Concealing infectious illnesses at work common, study shows

sick-worker.jpg
Photo: Charday Penn/iStockphoto

Ann Arbor, MI — Around 3 out of 4 workers have kept quiet when they’ve had an illness that could infect their co-workers, according to a recent study.

Researchers at the University of Michigan analyzed data from 10 studies involving more than 4,100 U.S adults, who included health care workers and other online crowdsourced workers.

Findings show that about 75% of participants have concealed an illness during interpersonal interactions. Of the health care workers, 61% didn’t speak about an illness, took active steps to hide it, incorrectly used a mandatory app-based health screening tool at least once and/or intended to conceal future illnesses.

The motivation, according to the researchers, is that people with an infectious illness are often socially excluded. They’re also focused on achievement-oriented goals, such as completing work projects and objectives. Few of the participants said workplace policies, such as a lack of paid time off, were a factor.

The researchers say workers’ dishonesty about being infectious can have negative consequences on public health.

“Sick people and healthy people evaluate the consequences of concealment in different ways,” lead study author Wilson Merrell, a doctoral student at U-M, added in a press release, “with sick people being relatively insensitive to how spreadable and severe their illness may be to others.”

The study was published online in the journal Psychological Science.


McCraren Compliance offers a full range of safety and health training and consulting services. Plus we can help you incorporate well-being into your traditional systems in order to support the Total Worker Health of your workforce.

Call 888-758-4757, email info@mccrarencompliance.com or visit our website www.mccrarencompliance.com

Original article published by Safety+Health an NSC publication

Participate in Safe + Sound Week 2023: August 7-13

Safe + Sound Week is a nationwide event held each August that recognizes the successes of workplace health and safety programs and offers information and ideas on how to keep America’s workers safe. This year Safe + Sound Week will provide resources for businesses on mental health and well-being. These materials will be posted before the start of Safe + Sound Week. Please check back soon!

Safe + Sound Week

Photo: OSHA

Why Participate?
Successful safety and health programs can proactively identify and manage workplace hazards before they cause injury or illness, improving sustainability and the bottom line. Participating in Safe + Sound Week can help get your program started, energize an existing one, or provide a chance to recognize your safety successes.

Who Participates?
All organizations looking for an opportunity to recognize their commitment to safety are welcome to participate. Last year, more than 3,300 businesses helped to raise awareness about workers’ health and safety!

Check out our event archive for information on previous years’ engagement.

Registration is available online.


McCraren Compliance offers many opportunities in safety training to help circumvent accidents. Please take a moment to visit our calendar of classes to see what we can do to help your safety measures from training to consulting.

Original article published by OSHA

New video lays out the ‘business case’ for healthy work

Los Angeles — A recently released video from the Healthy Work Campaign explains to business leaders how work stress harms their organization and employees – and what can be done about it.

Original article published by Safety+Health
healthy work

Photo: Healthy Work Campaign

The Business Case for Healthy Work focuses on issues such as chronic stress caused by greater work demands, time pressures, unreasonable workloads and low job control. That stress can lead to higher blood pressure and greater risk of cardiovascular disease.

The campaign is a public health project sponsored by the Center for Social Epidemiology, a nonprofit foundation.

“Overwork, especially working more than 55 hours per week, is also associated with burnout and depression,” Peter Schnall, CSE director and a professor emeritus of medicine at the University of California, Irvine, says in the video.

The video notes that businesses can lose billions of dollars because of problems such as employee disengagement and burnout, sickness and lost productivity, and increased health care costs. CSE provides three overarching actions employers can take to help mitigate these issues:

  • Ramp up employee participation in decision-making and problem-solving
  • Increase support and feedback from management
  • Improve communication throughout the organization

“Everyone should know that work conditions can lead to ill health,” Schnall says. “Improving working conditions and creating healthier work conditions can lead to improved mental function and increased satisfaction among workers, and it will contribute to workers who are more productive.”


