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Hearing Loss in the Workplace

BHI speaks out on importance of addressing hearing loss in the workplace
June 18, 2012
As more people experience age-related hearing loss at younger ages—and as more workers put off retirement and stay in the workforce longer—it is incumbent upon America’s employers to recognize the financial and human-resource value of addressing hearing loss in the workplace.

This week the Better Hearing Institute spoke out in McClatchy Newspapers on the dollars and sense of why employers need to make hearing health a workplace wellness priority. “The financial and human resource risks of leaving hearing loss unaddressed in the workplace have never been so high,” wrote Sergei Kochkin, PhD, BHI’s Executive Director.

We encourage you to read the full article and to share the link to encourage America’s business community to recognize “the benefits that hearing health and proper hearing health care bring to both the employee and to the company’s bottom line.”

Marvel Comics Creates Deaf Superhero So Little Boy Will Wear His Hearing Aid

Marvel Comics has a new character with a unique inspiration—a little boy. Four-year-old comic book fan Anthony Smith was born without a right ear and only partial hearing in his left. He needs the help of a hearing aid. But one morning he woke up and told him mom he didn’t want to wear it anymore. Why? Because superheroes don’t wear hearing aids, he declared.

Perturbed, Smith’s mother emailed comics giant Marvel, inquiring about characters that might have share Anthony’s struggle. The next day, they presented him with a picture of a hero called Hawkeye, who also sports a hearing aid. And they went even further, inventing a brand-new hero based on Anthony named “Blue Ear,” the same moniker Anthony and his mom have always used for his hearing apparatus. They sent him a drawing, and he was so encouraged that he’s been keeping his hearing aid in ever since. Kind of makes you want to give the guys at Marvel a big ol’ hug. [Fox, Thanks @KoryFerbet!]

See full article here.

With a Ceramic Transducer, You’ll Hear Voices Inside Your Head

Molly Oswaks, Editor Gizmodo

Japanese electronics company Kyocera has developed an innovative new transducer to replace outmoded—and underperforming—speakers in a phone.

Whereas conventional phone speakers transmit sound waves to your ear drum via a multistep process of vibrations and wave travel, stopping at various aural checkpoints along the way—with the pressed to your ear, Kyocera’s ceramic transducer will transfer crystal clear sound directly through tissues in your skull, straight from the surface of the phone’s vibrating faceplate. With fewer speed bumps along the way, the voice on the other end of the phone will sound as if it’s coming from inside your very own head. Which would probably make an angry conference call a rather unsettling experience.

The first device using this ceramic technology is set to come out in Japan very shortly, with similarly equipped smart phones making their way to the U.S. very soon after. [GigaOm – Image via Nomad_Soul/Shutterstock]

Thanks to all the nurses! Next week May 6-12 is National Nurses Week 2012




Often described as an art and a science, nursing is a profession that embraces dedicated people with varied interests, strengths and passions because of the many opportunities the profession offers. As nurses, we work in emergency rooms, school based clinics, and homeless shelters, to name a few. We have many roles – from staff nurse to educator to nurse practitioner and nurse researcher – and serve all of them with passion for the profession and with a strong commitment to patient safety.

Click here for link.

2012 AAOHN Conference is in Nashville, TN



THE CONFERENCE IS NEXT WEEK!  Click here for conference brochure!

Make your plans now to attend the AAOHN National Conference at the Gaylord Opryland Resort located at 2800 Opryland Drive in Nashville, TN 37214, April 22–25, 2012. The Gaylord Opryland Resort is holding rooms for AAOHN Conference attendees. Call the hotel for reservations at 888-777-6779 or go to online. Be sure to tell the reservations personnel that you are with the AAOHN Conference in order to receive the nominal rate of $189.00 for single/double. Rooms at this special rate are available until the room block is filled. Once the room block is filled, the special AAOHN rates cannot be guaranteed.

Don’t miss this opportunity to meet again with your AAOHN colleagues and enjoy the beautiful Gaylord Opryland Hotel in Nashville, TN.

Workplace INTEGRA, Inc. will again be an exhibitor at this conference make sure to stop by exhibit booth number 505 in Ryman Hall.

