Author Archives: Stefanie Valentic

Companies Lack Sexual Harassment Training

Roger Ailes. Harvey Weinstein. Matt Lauer. With so many high-profile alleged cases of sexual harassment in the news, a new survey states that employers still are not taking steps to prevent and address the widespread issue. A mere 32 percent of American workers say the company for which they work does not provide adequate resources to prevent and address sexual harassment, according to the survey administered by the American Psychological Association (APA). The most common response to a claim was to remind employees about existing training or resources, rather than strict action, according to 18 percent of respondents. "The #MeToo movement has given business leaders an opportunity to finally take real action addressing a complex problem that has been pervasive for generations," David W. Ballard, PsyD, MBA, director of APA's Center for Organizational Excellence, in a statement. "Our survey – as well as anecdotal reports – shows that too few employers are making comprehensive efforts that can have significant impact. Avoiding the issue is bad for employee well-being and business, but so, too, is a narrow, compliance-based approach. We know from psychological science that relying solely on mandated training designed primarily to limit the organization's legal liability is unlikely to be effective." While the lack of meaningful change is not entirely surprising, it is disappointing, he said. Only 10 percent of U.S. workers indicated their company has included additional training or resources as a result of increased media attention. Just 8 percent of employers have implemented a stricter policy, and 7 percent have hosted all-staff meetings or town halls to address sexual harassment. According to the APA, research has discovered that training workers about the correct methods to recognize and report inappropriate behavior isn't enough. The organization recommends incorporating fair policies are clearly communicated, ongoing training, leadership support of a civil and respectful culture, and the hiring and promotion of women into senior leadership roles. Companies with women in upper management have shown more progressive action when it comes to handling sexual harassment in the workplace. The survey indicated that 56 percent of workers were more likely to report an incident if they experienced it and 55 percent said they reported an instance of harassment if they witnessed it. In addition, 53 percent of respondents reported they confronted a coworker. Organizations without women in leadership roles totaled 39 percent, 41 percent and 34 percent, respectively. "Sexual harassment at work occurs within a broader context," Ballard said. "For training to produce long-term changes, the organization's workplace practices need to align with and support the individual attitudes and behaviors it's trying to promote. Leaders in a psychologically healthy workplace model civility, respect, fairness and trust. In an organizational culture where every employee feels safe, supported and included, people can be their best, and that's good for people and profits."  Let's block ads! (Why?)

May 2018 Product Innovations [Photo Gallery]

EHS Today's print edition highlights the latest personal protective equipment, software and safety products ranging from footwear to training.Our May issue features innovations from Automation Direct, Quincy Compressor, Dräger, Tillman, Kimberly-Clark Professional and Ergodyne.To view product descriptions and photos, use the arrows to move back and forth through the slideshow.Let's block ads! (Why?)

Emotions at Work: Half of Employees Admit to Losing Their Temper

Crying on the job is acceptable, according to 44 percent of CFOs surveyed by Accountemps.A survey the accounting firm conducted shows how emotions are perceived in the workplace."We're all human, and sometimes emotions can get the best of us," said Michael Steinitz, executive director of Accountemps, in a statement. "Workplace challenges are inevitable, but how you respond and move forward can demonstrate your professionalism, resilience and emotional intelligence."More than four in 10 workers, 45%, have admitted to crying at work, and 52 percent have admitted to losing their tempers in the workplace.The following infographic from Accountemps summarizes the survey. Let's block ads! (Why?)

6 Top Worker Safety Concerns from the NSC

April 28 is Workers' Memorial Day. Workers' Memorial Day, annually celebrated on April 28, honors those who have been fatally injured.As a response, the National Safety Council (NSC) has released six of the top safety concerns on which companies should focus."Workers' Memorial Day is a time to remember those who lost their lives on the job, to reflect on lessons learned and to bolster our commitment to worker safety," said Mark P. Vergnano, chairman of the NSC board and president and CEO of The Chemours Company, in a statement. "We believe every injury is preventable, and by drawing attention to these critical areas we can improve employee safety, while remembering those we have lost."According to the organization, certain populations of workers and those in certain situations are at a higher risk of being injured or dying at the workplace.To view the six safety concerns the NSC is highlighting, click through the slideshow.Let's block ads! (Why?)

