Category Archives: Uncategorized

Mental Health Affects Three Out of Four U.S. Workers

More than three in four U.S. employees (76%) have dealt with issues negatively affecting their mental health, according to a new survey from the American Health Association (AHA). The survey examined the effects of mental health in the workplace and the need for more awareness and resources for workers. “With so many of our employees managing mental health conditions, it is our obligation to provide effective intervention and prioritize treating mental health on the same level as physical health,” Johnson & Johnson Chairman and CEO Alex Gorsky said in a statement. Despite 42% of respondents indicating a mental health disorder diagnosis, many fail to seek help because of social stigma and discrimination. Almost all workers (96%) agree that mental health is as important as physical health, according to the AHA. There has been growing awareness in recent years about the fact that mental health disorders can affect anyone. Roughly 43.8 million U.S. adults experience mental illness each year, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness. “Like chronic diseases, mental health conditions are treatable," said Nancy Brown, AHA CEO. "Employers can create supportive and healthy work environments and provide innovative resources that enhance their employee’s overall physical and mental health and general well-being. We hope all employers will join us to promote mental health.” Let's block ads! (Why?)

EU and the Republic of Korea join forces in fight against Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated fishing

Today, the EU and the Republic of Korea have pledged to work closely together to fight against Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) fishing with a joint statement signed by European Commissioner for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, Karmenu Vella, and Mr Kim Young-Choon, Minister for Oceans and Fisheries of the Republic of Korea. The signing took place on the eve of a bilateral EU-Republic of Korea Summit. Commissioner Vella said: "Putting an end to illegal fishing is one of the main objectives of the EU's international ocean governance agenda. By joining forces with the Republic of Korea, a world player in fisheries, we send a clear message to those breaking international law that there is no place for such products on our markets and we will continue to fight illegal fishing until we have fully eradicated it." With the new partnership, in line with the objectives of the EU's Ocean Governance strategy, the EU and the Republic of Korea will: exchange information about suspected IUU-activities enhance global traceability of fishery products threatened by Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated fishing, through a risk-based, electronic catch documentation and certification system join forces in supporting developing states in the fight against IUU fishing and the promotion of sustainable fishing through education and training strengthen cooperation in international fora, including regional fisheries management organisations. The Republic of Korea and the European Union have been working closely together on IUU fishing for several years already. The Republic of Korea is the fourth country with whom the EU signs a joint statement on IUU fishing, following the USA, Japan and Canada. Together, these five economies imported almost 90 billion euros worth of fish and fisheries products in 2017. Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated fishing constitutes one of the most serious threats to sustainable fishing and to marine biodiversity in the world's oceans, with devastating environmental and socio-economic consequences. These consequences are particularly challenging for coastal communities in developing countries, who rely on fisheries for food and employment. Globally, IUU fishing is estimated to deprive coastal communities and honest fishermen of up to 20 billion euros of seafood and seafood products per year. Background The EU is internationally recognised for its leadership in the fight against IUU fishing. Under EU legislation, only fish that is legally caught can be sold on the EU market – the biggest market for fish and fisheries products in the world. Countries for which there is concern about IUU fishing receive a ‘yellow card'. This starts a process of dialogue and support to find solutions and ensure that international law is fully applied. This can either lead to the repeal of the yellow card or it can turn into a ‘red card', which would mean the banning of the products from the EU market. In April 2015, the Commission lifted the yellow card adopted in 2013 to the Republic of Korea, recognising the country's efforts to bring its legal and administrative systems in line with the international standards. Since then, the Commission and the authorities of the Republic of Korea have continued their fruitful cooperation in a bilateral working group to address IUU fishing. Let's block ads! (Why?)

