Safety Lessons From BP Deepwater Horizon

What exactly is a negative pressure test?

If you’ve followed the coverage of the investigation into the causes of the BP Deepwater Horizon (DH) explosion that killed 11 workers, you’ve probably received a good introduction into Well Drilling 101. Terms like “annulator,”  “centralizers,” “drilling mud” and “blowout preventer” have become familiar if not completely understood; the specific purpose of each component may be hard to grasp without working in the industry. One such term that has been prominently featured in the coverage is a “negative pressure test.” Out of all of the questionable practices carried out by the companies involved in the DH disaster, the negative pressure test on April 20 may be the most critical one. According to Oil Gas, a negative pressure test is:

“A method of determining the amount of pressure that is allowed to appear on the casing pressure gauge as a kick is circulated out of a well. in general, it is determined by slowly pumping mud into the well while it is shut in and observing the pressure at which the formation begins to take mud.”

The negative pressure test showed there was a problem yet is was ignored by two workers with years of experience. That was a critical error that largely contributed to this tragedy. 

via What exactly is a negative pressure test?.

Surgery Risks Higher for Obese

Obese people have a much higher risk of potentially deadly complications following surgery, a new study shows.

Researchers found obese patients had a significantly higher risk of postoperative complications, such as heart attack, wound infection, nerve injury, and urinary tract infections.

In addition, the study showed morbidly obese patients (patients more than 100 pounds over their ideal weight) were nearly twice as likely to die as a result of complications following noncardiac surgery.

Researchers say the findings are especially troubling as obesity rates climb in the U.S. According to the CDC, more than 30% of the adult U.S. population is now considered obese.

“Our study provides further evidence of the dangers of obesity as it relates to surgery,” says researcher Olumuyiwa A. Bamgbade, MD.

via Surgery Risks Higher for Obese.

Office Environment – Worker Safety & Health

Maintaining a healthy office environment requires attention to chemical hazards, equipment and work station design, physical environment (temperature, humidity, light, noise, ventilation, and space), task design, psychological factors (personal interactions, work pace, job control) and sometimes, chemical or other environmental exposures.

A well-designed office allows each employee to work comfortably without needing to over-reach, sit or stand too long, or use awkward postures (correct ergonomic design). Sometimes, equipment or furniture changes are the best solution to allow employees to work comfortably. On other occasions, the equipment may be satisfactory but the task could be redesigned. For example, studies have shown that those working at computers have less discomfort with short, hourly breaks.

Situations in offices that can lead to injury or illness range from physical hazards (such as cords across walkways, leaving low drawers open, objects falling from overhead) to task-related (speed or repetition, duration, job control, etc.), environmental (chemical or biological sources) or design-related hazards (such as nonadjustable furniture or equipment). Job stress that results when the requirements of the job do not match the capabilities or resources of the worker may also result in illness.

via CDC – Office Environment & Worker Safety & Health – NIOSH Workplace Safety and Health Topic.

Physical Activity is Essential to Healthy Aging

As an older adult, regular physical activity is one of the most important things you can do for your health. It can prevent many of the health problems that seem to come with age. It also helps your muscles grow stronger so you can keep doing your day-to-day activities without becoming dependent on others.

Not doing any physical activity can be bad for you, no matter your age or health condition. Keep in mind, some physical activity is better than none at all. Your health benefits will also increase with the more physical activity that you do.

via Physical Activity for Everyone: Guidelines: Older Adults | DNPAO | CDC.

Michigan Work Comp 2013 – New Rules Regarding Independent Contractors

How the work comp law in Michigan is changing in 2013

On and after January 1, 2013, services are employment if the services are performed by an individual whom the Michigan administrative hearing system determines to be in an employer-employee relationship using the 20-factor test announced by the internal revenue service of the United States department of treasury in revenue ruling 87-41.

This is a big change in the law and seems to return us to the days of the economic reality test. It appears that employer control over an individual will now be a major factor in the determination of employment status. This change will hopefully reduce the number of employers who try to game the system.

via News Rules Regarding Independent Contractors | Workers Comp Lawyer Help.