Sincerely Stefanie: Summer Safety is Skin Deep

In Cleveland, my hometown, the cold weather and winter seem to be perpetual. So, when the sun finally begins to peek it’s head through the gray sky, I take advantage of it.You can catch me outside, whether I’m hiking at Cuyahoga Valley National Park or running in my neighborhood. There’s nothing better than being out in the sunshine, but I admit I am terrible with wearing sunscreen.May is Melanoma/Skin Cancer Detection and Prevention Month. Outdoor workers, particularly those in construction, agriculture and landscaping, are exposed to the sun’s rays for hours on end, and they need to take extra precaution, whether it is sunscreen or the personal protective equipment.I personally didn’t realize the proliferation of skin cancer until I spoke to a spray tan technician about five or six years ago, something that has remained with me to this day. She told me about how many adolescent clients came in with scars, simply because they wanted that sun-kissed glow.The U.S. Office of the Surgeon General called skin cancer a “major health problem” in 2014, calling for a need for action. Even though the agency has taken steps to curb intentional tanning and educate about the dangers inadequate sun protection, cancer rates continue to increase.Five million people are treated each year for skin cancer at an annual cost of $8.1 billion, according to the report.The Skin Cancer Foundation lists the following items and details for outdoor worker protection: Clothing - Wear sun protective clothing and cover your skin. Long-sleeved, closely-woven shirts and long trousers or skirts provide the best protection. Avoid clothes that you can see light through. If light is getting through, the ultraviolet radiation is getting through as well. If shorts are worn, a pair that approaches the knee will offer more protection than a shorter pair. A collar will protect the skin on the back of the neck.A hat will help keep the sun off the face, neck and ears, and protect bald spots. Broad-brimmed hats are best, but the brim should be at least 3 inches wide. If a lot of bending is required, have a flap on the back of the hat, which will keep the sun off the back of the neck. Hardhats can have a flap or extra brim fitted to them. To protect your eyes, be sure to wear sunglasses or safety glasses that filter out UV rays.Sunscreen - Use an SPF 15 or higher water-resistant sunscreen before going outdoors and reapply every two hours. If sweating freely, reapply more often. Choose a gel, stick, or lotion form of sunscreen according to personal preference; no one form is more effective than another. Make sure the face, lips, neck, ears, arms and back of the hands are protected.Industrial chemicals such as asphalt and diphenyls and some medications can increase the sun’s effects. A water-resistant sunscreen will help give protection when there is likely to be skin contact with these substances. Also, ultraviolet radiation bounces off water, sand, concrete, light-colored surfaces and snow. People who work near these areas will need to take extra care.Shade - A temporary shelter can be erected or trees and buildings used for protection. A shady spot should be available for lunch and coffee breaks. Reorganize the job so tasks requiring outdoor work get done in the morning before 10 a.m. and after 4 p.m., to avoid the hours of greatest sun intensity.As the weather warms and summer arrives, take the proper precautions and educate yourself about the signs of skin anomalies. Having a healthy glow or appearance could lead to illness.Skincancer.orgLet's block ads! (Why?)

CDC: Germs Resistant to Antibiotics Grows

Washing your hands and keeping your area clean is increasingly becoming more important.The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC)  Antibiotic Resistance Lab Network is reporting a higher instance of germs with “unusual” antibiotic resistance genes in the United States last year.  “CDC’s study found several dangerous pathogens, hiding in plain sight, that can cause infections that are difficult or impossible to treat,” said Anne Schuchat, M.D. , CDC principal deputy director. “It’s reassuring to see that state and local experts, using our containment strategy, identified and stopped these resistant bacteria before they had the opportunity to spread.”The agency's definition of germs with "unusual resistance" includes "those that cannot be killed by all or most antibiotics, are uncommon in a geographic area or the U.S., or have specific genes that allow them to spread their resistance to other germs."Germs evolve rapidly, continuously finding ways to resist new and existing antibiotics; stopping new resistance from developing is not currently possible. Recent, nationwide infrastructure investments in laboratories, infection control, and response are enabling tailored, rapid, and aggressive investigations to keep resistance from spreading in health care settings, according to the CDC.In order to combat this, the CDC's first step to prevent transmission of infectious diseases and illness is identifying new or rare threats. Once this occurs, healthcare providers and hospitals can work to isolate patients and stop the spread of germs. Health departments using the approach have conducted infection control assessments and colonization screenings within 48 hours of finding unusual resistance and have reported no further transmission during follow-up over several weeks.A well-coordinated response among health care facilities, labs, health departments and CDC through the AR Lab Network is the key to this, the agency indicates. The strategy complements foundational CDC efforts, including improving antibiotic use and preventing new infections and builds on existing detection and response infrastructure.New data suggest that the containment strategy can prevent thousands of difficult-to-treat or potentially untreatable infections, including high-priority threats such as Candida auris and carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE), according to the CDC.The CDC's study findings discovered the following:One in four germ samples sent to the AR Lab Network for testing had a special genes that allow them to spread their resistance to other germs.Further investigation in facilities with unusual resistance revealed that about one in 10 screening tests, from patients without symptoms, identified a hard-to-treat germ that spreads easily. This means the germ could have spread undetected in that health care facility.For CRE alone, estimates show that the containment strategy would prevent as many as 1,600 new infections in three years in a single state—a 76 percent reduction.To read more about the containment strategy and the entire Vital Signs report, visit www.cdc.gov/vitalsigns/containing-unusual-resistance.Let's block ads! (Why?)

