Is stress making your workers’ minds wander?

First published by Safety+Health an NSC publication.
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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.

Virtual happy hour: Survey examines remote working and drinking

First published by Safety+Health an NSC publication.

New York — Nearly half of remote employees have signed off early to have an alcoholic drink or have had a drink during the workday amid the COVID-19 pandemic, results of a recent survey indicate.

On behalf of sparkling water manufacturing company HOP WTR, researchers from marketing research company OnePoll surveyed 2,000 U.S. adults to examine their at-home habits during the pandemic. Of the respondents, around 800 were at least 21 years old and working from home. The researchers found that 46% of respondents said they’ve logged off early to have a drink, while 45% have had an alcoholic beverage while on the clock.

Overall, 53% said they’ve been drinking more frequently during the pandemic, at an average of four alcoholic drinks a week.

Other findings:

  • More than 60% of the respondents working remotely said virtual happy hours with co-workers have contributed to their increased alcohol intake.
  • 52% of all respondents said they’ve felt the need to drink while watching the news.
  • About 60% said they’ll try to drink less in the future.

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.

Sedentary lifestyles proving a pain during the pandemic, survey finds

First published by Safety+Health an NSC publication.

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New York — The average U.S. adult now spends six hours a day sitting – four hours longer than before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic – and they’re feeling more aches and pains because of it, results of a recent survey show.

Commissioned by pharmaceutical company Pfizer, researchers from marketing research company OnePoll surveyed 2,000 U.S. adults about changes in their at-home habits during the pandemic and health effects linked to those changes.

More than 3 out of 5 respondents said they have a more sedentary lifestyle now as a result of working from home and spending more time on social media and watching entertainment. About 60% of the respondents said they have developed more aches and pains thanks to the additional time sitting, while 75% of those working from home said their workstations are causing them pain and discomfort. In particular, 22% found themselves having backside pain or discomfort.

Additional sitting and inactivity also have led to changes in eating habits and added stress. When it comes to eating, 34% of the respondents said they’ve chosen fattier and unhealthy foods since the pandemic began.

The World Health Organization, which in November updated its physical activity guidelines, recommends adults get 150 to 300 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity, or 75 to 150 minutes of vigorous activity, each week.


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.

Almost 25% of workers say their employers don’t offer COVID-19 safety training: survey

First published by Safety+Health an NSC publication.

Image result for social distance and mask trainingBannockburn, IL — Nearly 1 out of 4 workers don’t receive training on COVID-19 safety guidelines, according to a recent survey commissioned by compliance company Stericycle.

Researchers in September surveyed 1,000 U.S. adult workers who physically go to work at companies with at least 100 employees and 450 U.S. business leaders of organizations with 100-plus employees. Results show that 58% of the business leaders and 38% of the employees are concerned about contracting COVID-19 at work.

Nearly half of the business leaders (41%) don’t believe they can enforce COVID-19 safety guidelines, and 44% of the employees are concerned about co-workers not following safety protocol. Other results:

  • 79% of workers said they’d look for a new job if their employer didn’t offer training on COVID-19 safety guidelines.
  • 34% of workers would look for a new job if their employer didn’t take specific safety measures, such as providing personal protective equipment or ensuring physical distancing.
  • 45% of business leaders don’t think their safety measures are sufficiently proactive.
  • 27% of employees have been asked to provide their own PPE.

When it comes to COVID-19 vaccines, 24% of the employees said they wouldn’t feel safe working near a colleague who wasn’t vaccinated, and almost half of the business leaders (48%) plan to offer a COVID-19 vaccine. In December, the National Safety Council released a statement urging employers to develop a COVID-19 vaccination plan.


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.

Feeling blue? Take a walk by the water, researchers say

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Photo: Peter Berglund/iStockphoto

Barcelona, Spain — Walking along bodies of water might boost your overall health and mood, results of a recent study led by researchers from the Barcelona Institute for Global Health suggest.

Over a period of three weeks, the researchers studied 59 healthy adult office workers before, during and after each spent 20 minutes a day in different environments, measuring their blood pressure and heart rate while assessing their mood via a questionnaire. For one week, the participants walked along a beach in Barcelona. For another week, they walked in an urban environment. For the next, they spent 20 minutes at rest indoors.

