Foodborne Illness and Vulnerable Populations Webinar

Fight Bac logo, keep food safe from bacteriaThe Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS), the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Prevention are hosting a 1-hour webinar on the afternoon of June 4, 2013, from 12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m. PT entitled, “Foodborne Illness and Vulnerable Populations” to coincide with the release of the CDCs “Vital Signs: Listeria, a Foodborne Pathogen Affecting Vulnerable Populations-Illnesses, Deaths, and Outbreaks, United States, 2009-2011” report. The webinar is part of an ongoing effort to:

• Raise awareness about the chronic health and economic consequences of foodborne illness.

• Highlight the foodborne risk of Listeria monocytogenes especially among pregnant women and the elderly.

• Establish outreach partners, such as medical and health organizations to promote food safety to at-risk groups.

Click HERE to register!

Want to Reduce Your WC Costs? Try California CHSWC’s Injury & Illness Prevention Training.

California Commission on Health and Safety and Workers’ Compensation
Announces Injury and Illness Prevention Program Training for General Industry

Chart of Workers' Comp Cost in California
Workers’ Comp Cost in California

OAKLAND — The California Commission on Health and Safety and Workers’ Compensation (CHSWC) is pleased to announce Injury and Illness Prevention (IIPP) training and resources for general industry and small business. This training is part of the Commission’s Worker Occupational Safety and Health Training and Education Program (WOSHTEP), a statewide effort aimed at reducing job-related injuries and illnesses among California workers.

This program is administered by CHSWC through inter-agency agreements with the Labor Occupational Health Program (LOHP) at the University of California, Berkeley, the Western Center for Agricultural Health and Safety (WCAHS) at the University of California, Davis, and the Labor Occupational Safety and Health Program (LOSH) at the University of California, Los Angeles.

The free day-long course for general industry and the half-day course for small business, “Taking Action for Safety and Health: Implementing an Effective IIPP,” was developed by LOHP for CHSWC. Cal/OSHA enforces requirements of the IIPP standard. This course will train participants to develop and implement an effective health and safety program at their workplace which meets the requirements of Cal/OSHA’s IIPP standard. Materials include a free guidebook and easy-to-use model template for writing an IIPP, factsheets and tools to help implement an IIPP, and resources for technical assistance.

CHSWC, created by the workers’ compensation reform legislation of 1993, is charged with examining the health and safety and workers’ compensation systems in California and recommending administrative or legislative modifications to improve their operation. CHSWC was established to conduct a continuing examination of the workers’ compensation system and of the state’s activities to prevent industrial injuries and occupational diseases and to examine those programs in other states.

Information about CHSWC is available at and information on the IIPP training and resources for general industry and for small businesses at: Information may also be obtained by writing to CHSWC at 1515 Clay Street, 17th Floor, Oakland, California, 94612; by calling (510) 622-3959; by faxing a request to (510) 622-3265; or by email at

5 Additional Tips To Improve Your Workplace Safety

May 22, 2013 by 

Workplace safety is one of those topics where it is hard to overemphasis its importance. There can be such a thing as “too much safety”, but that level is the small majority of companies. If you are a company operating a workplace safety program, here are 5 additional tips to help you improve.  If you are not currently operating a workplace safety program, get started today.
  • Hazard awareness through company communicationyellow highway sign that says "Workplace Safety Toolkit"
Once you identify your hazards, you need to communicate to the work staff what hazards are out there, so they are aware of the risks associated with doing their jobs day in and day out. All the safety prevention in the world is not going to be effective unless your employees first know about
the hazard, and do something about it. Use of email communication may not reach all of the employees, so hang posters around areas where a hazard is common. Workers will get the hint if they are constantly reminded of the risks associated with working in particular areas.
  • Emergency action plans
What should a worker do if they are injured? Who is in charge of calling an ambulance should you need one? Which hospital or clinic should they go to? What paperwork do they need to get treatment? What is the contact information for the work comp carrier? All of these things should be addressed, and every employee should be educated on what to do and who to report to should an injury occur. These are usually addressed in an orientation program for new employees, but sadly they are also the first thing forgotten once work begins. Constant reminders are extremely helpful.  Hang posters of contact information and the steps to report injuries in common areas where workers congregate. It may seem like a minor step, but it is the most effective.

