Creating workplaces where we all watch out for each other

Creating workplaces where we all watch out for each other

MSHA Fatality #20

METAL/NONMETAL MINE FATALITY – A mobile maintenance mechanic was driving on the pit haulage road when the service truck he was operating left the road, hit a berm, and flipped onto its side, ejecting the miner. The miner died at the scene on November 5, 2019.

Accident scene of ejected miner
Best Practices:
  1. Always wear seat belts when operating mobile equipment.
  2. Maintain control and stay alert when operating mobile equipment.
  3. Conduct adequate pre-operational checks and correct any safety defects before operating mobile equipment.
Additional Information:

This is the 20th fatality reported in 2019, and the seventh fatality classified as “Powered Haulage.”

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The Regional Transportation Authority (RTA) is conducting a survey to seek public input on guiding principles drafted by the RTA’s Citizens Advisory Committee (CAC). The CAC will consider the guiding principles as they identify projects to develop a future 20-year regional transportation plan.

The committee will be charged with weighing the value of regional benefits of proposed projects vs. the estimated construction costs to meet the budget. After the committee prepares a draft plan, they will continue to seek broad public input during the plan review process – prior to making a final recommendation to the RTA Board.

The current RTA plan and special taxing district’s half-cent sales (excise) tax – both voter-approved in 2006 – will expire in June 2026.

Please complete the survey by Friday, December 13, 2019. Thank you!

AMA announces appointment of panel to update permanent impairment evaluation guides

Chicago — The American Medical Association has appointed a 13-member editorial panel of physicians and allied health professionals to oversee updates to the AMA Guides to the Evaluation of Permanent Impairment – used to help determine compensation for injured workers.

In a Sept. 18 press release, AMA states that the panel is important to developing a new, transparent process, driven by stakeholders, to maintain and enhance the guides with timely developments based on current science and evidence-based medical practice.

For more than five decades, the AMA Guides have been used as a source for physicians, patients and regulators to determine fair and consistent impairment rating information and tools, according to AMA’s website. Impairment ratings and impairment rating reports produced using the guides are used to determine compensation for patients with work-related injuries or illnesses that have resulted in a reduction of body function or loss of use of an injured body part long term.

“As new medical innovations become available, patient outcomes continue to improve,” Mark Melhorn, panel co-chair, said in the release. “It is important that the impairment process reflect those changes. Using the most current evidence-based science is critical.”

The panel also will help modernize the guides by reducing physician burden and improving the quality and consistency of evaluations, the release states.

The guides have been adopted by 40 states and several foreign countries, according to AMA.

Surgeon general to employers: Ramp up your worker well-being initiatives

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Photo: U.S. Department of Health & Human Services’s

Washington — U.S. Surgeon General Jerome M. Adams is urging employers to make worker well-being a higher priority, in an article published online Oct. 10 in Public Health Reports – the official journal of the Office of the Surgeon General and the U.S. Public Health Service.

“Healthy and happy employees have a better quality of life, a lower risk of disease and injury, increased work productivity, and a greater likelihood of contributing to their communities than employees with poorer well-being,” Adams writes, citing a 2015 study published in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine.  Read more

Hazardous substance exposure on the job: UN expert presents 15 principles to end risk

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Photo: matejmo/iStockphoto

Geneva — United Nations Special Rapporteur Baskut Tuncak is urging governments and businesses around the world to adopt a series of principles intended to protect workers who are exposed to hazardous substances and provide solutions for violations of their rights.

Addressing the UN Human Rights Council on Sept. 9, Tuncak presented the 15 principles from his recent report, Principles on Human Rights and the Protection of Workers from Exposure to Toxic Substances. Read more

Opioid misuse, cocaine use higher among construction, extraction workers: study

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Photo: kali9/iStockphoto

New York — Written drug policies and programs are strongly needed in the construction and extraction industries, researchers from New York University are saying after their study revealed that workers in these industries are more likely than those in other industries to misuse prescription opioids and use cocaine.  Read more

Lead: Don’t take it home

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Are you exposed to lead at work? You may be if you make or fix batteries or radiators; make or paint ceramics; melt, cast or grind lead, brass or bronze; tear down or remodel houses, buildings or bridges; or work with scrap metal, the California Department of Public Health says.

Short-term lead exposure can cause headaches, irritability, memory loss, abdominal pain and loss of appetite. Prolonged exposure can cause depression, nausea, high blood pressure, heart disease, kidney disease and reduced fertility. Read more»

Recognizing on-the-job impairment

When you hear the words “impairment at work,” alcohol or substance abuse likely comes to mind. But according to the Canadian Center for Occupational Health and Safety, impairment encompasses much more. “Issues that may distract a person from focusing on their tasks include those that are related to family or relationship problems, fatigue (mental or physical), traumatic shock, or medical conditions or treatments,” CCOHS states. Read more»

Which worker types are most at risk of burnout? Survey explores

BurnoutBoston — People who are “strivers” at work but struggle with job-related anxiety may face a heightened risk of burnout, a recent analysis shows.

Researchers from online stress management platform provider meQuilibrium surveyed 2,000 adult full-time workers, classifying them into one of six segments based on burnout risk: soulful sufferers, checked out, status quos, strivers, stretched superstars and change masters.

Findings show that strivers have the highest risk of burnout because of their combination of high agility and low resilience – despite exhibiting “a growth mindset” that results in them “brimming with untapped potential,” according to an Aug. 22 press release. Workers in this segment were linked to greater risks of anxiety (54%) and depression (27%), while 66% reported experiencing more negative emotions than positive ones.

The researchers also found that 44% of “soulful sufferers” – identified as “caring people who are struggling to be adaptive, and worrying about relationships and work” – are at high risk of burnout. This group’s low resilience and low agility contribute to its average use of 13 sick days a year. Seventy percent of soulful sufferers reported feeling accelerated pressure on the job, while group members faced a 49% greater risk of depression and anxiety.

“We can’t totally eliminate stress, which is one of the root causes of burnout, from business – but we can support employees by training them to manage stress better, and address the consequences before they impact business metrics such as revenue and profit,” Lucy English, vice president of research at meQuilibrium, said in the release.

In a June revision of its International Classification of Diseases, the World Health Organization calls burnout an “occupational phenomenon” and outlines three dimensions:

  • Feelings of energy depletion or exhaustion
  • Increased mental distance from one’s job, or feelings of negativity or cynicism related to the work
  • Reduced effectiveness on the job