Webinar: The Human Factor in OSHA Enforcement and Compliance

Date: Thursday, November 1, 2018Time: 2:00 p.m. EDT (GMT -4, New York)Duration: 1 HourEvent Type: Live WebinarCost: Free Register Today!  Description Your company has a great occupational safety and health program.  It trains its employees and has a safety incentive program that employees love.  Then an employee ignores his training and fails to lock out a machine, injuring himself, and OSHA comes knocking.  This webinar will explore the human factor in occupational safety and health and how it impacts OSHA enforcement actions.  Topics covered will include: Acknowledging that OH&S programs can only minimize risk, not eliminate it Factors that lead to a successful OH&S program, including training, auditing, and discipline How to instill a safety culture at your company with employee buy-in Determining leading indicators of OH&S risks rather than relying on lagging indicators How to defend an OSHA citation where the condition cited resulted from employee misconduct. How to establish the employee misconduct defense Register Speaker Travis Vance, Partner, Fisher Phillips Travis Vance is a partner in the firm’s Charlotte office. He has tried matters across several industries and various subject matters, including employment litigation, business disputes and matters prosecuted by the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) and Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Travis has emerged as a thought leader in the field of workplace safety. His writing and interviews are followed closely by experts in the safety arena and have been featured in premiere publications such as Business Insurance, EHS Today, and the Wall Street Journal.   Sponsored by Technical Details This webinar will be conducted using a slides-and-audio format.  After you complete your registration, you will receive a confirmation email with details for joining the webinar. System test (opens in a new window) Let's block ads! (Why?)