Cardiac Science Demonstrates Their Unique AED G3 Pro In Our Office

Cardiac Science AED G3 Pro, Automatic Electronic DefibrillatorIt seems like almost any business of any size should have an Automatic Electronic Defibrillator on hand just as you would a fire extinguisher. We went with the unit by Cardiac Science for a couple of reasons; it calculates electrical impedance and if subsequent shocks are necessary, their proprietary STAR biphasic technology escalates the energy to deliver therapy at an appropriate, higher level.

And, they’re the only company with a seven year warranty!

The video features Mark Caruso from Cardiac Science demonstrating their AED G3 Pro to Dr. Pomerantz, one of the founding partners of Central Coast UrgentCare Medical Group and Nurse Practitioners, Beth Morgan and Rebecca Valverde and Physician’s Assistant, Dana Shaheen.

Video of Mark Caruso from Cardiac Science Demonstrating Their AED G3 Pro

NPR Story, “California Weighs Expanded Role For Nurse Practitioners,” Sparks Lively Debate

The original report followa, and you can click this link to see responses from FNC’s around the country.

What's a nurse practitioner? graphicAs states gear up for the Affordable Care Act, they’re trying to figure out if there will be enough providers of health care to meet demand from the newly insured.

California is one of 15 states expected to consider legislation this year that would give advanced practice nurses more authority to care for patients without a doctor’s supervision.

Tina Clark is a nurse practitioner at Glide Health Services, a clinic in San Francisco’s Tenderloin district, a low-income section of the city.

Anastacia Casperson, who has struggled with homelessness and drug addiction, came to the clinic because she was alarmed about swelling in her legs. Clark spends a half-hour with Casperson, gives her a prescription for a diuretic and talks to her about quitting smoking. Casperson says she’s been coming to this clinic for a few years.

“They have compassion for a client. They have understanding for a client,” Casperson says. “I like the nurses here because they’re like one big family, and they all work together.”

Glide is run by nurses with advanced training. Even under current law, nurse Clark can see patients without a doctor in the room. But a physician visits the clinic 12 hours a week to sign forms and consult on difficult cases.

Right now, California law says nurses must follow procedures set after consulting a doctor. But lawmakers are considering eliminating that requirement. That idea doesn’t sit well with some doctors.

“Nurses and nurse practitioners are a very, very important part of the health care team, but they are part of a team,” says Dr. Paul Phinney, president of the California Medical Association.

Phinney’s group is opposed to allowing more independence for nurses. He says they are an important part of the health care team, but they don’t have as much training, and may not know as much about testing and technology.

Plus, he says, there’s nothing in the bill that would require the empowered nurses to go where they are needed most.

“I would be very surprised if should this bill pass that all of a sudden you’ll see a massive egress of nurse practitioners out into medically underserved areas. I just don’t see that happening,” he says.

But University of California, San Francisco, health care economist Joanne Spetz says research shows otherwise.

“Nurse practitioners are more likely to practice in settings that serve large shares of Medicaid patients, and they’re somewhat more likely to practice in rural communities,” Spetz says.

Nurse practitioners can be trained much more quickly than a physician, and their compensation is lower, Spetz points out.

“So when a legislature is looking at the insurance of hundreds of thousands of people and the demand for care that those people are going to have, getting health professionals to meet their needs as quickly as possible and as cost-effectively as possible is a real need,” she says.

The next step for the California bill on nurses is a hearing Monday in the state Senate Appropriations committee.