The results show that walking along “blue spaces” – areas such as beaches, lakes, rivers and fountains – immediately triggered “significantly improved well-being and mood responses.” They found no cardiovascular benefit, but point out that they assessed only short-term effects.

“Our results show that the psychological benefits of physical activity vary according to the type of environment where it is carried out, and that blue spaces are better than urban spaces in this regard,” Cristina Vert, lead study author and a researcher at the institute, said in a July 6 press release.

Short walks in blue spaces can benefit both well-being and mood. However, we did not observe a positive effect of blue spaces for any of the cardiovascular outcomes assessed in this study.

The study was published online June 19 in the journal Environmental Research.

 

Construction, agricultural workers at higher risk of knee osteoarthritis: study

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Photo: kali9/iStockphoto

Sydney — Workers in the construction and agriculture industries face an increased risk of knee osteoarthritis, in part because of the rigorous physical demands of the job, results of a recent study led by researchers at the University of Sydney suggest.

The researchers analyzed 71 studies with more than 950,000 participants to examine relationships between on-the-job exposure, knee osteoarthritis and total knee replacement. Findings show that, compared with occupations that involve low levels of physical activity, agricultural workers are up to 64% more likely to develop knee osteoarthritis, while builders and floor layers are up to 63% more likely to be affected by the condition.

Workers in these sectors who routinely engage in “heavy lifting, frequent climbing, prolonged kneeling, squatting and standing” are especially vulnerable, the researchers noted. Also at increased odds: metal workers, miners, cleaners and service workers.

Noting that knee osteoarthritis is “the most common joint disorder worldwide,” Xia Wang, lead study author and musculoskeletal researcher at the university’s Royal North Shore Hospital, said in a July 8 press release that “tailored preventive strategies need to be implemented early on to adapt the aging workforces in many countries that push for longer employment trajectories.”

The study was published online July 7 in the journal Arthritis Care and Research.

COVID-19 pandemic: Study finds many employees working from home may use it as ‘an excuse to drink’

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Photo: JAVIER LARRAONDO/iStockphoto

Brentwood, TN — Drinking alcohol while working from home may be an emerging concern during the COVID-19 pandemic, with 1 out of 3 respondents to a recent survey saying they’re more likely than usual to do so.

Alcohol.org – a resource of the American Addiction Centers, a national provider of addiction treatment services – in late March conducted an online survey of 3,000 U.S. adults working from home “to find out how many are using their new office setup as an excuse to drink.”

In general, 35% of the respondents said they were more likely to consume alcohol while self-isolating, while 22% said they’ve stockpiled alcohol over other food and drink items while isolating. Beer was the beverage of choice for 38% of the respondents, followed by cocktails (26%), wine (21%) and straight spirits (15%).

“These are stressful times as many employees struggle with having to adapt to a home working environment, in which distractions are abundant and alcohol may seem like a good solution,” an alcohol.org spokesperson said on the website. “There are a number of accessible online resources available if you suspect substance addiction, such as support helplines, chat rooms and forums.”

The survey results were published on the website April 2.

People using household cleaners, disinfectants in unsafe ways during pandemic, survey finds

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Photo: Floortje/iStockphoto

Washington — Washing foods with bleach, applying household cleaning or disinfectant products to the hands or skin, and intentionally inhaling or ingesting these products are among the “non-recommended, high-risk practices” nearly 2 out of 5 U.S. adults say they have tried to prevent contracting COVID-19, results of a recent survey indicate.

Researchers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, including the agency’s COVID-19 response team, looked at data from an online survey of a nationally representative cohort of 502 U.S. adults. The survey – conducted May 4 – included questions about general knowledge, attitudes and practices related to the use of household cleaners and disinfectants, as well as about specific information regarding cleaning and disinfection strategies for preventing the transmission of COVID-19.

