Psychological health, safety cited as risks

psychological health

Below is a great article on psychological health and safety. Because most would disregard psychological health issues in the workplace or classify as unimportant, often they are left untreated. A recent poll of employees from all over the world has shown comparisons of different countries and their levels of work-related mental-health issues. Results have organizations taking more notice and raised efforts to improve the overall well-being of their employees…

Psychological health, safety cited as risks

REUTERS MARCH 17, 2012psychological health

Companies around the globe have work to do to improve worker satisfaction because three in 10 employees say their workplace is not psychologically safe and healthy, according to a new poll.

Whether it is due to stress, inter-personal conflict, frustration, lack of feedback or promotion, 27 per cent of workers in 24 countries said they are not happy with the psychological aspects of their work environment, the survey by research company Ipsos for Reuters showed.

“Employers need to pay attention to their employees’ mental health, not just their physical health,” said Alexandra Evershed, senior vice-president, Ipsos Public Affairs. “Three in 10 is still a fairly large proportion and that goes up to 44 per cent and 43 per cent in Argentina and Mexico and 42 per cent in Hungary,”

Nearly half, 47 per cent, of the total of 14,618 workers polled agreed that their workplace was ‘a psychologically safe and healthy environment to work in’ and 26 per cent hovered on the fence and weren’t sure.

Although many North Americans have fewer holidays than Europeans and may work longer hours and enjoy fewer social services, Americans and Canadians had the highest marks for positively assessing the mental health of their workplace, followed by workers in India, Australia, Britain and South Africa. Evershed suggested that the improving economies in some countries could have played a part in the positive assessment among employees.

“It’s better than it was,” she said in an interview. “India, China, Brazil, South Africa, these are countries where the economic picture has been brightening.”

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Massey officials must respond by June 18 in shareholder suit

By Andrea Lannom

Massey Energy officials have until June 18 to file a response to a federal class action lawsuit alleging Massey’s stock was artificially inflated because officials misled the market about safety compliance.

Filed in April 2010 by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Pension Reserves Investment Trust, the suit charges Alpha Appalachia Holdings Inc. and several Massey officials including former CEO Don Blankenship with violation of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934.

The suit alleges officials inflated stock between February 2008 and July 2010 and lied about the safety of its operations.

“In fact, safety at Massey’s mines was repeatedly sacrificed so that aggressive production goals could be met,” the suit states. “Massey had received numerous undisclosed citations arising from serious uncorrected safety and other regulatory violations at surface and underground coal mines it operates in West Virginia and neighboring states.”

Plaintiffs claim the price of Massey common stock plunged following information revealed after the April 2010 explosion at Upper Big Branch Mine. This decline caused “hundreds of millions of dollars in losses” to investors who purchased shares relying on information regarding safety, the suit states.

“The tragic, and avoidable, explosion at the Upper Big Branch mine on April 5, 2010 shockingly and suddenly revealed the concealed safety risks to investors causing the price of Massey stock to decline $9.47 over the next two days, a two-day drop that reduced the value of Massey’s common stock by more than 17 percent, resulting in an immediate loss of $900 million in market capitalization,” the suit claims.

Massey officials moved to dismiss the lawsuit, but that motion was denied in a March 28 order. Parties will attend a scheduling conference at 1:30 p.m. June 28 in Beckley.

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Determining if an incident is work-related?

Do you know what specific data is needed when reporting an incident at work? By OSHA, each employer is required to keep records of fatalities, injuries, and illnesses. This means anything from an illness to fatality that is work-related meets one or more of the general recording criteria noted in Section 1904.7. But what are the exceptions? There are instances in which an illness/injury doesn’t have to be recorded as work-related:

  • Employee was present in the workplace as member of the public
  • Employee was engaged in a voluntary fitness program at work
  • The common flu, cold, etc.
  • Mental illness—without the opinion of trained healthcare professional—is not automatically deemed work-related
  • Illnesses resulting from the employee’s food brought in from an outside source
  • Illness or injury resulting from personal tasks completed during working hours
  • Illness or injury resulting from self-grooming, self-medication or self-inflicted injuries (i.e., suicide attempts)

So as a rule of thumb, there must be a causal connection between the employment and the illness or injury before the case is recordable.  It’s also very important to know that if you determine whether an injury/illness is work-related wrong, OSHA has the right to cite you, since they delegate the decision-making process of something to the employer. Also important is that the “work event or exposure need only be one of the discernible causes; it need not be the sole or predominant cause”. Nevertheless, you must consider an injury or illness to meet the general recording criteria if it results in any of the following:

  • Death
  • Days away from work
  • Restricted work or transfer to another job
  • Medical treatment beyond first aid
  • Loss of consciousness

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To learn more about OSHA Recordkeeping training, visit

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MSHA Investigators in Refresher Training with FBI

The U.S. Department of Labor’s MSHA (Mine Safety and Health Administration) has about 75 special investigators in refresher training with work conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

MSHA has also been working along with the FBI to improve their skills by developing course work. The classroom instruction is 2 weeks long in Beaver, WV. They cover topics including proper interview techniques for investigations, use of injunctive relief in federal district courts, evaluating evidence, reviewing knowing and willful violations, and processing discrimination complaints.