OSHA reminds employers to post injury/illness summaries



Employers who are required to keep the OSHA Form 300 Injury and Illness log must post OSHA’s Form 300A from Feb. 1 to April 30, 2012 in a common area wherever notices to workers are usually posted. The summary must list the total numbers of job-related injuries and illnesses that occurred in 2011. All establishment summaries must be certified by a company executive.

Copies of the OSHA Forms 300, 300A and 301 are available for download on the OSHA Recordkeeping Web page. See OSHA’s Recordkeeping Handbook for more information on posting requirements for OSHA’s Form 300A.

If you have Workplace Applications software, you can easily generate this report by clicking on the report button. Please contact us at 888-974-0001 for more information or questions.

Safety and Pranks Don’t Mix

Resource: Safety


Sunday is the first of April, April Fool’s Day. Its origins are uncertain, but this unofficial holiday is a time for pranks, jokes and hoaxes. Beware of what you see, read and hear on the radio, TV and, above all, the Internet on Sunday.

But if your interest is safety, you need to keep April Fool’s Day out of your workplace.

Pranks and practical jokes in the workplace undermine safety in all sorts of ways. Want some real life example of jokes gone bad?
• Consider the humorist who decides to nail his workmate’s boots to the floor. The victim nearly sprains his back pulling them free. And the boots now have holes in the soles, making them useless as safety footwear.
• Another prank, traditionally played on all new workers at a certain facility, involves pushing the victim under the showers. This particular time, though, the victim is taped into a chair. No-one realizes that the water pouring over him is hot until he begins screaming. The victim receives third-degree scalds.
• One man, startled by the old “joke” involving a spring-loaded cloth snake in a harmless-looking tin labeled “nuts,” jerks his head backward and slams it into a steel shelf, requiring eight stitches.
• Sometimes, the recipient of a “joke” becomes violent. Michael Keith Williams of Roanoke, VA, stabbed Jonathan Freel to death in the parking lot of a sports bar after the victim gives Williams’s friend a “wedgie.”
• A South Carolina student jumps a train with friends as a prank, but falls from the train and is run over.
• Sheridan “Danny” Dalqhuist’s Bradley University, IL, roommates set off fireworks in his dorm room, intending to send him running outside in his underwear. The room catches fire and Dalqhuist dies.
• A 12-year old Manchester boy pushes a 14-year-old into a local river as a birthday prank. The older boy can’t swim. He drowns.

Even if a prank goes off “harmlessly” as planned, there can be unpleasant results. The victim may feel resentful, which can poison the atmosphere at your workplace and make working together uncomfortably stressful. Or the victim may try to exact revenge, leading to a series of escalating pranks, which may eventually hurt someone.
So instead of encouraging or playing tired old gags on April Fool’s Day, why not spare a thought for safety and suggest your workers do the same? Because there are plenty of old jokes around, and not as many old workers as there ought to be.



Source: Constangy Brooks & Smith LLP

OSHA has recently added a new Frequently Asked Question (FAQ) imposing an additional obligation on employers to ensure that the health care professionals who review annual audiograms apply the correct definition when determining whether an employee’s hearing loss is work-related.

Section 1904.10(a) sets out the criteria for determining whether an employee’s hearing loss needs to be recorded. Under that regulation, if an employee’s annual audiogram shows that the employee’s hearing measured at 2000, 3000, and 4000 Hz has (1) deteriorated to at least 25 dB from audiometric zero and (2) incurred an
age-adjusted Standard Threshold Shift, the case is recordable if the hearing loss is determined to be work-related. The hearing loss regulation states in subsection 10(b)(5) that work relationship should be determined according to the rules set out in § 1904.5, which addresses the general concept of work relationship. Section 1904.10(b)(6) states, however, that an employer is not required to consider a case to be work-related if a health care professional determines that the hearing loss is not work-related. On its face, § 1904.10(b)(6) would seemingly take the determination of work relationship out of the hands of employers who can defer to the health care professional’s judgment. Under the present wording of the regulation, an employer presumably would not be cited for failure to record any hearing loss case determined not to be work-related by a health care professional, regardless of how the health care professional reached this medical conclusion.  Click here for rest of article.