This piece is part of a partnership between NPR, Capital Public Radio and Kaiser Health News.

Totally Engaged in Hearing Loss Prevention

In Promising Practices for Total Worker Health™ we share with you examples of how employers from across the country and from a wide range of industries are taking steps to integrate both health promotion and health protection in their workplaces.

If your organization is proactively integrating health protection and health promotion to prevent injury and illness and advance the well-being of your workers, please email us at

Disclaimer: The mention of organizations and commercial entities and products in this article is for illustrative purposes only and does not represent an endorsement by NIOSH, CDC or the US Department of Health and Human Services.

Safe In Sound Logo

Totally Engaged in Hearing Loss Prevention

BY: Deanna K. Meinke, Ph.D., Associate Professor, University of Northern Colorado and Thais C. Morata, Ph.D.,Research Audiologist, NIOSH

Noise and hearing loss – with their associated implications on communication, employment opportunities, job performance, injury-risk, anxiety and quality of life – place a significant burden on society. Occupational hearing loss represents a substantial portion of all hearing impairments and is nearly always permanent. The negative consequences associated with noise exposure are not confined to the workplace or the working years. Each of us encounters hazardous sound exposures during childhood and the exposures continue throughout our lifetime, regardless of the job(s) we perform.

Noise is everywhere. The prevention of its effects requires expanding preventive initiatives to outside the workplace; it requires the integration of occupational safety and health protection with health promotion.

Two manufacturing facilities totally engaged in hearing loss prevention are the Domtar Paper Company in Kingsport, TN and the 3M manufacturing plant in Hutchinson, MN. Both plants were previous Safe-in-Sound Excellence in Hearing Loss Prevention Award™ winners; Domtar Paper Company in 2009 and 3M in 2012. The Safe-in-Sound Awards™ were developed by NIOSH and are awarded at the annual National Hearing Conservation Association (NHCA) conferences. The objectives of the award are to recognize organizations that document measurable achievements in hearing loss prevention and to obtain and disseminate information on their leading edge practices and real world success.

Domtar and 3M were specifically recognized with a Safe-in-Sound Excellence Award™ for the comprehensive integration of their hearing loss prevention program beyond the traditional occupational work environment into recreational and community activities enjoyed by their workers, their families and their neighbors. These plants are leading examples of the effort toward “total worker hearing health” and each is investing in the hearing health of future employees. Both employers recognized the specific non-occupational noise exposures encountered by their workforce and took steps to provide training and hearing protection devices specific to the local sound hazards.

Musicians Playing
Musicians, whose day job is with Domtar, perform at local event. Photo courtesy of the Safe-in-Sound Excellence in Hearing Loss Prevention Award™

For Domtar employees “safety is not just for work”. Music is part of their Tennessee culture. Kingsport is within 300 miles of Nashville and workers and their families frequently attend community concert events and music festivals. Many employees are musicians themselves and even perform at company events, such as open houses. Domtar’s hearing conservation safety training includes educational content relative to loud music exposure and features articles in their plant safety newsletter that is not only pertinent to their workers but also to their families.

Domtar is committed to allowing workers to take hearing protection home for use during off-the-job noise exposures and to changing the “culture” of hearing loss prevention. During community musical events, Domtar supplies free hearing protection for the public. For local Habitat for Humanity construction projects, Domtar supplies hearing protection for the local building crews.

The same “total hearing health” philosophy can be found just over 1000 miles away at the 3M Hutchinson, Minnesota plant located in a rural area approximately 60 miles west of Minneapolis. The Hearing Conservation Team promotes “24-Hour Protection” by sharing information and encouraging employees to take ear plugs home to protect their hearing if they do anything “loud.”

