Category Archives: Health & Safety

Self-Care Management Practices for the Home Health Nurse: Staying Hale and Hearty Through Enhanced Self-Care and Ergonomics–With a Case Study

Source: Jennifer M. Hitt, Eva Tatum, Mary McNair, Marilyn Harrington, Sandra D. Stanton, Rebecca Askew, Susan Lofton, Jean T. Walker, Amy Robertson, Home Healthcare Nurse, Vol. 30 no. 5, May 2012
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
Ergonomics provides a broad framework for home healthcare nurses to improve their individual physical, psychological, cognitive, and spiritual well-being through application of models for self-care planning. As the individual becomes stronger, more resilient and work hardy, the benefits to the individual, along with the work organization and ultimately the clients, grow exponentially. This article seeks to explore the relevant ergonomic domains and assist home healthcare nurses to develop self-care planning practices that lead to healthy lifestyles and improved quality of life.

Infection Control in Home Healthcare: An Exploratory Study of Issues for Patients and Providers

Source: Irena Kenneley, Home Healthcare Nurse, Volume 30 – Issue 4, April 2012
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
The number of home healthcare clinicians who have acquired an infection as the direct result of patient care is not known. How clinicians practice infection prevention and control in home healthcare is also unknown. To describe infection prevention and control policies and practices in the home healthcare setting, an exploratory study in the form of a 22-question survey was conducted. Findings confirm the presence of occupationally acquired infections among home healthcare clinicians and that infection prevention and control practices vary widely across agencies.

Work-Related Injuries Among Certified Nursing Assistants Working in US Nursing Homes

Source: Galina Khatutsky, Joshua M. Wiener, Wayne L. Anderson, and Frank W. Porell, RTI International, RTI Press publication RR-0017-1204, April 2012

Certified nursing assistants (CNAs) working in nursing homes are at significant risk for work-related injuries, but little is known about the frequency and types of such injuries and how assistive equipment such as patient lifts affect injury rates. This study uses 2004 data from the National Nursing Assistant Survey and the National Nursing Home Survey to analyze the prevalence, nature, and predictors of these injuries among CNAs working in US nursing homes. The study found that 60.2 percent of all CNAs nationally reported a work-related injury in the year prior to the survey; among injured CNAs, 65.8 percent reported being injured more than once in the past year, 16 percent required a transfer to light duty work, and 24 percent were unable to work because of their injury. The reported injuries varied in nature and included scratches, open wounds, back injuries, black eyes and other bruising, human bites, and strained or pulled muscles. In examining predictors of injury, the study found that although assistive equipment was readily available and often used, it was not associated with lower rates of workforce injuries. New workers, workers who change jobs more frequently, those reporting poor job preparation, workers who received lower wages, workers who felt that they had inadequate time to provide personal care, and those working mandatory overtime were more likely to have a workplace injury. CNAs who worked in facilities where they felt respected and rewarded for their work and where the organization valued their work were less likely to report an injury.

Death on the Job: The Toll of Neglect – A National And State-By-State Profile of Worker Safety And Health In the United States

Source: AFL-CIO, Safety and Health Department, 21st Edition, April 2012

From the summary:
In 2010, according to data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 4,690 workers were killed on the job–an average of 13 workers every day–and an estimated 50,000 died from occupational diseases. Workers suffer an additional 7.6 million to 11.4 million job injuries and illnesses each year. The cost of job injuries and illnesses is enormous–estimated at $250 billion to $300 billion a year.

The risk of job fatalities and injuries varies widely from state to state–from 13.1 fatalities per 100,000 workers in West Virginia to 0.9 fatalities per 100,000 in New Hampshire. Latino workers continue to be at increased risk of job fatalities, with a fatality rate of 3.9 per 100,000 workers in 2010.

This year’s edition of “Death on the Job” details not only the data about workplace death, injuries and illnesses, but also the reasons behind them and what must be done to save lives.

Fatal Occupational Injuries and Workers’ Memorial Day

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries, April 2012

In 2010, a total of 4,690 workers died from injuries they suffered at work. That works out to one U.S. worker dying every 2 hours from a work-related injury.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (CFOI) program released its final data for the 2010 reference year on April 25, 2012–just 3 days before Workers’ Memorial Day. Recognized each year on April 28, Workers’ Memorial Day is a day to remember workers who were killed, injured, or made ill at work and to highlight the hazards in the workplace.

This fact sheet provides an overview of fatal occupational injuries in the United States.