April 2018 Product Innovations [Photo Gallery]

View the latest products in EHS Today's April issue. EHS Today's print edition highlights the latest personal protective equipment, software and safety products ranging from footwear to training.Our April issue features innovations from CMC, Tingley, Bayco Products Inc., Galeton, Allegro, Honeywell, Meritech, CEA Instruments Inc. and Tobii Pro.To view product descriptions and photos, use the arrows to move back and forth through the slideshow.Let's block ads! (Why?)

What We Know: YouTube Workplace Shooting

A 39-year-old shooter is dead after opening fire at YouTube headquarters in San Bruno, Calif. on Tuesday.Media reports state Nasim Aghdam, a female San Diego resident, entered the company's office and began shooting.The attack left one man critically injured. Two women who also were shot ran to a nearby fast food restaurant to seek help. Aghdam died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.Aghdam, a vegan bodybuilder, openly voiced discontent with censorship and YouTube. Her video channel, which was removed Tuesday night, read:"BE AWARE! Dictatorship exists in all countries but with different tactics! They only care for personal short term profits & do anything to reach their goals even by fooling simple-minded people, hiding the truth, manipulating science & everything, putting public mental & physical health at risk, abusing non-human animals, polluting environment, destroying family values, promoting materialism & sexual degeneration in the name of freedom,….. & turning people into programmed robots! “Make the lie big, Make it simple, Keep saying it, And eventually they will believe it” Adolf Hitler… There is no free speech in real world & you will be suppressed for telling the truth that is not supported by the system. Videos of targeted users are filtered & merely relegated, so that people can hardly see their videos! There is no equal growth opportunity on YOUTUBE or any other video sharing site, your channel will grow if they want to!!!!!"Aghdam's brother warned authorities in advance after she stopped responding to phone calls over the weekend, according to CNN.Her complaints also were posted on a separate website the San Bruno Police Department is investigating. Despite Aghdam voicing concern over YouTube's updated advertising policy and lack of free speech, a motive remains unclear, authorities said.Let's block ads! (Why?)