3M plant in Hutchinson, MN (~ 1450 workers)
3M plant in Hutchinson, MN (~ 1450 workers)

In their geographical area, hunting is a favorite sport. The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources reports 570,000 hunters are licensed annually in the state and some of these are employed at the Hutchinson 3M plant. For these workers, recreational firearm impulse noise exposure is a common occurrence whether sighting in the firearm during target shooting or hunting small and large game species. 3M Hutchinson plant health and safety personnel recognized the risk to hearing for employees who are recreational shooters and implemented a policy whereby small-orifice “Combat Arms” earplugs are stocked in the employee store and made available at minimal cost to workers and their family members. The Hutchinson plant employees receive supplemental information on the unique auditory risks of firearm noise and the performance of hearing protectors specially designed for the shooting sports in their annual Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) hearing conservation training programs. Proper insertion and adequate fitting is stressed. Awareness campaigns and reminders to workers to protect their own ears and those of their children during shooting activities are distributed each fall and spring when hunting seasons open. Caring for the ears of their youth is also reinforced when the children of 3M employees are offered summer internships/employment at the plant. These young workers are trained on all safety and health issues, including occupational and non-occupational noise exposure regardless of the job setting or potential exposure to workplace hazards. Some workers even report that they have increased their off-the-job use of hearing protection after recognizing the importance of setting a good example for their own children.

Domtar and 3M have embraced “total worker hearing health”. Both award winners are leading the effort to extend hearing loss prevention beyond the workplace. These employers recognize the importance of investing in youth, engaging their communities and changing the culture of hearing loss prevention for the future. Is there a place for “total hearing health” in your workplace?

For more information on the NIOSH Safe-in-Sound Excellence in Hearing Loss Awards™ or hearing loss prevention programs, contact the authors at

Regulatory Changes in California Are Expected To Affect Price and Utilization Of Medical Care For Injured Workers

California Department of Workers' Compensation New Rules_logoCambridge, MA ( – The 2012 workers’ compensation regulatory changes in California are expected to affect both the prices and utilization of medical care to injured workers by most types of providers, says a new study by the Workers Compensation Research Institute (WCRI). The study provides a baseline for monitoring the impact of the 2012 reforms in California, SB 863.

The WCRI study, Baseline for Monitoring the Impact of 2012 Reforms in California: CompScope™ Medical Benchmarks, 13th Edition, said the potential impact from the measure could include, among other things, an increase in prices paid for primary care and a decrease in prices paid for specialty services.  Other possibilities include a decrease in payments for ambulatory surgical care services, changes in utilization of different types of services, lower medical legal expenses, faster dispute resolution, and more timely medical treatment.

“Future editions of CompScope™ Medical Benchmarks will monitor the collective impact of the regulatory changes, as well as monitor behavioral changes by system participants as they adapt,” said Ramona Tanabe, WCRI’s deputy director and counsel.

This study focuses on how California compared with other study states prior to SB 863.  Medical payments per claim in the state were fairly typical, masking several offsetting factors.  Prices paid were lower than in the typical study state, while utilization of nonhospital services was higher. Hospital outpatient/ambulatory surgical center costs in California were lower than in many study states.  There was also more frequent use of chiropractic care and services from physical therapists.

The WCRI study said the costs of medical care for injured workers in California grew rapidly from 2005 to 2010. This growth followed a decrease of more than 30 percent from 2002 to 2004 due to the previous round of regulatory changes in the California workers’ compensation system.

The report said the growth in utilization of nonhospital care and hospital outpatient and/or ambulatory surgical center costs may reflect the combined impact of changes in regulation and participant behaviors.

For more information or to purchase a copy of this report, click on the following link:


The Workers Compensation Research Institute (WCRI) is an independent, not-for-profit research organization based in Cambridge, MA. Founded in 1983, the WCRI is recognized as a leader in providing high-quality, credible, and objective information about public policy issues involving workers’ compensation systems. WCRI’s diverse membership includes employers; insurers; governmental entities; managed care companies; health care providers; insurance regulators; state labor organizations; and state administrative agencies in the U.S., Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. For more information, visit: