Category Archives: Health & Safety

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

Analysis Ranks Most Sleep-Deprived Occupations

Source: Sleepy’s, Marketwire Press Release, February 22, 2012

A new ranking conducted for Sleepy’s, the Mattress Professionals, points to those jobs where workers report the shortest sleep time. The Shortest-Sleep Jobs list is based on an independent analysis of individual sleep habits as reported in the National Health Interview Survey (NHIS). The data reveals the following sleep patterns among America’s workers — none of whom attain the 8- hours we were all taught to strive for. The list is presented with the shortest sleepers at the top.

1. Home Health Aides
2. Lawyers
3. Police Officers
4. Physicians, Paramedics
5. Economists
6. Social Workers
7. Computer Programmers
8. Financial Analysts
9. Plant Operators
10. Secretaries
Pair of HMS Studies Examine Sleep
Source: Benjamin M. Scuderi, Harvard Crimson, September 07, 2011
National Health Interview Survey
Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
New Study Reveals Link Between American Office Workers’ Sleep Habits and Next Day Workplace Performance
Source PR Newswire, December 14, 2010

Indicators of School Crime and Safety: 2011

Source: Simone Robers, Jijun Zhang, Jennifer Truman, National Center for Education Statistics, NCES 2012002, February 2012

From the abstract:
A joint effort by the Bureau of Justice Statistics and National Center for Education Statistics, this annual report examines crime occurring in school as well as on the way to and from school. It provides the most current detailed statistical information to inform the Nation on the nature of crime in schools. This report presents data on crime at school from the perspectives of students, teachers, principals, and the general population from an array of sources–the National Crime Victimization Survey, the School Crime Supplement to the National Crime Victimization Survey, the Youth Risk Behavior Survey, the School Survey on Crime and Safety and the School and Staffing Survey. Data on crime away from school are also presented to place school crime in the context of crime in the larger society.

Job Stress and Work Schedules in Relation to Nurse Obesity

Source: Kihye Han, Alison M. Trinkoff, Carla L. Storr, Jeanne Geiger-Brown, Journal of Nursing Administration, Vol. 41 no. 11, November 2011

From the abstract:
This study aimed to examine the relationship between job stress/work schedules (JS/WS) and obesity among nurses. Job stress and shift work are known risk factors for obesity, yet comprehensive measures of JS/WS in relation to nurse obesity have been little investigated. Approximately 55% of the sample was overweight/obese (OW/OB). When compared with underweight/normal weight nurses, OW/OB nurses reported that their jobs had less physical exertion and more limited movement. Long work hours were significantly associated with being OW/OB as compared with underweight/normal. Findings suggest interventions to limit adverse work schedules. Access to healthy food and optimal meal breaks should be investigated.

Inside Information on OSHA and Workplace Violence

Source: Maureen Minehan, Employment Alert, Vol. 28 no. 26, December 28, 2011
(subscription required)

A new directive from the federal Occupation Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) gives employers an inside track on what the agency considers the “do’s” and “don’ts” of workplace violence prevention. Employers should evaluate their existing prevention programs against the directive and take steps to close any gaps.

Rotating Night Shift Work and Risk of Type 2 Diabetes: Two Prospective Cohort Studies in Women

Source: An Pan, Eva S. Schernhammer, Qi Sun, Frank B. Hu, PLoS Medicine, Vol. 8 no. 12, December 2011

From the abstract:
Rotating night shift work disrupts circadian rhythms and has been associated with obesity, metabolic syndrome, and glucose dysregulation. However, its association with type 2 diabetes remains unclear. Therefore, we aimed to evaluate this association in two cohorts of US women….Our results suggest that an extended period of rotating night shift work is associated with a modestly increased risk of type 2 diabetes in women, which appears to be partly mediated through body weight. Proper screening and intervention strategies in rotating night shift workers are needed for prevention of diabetes.
Shift Work as a Risk Factor for Future Type 2 Diabetes: Evidence, Mechanisms, Implications, and Future Research Directions
Source: Mika Kivimäki, G. David Batty, Christer Hublin, PLoS Medicine, Vol. 8 no. 12, December 2011
– Editorial: Poor Diet in Shift Workers: A New Occupational Health Hazard?
Source: PLoS Medicine Editors, PLoS Medicine, Vol. 8 no. 12, December 2011

