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Safety in the News

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Every week, we bring you the latest headlines from the world of safety and keep you updated on the issues that matter most.

More Job Control = Less Workplace Stress

The more control you have over your job, the less stress you feel at work. That’s one of the findings from a study financed by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH).

Researchers used a specific type of modeling in the research that allowed them to evaluate worker stress and specific workplace conditions with a group of nursing aides. The effects of social support from managers and coworkers, workplace safety, and personal demands such as work-family conflict cut down on stress less than great job control and lower job demands.

Since these findings differ from those of previous studies, additional research is necessary to confirm the results. Still, researchers say the findings pinpoint areas that employers can use to reduce worker stress on the job.

DEKRA has identified several other key factors in employee wellbeing. You can find them in a free eBook, The Leader's Guide to Safety Improvement: Four Lessons from Safety Assessments.

Fatigue Jeopardizes 2 Out of Every 5 American Workers

A new National Safety Council (NSC) report says 43% of Americans don’t get enough sleep. And according to the report, many of those fatigued workers are in jobs that are at high risk for injury such as driving a vehicle or working at a construction site.

Fatigue experts say a person who loses two hours of sleep from a normal eight-hour sleep schedule may be as impaired as someone who has consumed up to three beers. Research estimates 13% of workplace injuries can be attributed to fatigue while 21% of all fatal car crashes – 6,400 deaths each year – are attributed to a drowsy driver.

The survey – the entirety of which will be released in three separate reports – also found:

  • 41% of those surveyed work high-risk hours, at least occasionally
  • 39% have trouble remembering things at work because of fatigue
  • 31% commute 30 minutes or more, which exacerbates the chances of falling asleep behind the wheel
  • 27% have trouble making decisions because of fatigue
  • 10% do not get regular rest breaks

A remedy for worker fatigue – along with several other brain-centered hazards – is offered in our white paper called Brain-Centered Hazards: Risks & Remedies.

Canada Prepares for the Impact of Legalized Marijuana on Workplace Safety

In advance of Canada’s proposed legalization of adult-use cannabis, the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS) has issued guidelines “to help workplaces prepare for the potential challenges and impact this new legislation may have on workplace safety.”

The CCOHS’s white paper addresses everything from “the potential for impairment as part of a hazard assessment” to establishing “a concise policy and program on the use of any substance that can cause impairment.” But one major component of the story is tellingly under-addressed: exactly how “workplace impairment” will be determined.

“Unlike testing for blood alcohol levels, obtaining a positive test result that indicates the presence of cannabis is not necessarily a clear indication of the risk of impairment,” observes CCOHS’s Workplace Strategies: Risk of Impairment from Cannabis. “Therefore, there is a reliance on observation to determine possible impairment (e.g., if there is a change in behavior or ability) that could lead to the risk of injury, illness, or incident to that person, others or the environment.”

You can find out if your observation-based safety program at work needs an update by reading our eBook on BBS: Mature and Wise or Old and Stale?.

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Tuesday, 21 January 2020