In today’s and tomorrow’s Advisor, we keep you up to date with the latest research, surveys, and other significant reports that impact workplace safety and health.
Here’s a roundup of noteworthy information reported within the past year in our sister publication OSHA Compliance Advisor, the twice-monthly newsletter safety professionals like you rely on for all the latest developments in workplace safety and health.
Young workers, ages 15-24, are approximately twice as likely to be involved in fatal accidents than other workers, according to an analysis of NIOSH data covering a decade. The NIOSH study concludes that “employers need to ensure that their younger workers have the requisite training and personal protective equipment to perform their jobs safely.”
The study also found that young Hispanic workers had a fatality rate of 5.6 per 100,000 full-time workers. That compares to a rate for non-Hispanic white workers of 3.3 and a rate for non-Hispanic black workers of 2.3.
NIOSH also found that overall, young male workers experienced higher rates of injuries and deaths than young female workers.
According to NIOSH, young workers represent 14 percent of the U.S. labor force, or about 1 in 7 workers.
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A review of scientific research suggests that giving employees more flexibility over their work schedule is likely to boost health in terms of blood pressure and stress. But interventions that are motivated by the needs of the employer, like cutting hours, have no effect or make things worse.
The review was conducted by Kerry Joyce and colleagues, researchers at Durham University in England.
As well as physical risks, the study says that the workplace can pose a threat to employee health due to factors like high workloads, time pressures, lack of control, and limited interaction. Stress can contribute to conditions like heart disease, depression, and anxiety.
A National Safety Council (NSC) member survey reveals that 90 percent of companies with policies prohibiting talking and texting while driving have experienced no loss of productivity. Some have even seen productivity gains.
Although most cell phone policies are enforced through an honor system, 43 percent of companies surveyed conduct parking lot observations and about 40 percent use driver records and citations. Almost 10 percent conduct in-vehicle monitoring.
Other studies have linked cell phone use with distracted driving and an increased risk of traffic accidents. It would seem, therefore, that such policies, when effectively implemented, have an impact on employee safety on the road, at least when they’re driving on business.
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You may remember the case of a Connecticut employee who was about to lose his job and killed eight co-workers this past summer before turning the gun on himself.
The attack was apparently unexpected. But many incidents of workplace violence are preceded by signs of potential trouble, if only you know what to look for.
Experts advise training supervisors and employees to keep an eye out for warning signs such as threats; hostility directed at the company, supervisors, or co-workers; angry outbursts; talk of “getting even”; obsession with weapons; and other indicators that trouble is brewing.
Richard Goldring, vice president of Strike Force Protective Services, says that in addition to watching for warning signs, you can prepare to handle workplace violence by performing vulnerability assessments, putting effective security measures in place, crea