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ASSE Raises Awareness on Distracted Driving

distracted driving

Did you know that April is Distracted Driver Awareness Month?

Every year, about 500,000 people injured and 6,000 die due to distracted driving accidents.This month, the American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE) Transportation Practice Specialty (TPS) group’s efforts to raise awareness on this issue are apparent.

According to the Department of Transportation, younger drivers are especially more likely to be involved. This is also due to the higher use of cell phones and technology while behind the wheel. So far, 33 states have banned text messaging while driving with a few going a bit further and making it illegal using a cellphone at all.

So if you find yourself guilty of this, how do you break the habit? Here are some tips from the TPS to help you steer clear of distracted driving:distracted driving

  • Program your device so you do not answer and notify the caller that you will be driving and are not available to respond at the moment. In an emergency, family should know to call 911 or other family members.
  • In case someone urgently needs to reach you, devise a procedure such as three rings, hang up, wait 2 minutes, call again and repeat to allow time to pull over safely.
  • Know your route in advance and, if using a navigation system, pre-program it.
  • Prepare the vehicle cab and yourself for driving, including your management of any distractions, be they inside or outside of your vehicle.
  • Maintain safe spacing on the road or move to a less obstructed lane.

To learn more on distracted driving tips and prevention, visit

Have a safe trip!


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Dealing With Substance Abuse at Work

drug abuse

Drug and alcohol abuse in the workplace can lead to tragic accidents if overlooked or unnoticed. According to this article, follow these basic rules if you suspect an employee or co-worker has a substance problem… 1. Watch for signs According to the federal Drug Enforcement Administration, indications that an employee might have a substance abuse problem…

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Is fatigue interfering with you job performance?

employee fatigue

According to a recent study by the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine’s Presidential Task Force, employee fatigue in the workplace should be accounted as a major safety concern and prevented and treated properly. An FRMS or Fatigue Risk Management System can be followed to prevent injury or illnesses, increase work productivity, and maintaining a healthy work environment for all employees.

employee fatigue

A number of results from employee fatigue can occur including slowed reaction time, reduced vigilance, reduced decision-making ability, poor judgment, distraction during complex tasks and loss of awareness.

The key components of an FRMS in an organization should include:

  • A fatigue management policy
  • Fatigue risk management including collecting information on fatigue as hazard, analyzing its risk, and instigating controls to mitigate that risk
  • Fatigue reporting system for employees
  • Fatigue incident investigation
  • Fatigue management training and education for employees, management and even families
  • Sleep disorder management
  • A process or the internal and external auditing of the FRMS that delivers corrective actions through a continuous improvement process

According to the same research, one of the biggest reasons for employee fatigue is an increased amount of time at work and tight staffing levels. Instances such as changes in increased workloads, unexpected overtime, or low staffing levels can largely contribute to the problem.

A staffing level can determine:

  • Average amount of overtime per employee;
  • Average time off between shifts;
  • Average time off between consecutive blocks of shifts;
  • Average length of shifts;
  • Average work hours per week;
  • Average number of consecutive days worked;
  • Discrepancy between the published shift schedule and the actual shift schedule worked.
“As a result, the amount of overtime worked by employees is increased, and the additional hours and days worked make the published shift schedule a work of fiction,” claim the members of the task force.

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Lake Wales, FL Resurfaces Highway for Safety

SR 60 and Peace CreeFor any Floridians out there, the announcement that S.R. 60 from the U.S. 27 to the Peace Creek Canal will be resurfacing may be of importance to you.

Margaret Swanson, Planning and Development Director of Lake Wales has stated the plan to improve the lane turns for people heading east from the highway onto Central Avenue due to the railroad tracks many drivers have to stop on. Another big reason for this project is also to the fact that its “pitch black at there at night” says Swanson.

In turn, the FDOT plans on extending the turn lane, improving the median, as well as put brighter lighting. Five new overhead lights at the intersection of SR 60 and Central Ave. will be added to the city’s maintenance agreement with the FDOT. This agreement was first set back in May 2005 and now that it is in the process, the FDOT will pay 90 percent of each light will cost to maintain.

The city of Lake Wales will receive $196 per light adding to a total of $55,836 a year.

Visit for more information.


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Tips for Recognizing and Preventing Workplace Violence

According to a survey by AlliedBarton Security Services & David Michaelson and Co., Violence in the American Workplace, about 52% of Americans have witnessed, heard of, or experienced or encountered violence or a situation that could either to violence.  A total of 1,030 were surveyed in this research, 34% of them who either felt somewhat…

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Managing Chemicals Safely In Your Workplace Presentation


The following presentation was created to educate you on how to properly manage chemicals in the workplace. If you’re coming to our seminar this Friday, take a look at one of the topics to be discussed in advance. Get familiar with the proper PEL’s, different toxic chemicals that could potentially be in your workplace, newly OSHA-aligned GHS physical hazards, and much more.

To view the presentation, click here:

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