioning or doing nothing does not.

“The trouble with sanctions: Organizational responses to deviant anger displays at work,” co-authored with University of Baltimore’s Dr. Lisa T. Stickney, states that “when companies choose to sanction organizational members expressing deviant anger, these actions may divert attention and resources from correcting the initial, anger-provoking event that triggered the employee’s emotional outburst.”…

April 15, 2011 Posted by | Workplace Health | Leave a comment

National Public Health Week: April 4-10, 2011

National Public Health Week: April 4-10, 2011

http://www.nphw.org/nphw11/default.htm
APHA (American Public Health Association) is raising awareness of the importance of injury and violence
prevention through National Public Health Week: Safety is No Accident: Live Injury-free.

 

 

April 2, 2011 Posted by | Educational Resources (High School/Early College(, Health Education (General Public), Public Health, Workplace Health | , , | Leave a comment

AHRQ Healthcare 411 podcasts

AHRQ Healthcare 411 podcasts

From a recent AHRQ (Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality)  listserv item

Healthcare 411 Home Page

AHRQ’s Healthcare 411 is a podcast series you can listen to at home or on the go.  Available in English and Spanish, 60-second audio podcasts are designed for consumers.  Log on and listen to Healthcare 411; or subscribe and we’ll send stories directly to your computer or personal media player. Select to listen to our latest audio podcast on e-prescribing and reducing medication costs.

A sampling of podcasts (Entire list is here ; Search option is here)

 

February 20, 2011 Posted by | Consumer Health, Consumer Safety, Finding Aids/Directories, Health Education (General Public), Librarian Resources, Medical and Health Research News, Public Health, Workplace Health | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Skin Exposures and Effects in the Work Place

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has recently published a new Work Place Safety and Health Topic.

The Skin Exposures and Effects notes the following

It is estimated that more than 13 million workers in the United States are potentially exposed to chemicals that can be absorbed through the skin. Dermal exposure to hazardous agents can result in a variety of occupational diseases and disorders, including occupational skin diseases (OSD) and systemic toxicity. Historically, efforts to control workplace exposures to hazardous agents have focused on inhalation rather than skin exposures. As a result, assessment strategies and methods are well developed for evaluating inhalation exposures in the workplace; standardized methods are currently lacking for measuring and assessing skin exposures.

This CDC skin exposure Web page includes information about skin anatomy and function, skin hazards, occupations at risk,
skin absorption into the body , and contact dermatitis.

Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division

October 15, 2010 Posted by | Workplace Health | , , | Leave a comment

   

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