Why Workplace Wellness Works

While workplace safety has become a critical component to worker well-being, integrating worker wellness into a company’s core values is becoming just as essential, according to a new Campbell Institute study.The link to a healthy workforce and a safe workplace is too hard to ignore, with economic (workers’ compensation, turnover rate), work environment (incident rate, hazard recognition) and social factors (prevalence of health conditions and risk, DART due to health conditions) directly affecting safety and productivity.Marissa VicarioMarissa Vicario, an integrative health and nutrition coach, echoes the recently-released study, citing three main reasons why more companies are integrating health and wellness into the workplace:Wellness is becoming more mainstream and accessible. It’s much more front-and-center in our culture than it was even a few years ago.Several of the corporate giants have led by example. Google started a mindfulness program as early as 2007.Insurance companies are encouraging it. For example, Aetna’s health-minded CEO backed its own wellness program which delivered such impressive results that they now offer it to the businesses that contract with them. In a Q&A with EHS Today, Vicario explains how workplace wellness works hand-in-hand with a safer workplace.EHS Today: What is the value of a workplace wellness program?Marissa Vicario: They are crucial for employee retention and can also lower insurance premiums for the business. More employers who have extensive wellness programs are using them as part of their recruitments efforts as a way to attract employees.If you take care of your employees and foster a supportive environment, employees will stay and do good work because they feel important and want to be a part of the culture. Workplace wellness is one way to invest in your people. EHS Today: How important is workplace health to a proper work-life balance?Vicario: Considering we spend a third of our lives at work, it’s a non-negotiable. The healthy habits practiced in the workplace carry over to our daily lives and vice versa. If a business can promote a healthy work-life balance, they will see better employee retention rates and more productivity from their employees. Some employers are building their own wellness values into the fabric of their culture by offering mental health days or flexible hours for employees to promote work life balance.EHS Today: Who should implement these programs – HR, EHS or a combination of the two?Vicario: Whichever department can allocate the resources, but a combination of the two is best. In my opinion, the more departments an organization can have on board, the better. EHS Today: What programs or initiatives can employers implement in terms to improve workplace wellness in terms of: mental health, physical health, stress and nutrition?Vicario: There are endless possibilities. Many organizations are expanding beyond traditional smoking cessation programming and delving into personal development. Some examples of wellness initiatives are yoga classes, meditation classes or rooms, healthy snacks, nutrition workshops and cooking classes, ergonomics. I would like to see more companies offering health coaching for their employees – for groups and individuals.EHS Today: How can employers address the individual needs of an employee?Vicario: Ask people what they want. Often, individual needs are similar so you can address them with group programming. Have an open-door policy to allow employees to express their individual needs and use the resources provided as part of the wellness program to address them. This is where technology such as a digital platform can be an integral part of wellness programming both for collecting data and addressing individual needs. EHS Today: What can employers do to increase worker participation in programs?Vicario: Incentivize employee participation by hosting challenges, bringing in lunch or other value-adds that will enhance the employees’ experience and encourage them to take time out of their busy day to attend programming. Some organizations are making wellness programming mandatory for all employees.EHS Today: When should an employer expect to see ROI based on how complex a program can be?Vicario: It depends on the business and how extensive the programming is. Give it at least a year and be sure to measure the results so you can scale the program and make adjustments as needed. EHS Today: Where should an EHS professional, HR manager or company start if they want to implement a program?Vicario: The first step for getting a workplace wellness program up and going is allocating budget. If wellness is a priority, make it a line item. It’s a smart investment that pays dividends. It’s misguided to expect to offer wellness programming without a budget for it. Next, decide how you want to deliver your program which should be aligned with your corporate culture and values. Does a software-based program make the most sense or would you rather bring in live practitioners to interact face-to-face with your employees? What time of day is best - morning, afternoon lunch-and-learns or evening? What aspects of wellness will you include (fitness, mindfulness/meditation, nutrition, etc)? It’s important to be strategic about it like you would any other program or investment in the organization. -------------------------------------------------------------------Four Essentials for Worker Health and WellnessBy Thomas WigginsWellness plans have become an important aspect of any employee benefits package, and they’re more directly connected to employee financials than one might think. There are many financial factors that impact an individual’s health that employers should consider and properly address.• Mental Health: Restful time off plays an instrumental role in improving mental health, but many employees don’t end up using their allotted annual vacation time. According to Washington-based coalition Project Time Off, American employees forfeited 206 million vacation days in 2016. While a variety of factors contribute, unused paid time off days are often a result of individuals not having money set aside. Employers should work hand-in-hand with their employees to plan for all aspects of their financial future—including how to set aside money to spend during their hard-earned time off.• Physical Health: A healthy workforce is a strong workforce, and health savings accounts are one way employers can help employees set money aside to attend to their physical health and medical needs. We’re also seeing many employers move toward allotting funds for employees to use toward physical activities such as gym or yoga memberships, which can have a direct impact on employee health.• Stress: Access to health care—or lack thereof—can be an enormous source of stress for employees. Ensure employees have adequate amounts of health and disability income insurance, as well as life insurance, and you’ll reduce the burden employees feel to care of themselves and their loved ones.• Nutrition: Eating healthy is important, but can often seem unattainable due to the cost of highly-nutritious items. Employers should help their team to budget accordingly for a nutritious diet. This includes reviewing past expenses to determine how much they are spending on food and talking about nutritious options in their price range.Thomas Wiggins, MSM, CFP, is principal and financial advisor at Rehmann.Let's block ads! (Why?)

April 2018 Product Spotlight: Hand Protection

New products and services appearing in the April 2018 issue of EHS Today. More than 1 million workers are sent to the emergency room each year because of serious hand injuries, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.Because of this, an EHS professional must pay special attention to the level of hand protection they provide to their workers.EHS Today's April 2018 issue highlights the latest personal protective equipment and service, and this month's focus is on the hands.Here are three brands with recent innovations that are featured in the print edition. Click through the slideshow to view their products.Let's block ads! (Why?)