McCraren Compliance offers many opportunities in safety training to help circumvent accidents. Please take a moment to visit our calendar of classes to see what we can do to help your safety measures from training to consulting.

Is stress making your workers’ minds wander?

First published by Safety+Health an NSC publication.
The-Mind-at-Work.jpg
Photo: Potential Project

New York — Employees who feel stressed say their minds can wander for up to nearly 60% of the workday by the time Friday rolls around, according to the results of a recent study conducted by a global research, leadership development and consulting firm.

Researchers collaborating with the Potential Project gathered 225,000 data observations on employee focus, resilience and engagement for workers in 44 countries and 15 different industries. Overall, participants reported that their minds wander 37% of the time while on the job. The researchers also found that stress makes workers’ mind wander even more, causing two to three times more inattentiveness.

On average, the participants who were experiencing stress had minds that wandered 59% of the time on Fridays, 55% on Thursdays and 51% on Mondays. By contrast, employees who reported feeling calm at work had minds that wandered 35% of the time on Mondays, and that percentage decreased over the course of workweek to a low of 25 on Fridays.

The researchers identified three key ways workers can limit their minds from wandering:
Daily mind-training practice. Workers who train their mind can direct it to feel more grounded, resilient and present. Results show that those who practiced mindfulness had minds that wandered only 28% of the time, as opposed to 52% for workers who didn’t.
Connecting with others socially. Doing so helped workers limit their wandering minds to 30% of the time, creating more balance and focus. Among workers who chose to be alone, their minds wandered 48% of the time.
A good night’s rest. Seven or more hours of sleep a night can benefit mental and physical health. Quality sleep helped to reduce mind wandering to 35% of the workday, compared with 41% for workers who slept less than six hours.


McCraren Compliance assists employers in protecting their workers, starting with a comprehensive Work-site Analysis, Hazard Prevention, Controls, and Safety & Health Training.

Please contact us today at 888-758-4757 to learn how we can provide mine safety training and consulting for your business.

job-related-stress.jpg

First published by Safety+Health an NSC publication.

COVID-19 has changed the way we all work. Some of us never stopped physically going to work, while others have been working remotely since mid-March. No matter where we are, working during a pandemic has added stress to our daily lives. How you deal with this stress can positively or negatively affect your well-being.

Some of the symptoms of COVID-19-related stress, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, include concern about being exposed to the disease at work, taking care of your loved ones while you’re working, managing a change in workload, and uncertainty about the future of your workplace or employment.

Manage job stress by following these tips from CDC:

  • Communicate with your co-workers about job stress while maintaining physical distancing.
  • Identify factors that cause you stress, and work together with your colleagues to develop solutions.
  • Increase your sense of control by creating a consistent daily routine when you can. If you work from home, set a regular time to stop working each day.
  • Stick to a regular sleep schedule. The National Sleep Foundation recommends seven to nine hours of sleep a night for adults.
  • Take breaks from work to stretch, exercise or check in with your co-workers, family and friends.
  • Get active: Spend time outdoors, either exercising or relaxing.
  • Ask your supervisor or human resources department about the mental health resources your organization offers.
  • During non-work hours, spend time doing activities you enjoy.
  • Connect with others. Talk with people you trust about your concerns, how you’re feeling or how the COVID-19 pandemic is affecting you.
  • Take breaks from watching or reading news stories. Hearing about the pandemic repeatedly can be upsetting and mentally exhausting.

For more information, go to sh-m.ag/3k6mGeR.


McCraren Compliance assists employers in protecting their workers, starting with a comprehensive Work-site Analysis, Hazard Prevention, Controls, and Safety & Health Training.

Study links on-the-job pollution exposure to heart abnormalities among Latinos

content banner image

First published by Safety+Health an NSC publication.

New York — Exposure to pollutants such as vehicle exhaust, pesticides and wood smoke may be linked to structural and functional heart abnormalities that could lead to cardiovascular disease among Latino workers, results of a recent study published by the American Heart Association indicate.