The 11 Most Life-Threatening Jobs on the Planet




The following post was provided by one of our blog readers.  Thank you for the contribution to the WPA Blog, Liz Nutt.

Posted by Staff Writers of on March 5, 2012

The danger workers face on the job is not always compensated by higher pay.  Life-threatening jobs can be mind-numbingly simple, easily performed by unskilled workers or children, or as physically and mentally demanding as one can imagine.  Cable television shows like Deadliest Catch and Ice Road Truckers give some sense of the dangers faced by workers in the sea fishing and truck driving industries respectively, while films like Workingman’s Death (2005) document examples of dangerous, and almost pointlessly unproductive manual labor.  Below are 11 life-threatening jobs ranging from the banal to the bizarre.

Street Sweeper (Rwanda)
The most humble of jobs can be the most dangerous. On the streets of Kigali province, in the country of Rwanda, women dressed in blue work from dawn to dusk sweeping the roads and highways. Drivers, going several miles per hour, zoom past, their cars missing the street-sweeping women by just inches. The women wear no reflective clothing, and there are no cautionary signs or pylons alerting drivers of the presence of these women on the road. In a country with 30% unemployment, street sweeping, which pays approximately $3 a day, is a sought-after job.

King Crab Fisherman (Alaska, United States)
More dramatic than street sweeping, crab fishing in the Bering Sea is one of the world’s most dangerous professions. The fishing takes place night and day in rough waters that constantly and violently rock the boats, sending high waves crashing over the decks. Fishermen can slip on the soaked deck, get hit by flying objects, or fall overboard into freezing water. In the 1990s, the Alaskan fishing industry experienced 400 deaths per 100,000 employees. That number has increased since.

Sulfur Miner (East Java, Indonesia)
Java’s sulfur miners gather chunks of yellow sulfur located next to a steaming, acidic volcano crater lake. The men hold their breaths and run into the clouds of hydrogen sulfide and sulfur dioxide, gases that burn the eyes and throat, and grab as much sulfur as they can carry before returning to relative safety away from the lake. The miners gag, choke, and spit before repeating the process again and again. The sulfur they gather is used to bleach sugar, make matches, and vulcanize rubber. The miners are paid $10 to $15 a day, with some extra income coming from posing for photographs taken by curious tourists well away from the poisonous gas. Gloves and gas masks are unaffordable luxury items.

Police Officer (Kabul, Afghanistan)
As recently as December 2011, police officers and police stations in war-torn Kabul, Afghanistan, have been targeted by the Taliban soldiers and suicide bombers. CBS News reports that every day, five out of 10 Kabul police officers die on the job. Lack of training and high-tech tools, as well as government-level corruption and an economy based on the heroin trade, prevent Kabul’s police force from performing their job with any degree of safety or effectiveness.

E-Waste Recycler (Guiyu, China)
Old discarded electronics, including laptops, home entertainment systems, and smart phones, are exported to Guiyu’s electronic waste sites to be gathered and broken down, by hand, for scrap metal by thousands of low-paid workers and their children. The electronics release toxic metals and chemicals into the workers and the environment, poisoning families and their environment. The amount of e-waste on the planet is increasing at an alarming rate, mostly in developing countries, with illegal exporting and dumping contributing to the glut of toxic electronics.

Truck Driver (United States)
Driving a truck is one of the most dangerous jobs in the United States. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration reports that truck drivers are “more likely to die in a work-related accident than the average worker,” with highway accidents accounting for the majority of those deaths. Most accidents occur because of unsafe actions by drivers of passenger vehicles who, being unfamiliar with large vehicles, ignore the cautionary signage displayed on trucks.

Crocodile Wrestler (Nakhon Pathom Province, Thailand)
The Samphran Elephant Ground and Zoo has been a popular tourist destination since 1985, featuring choreographed performances by elephants, a garden of orchids, and a huge collection of specially bred crocodiles. At the zoo, tourists can enjoy watching crocodile wrestlers happily stick their heads inside the jaws of large crocodiles after first beating them with sticks and dragging them around by their tails. Tourists can also elect to say “no” to this display of animal cruelty and take their business to Thailand’s much more humanely run Elephant Nature Park.

