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General interest items edited by Janice Flahiff

[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.

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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

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

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

Study: Most parents unaware of teen workplace risks

From the 27 June 2011 Eureka news alert
Most parents are unaware of the risks their teenagers face in the workplace and could do more to help them understand and prepare for those hazards, according to a new study.

Previous findings have shown that about 80 percent of teens are employed during their high school years. But the study from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s Injury Prevention Research Center and North Carolina State University highlights the role parents play in helping their children get those jobs, and making good decisions about workplace safety and health.

The paper will be published in the July issue of the Journal of Adolescent Health.

About 38 workers under the age of 18 in the U.S. die from work-related injuries each year, while an estimated 146,000 experience nonfatal injuries or illnesses.

“Because parents are so involved with their children about work, they are in an excellent position to help teens ensure that their employers are assuring good safety standards,” said Carol Runyan, Ph.D., the study’s lead investigator and director of the UNC Injury Prevention Research Center….
….Runyan and Schulman said questions that parents should ask their working teens include:

  • How much training did you receive?
  • If you are handling cash, have you been trained about what to do if there is a robbery?
  • Are you ever alone in the workplace?
  • Are there machinery or tools that could be hazardous?
  • Have you been trained on how to deal with an angry customer?
  • Is there an adult manager on site?

The researchers are planning additional work to determine how to get parents more informed and more involved. Parents, educators, teens and employers can find additional information at the U.S. Department of Labor website: http://www.youthrules.dol.gov/

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Along with Runyan and Schulman, the paper, “Parental Involvement with Their Working Teens,” was co-written by Catherine Vladutiu, a doctoral student in epidemiology at UNC, and Kimberly Rauscher, Sc.D., of West Virginia University. The research was funded by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health and the North Carolina Agricultural Research Service.

Study abstract: http://www.jahonline.org/article/S1054-139X%2810%2900494-5/abstract

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June 28, 2011 Posted by | Consumer Health | , , , , , | 1 Comment

   

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