March 1, 2011

In This Update
Some Workers Prefer Night Shift
Erickson Debunks Henrich Assumptions
OSHA Produces Respiratory Protection Video
Guidance on Personal Protective Equipment Issued
Opening Cartons Safely
Hearing Loss and Dementia Linked
Return to Work for Guards and Reserves Brings Safety and Organizational Challenges
Quick Links
Chip DawsonThis health, safety and environment electronic update comes from Chip Dawson and the Rochester Business Alliance as a service to member organizations.
Some Workers Prefer Night Shift
According to Circadian ( it is typical that 15 to 20 percent of a shiftwork population prefers working the night shift as opposed to days or evening shifts. The reasons for this are various, including:
  • Night Owls-shift fits their circadian rhythm.
  • Family Time-home when the children are home.
  • Less Interaction with Management-to avoid extra stress.
  • Less Crowded During Day-allowing for time during the day to run errands and take care of other tasks when traffic and crowds are lower.
  • Early Shift Start Times-to avoid traffic in urban areas and get better sleep after the night shift.
While there are many risks associated to working shifts, it may be prudent to seek out the 15 to 20 percent of the population who do function well in shift work situations in order to lower the risk of injury and related negative outcomes.

Erickson Debunks Henrich Assumptions

Judith Erickson, a Ph.D. safety researcher, says that the age-old position that employee behavior is behind 85 percent of all injuries has no bearing in fact or research. H. W. Heinrich developed the theory in 1931 and it continues to "get legs" 80 years later. Ericksson offers her view in the latest issue of ISHN magazine. Her "bottom line" is that it is incorrect and counter-productive to blame the employee. Rather, she says, employers must look to organizational factors to find the true causes of injuries.

In the article, Ericksson offers a fundamental view of what works: "Safety performance in a company involves two aspects: the safety program and the safety process. The safety program deals with compliance and legislative issues. The safety process involves those factors within the organization that either help or hinder the safety program. A company cannot have an optimal safety performance without both of these elements in place, with the safety process complementing the safety program." To read the full article, click here.

RespriatorOSHA Produces Respiratory Protection Video 

Everything from tuberculosis to formaldehyde is covered in a new respiratory protection training video from OSHA for health care employers and workers. The agency says the video explains the proper use of respirators and the procedures to follow to assure that respirators protect workers from airborne hazards in healthcare settings. To view or download, click here.

Guidance on Personal Protective Equipment Issued

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has issued a directive for OSHA enforcement personnel and general industry that clarifies the type of personal protective equipment employers must provide at no cost to workers. It also addresses when employers are required and not required to pay for PPE. The standards require employers to provide - at no cost to workers - protective equipment such as goggles and face shields that fit properly without restricting vision; earplugs and earmuffs when they will reduce noise to acceptable levels and are less costly than administrative and engineering controls; and respirators to protect workers from exposure to air contaminants. Additionally, the directive lists PPE and other items exempted from the employer payment requirements and includes questions and answers useful in clarifying PPE payment concerns. To access a PDF file of the guidance, click here.

pen on tapeOpening Cartons Safely     
Most often, people open cardboard packaging secured with packing tape using a razor knife. Too often, the consequence of knife use is a cut to the hand or to the contents of the package. The other day, however, I watched Patrick at IKEA in Charlotte open multiple cartons of product with his pen, a key or the tips of small scissors. Here's how. You gently punch a small hole in the tape and then punch the seam lightly with your hand. The small hole weakens the tape and it splits along the seam. You may have to punch new holes two or three times, but the carton opens just as quickly without the hazard of the blade.
Hearing Loss and Dementia Linked    
In a new study by researchers at Johns Hopkins and the National Institute on Aging reported in the February Archives of Neurology says there is a significant link in seniors between dementia and hearing loss. However, the reason there is a link is unknown. This senior with hearing loss would appreciation knowing more. It has been suggested that the study will intensify the debate over hearing issues in the workplace. For the full ISHN article on the research, click here.
guardsmanReturn to Work for Guards and Reserves Brings Safety and Organizational Challenges     
As record numbers of National Guardsmen and Reservists return to the civilian workforce from active military duty-in many cases, from duty in a combat zone-they and their employers face challenges that occupational safety and health professionals are uniquely positioned and skilled to address.

John Howard, M.D., Director of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), discusses this emerging role for safety and health professionals in the February 2011 edition of NIOSH eNews, NIOSH's monthly on-line newsletter. To read the column, click here.

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Lawrence H. "Chip" DawsonView my profile on LinkedIn
Dawson Associates
Rochester Business Alliance Coordinating Consultant for HSE
1434 East Avenue
Rochester, NY 14610-1619
(585) 461-1549