Washington — A new webpage published by OSHA is intended to help employers and workers manage workplace stress while maintaining mental health amid a shifting work climate.
According to NIOSH, nearly 1 out of 5 U.S. adults live with a mental illness. World Health Organization data shows that 83% of U.S. workers experience work-related stress, while 54% find that work stress affects their home life.
“Stress can be harmful to our health and increase mental health challenges” that range from temporary grief and anxiety to clinical mental illness and substance use disorders, OSHA says. “While there are many things in life that induce stress, work can be one of those factors. However, workplaces can also be a key place for resources, solutions and activities designed to improve our mental health and well-being.”
The webpage features training resources, outreach materials and analyses of real-world solutions, as well as other information.
Being mindful of the unique stressors affecting each employee.
Identifying factors that may make it harder for workers to get their jobs done and make adjustments, if possible.
Creating a safe and trustworthy work culture by making sure workers know they aren’t alone, their employer understands the stress they’re under, there’s no shame in feeling anxious and asking for help is important.
Providing access to supportive services such as coping and resiliency resources, as well as workplace and leave flexibilities without penalty.
“Addressing mental health and stress in the workplace is the right thing to do,” OSHA administrator Doug Parker said in a statement. “Stress is a major determinant of both mental and physical health issues and impacts workplace health and safety.”
WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration will hold a stakeholder meeting May 3, 2022, to provide an overview of and seek comments on the agency’s ongoing efforts to protect workers from heat-related hazards. The meeting will be held online from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. EDT.
As part of the Biden-Harris administration’s commitment to workplace safety, OSHA is working to address the threat of heat, the leading cause of death among all weather-related workplace hazards.
OSHA’s efforts to address heat-related hazards include the agency’s Heat Illness Prevention Campaign, compliance assistance and enforcement activities. During the meeting, the process of federal rulemaking and ways for the public to participate in the process will be discussed.
Workers in outdoor and indoor work settings without adequate climate-controlled environments risk hazardous heat exposure. Statistics show workers of color are exposed disproportionately to hazardous levels of heat in essential jobs in these work settings.
OSHA recently launched a National Emphasis Program to protect millions of workers from heat illness and injuries. Through the program, OSHA will conduct heat-related workplace inspections before workers suffer completely preventable injuries, illnesses or, even worse, fatalities.
Watch a video featuring Jim Barber, who shares his story on the loss of his son from heat illness on a New York job site.
First published by Safety+Health an NSC publication
Photo: Sundry Photography/iStockphoto
Secaucus, NJ — Paced by a continuing increase in marijuana positivity rates, the positive drug test rate for U.S. workers reached its highest level in two decades in 2021, according to an annual analysis conducted by lab services provider Quest Diagnostics.
Researchers examined the results of more than 11 million samples taken last year for Quest Diagnotics’ Drug Testing Index from the combined U.S. workforce – both the general workforce and employees in safety-sensitive jobs who undergo federally mandated drug testing (e.g., pilots, truck drivers, train conductors and nuclear power workers). Overall, 4.6% of the samples tested positive – up from 4.4% in 2020 and the highest percentage observed since 2001, when it was also 4.6. That figure is more than 30% higher than the 30-year low of 3.5% recorded in 2010, 2011 and 2012.
For all workers, urine samples had a marijuana positivity rate of 3.9% last year – the highest ever recorded. That percentage is up 8.3% from 3.6 in 2020 and up 50% from 2.6 in 2016. Among the federally mandated, safety-sensitive workforce, urine samples had a marijuana positivity rate of 0.86% last year, up from 0.79% in 2020 – an 8.9% increase.
The industries with the highest overall positivity rate increases were transportation and warehousing (to 5.5% from 4.4%), other services (to 6.6% from 5.7%) and retail trade (to 7% from 6.2%). Mining (to 3.7% from 3.1%), construction (to 4.6% from 4.1%) and manufacturing (to 4.5% from 4.1%) all saw increases of at least 0.5 percentage points. Finance and insurance was the only industry not to show an annual increase, remaining at 3.3%.
Other key findings:
The overall positivity rate among the federally mandated, safety-sensitive workforce remained steady at 2.2% – but that’s up 4.8% since 2017.
For federally mandated, safety-sensitive workers, the positivity rates for amphetamines and cocaine increased 7.8% and 5%, respectively.
In the general workforce, positive urine tests for opiates fell 19%, and have fallen 56.4% over the past five years.
Post-incident positivity among the general workforce has increased 26% over the past five years. Post-incident urine tests for marijuana and cocaine were up 63.4% and 266.7%, respectively, compared with pre-employment testing.
Every day, millions of vulnerable workers head to jobs where they unnecessarily face dangerous or unfair conditions. Construction workers aren’t given necessary personal protective equipment and suffer injuries or fatalities as a result. Dishwashers are told to work overtime without pay. Garment workers are paid for each piece they sew – but those wages are less than the federal minimum wage.
Some aren’t aware of their rights because their employers failed to provide that information in a language they understand. Some are afraid to speak up for fear of losing their jobs or being deported.
During Labor Rights Week, Aug. 30 – Sept. 3, we’re getting the word out that ALL workers have the same right to a safe workplace and fair pay, as well as the right to report possible violations without retaliation. That’s because worker protections apply to everyone regardless of immigration status.
Many immigrant workers have performed essential duties throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. It is important that they have meaningful access to information about their rights as they work diligently during these challenging times. It’s also important that employers understand their responsibilities and meet their obligations. We are committed to working together through education and compliance assistance.
Explore our resources, available in many languages, and learn more about how you can get involved at dol.gov/LaborRightsWeek.
First published by Safety+Health an NSC publication
Washington — NIOSH is seeking input on personal protective equipment use, availability, accessibility, acceptability and knowledge for “underserved” workers, according to a notice published in the June 24 Federal Register.
“Underserved PPE user populations may include, but are not limited to, workers who are of an atypical size; who are members of a gender, racial, ethnic or linguistic minority group; who conduct nontraditional worker activities; or who are members of sub-disciplines that are not the primary focus of the current PPE activities within a larger field,” the notice states.
Information should be shared with NIOSH via a letter or email, and should include individual, company or institution name, location, and website (if available). The letters also should include contact information and “the primary motivation(s) for why you (or your organization) are responding,” along with relevant background information and knowledge of “any other organizations working in applicable issues.”
In addition, NIOSH asks that respondents describe experiences related to PPE use, availability, accessibility, acceptability and knowledge issues for underserved PPE user populations.
Other potential questions respondents can answer:
What data/information/resources did you find the most relevant/valuable?
How long have you or your organization been working with the PPE use, availability, accessibility, acceptability and knowledge issues for underserved populations?
Did your or your organization’s involvement change over time and, if so, how and why?
What achievements have you or your organizations realized through your work (e.g., publications, guidance, new/revised policies or procedures)?
What are your future plans on PPE use, availability, accessibility and knowledge for underserved populations?
Describe PPE gaps/barriers for underserved populations?
What research, service or policy gaps need to be addressed?
Bethesda, MD — Irregular sleep patterns do more than just make you tired at work – they can have long-lasting adverse effects on your health.
According to a study conducted by researchers at Boston’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital, for every hour of variability in your bedtime and time asleep, you could face up to a 27% higher risk of metabolic syndrome, which the National Institutes of Health defines as “a group of risk factors that raises your risk for heart disease and other health problems, such as diabetes and stroke.”