Construction Laborer (United States)
How dangerous is construction work? According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, construction boasts a work-related death rate of 18 people per 100,000. Construction companies, when they’re not taking advantage of undocumented workers or non-unionized workers, generally pay well. But the jobs often require workers to navigate dangerous environments, including underground, great heights, and busy highways. Hazardous materials, including heavy machinery, power tools, and explosives increase the hazardous risks of the job.

Sanitation Workers (United States)
In recent years, better training and improved safety equipment, including more visible outer clothing, have helped to make the still-dangerous job of sanitation workers a little bit safer. But many dangers will always be just part of the job. While collecting sanitation, workers can be struck and killed by passing automobiles, injured by improperly disposed-of hazardous waste, or crushed by the truck’s machinery. Garbage is often collected late at night or early in the morning. The resulting fatigue can impair a sanitation worker’s judgment and reaction time, creating the potential for accidents.

Coal Miner (Ukraine)
Ukrainian coal mining is one of the most dangerous jobs in the world, with a work-related death rate 100 times higher than that of coal miners in the United States. In addition to unsafe, yet-to-be modernized mines, owned by billionaires who sell coal well below market rates and are unconcerned about worker safety, there are illegal pits employing freelance miners to dig for coal in near-empty mine shafts. “Our enthusiasm comes from our will to survive,” says one Ukrainian miner. “If you don’t work, you’ll freeze to death.”

Farmer (United States)
The farming industry is not immune to work-related injuries and deaths. Injuries sustained from charging livestock and tractor rollovers are common. There are instances of farmers falling into grain bins and suffocating as they’re smothered in the grain. And at contained feeding operations, gases, dust, and other irritants from decomposing manure have a toxic effect on the long-term health of farm workers. The dangers to workers in the farming industry are in the news recently, as the U.S. Labor Department moves to approve new rules for children working in agriculture. Fatalities for teenage farm workers are four times higher than those in non-farm industries, according to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.



Needlestick injury rates from 2001 to 2005 were well below pre-Needlestick Safety and Prevention Act rates, according to the study.


Source: February 18, 2012

A federal law enacted to protect health care workers from being stuck by needles has reduced the number of such injuries, decreasing the possibility for exposure to bloodborne diseases, according to research conducted by the University of Virginia School of Medicine.  The Needlestick Safety and Prevention Act (NSPA) requires employers to provide safety-engineered devices to employees who are at risk for exposure to bloodborne pathogens and to let frontline workers have a say in selecting these devices.

NSPA also mandated revisions to OSHA’s bloodborne pathogens standard, requiring employers to provide safer devices for at-risk employees, review exposure-control plans annually, and maintain logs of all injuries by sharp items. It also gave frontline workers a greater role in selecting appropriate safety devices.  To determine whether the NSPA has had an effect on the rate of needlestick injuries among hospital employees, researchers used a multihospital sharps-injury database maintained by the International Healthcare Worker Safety Center at the University of Virginia. Since 1993, a group of U.S. hospitals voluntarily contributed sharps-injury surveillance data.

Researchers selected the period from 1995 through 2005, which included 23,908 injuries that occurred in 85 hospitals in 10 states. They then calculated the annual rates of injuries per 100 full-time hospital employees, as reported by the American Hospital Association.

There was a trend toward increasing rates of injuries before the legislation was enacted, which was followed by a drop of about 38 percent in 2001 when the NSPA took effect. Subsequent injury rates through 2005 remained well below pre-NSPA rates, according to the study.  While the researchers noted that other factors might have contributed to the decrease, UVA’s Elayne Kornblatt Phillips, BSN, MPH, Ph.D., called the effect of the NSPA “very significant.”  “Health care workers are precious resources in this country and around the world,” Phillips said. “We keep reading in the news about the shortage of health care workers, especially nurses and physicians, and those are the two groups that are most often injured by sharp devices.”

The findings appear in a letter in the Feb. 16 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.
Phillips noted that the UVA findings underscore the importance of legislation that is well-crafted and well-enforced. “Even though there were OSHA regulations that intended to do the same thing, and devices on the market to do the same thing, we really didn’t see [the decrease] until the legislation was passed,” she said.

See entire article here.