Category Archives: Health & Safety

Occupational medicine clinical practice data reveal increased injury rates among Hispanic workers

Source: Scott M. Riester, Karyn L. Leniek, Ashley D. Niece, Andre Montoya‐Barthelemy, William Wilson, Jonathan Sellman, Paul J. Anderson, American Journal of Industrial Medicine, Early View, First published: January 30, 2019
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
Background:
Minnesota has an ethnically diverse labor force, with the largest number of refugees per capita in the United States. In recent years, Minnesota has been and continues to be a major site for immigrant and refugee resettlement in the United States, with a large population of both immigrant and native born Hmong, Hispanic, and East Africans. This study seeks to evaluate the injury risk among the evolving minority workforce in the Minnesota Twin Cities region.

Methods:
A retrospective cohort study identifying work‐related injuries following pre‐employment examinations was performed using electronic health records from a large multi‐clinic occupational medicine practice. Preplacement examinations and subsequent work‐related injuries were pulled from the electronic health record using representative ICD‐10 codes for surveillance examinations and injuries. This study included patient records collected over a 2‐year period from January 1, 2015, through December, 2016. The patients in this cohort worked in a wide‐array of occupations including production, assembly, construction, law enforcement, among others.

Results:
Hispanic minority workers were twice as likely to be injured at work compared with White workers. Hispanics were 2.89 times more likely to develop back injuries compared with non‐Hispanic workers, and 1.86 times more likely to develop upper extremity injuries involving the hand, wrist, or elbow.

Conclusion:
Clinical practice data shows that Hispanic workers are at increased risk for work‐related injuries in Minnesota. They were especially susceptible to back and upper extremity injuries. Lower injury rates in non‐Hispanic minority workers, may be the result of injury underreporting and require further investigation.

Janitor workload and occupational injuries

Source: Deirdre R. Green, Susan G. Gerberich, Hyun Kim, Andrew D. Ryan, Patricia M. McGovern, Timothy R. Church, Adam Schwartz, Rony F. Arauz, American Journal of Industrial Medicine, Early View, First published: 24 January 2019
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
Background:
This study was designed to identify potential effects of workload and sleep on injury occurrence.

Methods:
Questionnaires were disseminated to janitors in the SEIU Local 26 union; 390 responded and provided information on workload, sleep, and injury outcomes. Quantitative measurements of workload and sleep were collected via FitBit devices from a subset of 58 janitors. Regression techniques were implemented to determine risk.

Results:
Thirty‐seven percent reported increased workload over the study period Adjusted analyses indicated a significant effect of change in workload (RR: 1.94; 95%CI: 1.40‐2.70) and sleep hours (RR: 2.21; 95%CI: 1.33‐3.66) on occupational injury. Among those with sleep disturbances, injury risk was greater for those with less than five, versus more than five, days of moderate to vigorous physical activity; RR: 2.77; 95%CI: 1.16‐6.59).

Conclusions:
Increased workload and sleep disturbances increased the risk of injury, suggesting employers should address these factors to mitigate occupational injuries.

Adult onset asthma in non‐allergic women working in dampness damaged buildings: A retrospective cohort study

Source: Pål Graff, Ing‐Liss Bryngelsson, Mats Fredrikson, Ulf Flodin, American Journal of Industrial Medicine, Early View, First published: 24 January 2019
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
Background:
There is still no consensus about the association between working in dampness‐damaged buildings and new onset of asthma among adults. The purpose of this study was to assess asthma in the staff of two psychiatric clinics where some premises were suffering from dampness.

Methods: A 20‐year retrospective cohort study was performed using questionnaires.

Results: Incidence rate ratios (IRR) for asthma were non‐significantly elevated (IRR = 2.3) among exposed individuals. The risk was greater among females (IRR = 3.5, 95% CI 1.0‐16). IRR for non‐atopic women was 8.8 (95% CI 1.4‐196). Adjusting for smoking habits weakened the risks marginally (IRR = 7.3, 95% CI 1.1‐167). The number of male participants was too low to draw conclusion regarding the risk for men.

Conclusion:
The results suggest that working in dampness‐damaged buildings might be a possible health hazard. This finding is most pronounced in non‐atopic females.

US Survey Reveals Gaps, Opportunities for Health, Safety, and Environment Programs

Source: Frank Milligan, Journal AWWA, Vol. 111 no. 1, January 2019

Overall findings related to health, safety, and environment programs and practices are encouraging, but there are opportunities for significant improvement.

In today’s litigious environment, where the consequences of employer safety decisions have never been greater, there is an ever‐increasing need for comprehensive, effective health and safety programs. These organizational initiatives have three primary goals: reducing potential risks and costs; improving workplace morale and performance; and minimizing work‐related injuries, illnesses, and stress. While the majority of US water utilities now have formal health, safety, and environment (HS&E) programs in place, these programs require continuous evaluation to ensure that their metrics and measures are consistent with current best practices….

Other Duties as Assigned: Front-line librarians on the constant pressure to do more

Source: Anne Ford, American Libraries, January 2, 2019

Maybe it existed only in our collective imagination—the era when librarians focused solely on providing access to written information, and when their greatest on-the-job challenge consisted of keeping the stacks in order. Whether that halcyon time ever actually took place, it’s definitely not here now. Social worker, EMT, therapist, legal consultant, even bodily defender: These are the roles that many (perhaps most?) librarians feel they’re being asked to assume.

American Libraries asked seven librarians—public, academic, and school; urban and rural—their thoughts about the many directions in which their profession finds itself pulled….

Working Children: Federal Injury Data and Compliance Strategies Could Be Strengthened

Source: United States Government Accountability Office, GAO-19-26: Published: November 2, 2018, Publicly Released: December 3, 2018

From the summary:
Many children aged 17 and under work to develop independence or meet financial needs. However, working can sometimes interfere with education, or in some industries, be physically dangerous.

We found that the majority of work-related fatalities occur among children working in agriculture—but data on children’s work-related injuries in general is incomplete.

The Department of Labor is conducting a study to enhance its work-related injury data, but the study doesn’t include children. We recommended including them to improve the data—which could also improve enforcement of child labor standards….

Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries Summary, 2017

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Economic News Release, USDL-18-1978, December 18, 2018

There were a total of 5,147 fatal work injuries recorded in the United States in 2017, down slightly from the 5,190 fatal injuries reported in 2016, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. (See chart 1.) The fatal injury rate decreased to 3.5 per 100,000 full-time equivalent (FTE) workers from 3.6 in 2016. (See table 1.)

What every healthcare facility should do NOW to reduce the potential for workplace violence

Source: Thomas A. Smith, Journal of Healthcare Protection Management, Volume 34 Number 2, 2018
(subscription required)

The increase in workplace violence in healthcare facilities is now recognized by OSHA and other regulatory bodies as well as IAHSS, major nursing organizations, and the Joint Commission according to the author. In this article he reports on the causes and effects of such violence and presents security guidelines for taking action to reduce it as well as how COOs can be convinced to support such action.