Category Archives: Health & Safety

State of the Union

Source: Stanford Center on Poverty and Inequality, Pathways, Special Issue, 2018

From the summary:
The Stanford Center on Poverty and Inequality is pleased to present its fifth annual report examining the state of the union. In this year’s report, we provide a comprehensive assessment of gender inequality in eleven domains ranging from education to health, employment, earnings, poverty, sexual harassment, networks, and more. The report concludes with a discussion of the most promising sciencebased policies for reducing gender inequality at home and in the labor market.

Articles include:
Gender Identification
Aliya Saperstein
The traditional gender binary just doesn’t work. When respondents of a national survey were asked about their femininity and masculinity, 7 percent considered themselves equally feminine and masculine, and another 4 percent responded in ways that did not “match” their sex at birth (i.e., females who saw themselves as more masculine than feminine, or males who saw themselves as more feminine than masculine).

Education
Erin M. Fahle and Sean F. Reardon
Despite common beliefs to the contrary, male students do not consistently outperform female students in mathematics. It’s only in high school that the male advantage in mathematics surfaces. What’s going on?

Health
Mark Duggan and Valerie Scimeca
For women and men alike, life expectancy has stagnated for the last several years, primarily due to increases in drug poisoning deaths and in the suicide rate. The male-female life expectancy gap, which favors females, fell from 7.6 years in 1970 to 4.8 years in 2010, a reduction of more than one-third.

Employment
Melissa S. Kearney and Katharine G. Abraham
After rising steadily for many decades, the overall female employment rate has been falling since 2000. Why has it fallen? Are there straightforward policy fixes that could increase women’s employment?

Earnings
Emmanuel Saez
When gender differences in labor force participation, fringe benefits, and self-employment income are taken into account, women earn only 57 cents for each dollar earned by men.

Poverty
H. Luke Shaefer, Marybeth Mattingly, and Kathryn Edin
Are women more likely than men to be in deep poverty, official poverty, and near poverty? Yes, yes, and yes.

Safety Net
Linda M. Burton, Marybeth Mattingly, Juan Pedroza, and Whitney Welsh
Why do women use safety net programs more than men? A hint: It’s not just because they’re more likely to be eligible for them.

Occupational Segregation
Kim A. Weeden, Mary Newhart, and Dafna Gelbgiser
Nearly half of the women in the labor force would have to move to a different occupation to eliminate all occupational segregation by gender. This is a classic case of stalled change: If recent rates of change are extrapolated, it would take 330 years to reach full integration.

Discrimination
David S. Pedulla
A new science of gender discrimination is being built with audit studies and other experiments. A key result: Gender discrimination is more likely to emerge when the applicant’s commitment to work can be called into question or when an applicant is behaving in a gender-nonconforming way.

Workplace Sexual Harassment
Amy Blackstone, Heather McLaughlin, and Christopher Uggen
The workplace is rife with sexual harassment. By age 25 to 26, one in three women and one in seven men experience behavior at work that they define as sexual harassment.

Social Networks
Adina D. Sterling
Although men used to have more social ties than men, now the gender gap has reversed and women have the larger networks. But women still have fewer coworker ties than men … and coworker ties matter a lot.

Policy
Marianne Cooper and Shelley J. Correll
What are the most promising science-based policies for reducing gender inequality at home and in the labor market?

Changing schedules take a toll on medical interns

Source: Kara Gavin, Futurity, March 18, 2018

This year’s crop of graduating medical students just found out what hospital they’ve “matched” to for the residency training they’ll start this summer. A new study suggests the changing schedules they’ll have to endure as residents may take a heavy toll on sleep, physical activity, and mood. ….

Related:
Effects of Sleep, Physical Activity, and Shift Work on Daily Mood: a Prospective Mobile Monitoring Study of Medical Interns Authors Authors and affiliations
Source: David A. Kalmbach, Yu Fang, J. Todd Arnedt, Amy L. Cochran, Patricia J. Deldin, Adam I. Kaplin, Srijan Sen, Journal of General Internal Medicine, First Online: March 14, 2018

From the abstract:
Background:
Although short sleep, shift work, and physical inactivity are endemic to residency, a lack of objective, real-time information has limited our understanding of how these problems impact physician mental health. Objective To understand how the residency experience affects sleep, physical activity, and mood, and to understand the directional relationships among these variables.

Design:
A prospective longitudinal study. Subjects Thirty-three first-year residents (interns) provided data from 2 months pre-internship through the first 6 months of internship.

Main Measures:
Objective real-time assessment of daily sleep and physical activity was assessed through accelerometry-based wearable devices. Mood scaled from 1 to 10 was recorded daily using SMS technology. Average compliance rates prior to internship for mood, sleep, and physical activity were 77.4, 80.2, and 93.7%, and were 78.8, 53.0, and 79.9% during internship.

