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Learning Industry News and Opinion

Workplace noise standards to stay

February 11, 2011 11:19 by jllorens

WASHINGTON - The government last week scrapped plans to change workplace noise standards after business groups and lawmakers complained about the costs.

The announcement Wednesday from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration comes a day after President Barack Obama told agencies to go after rules that place an unreasonable burden on businesses.

Agency head David Michaels said excessive noise experienced by employees working around heavy machinery is a serious health concern. But he said the problem requires more public outreach than the agency expected, given the costs of better worker protection.

OSHA spokeswoman Diana Petterson said the noise standards decision was "completely unrelated" to Obama's order. The proposal did not involve issuing a new rule, but reinterpreting an existing rule.

Under current regulations, employers can offer workers ear plugs or other protection if it is more cost effective than engineering fixes like noise-dampening equipment and muffling systems. OSHA was considering a change that would have required employers to make more expensive engineering remedies unless they would put the company out of business.

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India: Parliament gives its nod for Sexual Harassment at Workplace Bill

November 8, 2010 14:26 by jllorens

(From barandbench.com) The Union Cabinet has finally approved, the Protection of Women against Sexual Harassment at Workplace Bill to ensure a much needed safe working environment for women.

The Sexual Harassment Bill has a penalty provision which can fine employers if they do not comply with the Bill and the Bill defines its application to all sectors, organized and unorganized.

Speaking to Bar & Bench Trilegal Partner, Charandeep Kaur said, “While guidelines in relation to sexual harassment in workplaces have been in existence since the passing of the landmark judgment in Vishaka vs. State of Rajasthan in 1997, a specific law which would take the principles enunciated in the judgment forward in a structured way was required for a long time. The 'Protection of Women against Sexual Harassment at Workplace Bill, 2010', once enacted, will introduce a much demanded specific set of regulations with direct consequences for violation. While there may be various practical issues associated with implementation, the fact that a codified law exists will now oblige everyone to abide by it.

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Surgery safer with teamwork, training

October 20, 2010 17:21 by jllorens

(USA TODAY) Training doctors and nurses to work as teams — using safety techniques borrowed from the aviation industry — cut the death rate from surgery by 18%, a new study shows.

Surgical teams in the study, which included 108 hospitals around the country, focused on low-tech techniques, such as holding briefings and debriefings before and after each operation, says study author and former astronaut James Bagian, a professor at the University of Michigan's medical and engineering schools.

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Hogan Launches SafeSystem and Reveals How Personality Influences Safety Behavior

August 18, 2010 15:47 by jllorens

Tulsa, OK, April 8, 2010 -- Hogan Assessment Systems announces SafeSystem, a comprehensive approach to improving safety culture and performance within organizations.

Safety training can help employees become safer, but without insight into how individuals contribute to the safety climate, even the most extensive safety program will have limited success. “Traditional safety solutions focus on processes, but not people,” says Ryan Ross, vice president of consulting at Hogan. “Creating a safety climate is different – it focuses on people, not systems.”

Dr. Robert Hogan, president of Hogan, identifies three factors that are critical in improving workplace safety: culture of worker engagement, worker personality, and organizational leadership.

“These elements must come together before workplace safety can be improved,” states Hogan. “The SafeSystem model evaluates an organization’s current safety climate, profiles the safety orientation of new job applicants and current employees, and provides wrap-around coaching solutions that promote a workplace culture of safety.”

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Report: Bullying at work worse than gender, racial harassment

June 14, 2010 17:02 by jllorens

(From the Vancouver Sun) OTTAWA — Just as Ontario is set to pass a new bill making workplace harassment illegal, new research from Queen's University's School of Business indicates that workplace bullying can be more damaging than racial or gender harassment.

"While ethnic harassment and gender harassment can both be attributed to prejudice, general workplace harassment is a subtle form of mistreatment that masks underlying motives, and is not as easily attributed to bias," say report authors Jana Raver of Queen's School of Business and Lisa Nishii of Cornell University,

Caucasians reported higher levels of general workplace harassment than minorities, and women were not more likely than men to experience either gender harassment or general workplace harassment.

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Western Australia refuses to support national workplace laws

September 24, 2009 12:30 by Ann Pace

(ABC News) -- The Federal Government's bid to set up national laws for workplace safety is in doubt, with Western Australia saying it is unlikely to agree.

A draft version of the new national occupational health and safety laws is expected to be released today.

Deputy Prime Minister Julia Gillard is meeting state and territory ministers, including a concerned Troy Buswell from Western Australia.

He is refusing to sign up to the laws because he thinks they give unions too much power.

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The Yale Killing: How Common Is Work Violence?

September 21, 2009 15:00 by Ann Pace

(TIME) -- The Sept. 8 killing of Yale graduate student Annie Le, just days before she was to be married, was another harrowing instance of what authorities called "workplace violence."

Police in New Haven, Conn., described Le's strangulation death in a campus lab as part of an increasing national trend in jobsite brutality. "This is not about urban crime, university crime, domestic crime," said New Haven police chief James Lewis on Sept. 17, after authorities arrested Le's co-worker, "but an issue of workplace violence, a growing concern around the country."

Workplace violence is, of course, a broad term that covers a range of behavior, including, in its most extreme form, homicide. According to Larry Barton, a professor of management and president of the American College in Bryn Mawr, Penn., nonfatal workplace assaults and threats of assaults, have indeed seen a recent uptick — due in part to stress and depression caused by the weak economy. These are the same reasons that researchers think led to the troubling rise in workplace suicides in 2008, which jumped 28% from the year before to 251.

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Report: New managers must understand importance of workplace health, safety

February 3, 2009 11:47 by jllorens

A story published at Risk & Insurance Online reports on the necessity for managers in particular to gain thorough understanding of the role of safety and health in the workplace. The story states that "according to the Ohio Bureau of Workers' Compensation, every newly minted supervisor -- whether from inside or outside the company -- requires training and mentoring before he can be expected to perform at a high level."

(Read the entire story.)


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Blue Cross to help fund training plan

February 3, 2009 11:23 by jllorens

(Jeffrey Krasner, The Boston Globe, February 3, 2009) Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Massachusetts said it is donating $250,000 to help five area hospitals train their trustees in how to keep healthcare costs down.

Douglas Crapser, chief operating officer at Harrington Memorial Hospital in Southbridge, said in a statement that the program will help it "build and enhance the expertise of the board and management in quality improvement and safety improvement programs."

Other participating hospitals are Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital in Needham, Winchester Hospital, Lowell General Hospital, and Emerson Hospital in Concord.

The grant follows a similar program, completed last year, in which Blue Cross funded five other hospitals to help their boards set ambitious goals for quality improvement.

The hospitals in the new program are expected to contribute $25,000 apiece to the training effort. They will also hire a consultant to work with senior management and trustees. Blue Cross officials said they hope the program will help control healthcare cost increases by improving the quality of care and reducing unnecessary treatment.

 

 


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