Among the 39% of the respondents who reported they had engaged in these high-risk, unsafe behaviors within the past month:

  • 19% applied bleach to food items, including fruits and vegetables.
  • 18% used household cleaning and disinfecting products on their hands or skin.
  • 10% misted their body with a cleaning or disinfectant spray.
  • 6% inhaled vapors from household cleaners or disinfectants.
  • 4% had drank or gargled diluted bleach solutions, soapy water, or other cleaning and disinfectant solutions.

Overall, 77% of the respondents didn’t know they should use only room-temperature water to dilute bleach solutions, and 65% were unaware that they shouldn’t mix bleach with vinegar.

One-quarter of the respondents reported experiencing at least one adverse health effect, which they believed resulted from the use of disinfectants or cleaners.

“COVID-19 prevention messages should continue to emphasize evidence-based, safe practices such as frequent hand hygiene and frequent cleaning and disinfection of high-touch surfaces,” the researchers said. “These messages should include specific recommendations for the safe use of cleaners and disinfectants, including the importance of reading and following label instructions.”

The survey results were published online June 5 in CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

COVID-19 pandemic: OSHA answers FAQs on wearing masks at work

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Photo: South_agency/iStockphoto

Washington — New guidance from OSHA answers six frequently asked questions regarding the use of masks in the workplace during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Among the agency’s answers is an explanation of the key differences between cloth facial coverings, surgical masks and respirators. Other topics include whether employers are required to provide masks, the continued need to follow physical distancing guidelines when wearing masks and how workers can keep cloth masks clean.

“As our economy reopens for business, millions of Americans will be wearing masks in their workplace for the first time,” acting OSHA administrator Loren Sweatt said in a June 10 press release. “OSHA is ready to help workers and employers understand how to properly use masks so they can stay safe and healthy in the workplace.”

The agency reminds employers not to use surgical masks or cloth facial coverings for work that requires a respirator.

OSHA hosts webinar on preventing heat-related illnesses, injuries

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Photo: OSHA

Washington — To prevent illnesses and injuries related to environmental heat exposure, employers need to “think about preventing injuries and providing workers with the right equipment for the job,” a May 19 webinar hosted by OSHA advises.

“Millions of U.S. workers are exposed to heat in the workplace, and although heat-related illness is preventable, each year thousands of workers are getting sick from their exposure to heat, and … some cases are fatal,” Stephen Boyd, deputy regional administrator for OSHA Region 6, said during the presentation.

The agency notes that operations involving high air temperatures, radiant heat sources, high humidity, direct physical contact with hot objects and strenuous physical activity carry high potential for causing work-related heat stress. OSHA cites numerous industrial occupations and locations in which problems may occur. Among outdoor workers, examples include construction, refining, asbestos removal, hazardous waste site activities and emergency response operations – especially those requiring workers to wear semipermeable or permeable protective clothing.

Sites of potentially hazardous indoor operations include foundries, brick firing and ceramic plants, glass product facilities, rubber product factories, electrical utilities (particularly boiler rooms), bakeries, confectionaries, commercial kitchens, laundries, food canneries, chemical plants, mining sites, smelters, and steam tunnels.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, heat illnesses caused 49 worker deaths in 2018 – a 53.1% increase from the previous year. That same year, 3,950 workers experienced days away from work as a result of nonfatal injuries and illnesses from occupational heat exposure.

The webinar explores strategies for heat hazard recognition, as well as planning and supervision, engineering controls and work practices, training, and resources.

All new or returning workers should be acclimatized to environmental heat conditions by first working shorter shifts before building up to longer ones, OSHA recommends. Additionally, these workers should gradually increase their workloads while taking more frequent breaks at the start.

OSHA offers employer and worker resources for working in hot weather through its “Water. Rest. Shade.” Campaign.

“Water, rest, shade: These will mean the difference between life and death,” OSHA states during the webinar.

Agency tips to help prevent heat-related illnesses:

  • Drink water every 15 minutes.
  • Take rest breaks in the shade to cool down.
  • Wear a hat and light-colored clothing.
  • Monitor co-workers for symptoms of heat-related illnesses.

An effort to mitigate heat-related illnesses and fatalities include a Heat Safety Tool – a free mobile app designed in collaboration with NIOSH.