Cultures of Health and Strategic Communications Vital to Workplace Wellness

Best practices for workplace wellness programs include establishing a culture of health and using strategic communications, according to a study by researchers from the Institute for Health and Productivity Studies, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

The study was published in the Journal of Occupational & Environmental Medicine in February 2016. A culture of health entails integrating health into the way an organization operates, thinks, and acts, and it requires sustained effort on a number of fronts.

Furthermore, it means establishing an environment both physically and socially supportive of health and allows employees to actively participate in decisions that promote their health.

Strategic communications, meanwhile, can be effective by not only educating employees but also by finding ways to motivate, market program offerings, and build trust.

Read the full study.

NIOSH Study Reveals Need for Hearing Conservation Strategies

In 2007, 23 percent of workers exposed to occupational noise in the United States had hearing difficulty, 15 percent had tinnitus, and nine percent had both conditions, according to a study by researchers from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH).

Published online in the American Journal of Industrial Medicine in late January 2016, the study involved data from the 2007 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS). NIOSH researchers also found that seven percent of U.S. workers never exposed to occupational noise had hearing difficulty, five percent had tinnitus and two percent had both conditions. This suggests the substantial impact of occupational noise on workers’ hearing.

Based on the findings, the researchers reiterated the need for improved strategies for hearing conservation or better implementation of current strategies.

Read the abstract of the study.

NSC: Driving Fatalities from 2014-2015 Register Highest Percentage Increase in 50 Years

In 2015, about 38,000 people died on U.S. roads, and an additional 4.4 million were severely hurt, according to preliminary data from the National Safety Council (NSC).

According to an NSC press release, the figure represents an eight-percent increase from that in 2014, indicating the largest year-over-year percent increase in 50 years. The data also led the Council to label 2015 as the deadliest driving year since 2008.

Increases in road fatalities were noted in Oregon, Georgia, Florida, and South Carolina, while declines in road deaths were registered in 13 states, including New Mexico, Kansas, and New Jersey.

The NSC attributed the rise in road fatalities to several factors, including a stronger economy and lower unemployment rates, as well as cheaper gas prices and more miles driven in 2015 than in 2014.

Read the NSC press release.

OSHA Seeks Comment on "Guidance for Determining Potential Health Hazards of Chemicals"

On February 16, 2016, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) started welcoming comments on its Guidance on Data Evaluation for Weight of Evidence Determination, which aims to help employees consider all available information when classifying hazardous chemicals.

According to OSHA’s press release, the weight of evidence approach helps manufacturers, importers and employers to evaluate scientific studies on the potential health hazards of a chemical and determine what information must be disclosed on the label and safety data sheet (SDS) for compliance with the Hazard Communication Standard.

Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health, Dr. David Michaels, stressed the importance of complete and accurate information on hazardous chemicals in ensuring worker safety.

The Hazard Communication Standard requires chemical manufacturers and importers to review all available scientific evidence on the physical and health hazards of the chemicals they produce or import to assess if they are dangerous.

Comments are welcome until 31 March 2016.

Read OSHA press release.

Test Your Knowledge on Controlling Hazardous Situations

Take a good look around your workplace. How many incidents are waiting to happen? Can you identify them all?

Recognizing and controlling hazards before they become incidents is key to keeping the workplace safe. Share this pop quiz with your employees and test their knowledge.

  1. True or False - In every incident, there are two levels of causes.
  2. True or False - There are four major methods of controlling hazards.
  3. True or False - Workplace safety is a team effort.
  4. True or False - When assessing risk, you should consider probability, consequences and exposure.
  5. True or False - Engineering controls is an ineffective way to reduce the risk of an incident.

Click here for the answer key.

DuPont Sustainable Solutions’ new training program – Controlling Hazardous Situations – shares important information on how to spot problems before they lead to injury. It covers common unsafe acts and conditions that can lead to incidents. Get it on DVD or CoastalFlix™ streaming video!

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For FREE online previews visit To speak with an account representative, simply call 888-489-9776 or email Please be sure to give your name, facility name, address and phone number.

Please note: Safety Currents Express is a complimentary bimonthly newsletter updating you on the latest trends, news and information. All issues may be forwarded in their entirety via e-mail. Materials in this issue may only be reprinted with permission.

Answer key. 1) F, there are 3 levels 2) T, 3) T, 4) T, 5) F

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