Multiple Challenges Lengthen OSHA’s Standard Setting

Source: U.S. Government Accountability Office, GAO-12-602T, Apr 19, 2012

From the summary:
In summary, we found that, between 1981 and 2010, the time it took OSHA to develop and issue safety and health standards ranged from 15 months to 19 years and averaged more than 7 years. Experts and agency officials cited several factors that contribute to the lengthy time frames for developing and issuing standards, including increased procedural requirements, shifting priorities, and a rigorous standard of judicial review. We also found that, in addition to using the typical standard-setting process, OSHA can address urgent hazards by issuing emergency temporary standards, although the agency has not used this authority since 1983 because of the difficulty it has faced in compiling the evidence necessary to meet the statutory requirements. Instead, OSHA focuses on enforcement activities–such as enforcing the general requirement of the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 (OSH Act) that employers provide a workplace free from recognized hazards–and educating employers and workers about urgent hazards. Experiences of other federal agencies that regulate public or worker health hazards offered limited insight into the challenges OSHA faces in setting standards. For example, EPA officials pointed to certain requirements of the Clean Air Act to set and regularly review standards for specified air pollutants that have facilitated the agency’s standard-setting efforts. In contrast, the OSH Act does not require OSHA to periodically review its standards. Also, MSHA officials noted that their standard-setting process benefits from both the in-house knowledge of its inspectors, who inspect every mine at least twice yearly, and a dedicated mine safety research group within the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), a federal research agency that makes recommendations on occupational safety and health. OSHA must instead rely on time-consuming site visits to obtain information on hazards and has not consistently coordinated with NIOSH to assess occupational hazards. Finally, experts and agency officials identified several ideas that could improve OSHA’s standard-setting process. In our report being released today, we draw upon one of these ideas and recommend that OSHA and NIOSH more consistently collaborate on researching occupational hazards so that OSHA can more effectively leverage NIOSH expertise in its standard-setting process.

Diabetes, obesity linked to night shifts

Source: Healthcare Traveler, April 17, 2012

Nurses that work third shift, or alternate shifts, should take heed of a new study by researchers at Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH), of Boston, that reinforces the finding that too little sleep, or sleep patterns that are inconsistent with our body’s “internal biological clock,” may lead to increased risk of diabetes and obesity.

This finding has been seen in short-term lab studies and when observing human subjects via epidemiological studies. However, unlike epidemiological studies, this new study provides support by examining humans in a controlled lab environment over a prolonged period, and altering the timing of sleep, mimicking shift work or recurrent jet lag. …

…The researchers saw that prolonged sleep restriction with simultaneous circadian disruption decreased the participants’ resting metabolic rate. Moreover, during this period, glucose concentrations in the blood increased after meals, because of poor insulin secretion by the pancreas.

According to researchers, a decreased resting metabolic rate could translate into a yearly weight gain of over 10 pounds if diet and activity are unchanged. Increased glucose concentration and poor insulin secretion could lead to an increased risk for diabetes. …
See also:
Adverse Metabolic Consequences in Humans of Prolonged Sleep Restriction Combined with Circadian Disruption
Source: Orfeu M. Buxton, Sean W. Cain, Shawn P. O’Connor, James H. Porter, Jeanne F. Duffy, Wei Wang, Charles A. Czeisler, and Steven A. Shea, Science Translational Medicine, Vol. 4 no. 129, 11 April 2012
(subscription required)

Percutaneous Injuries before and after the Needlestick Safety and Prevention Act

Source: Elayne K. Phillips, Mark R. Conaway, Janine C. Jagger, New England Journal of Medicine, February 16, 2012

Our findings provide evidence that the NSPA contributed to the decline in percutaneous injuries among U.S. hospital workers. They also support the concept that well-crafted legislation bolstered by effective enforcement can be a motivating factor in the transition to injury-control practices and technologies, resulting in a safer work environment and workforce.

Toll of Trauma

Source: Dianne Molvig, Wisconsin Lawyer, December 2011

A groundbreaking study of Wisconsin State Public Defender attorneys examines the effects of “compassion fatigue” – the cumulative physical, emotional, and psychological effects resulting from continual exposure to others’ traumatic experiences. This article discusses factors contributing
to the risk any lawyer may face of experiencing its symptoms, and what can be done to mitigate it.

Stress in America 2011

Source: American Psychological Association, January 11, 2012

From the press release:
The American Psychological Association’s (APA) newly released report, Stress in America™: Our Health at Risk, paints a troubling picture of the impact stress has on the health of the country, especially caregivers and people living with a chronic illness such as obesity or depression.

The Stress in America survey, which was conducted online by Harris Interactive on behalf of APA among 1,226 U.S. residents in August and September, showed that many Americans consistently report high levels of stress (22 percent reported extreme stress, an 8, 9 or 10 on a 10-point scale where 1 is little or no stress and 10 is a great deal of stress). While reported average stress levels have dipped slightly since the last survey (5.2 on a 10-point scale vs. 5.4 in 2010) many Americans continue to report that their stress has actually increased over time (39 percent report their stress has increased over the past year and 44 percent say their stress has increased over the past 5 years). Yet stress levels exceed people’s own definition of what is healthy, with the mean rating for stress of 5.2 on a 10-point scale– 1.6 points higher than the stress level Americans reported as healthy.
See also:
Stress in America 2010
Stress in America 2009
Stress in America 2008
Stress in America 2007