Direct costs of workplace injuries are fairly straightforward, but indirect costs are often ten times that amount. If occupational health doesn't consider indirect costs, which may be difficult to compute, prevention programs may appear not worth the expense.
The question "What can kill a worker?" will give you a different kind of answer than asking "What can hurt a worker?" says Gregg Clark, director of global occupational safety and hygiene for Dallas-based Kimberly-Clark Corporation, where a strategy of focusing on fatality elimination is currently being implemented.
Latex gloves are back on the public agenda. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has issued a proposed warning label for powdered gloves and is considering a ban on the use of powder in latex gloves and alternatives, even as hospitals greatly reduce their use of powdered gloves.
The American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine (ACOEM) has taken a strong position in favor of the Occupational Safety & Health Administration's proposed federal Illness and Injury Prevention Programs (I2P2) standard, including strengthening the requirements in certain ways beyond what California OSHA already requires, says Paul Papanek, MD, MPH, chairman of the board for the San Francisco, CA-based Western Occupational Environmental Medical Association.
As an employee, wouldn't you like the chance to anonymously report what you really think of occupational health programs? This is one way Sandra Cinque, RN, BA, COHN-S/CM, FAAOHN, nurse clinical coordinator for health, safety & performance services at GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare in Parsippany, NJ, promotes participation in the company's Health Risk Questionnaires (HRQs).
Social media is opening up new avenues for delivering health and safety information. Employee health professionals can download training videos from YouTube, track occupational health news or research on a blog or Twitter, and even communicate with their own employees through social networking sites.