Researchers studied 782 adult workers with Mexican, Puerto Rican, Cuban, Dominican, Central American or South American backgrounds, gauging their exposure to pollutants at their current and longest-held job via questionnaires. Ultrasounds were taken of the participants’ hearts. Among the findings:

  • Workers exposed to vehicle exhaust, pesticides, burning wood and metals who have been at their jobs for an average of 18 years or more were more likely to “have features of abnormal heart function and structure.”
  • Exposure to burning wood or wood smoke was linked to a “decreased ability” (3.1% lower) of the heart’s left ventricle to pump blood.
  • Exposure to vehicle exhaust was linked to indicators of reduced pumping ability for the heart.
  • Workplace exposure to pesticides was associated with an abnormal ability to contract in the left ventricle.
  • Exposure to metals was linked to a risk factor for cardiovascular disease: increased muscle mass and abnormal ability to contract in the left ventricle.

“These findings support the notion that where people live and work affects cardiovascular health,” researcher Jean Claude Uwamungu, cardiology fellow in training at Montefiore Health System/Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York, said in a press release from AHA. “Policies and interventions to protect the environment and safeguard workers’ health could reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease such as heart failure, especially among low-income occupations that have higher exposure to these harmful pollutants. Health care professionals should routinely ask patients about exposure to pollutants at work to guide prevention, diagnosis and treatment of early stages of heart disease.”

The study was published online Aug. 26 in the Journal of the American Heart Association.


McCraren Compliance offers many opportunities in safety training to help circumvent accidents. Please take a moment to visit our calendar of classes to see what we can do to help your safety measures from training to consulting.

Gloves aren’t a substitute for handwashing, infection control experts say

man-with-face-mask.jpg

Photo: RealPeopleGroup/iStockphoto

Arlington, VA — Think you’re safer wearing gloves during the COVID-19 pandemic? The Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology wants you to know that protective vinyl, latex or nitrile gloves could become “more contaminated than bare hands” and “may actually be spreading germs in the community.”

In a recently published resource, APIC cautions that gloves may offer a false sense of security, and “are not a substitute for handwashing” nor a complete barrier to preventing the spread of SARS-CoV-2 – the coronavirus that causes COVID-19.

APIC recommends washing hands with soap and water or using hand sanitizer before and after wearing gloves. And whether you wear gloves or not, avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth to limit possible exposure to germs.

Study finds cluster headaches can ‘dramatically interfere with people’s work capacity’

cluster-headache.jpg

Photo: Pornpak Khunatorn/iStockphoto

Stockholm — Employees who experience short, severe and frequent headaches – known as cluster headaches – average nearly twice as many missed workdays as their colleagues, according to a study recently published by the American Academy of Neurology.

“Cluster headaches are short but extremely painful headaches that can occur many days, or even weeks, in a row,” AAN says. They may last 15 minutes to three hours, and frequently occur above or around the eye. In the United States, about 1 out of 1,000 people experience cluster headaches.

For the study, a group of Sweden-based researchers analyzed data for 3,240 Swedes of working age who were treated for cluster headaches in hospitals or by specialists from 2001 to 2010, and compared it with data for 16,200 members of the general population. They then examined a registry to determine how many sick and disability days each study participant used in 2010. The average number of sick and disability days for workers with cluster headaches totaled 63, compared with 34 for those without the headaches.

Other findings:

  • Female workers with cluster headaches used an average of 84 sick and disability days, compared with 53 days for male workers.
  • Workers with cluster headaches who completed only elementary school used an average of 86 sick and disability days, compared with 65 days for those who completed high school and 41 days for those with a college education.

“This study shows that cluster headaches dramatically interfere with people’s work capacity,” study author Christina Sjöstrand, of Sweden’s Karolinska Institute, said in a press release. “More research is needed on how to best treat and manage this form of headache so people who experience them have fewer days in pain and miss fewer days of work.”

The study was published online Feb. 5 in the AAN journal Neurology.

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

Surgeon-General.jpg

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

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