Membership Advantage

November 2023

Everyone Deserves a Second Chance at Life

Letter from an Expert

When you think of emergency preparedness, do drug overdoses readily come to mind? Many of us may think of fires or severe weather events first. However, the number of people dying from drug overdoses is at an all-time high, and the main cause of these deaths is opioids. This crisis reaches employees in all industries and occupations, with workplace overdose deaths increasing by 536% since 2011.

To help reverse this alarming trend, I am thrilled to have joined the Council to serve as vice president of the recently launched Respond Ready Workplace initiative. Naloxone is a medication that rapidly reverses the effects of an opioid overdose. Respond Ready Workplace aims to reduce overdose deaths in worksites by supporting the availability of naloxone, related training and support resources in workplaces. The initiative focuses on:

● Naloxone access resources to guide employers wanting to include naloxone in workplace first aid kits or other accessible locations

Janice Hartgens

● Advocacy and education to draw awareness to the impact of overdoses on workplaces and the importance of naloxone as an emergency response tool

● Employee training and support materials to ensure there are robust policies and programs in place to support a naloxone program

Including overdose readiness in emergency preparedness plans is one small step you can take to reverse this growing epidemic, both at work and in the community. Certain brands of nasal-spray naloxone, such as Narcan, have recently been approved for over-the-counter use, making it easier than ever to get naloxone. While the rollout of over-the-counter naloxone is just beginning, employers can get ready by assessing their policies. Workplaces should have recovery-ready policies to both prevent overdose and substance misuse, and support workers who have experienced an overdose. 

As a member, you know the NSC mission is to save lives from the workplace to anyplace. For this reason, NSC is urging ALL workplaces – especially our members – to have naloxone on hand and provide the necessary training employees need so they may properly respond in the event of a medical emergency, including an overdose, whether it’s at work, at home or anywhere in between.

It was extremely exciting to attend the recent NSC Safety Congress & Expo where I had the opportunity to discuss these pressing issues with safety professionals. Thank you to all who attended and shared their stories about this ongoing epidemic.  

Saving someone from an overdose gives them a second chance to get back to their families, loved ones, community and co-workers. Keeping naloxone in your workplace has the power to give workers back their lives and give them a chance at recovery. We hope you will join us in our pursuit to have naloxone available in every workplace.

Janice Hartgens 
Vice President, Respond Ready Workplace
National Safety Council

Research Insights

Using Technology to Prevent MSDs

Investing in technology to reduce workplace musculoskeletal disorders, or MSDs, improves both worker wellbeing and an organization’s bottom line, but initial research findings from NSC suggest employers may not have the access and knowledge they need to effectively assess and implement these risk-reducing technologies. The MSD Solutions Lab has published a new white paper, Emerging Technologies for the Prevention of Musculoskeletal Disorders, to help employers navigate the evolving technology marketplace.

This paper references nearly two dozen academic publications to assess the benefits of the most common emerging safety technologies: computer vision, wearable sensors, exoskeletons, autonomous and semi-autonomous materials handling equipment and extended reality. The MSD Solutions Lab also interviewed executives from a range of sectors, including agriculture, logistics and manufacturing, to better understand industry-specific MSD concerns and highlight successful applications of emerging technology.

Notable findings from the report include:

● Computer vision may be a helpful tool for large organizations, so they can more effectively aggregate and analyze ergonomic risks across an enterprise

● In instances where implementing engineering controls is not financially feasible, workers may benefit from the use of wearable sensors, which can provide real-time haptic feedback to reduce back injuries caused by poor posture, over-reaching and improper lifting  

● To reduce MSD risk caused by manual materials handling, organizations may consider adopting passive exoskeletons, which have been shown to reduce muscle activity by up to 40% and, in one case study, decreased worker fatigue by 45% and boosted organization output by nearly 10%

● While Industry 4.0, characterized by the widespread use of computerization, big data and artificial intelligence (AI) in the workplace, is still ongoing, the next phase of advancement – Industry 5.0 – has already begun, prompting employers to dedicate a greater emphasis on harmonizing human ingenuity and automation in the workplace

Protecting Lone Workers

Lone worker practices have increasingly become more common in modern workplaces, with an estimated 15% of today’s employees reportedly working by themselves. However, working in isolated environments may also increase individuals’ risk for serious injuries and death on the job. Recognizing the emergence and severity of this issue, the Council’s Work to Zero initiative released a new white paper Using Lone Worker Monitoring Technology to Protect Workers, to help employers identify and implement new solutions to keep their workers safe. 

