Category Archives: Health & Safety

Paid Sick Leave and Nonfatal Occupational Injuries

Source: Abay Asfaw, Regina Pana-Cryan, and Roger Rosa, American Journal of Public Health, e-View Ahead of Print, 2012
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
We examined the association between US workers’ access to paid sick leave and the incidence of nonfatal occupational injuries from the employer’s perspective. We also examined this association in different industries and occupations….Our findings suggest that, similar to other investments in worker safety and health, introducing or expanding paid sick leave programs might help businesses reduce the incidence of nonfatal occupational injuries, particularly in high-risk sectors and occupations.

Safety in the Home Healthcare Sector: Development of a New Household Safety Checklist

Source: Robyn R.M Gershon, Maureen Dailey, Lori A. Magda, Halley E.M Riley, Jay Conolly, Alexis Silver, Journal of Patient Safety, Volume 8 Issue 2, June 2012
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
Unsafe household conditions could adversely affect safety and quality in home health care. However, risk identification tools and procedures that can be readily implemented in this setting are lacking. To address this need, we developed and tested a new household safety checklist and accompanying training program….Home healthcare paraprofessionals can be effectively trained to identify commonplace household hazards. Using this checklist as a guide, visual household inspections were easily performed by trained HHCPS. Additional studies are needed to evaluate the reliability of the checklist and to determine if hazard identification leads to interventions that improve performance outcomes.

Influenza vaccination for licensed independent practitioners and staff

Source: Joint Commission, R3 Report, Issue 3, May 30, 2012

From the press release:
The Joint Commission today released an R3 Report, a complimentary publication that provides detailed information about a July 1, 2012, requirement that all Joint Commission accredited health care organizations establish an annual influenza vaccination program for licensed independent practitioners and staff. Although vaccination is the single most effective method for preventing influenza deaths and illnesses, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Resources reports that vaccination rates for health care professionals remains below 60 percent…. The R3 Report provides information on the elements of performance for the vaccination standard that goes into effect July 1, 2012, as well as specifics about three of the elements of performance that will be phased in by July 1, 2013 for certain types of organizations. In addition, the R3 Report provides the rationale for the standard, reference information, results of feedback from the field, and outstanding issues related to performance measures for vaccination rates.

Pregnancy in the workplace

Source: H. M. Salihu, J. Myers and E. M. August, Occupational Medicine, Volume 62 Issue 2, March 2012
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
Women constitute a large percentage of the workforce in industrialized countries. As a result, addressing pregnancy-related health issues in the workplace is important in order to formulate appropriate strategies to promote and protect maternal and infant health….Pregnancy discrimination was found to be prevalent and represented a large portion of claims brought against employers by women. The relationship between environmental risks and exposures at work with foetal outcomes was inconclusive. In general, standard working conditions presented little hazard to infant health; however, pregnancy could significantly impact a mother’s psychosocial well-being in the workplace. Core recommendations to improve maternal and infant health outcomes and improve workplace conditions for women include: (i) shifting organizational culture to support women in pregnancy; (ii) conducting early screening of occupational risk during the preconception period and (iii) monitoring manual labour conditions, including workplace environment and job duties.

Bringing You More Than the Weekend: Union Membership and Self-rated Health in the United States

Source: Megan M. Reynolds and David Brady, Social Forces, Vol. 90 no. 3, March 2012
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
Previous research suggests that higher incomes, safe workplaces, job security and healthcare access all contribute to favorable health. Reflecting the interest of economic and political sociologists in power relations and institutions, union membership has been linked with many such influences on health. Nevertheless, the potential relationship between union membership and health has received little attention. Using logistic regression and propensity score matching, this study examines the association between union membership and self-rated health generally and among select subgroups of the workforce with the General Social Survey from 1973 to 2006. Initial bivariate analyses suggest that union membership is actually associated with worse health. This association disappears when controlling for demographics, then reverses and becomes significant when controlling for labor market characteristics. In well-specified models, union membership has a significant positive effect on favorable self-rated health. The effect roughly offsets the effects of five years of aging or being divorced (as opposed to married). In addition, propensity score matching analyses demonstrate that union membership has a beneficial, significant average treatment effect for the treated. We show that much of union membership’s effect in the overall sample is due to the mechanism of higher incomes, but that among men, the less educated, and those with lower incomes, the union-health advantage is not explained fully by income. The effect of union membership also appears to be stable over time. We conclude by encouraging further research on how power relations and institutions shape health.

The Hands That Feed Us: Challenges and Opportunities for Workers Along the Food Chain

Source: Saru Jayaraman, Food Chain Workers Alliance, June 6, 2012

From the summary:
Today, the Food Chain Workers Alliance releases a new report, The Hands That Feed Us: Challenges and Opportunities for Workers Along the Food Chain, the first of its kind that looks at wages and working conditions of workers across the entire food chain – a sector that employs 20 million people in the U.S., comprising one-sixth of the nation’s workforce….According to our report, there are some good jobs in the food system (13.5% of workers surveyed earn livable wages), but the vast majority are incredibly low-wage, with little or no access to paid sick days and health benefits, with dire consequences for consumers. More than 86 percent of workers reported earning subminimum, poverty, and low wages, resulting in a sad irony: food workers face higher levels of food insecurity, or the inability to afford to eat, than the rest of the U.S. workforce….
…The Hands That Feed Us examines the five core food occupations and industries in the food system: farmworkers (production), slaughterhouse and other processing facilities workers (processing), warehouse workers (distribution), grocery store workers (retail), and restaurant and food service workers (service). It examines how corporate consolidation throughout the food chain has created universal impacts on workers in terms of low wages, small to midsize employers in terms of unfair competition, and consumers in terms of food quality and diversity. Employers interviewed unanimously commented on how multinational food corporations receiving government subsidies and tax breaks and buying up their own suppliers has created unfair and unmanageable competition.
See also:
Executive Summary
Executive Summary – Spanish Version

Randomized Government Safety Inspections Reduce Worker Injuries with No Detectable Job Loss

Source: David I. Levine, Michael W. Toffel, Matthew S. Johnson, Science, Vol. 336 no. 6083,18 May 2012
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
Controversy surrounds occupational health and safety regulators, with some observers claiming that workplace regulations damage firms’ competitiveness and destroy jobs and others arguing that they make workplaces safer at little cost to employers and employees. We analyzed a natural field experiment to examine how workplace safety inspections affected injury rates and other outcomes. We compared 409 randomly inspected establishments in California with 409 matched-control establishments that were eligible, but not chosen, for inspection. Compared with controls, randomly inspected employers experienced a 9.4% decline in injury rates and a 26% reduction in injury cost. We find no evidence that these improvements came at the expense of employment, sales, credit ratings, or firm survival.

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.