Using Gamification to Train Millennials

Most manufacturers are now looking at a workforce that is 35% Millennials—the generation born between 1981 and 1996. According to Pew Research Center, Millennials became the largest generational group in the US labor force in 2016, when they overtook Gen Xers. In 2017, 56 million Millennials were working or looking for work. And, since the Baby Boomers are retiring in droves, this number is only going to grow. Millennials are expected to be 75% of the workforce by 2025. This younger workforce needs to be trained—they are graduating without many of the skills needed for manufacturing jobs—but the traditional talking head and paper manual training programs their parents sat through won't work with Generation Y. A Generation of Gamers Millennials and later generations were born into a digital world. (These days, by the time the average American has turned 21, they've spent 6,000 to 9,000 hours playing video games, but only about 2,000 hours reading books). They've been fed on video games, and it means they learn and play differently from older generations. Millennials are totally comfortable with technology, and research has shown that they crave variety in media and are born multitaskers, so they can't just sit and listen to a talking head, the way earlier generations used to. Intuitively, it makes sense for training programs to use games, since Millennial brains are already working that way. The "gamification of training" means using game design techniques in a non-game situation to engage users and reinforce a specific skill or concept. Training games use techniques from the game world like rewards, points, badges, frequent feedback, progression through many levels, etc., to make training more effective by making learning more fun. Does it work? International pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca explored using a voluntary, game-based learning system to get 500 sales agents up to speed about a new drug. Their objectives were to focus the agents on the new project, create an effective team building tool, create a buzz leading up to the launch of the drug, and to be able to check the training results in real time. The game, called "Go to Jupiter," was custom designed by Italian gamification agency "alittleb.it". AstraZeneca wanted the game to be voluntary to maintain the sense of fun, so the developer built in lots of motivators like team competitions, cooperation within teams, mini-games with instant gameplay, virtual items, rewards for achievement, leaders boards and progressive levels. The result? It worked. Usage rates were extremely high (97%), and 95% of the users completed each teaching session. Not only that, most of the agents were using the game outside of working hours. It proved to be an effective team-building tool that educated, focused, and energized the sales force. In the UK, fast-food behemoth McDonald's began using gamification in 2011 to train front-line servers to use the new cash registers. The game led users through a 20-minute exercise of serving customers, becoming increasingly challenging as it progressed. They placed the game on the McDonald's portal, and within the first six weeks it was played by 50,000 people, saving the company £1/2 million in direct training costs. There are many other examples of huge companies, such as SAP, Dell, Deloitte, and Google, using gamification not just for training but also to build community, engage workers, and motivate them to perform routine tasks. The Breakdown: Serious versus Casual In the gamification world, you're either serious or casual. "Serious games" are games specifically designed for learning or practicing a particular skill, rather than for entertainment. They are mostly used in complex fields—for everything from industrial electrical troubleshooting to aeronautics, education, defense, and even surgery. Take Grendel Games' "Underground." It's a serious game that helps surgical students practice the difficult skills involved in laparoscopic gallbladder surgery. Although it falls into the serious category, it's actually fun to play. There's no sign of surgery at all, something tired students appreciate after a long day in the hospital. Instead, it presents a fantasy world of characters trapped underground that have to be rescued using physical movements that mimic the techniques used in laparoscopic surgery on a custom-designed Nintendo controller similar to the instruments used in the surgery. The game improves dexterity and creates muscle memory while the player is having fun. Other examples of serious games are "Pulse!!", which trains emergency room nurses how to deal with admitting multiple patients, and Duolingo, the popular gamified language-learning software. In contrast, casual games are purposely designed for entertainment. They are games with "very simple controls and low barriers to entry" that can be played for five minutes and then put aside (like Brainwell, Candy Crush, or Tetris). A recent study of over 6,000 employees in the US and Canada found that being allowed to play a casual game for a few minutes before participating in training was a motivational hook that improved engagement. Trainees logged in to train significantly more often (so they were more likely to complete their training). Perhaps more surprising was that it put them in a mental zone where they could actually focus better, boosting their learning outcomes and improving recall. Keeping Their Heads in the Game Basically, it's all about engagement. Active learning approaches, where the student has to interact with the material being taught, are associated with greater academic achievement. This has been studied a lot in the medical world, where one study found that learners in an engaged classroom had better knowledge retention than non-engaged students. The same study found that high-fidelity simulation also improved students' knowledge retention. Gamified training can also change habits, through repeated retrieval and spaced retrieval. Retrieval practice forces learners to recall information, rather than just listen to it or read it. On its own, retrieval practice can improve recall performance by 10% to 20%. Spaced retrieval is providing the learner with quizzes or course content spaced over time, and when combined with retrieval practice it multiplies the effect and improves recall performance by as much as 35% to 60%. Gamification also generates intrinsic motivation in users through challenge, curiosity, competition, and other natural human motivators. For example, in jobs where output is easily measured, training games can use competitive features like company-wide leader boards to inspire either competition or teamwork. Anything that boosts employee engagement is good for business—a 2012 Gallup study found that companies with an engaged workforce outperformed their non-engaged competition by 147%. Hiring, Onboarding, and Retaining Staff Certain training games can also be used by HR departments to test a job applicant's skills and aptitude. Just seeing how an applicant performs on the software can reveal a lot about how they will perform their job.Once the staff are hired, gamification is also effective for onboarding to help introduce the new employees to corporate culture and processes. Daniel Newman, CEO of Broadsuite Media Group and author of Futureproof: 7 Key Pillars for Digital Transformation Success, says: "In terms of training, companies have the chance to move beyond required—often boring—webinars to more interactive training methods that reinforce policies and culture every single day. It can also help companies retain staff because it makes work more fun. Psychology is part of gamification, and a huge part of that is simply making day-to-day work life more enjoyable." Dan R. Lawrence is Director of Marketing at Simutech Multimedia, which makes simulation-based, gamified troubleshooting training solutions driven by artificial intelligence. Let's block ads! (Why?)

