EHS News

By July 1, 2021 No Comments

Communicating with your employees could be challenging in a crisis

According to the results of Rave Mobile Safety’s 2021 Workplace Safety and Preparedness Survey, as reported in Forbes:

  • The most common methods of communication for workplaces were email and alerting employees in-person, which risk leaving workers uninformed. Only 16% said their employers used mobile apps to communicate in a crisis.
  • A third of respondents said they were not aware of or not sure about emergency plans for certain emergency incidents. Most of the “no/not sure” responses for emergency plans related to active shooter incidents, cyberattacks/system outages and workplace violence.
  • Many workplaces are not practicing for prevalent events like medical emergencies and severe weather. Thirty-seven percent of respondents said that their employer never held safety drills for medical emergencies or exposure to illness and 38% of respondents said they never drilled for severe weather events.

Why are workers in the U.S. still dying from heat exhaustion?

Extreme heat is a public health crisis that disproportionately affects low-income communities, minorities and seniors, labor advocates say, according to an NBC News report.

Thousands of workers who toil outdoors face risks of heat stress, with no specific federal standard that covers working in hot environments.

Climate scientists and labor advocates are pressing individual states to enhance their worker protections, while federal lawmakers consider two new bills that would create measures such as paid breaks in cool spaces, access to water and limitations on time workers are exposed to heat as temperatures hike to daily record levels.

Workers exposed to extreme heat are particularly vulnerable to illness. Between 1992 and 2017, heat stress injuries killed 815 U.S. workers and seriously injured more than 70,000, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

Overall, more than 65,000 people visit the emergency room for heat-related stress a year and about 700 die from heat, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The majority of these cases are concentrated in Florida, where heat drove more than 6,000 people to the emergency room in 2019, a 35 percent increase from 2010, when heat resulted in roughly 5,000 ER visits, according to data from the CDC.

All workers are covered by OSHA’s “general clause” protections, which require employers to keep workplaces “free from recognized hazards,” including heat. But without a specific standard, workers have no recourse to address heat exposure, said Rachel Licker, a senior climate scientist with the nonprofit organization Union of Concerned Scientists.

Workplace violence may jump during return to work

Every year, at least 2 million people in the U.S. report being victimized by workplace violence. However, about one-fourth of workplace violence incidents go unreported, according to the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM). In a SHRM survey in 2019, about one-fourth of American workers said their current workplace had been the scene of at least one incident of workplace violence.

Some observers worry about an uptick in workplace violence numbers as more Americans shift from work-at-home status to work-at-work status, according to a SHRM report.

One of the key reasons for this concern is that many workers continue to struggle with physical, mental and emotional stress stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic, said retired FBI agent Terri Patterson, a psychologist who is principal at Control Risks, a risk management consulting firm.

“I do firmly believe that we’re still in that space where we have a workforce that is really vulnerable right now,” she said. “We do believe that a stressed population is more vulnerable to becoming disgruntled or aggrieved.”

Patterson emphasized that not all workers who are stressed are at risk of committing an act of workplace violence.

Former employment attorney Edgar Ndjatou, executive director of Workplace Fairness, a nonprofit that promotes workers’ rights, said disagreements over politics, vaccinations, mask wearing and other hot-button topics also could fuel violent workplace conflicts.


Phylmar Academy’s Workplace Violence Prevention Course – Please help us evaluate it.

You can access the beta version of The Phylmar Academy’s Workplace Violence Prevention one-hour online course by going to—Beta.aspx.  The beta version of the course is free; all you have to do is register and it will go into Files and Training in your account.

The course lays the groundwork for companies to meet Cal/OSHA’s Workplace Violence training requirement. Since Cal/OSHA standards are among the most protective in the nation, following its guidelines is advisable wherever your workplace is located. Workplace Violence Prevention is designed to help management and employees understand the varying forms of workplace violence, the risk factors and prevention strategies for each, and to work together to protect workers, customers, and visitors.  To fully meet the Cal/OSHA requirements, organizations will need to add specific training for their facilities.

The deadline for receiving your evaluation is Wednesday, July 7.

Businesses call for technology to be recategorised as PPE

UK research involving more than 120 health and safety specialists highlights the rising importance of technology to help prevent, manage and respond to workplace risks and adapt to changing working practices, according to a report in Health & Safety Matters (UK).

Published by Peoplesafe, the report documents how Covid-19 has created a rise in employee safety requirements and lone working for more than three quarters (77%) of businesses, accelerating technology adoption and making personal safety and mental wellbeing a primary concern.

Now, as more firms announce plans to roll out permanent flexible and hybrid working plans, businesses are turning to smarter, connected technology to address the challenge of protecting a dispersed workforce, from lone worker devices or apps to wearable tech.  Almost three quarters (71%) plan on investing in lone worker technology within the next 1-3 years and 51% expect to increase use of Smart PPE within the next three years.

Naz Dossa, CEO of Peoplesafe, said, “This report predicts that as the vast potential of technology is realized, it will increasingly become part of an employee’s essential toolkit, marking a shift from PPE to PPET: Personal Protective Equipment and Technology.”

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