Key Results:
After beginning residency, interns lost an average of 2 h and 48 min of sleep per week (t = − 3.04, p < .01). Mood and physical activity decreased by 7.5% (t = − 3.67, p < .01) and 11.5% (t = − 3.15, p < .01), respectively. A bidirectional relationship emerged between sleep and mood during internship wherein short sleep augured worse mood the next day (b = .12, p < .001), which, in turn, presaged shorter sleep the next night (b = .06, p = .03). Importantly, the effect of short sleep on mood was twice as large as mood’s effect on sleep. Lastly, substantial shifts in sleep timing during internship (sleeping ≥ 3 h earlier or later than pre-internship patterns) led to shorter sleep (earlier: b = − .36, p < .01; later: b = − 1.75, p < .001) and poorer mood (earlier: b = − .41, p < .001; later: b = − .41, p < .001). Conclusions: Shift work, short sleep, and physical inactivity confer a challenging environment for physician mental health. Efforts to increase sleep opportunity through designing shift schedules to allow for adequate opportunity to resynchronize the circadian system and improving exercise compatibility of the work environment may improve mood in this depression-vulnerable population.

Assaults on Days of Campaign Rallies During the 2016 US Presidential Election

Source: Christopher N. Morrison, Benjamin Ukert, Aimee Palumbo, Beidi Dong, Sara Jacoby, Douglas, J. Wiebe, Epidemiology, Published Ahead-of-Print, Post Acceptance: March 12, 2018
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
Aim. 
This study investigates whether assault frequency increased on days and in cities where candidates Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton held campaign rallies prior to the 2016 US Presidential election.

Method. 
We calculated city-level counts of police-reported assaults for 31 rallies for Donald Trump and 38 rallies for Hillary Clinton. Negative binomial models estimated the assault incidence on rally days (Day 0) relative to that on 8 control days for the same city (Days -28, -21, -14, -7, +7, +14, +21, and +28).

Results. 
Cities experienced an increase in assaults (Incidence Rate Ratio [IRR]=1.12, 95%CI: 1.03-1.22) on the days of Donald Trump’s rallies, and no change in assaults on the days of Hillary Clinton’s rallies (IRR=1.00, 95%CI: 0.94-1.06).

Conclusion. 
Assaults increased on days when cities hosted Donald Trump’s rallies during the 2016 Presidential election campaign.

Should Managers Be Armed in the Workplace? Employers could be held liable if someone is injured

Source: Lisa Nagele-Piazza, SHRM, March 6, 2018

News of mass shootings and their tragic results have left many people wondering what can be done to prevent or mitigate the consequences of violent acts—including acts committed in the workplace. Should a few trained managers be allowed to carry guns at work? What are the risks and benefits? Employment law attorneys weighed in…..

Trump’s Budget Cuts Are Forcing Teachers and Nurses to Work as Federal Prison Guards

Source: Samantha Michaels, Mother Jones, February 19, 2018

….For more than a decade, the Bureau of Prisons (BOP) has run on what it describes as “mission critical” staffing—the minimum number of correctional employees necessary to safely run the 98 facilities it operates. Yet over the past year, federal prisons have dipped far below those numbers, employees say, because the agency has largely stopped filling vacant positions after staffers retire or leave.

It’s about to get worse. In January, the Bureau of Prisons told its facility administrators to expect a 14 percent reduction in their staffing levels, pending congressional approval of President Donald Trump’s 2018 budget. If the spending plan passes, prisons will have to cut the number of positions they are allowed to fill, so many of those vacancies will never be filled.

The practice of making prison teachers, nurses, and other non-correctional staffers work as guards, called “augmentation,” started more than a decade ago. Prison employees say it used to happen sporadically, during emergencies or when correctional officers were away at trainings. Now, employees say the practice has become a near-daily occurrence at some facilities. As a result, they say, the wait lists for inmate medical care are growing and classes are being canceled…..

The Employee Right to Disconnect

Source: Paul M. Secunda, Notre Dame Journal of International and Comparative Law, Vol. 8, Issue 1, 2018

From the abstract:
U.S. workers are increasingly finding it difficult to escape from work. Through their smartphones, email, and social media, work tethers them to their workstations well after the work day has ended. Whether at home or in transit, employers are asking or requiring employees to complete assignments, tasks, and projects outside of working hours. This practice has a profound detrimental impact on employee privacy and autonomy, safety and health, productivity and compensation, and rest and leisure. France and Germany have responded to this emerging workplace issue by taking different legal approaches to providing their employees a right to disconnect from the workplace. Although both the French legislative and German corporate self-regulation models have their advantages, this paper puts forth a hybrid approach using existing U.S. safety and health law under OSHA to respond to this employee disconnection problem. Initially under the general duty of clause of OSHA, and then under OSHA permanent standards and variances, this article provides a uniquely American approach to establishing an employee right to disconnect from work.

Workers’ compensation and the working poor: Occupational health experience among low wage workers in federally qualified health centers

Source: Liza Topete, Linda Forst, Joseph Zanoni and Lee Friedman, American Journal of Industrial Medicine, Early View, January 31, 2018
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
Background:
The working poor are at highest risk of work-related injuries and have limited access to occupational health care.

Objectives:
To explore community health centers (CHCs) as a venue for accessing at risk workers; and to examine the experience, knowledge, and perceptions of workers’ compensation (WC) among the working poor.

Methods:
Key informant interviews were conducted among patients in waiting rooms of rural and urban CHCs.

Result:
Fifty-one interviews of minority workers across sectors identified 23 prior work-related injuries and mixed experiences with the WC system. Barriers to reporting and ways to overcome these barriers were elucidated.

Conclusions:
Patients in CHCs work in jobs that put them at risk for work-related injuries. CHCs are a good site for accessing at-risk workers. Improving occupational healthcare and appropriate billing of WC insurance should be explored, as should best practices for employers to communicate WC laws to low wage workers.