Electrocution Leads to Fines for Insight Pipe Contracting

A Butler, Penn.-based worker who had recently overcome drug addiction and was working to assist others with substance abuse was electrocuted on April 12, 2018. Christopher Diaz, a 30-year-old employee of Insight Pipe Contracting LLC, was "leaning against" a hydraulic forklift that touched live power lines, according to a story from The Butler Eagle. Two other workers who attempted to assisted them were also shocked, but did not die. OSHA immediately began an investigation into the incident that killed Diaz and found multiple violations. "Electrocution is one of the leading causes of death in the construction industry," said OSHA Pittsburgh Area Office Director Christopher Robinson. "Complying with OSHA safety and health standards is not optional. Employers are required to take necessary precautions to prevent tragedies such as this." The agency discovered Insight Pipe Contracting failed to develop develop and implement procedures for confined space entry; train employees on confined space hazards; conduct atmospheric testing before permitting entry into a sewer line; use a retrieval line; and complete proper permits. OSHA placed the company in its Severe Violator Enforcement Program and fined Insight Pipe a proposed $331,101. The company has 15 business days from receipt of the citations and proposed penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA's area director, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.  Let's block ads! (Why?)

MSHA Issues Updates to Workplace Examination Standard

The Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) has issued enforcement guidance updates to its final rule on examinations of working places in metal and nonmetal mines. Finalized earlier this year, the rule officially went into effect on June 2 but enforcement was delayed until Oct. 1. MSHA’s new requirements as of June 2 are: • A competent person must complete a workplace examination at least once each shift for each working place where miners are scheduled to work. • The examination must be conducted “before work begins or as miners begin work in that place.” • Mine operators must promptly initiate any necessary corrective actions for identified adverse health and safety conditions. • Mine operators must provide timely notification of adverse conditions that are found but are not promptly corrected to miners who will be working in that place. The examination record must be completed prior to the end of the shift, including the name of the person conducting the examination, the date of the examination, location of all areas examined, a description of each condition found which could adversely affect the safety or health of miners that is not promptly corrected, and the date of corrective actions taken. The mine operator must keep a copy of the examination record for one year and make the record available to MSHA and the miners’ representative, with a copy provided upon request. After the final rule was issued this spring, MSHA held stakeholder meetings in six cities across the country to provide outreach and compliance assistance materials to members of the industry. New Guidance Offered Margaret S. Lopez, an attorney with the law firm of Ogletree Deakins, notes that since the rulemaking began, MSHA has been providing mine operators with information on how the rule may be applied in mine inspections. The agency has been refining and adding to that guidance over time and recently issued critical new updates to its frequently asked questions (FAQ) on the rule. For example, she points out that the latest guidance includes an important clarification on whether conducting a workplace examination will render someone an agent of the company and therefore subject to potential individual civil penalties. “This is significant because there have been instances in which inspectors suggested to hourly miners that they are agents of the operator if they do a workplace examination,” Lopez says. “This has been causing a lot of confusion and needless concern.” The agency has stated clearly in the rulemaking record that doing a workplace examination does not impose agent status on an hourly miner. An earlier version of the FAQ was less clear on this point. MSHA has now issued a more definitively worded answer to one of its FAQs, stating that “conducting a workplace examination in and of itself does not make a miner an agent of the operator.” Lopez notes that this should take care of this issue, and operators that hear inspectors saying otherwise might want to direct them to this document. The FAQ updates are less clear in how the new rule addresses workplace examinations in relation to contractors working on mine property, she observes. “Regarding the question of whether a contractor and production operator must both examine the same working place if they each have employees in the same area (also known as “overlapping examinations”), the agency seems to be leaving open the possibility that a contractor’s workplace examination for an area will suffice for the production operator’s work in the area, and vice versa—but this is not entirely clear.” The FAQ only goes so far as to state that “production operators and contractors may arrange any number of ways to ensure that required workplace exams are completed.” Although it is not entirely clear, Lopez says MSHA’s new guidance does seem to place the burden on the production operator to ensure that its contractor’s workplace examination records are available to MSHA inspectors or miners’ representatives after the contractor is no longer working at the mine. The FAQ states that contractor examination records must be available at the mine and that this can be accomplished by the contractor providing the production operator with a copy of the records. One concern of mine operators is that the new rule appears to leave open the opportunity for MSHA to use examination records as “evidence” of a violation, or to support higher negligence findings. Let's block ads! (Why?)