The report evaluated findings from several academic databases, as well as two case studies, to specifically assess the use of worker monitoring technologies, ranging from fall detection devices and proximity sensors to mobile apps and panic alarms, in remote settings. These types of technologies can be ideal for lone workers in high-risk industries, such as construction, mining or agriculture. NSC identified three key benefits for any isolated work environment, including: 

Enabling two-way communication. The majority of lone workers report frequently working outside of cell phone coverage areas. Monitoring devices, many of which are equipped with GPS capabilities, address this gap enabling employers to stay connected to their workers to take immediate action in the event of an emergency. 

Enhancing safety capabilities. Many monitoring devices available to employers are packaged with additional EHS functionalities that can detect and alert the wearer to hazardous situations, such as gas emissions, thermal exposure and proximity to dangerous machinery. 

Increasing cost-savings. Monitoring devices may help streamline the otherwise cumbersome task of checking in with lone workers through email, phone calls or calendars, and ultimately increase overall efficiency. 

Safer Workplaces

Evaluating Safety Training Effectiveness

The Campbell Institute has recently released a new white paper, A Foundation for Evaluating Safety Training Effectiveness – a collaborative research project highlighting the importance of evaluating the effectiveness of safety training programs within organizations.

Key findings include:

● Safety training is widely recognized as a vital component of any EHS program, contributing to injury prevention, hazard mitigation and the development of a strong safety culture, but many organizations lack a systematic approach to measuring training effectiveness

● The measurement of training effectiveness is critical for the evaluation and continuous improvement of EHS training programs, regardless of the type of training modality (classroom-based, online or e-learning, virtual reality, mentorship programs, blended learning, etc.)

● The Kirkpatrick Training Effectiveness Model is among the most widely studied models of training effectiveness and remains popular due to its simplicity, relative ease and comprehensive evaluation criteria; broken down into four levels (reaction, learning, behavior and results), the model served as the framework for the best practices shared by the Institute’s Training Effectiveness Workgroup

● The Training Effectiveness Workgroup developed a quasi-experimental, pretest-posttest design to measure safety training effectiveness; this model contains several levels for measuring effectiveness, including perceptions of self, supervisors or colleagues, third-party observations and data analysis

By implementing robust evaluation processes and adopting the best practices outlined in this report, employers can strengthen their commitment to safety, improve their EHS training programs and ultimately provide workers with the skills and knowledge necessary to do their work safely.

What's New

Winners Recognized

Check out these winners that were honored at the National Awards Celebration recently held at the 2023 NSC Safety Congress & Expo. Congratulations on your outstanding contributions to safety!

Consider a Donation This Giving Tuesday

On Nov. 28, this Giving Tuesday, the gift you share could help save the life of someone you love. Your donation could help save a life in a variety of ways including: providing life-saving first aid training, fostering the next generation of safety professionals through the NSC scholarship program, or developing education and resources to instill safe habits in the workplace and on the roadway. Support our mission to save lives today. 

Will your company match your donation? Find out here.

Attend the FREE Fourth Annual SAFER Summit

Dec. 5, 2023
9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Join the National Safety Council at the fourth annual SAFER Summit on Dec. 5, 2023, and discover fresh insights on safety lessons learned during the last year. We’ll explore how to navigate the new normal and highlight emerging topics, including:

● NSC Research Results 

● Mental Health and More in the Workplace 

● Psychological Safety and Wellbeing 

● The Pandemic Has Ended, Now What? 

● Does Working From Home Have a Future?

NSC created the SAFER Recommendations for Moving Past the Pandemic Report to highlight lessons learned from employers and their workers from October 2022 through September 2023. This report provides guidance on future pandemic-related and emerging topics from the last year regarding worker health, wellbeing and safety. NSC conducted national surveys and interviews with employers to gain insights and fresh perspectives on future emergency preparedness, substance misuse, mental health, hybrid work and psychological safety.

Register Early and Save: The Future of EHS

Feb. 20-22, 2024

Join us at The Future of EHS in Louisville for a thoughtful, three-day event as we discuss forward-looking ideas, the latest in safety innovations and EHS best practices. There will be insightful keynotes and session speakers, curated breakouts and networking receptions, and so much more. Reserve your spot today and save. Register before Jan. 5 to lock in your savings.

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