Pneumonia Can Be Prevented – Vaccines Can Help

Pneumonia is an infection of the lungs that is usually caused by bacteria or viruses. Globally, pneumonia causes more deaths than any other infectious disease. It can often be prevented and can usually be treated.

Every 20 seconds, somewhere in the world, a child dies from pneumonia. Many of these deaths are preventable through vaccination and appropriate treatment.

via CDC Features – Pneumonia Can Be Prevented – Vaccines Can Help.

Risk Management in HR

The risk management process

Risk management is a cycle. That means that it is not something that gets checked off a “to do” list but it is a continuous activity. Having a risk management process means that your organization knows and understands the risks to which you are exposed. It also means that your organization has deliberately evaluated the risks and has strategies in place to remove the risk altogether, reduce the likelihood of the risk happening or minimize harm in the event that something happens.

At a very basic level, risk management focuses you on two fundamental questions:

What can go wrong?

What will we do to prevent the harm from occurring in the first place and in response to the harm or loss if it actually happens?

via Risk Management in HR | HR Planning | HR Toolkit |

Drowsy Driving Prevention Week — November 12–18, 2012

Drowsy driving has been identified as a major factor compromising public health and safety . In the general population, nearly 5% of respondents to the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System reported that, at least once in the preceding 30 days, they had fallen asleep or nodded off while driving . Results of a questionnaire administered at truck inspection stations in several U.S. states indicated that 28% of commercial motor vehicle drivers acknowledged that at least once during the preceding month, they had fallen asleep while driving . Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of unintentional injury deaths among youths aged 15–24 years , and drowsy driving has been identified as one type of teen driver error . Given the prevalence and dire consequences of drowsy driving, CDC encourages parents, educators, health-care providers, and the general public to learn more about healthy sleep practices that can combat drowsy driving.

Additional information is available online from the National Sleep Foundation at and from CDC at

via Announcements: Drowsy Driving Prevention Week — November 12–18, 2012.

Aging workforce: Retaining valuable nurses

The impending retirement of RN baby boomers is now a workforce reality that could have a profound impact on U.S. healthcare. The CDC and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health projected that in 2010, middle-aged and older workers would outnumber younger workers. Thus, baby boomer RNs those born between 1948 and 1964 are now in what has been traditionally known as the retirement years. Nurse administrators and educators are challenged with the task of retaining these knowledgeable, skilled nurses while aggressively recruiting generation X and millenial nurses.

via Aging workforce: Retaining valuable nurses : Nursing Management.

Herniated Disc-What Increases Your Risk

There are various risk factors for a herniated disc.

There are some risk factors you cannot change. But if you know about them, you can be prepared to consider how they will affect you. These include:

  • Advancing age. The process of aging of the discs in the lower back, as well as repeated injury to the discs and spinal muscles, makes a person more likely to have low back problems, which usually begin in midlife.
  • Being male.
  • History of back injury, previous herniated disc, or back surgery.

Some risk factors you can change, with lifestyle changes or medical treatment. If you take steps to limit the risks from these factors, you can decrease your overall risk of having a herniated disc. Risk factors you can change include:

  • Your job or other activities that increase the risk of developing a herniated disc, such as long periods of sitting, lifting or pulling heavy objects, frequent bending or twisting of the back, heavy physical exertion, repetitive motions, or exposure to constant vibration (such as driving).
  • Not exercising regularly, doing strenuous exercise for a long time, or starting to exercise too strenuously after a long period of inactivity.
  • Smoking. Nicotine and other toxins from smoking can keep spinal discs from absorbing all the nutrients they need from the blood, making disc injury more likely. Smoking also increases your sensitivity to pain. For information on how to quit smoking, see the topic Quitting Smoking.
  • Being overweight. Carrying extra body weight (especially in the stomach area) may put additional strain on the lower back, although this has not been proven. But being overweight often also means being in poor physical condition, with weaker muscles and less flexibility. These can lead to low back pain. For information on how to maintain a healthy weight, see the topic Weight Management.

via Herniated Disc-What Increases Your Risk.