Two years after the emergence of the H1N1 pandemic, hospitals are still learning lessons that may help avert serious problems in a future outbreak. Respiratory protection in particular became a contentious issue during the pandemic, and it remains an area of concern.
An injured employee may feel completely ignored or conversely, given the impression that his or her every move is being monitored. Striking the right balance can result in a safe and quick return to work.
A few years ago, occupational health professionals noticed a rash of upper extremity injuries within a production department at ATK Aerospace Systems in Promontory, UT. "We looked at the process and made several ergonomic corrections," says David Allcott, APRN, ANP-BC, COHN-S, medical services manager.
It's hard to imagine how even a single employee at Finch Paper in Glen Falls, NY, could have missed the fact that a health fair was being held onsite in a huge tent, with 25 local vendors and the company's wellness team present.
Growing anti-regulatory pressure and presidential politics bring new hurdles for the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration, which was already known for its snail-like pace of rulemaking. The agency has delayed the release of several key regulations, and observers expect little to emerge in the midst of an election year.
As an occupational health professional, you spend virtually all of your time focusing on work-related issues. "We are also environmental experts as well. I think that this gets lost in our focus," says Grace Paranzino, EdD, RN, CHES, FAAOHN, chief clinical officer at Americas Product GroupHealthcare in Troy, MI.