“They Can Take Us Over Any Time They Want”: Correctional Officers’ Responses to Prison Crowding

Source: Joseph L. Martin, Bronwen Lichtenstein, Robert B. Jenkot, David R. Forde, Prison Journal, Vol. 92 no. 1, March 2012
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
Prisons in the Southern United States are among the most underfunded, understaffed, and crowded in the nation. This study seeks to identify how Alabama state correctional officers experienced crowding related to their mental and physical health and safety. A total of 66 correctional officers at 3 Alabama men’s prisons are surveyed about crowding in relation to job performance, health and safety, and inmate control. Respondents at all facilities, which had occupancy rates between 154% and 206% of capacity, report high levels of stress and impaired job performance due to understaffing and overwork. Officers at the most crowded prison are most stressed and fearful of inmates. In the absence of policies to reduce density or increase staffing in prisons, new strategies are urgently needed to reduce occupational stress among officers in crowded correctional facilities.

The Impact of Workplace Policies and Other Social Factors on Self-Reported Influenza-Like Illness Incidence During the 2009 H1N1 Pandemic

Source: Supriya Kumar, Sandra Crouse Quinn, Kevin H. Kim, Laura H. Daniel, and Vicki S. Freimuth, American Journal of Public Health, Vol. 102 no. 1, January 2012
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
Objectives. We assessed the impact of social determinants of potential exposure to H1N1—which are unequally distributed by race/ethnicity in the United States—on incidence of influenza-like illness (ILI) during the 2009 H1N1 pandemic….Conclusions. The absence of certain workplace policies, such as paid sick leave, confers a population-attributable risk of 5 million additional cases of ILI in the general population and 1.2 million cases among Hispanics. Federal mandates for sick leave could have significant health impacts by reducing morbidity from ILI, especially in Hispanics.

Economic Burden of Occupational Injury and Illness in the United States

Source: J. Paul Leigh, Milbank Quarterly, Volume 89, Issue 4, December 2011

From the abstract:
The allocation of scarce health care resources requires a knowledge of disease costs. Whereas many studies of a variety of diseases are available, few focus on job-related injuries and illnesses. This article provides estimates of the national costs of occupational injury and illness among civilians in the United States for 2007….The number of fatal and nonfatal injuries in 2007 was estimated to be more than 5,600 and almost 8,559,000, respectively, at a cost of $6 billion and $186 billion. The number of fatal and nonfatal illnesses was estimated at more than 53,000 and nearly 427,000, respectively, with cost estimates of $46 billion and $12 billion. For injuries and diseases combined, medical cost estimates were $67 billion (27% of the total), and indirect costs were almost $183 billion (73%). Injuries comprised 77 percent of the total, and diseases accounted for 23 percent. The total estimated costs were approximately $250 billion, compared with the inflation-adjusted cost of $217 billion for 1992.

Conclusions: The medical and indirect costs of occupational injuries and illnesses are sizable, at least as large as the cost of cancer. Workers’ compensation covers less than 25 percent of these costs, so all members of society share the burden. The contributions of job-related injuries and illnesses to the overall cost of medical care and ill health are greater than generally assumed.

Health care worker fatigue and patient safety

Source: The Joint Commission, Sentinel Event Alert, Issue 48, December 14, 2011

The link between health care worker fatigue and adverse events is well documented, with a substantial number of studies indicating that the practice of extended work hours contributes to high levels of worker fatigue and reduced productivity. These studies and others show that fatigue increases the risk of adverse events, compromises patient safety, and increases risk to personal safety and well -being. While it is acknowledged that many factors contribute to fatigue, including but not limited to insufficient staffing and excessive workloads, the purpose of this Sentinel Event Alert is to address the effects and risks of an extended work day and of cumulative days of extended work hours.