Job Stress at NOHC

Dr. Joe Hurrell, Editor of the Journal of Occupational Health Psychology, keynoted the final day of the Northwest Occupational Health Conference (NOHC) in Seaside, Oregon, on October 11 (pictured below). Dr. Hurrell’s talk, the topic of the day, was on Job Stress: Causes, Consequences and Interventions.  He reviewed the scientific surveys revealing that one third of all workers report high levels of job stress and that work is the primary source of stress among employed men (women were a little lower than this).

Key points from his presentation are listed below.

The primary costs of stress to organizations:

  • Disability
  • Grievance
  • Workers Compensation costs
  • Tardiness
  • Sabotage
  • Productivity

Key job stressors are:

  • Job demands
  • Organizational demands
  • Interpersonal relationships

Individual signs of stress:

  • Sleep disturbances
  • Headaches
  • Anxiety
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Fatigue
  • Job dissatisfaction

Interventions to reduce stress do the following:

  • Reduce or eliminate stressors (increased control over work, participation in decisions)
  • Modify the person’s response to stress (coping mechanisms)

Job stress is one of the key areas of well-being being addressed by research in the Oregon Healthy Workforce Center (OHWC).

See CROETweb for ways to combat job stress.

Staying Healthy at Work and at Home

Getting sick with the flu is a pretty good example of the relevance of  Total Worker Health™. In the end, it doesn’t matter much if you pick it up at work – from a patient or co-worker – on the bus, or at your child’s daycare – you still get sick. You still feel lousy, miss work (or choose to infect others around you and work ineffectively) and miss personal events.

Getting good sleep, exercising, eating well, and reducing unhealthy life stress helps us strengthen our immune system to keep us healthy. This month at OHSU, and led by our Healthy Team Healthy U Program, it is Influenza Prevention Month. If you walk the corridors of OHSU buildings, you might just see the poster with tips for preventing the flu. Without a doubt, getting a flu vaccine is one of the best ways to prevent infection. Does your employer educate your workforce about the flu vaccine, offer it onsite and offer incentives to receive the vaccination? Have you gotten yours yet?

Looking for more information? Check out the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and Oregon Health Authority Public Health to learn more.


CROETweb Emergency Infections & Flu Topic Page

NIOSH Centers meet … without NIOSH

The first annual meeting of the leaders of all the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) extramural Centers occurred in Denver on October 3-4, at the University of Colorado.  This included the Directors and Associate Directors of the three types of Centers:

  • 17 Education and Research Centers (one at the University of Washington in Seattle)
  • 9 Agricultural Safety and Health Centers (one at the University of Washington in Seattle)
  • 4 Total Worker Health Centers (one at Oregon Health & Science University, with collaborators from Portland State University, University of Oregon, and Oregon State University)

The Center Directors and Associate Directors held the meeting, but the NIOSH Director and program leadership did not attend due to the US government shutdown.

NIOSH University Research and Training Centers meeting in Denver (2013)

These Centers represent over 50% of the total NIOSH budget for extramural grants (mostly to Universities).  The group discussed questions about how Centers might develop cross-cutting themes such as Total Worker Health and new ways to combine together to serve the entire country.  The Total Worker Health Centers also met separately on October 4.  They are working on resources and toolkits to develop TWH programs.  NIOSH is working on a bibliography of all TWH publications that it plans to publish on it’s website by the end of 2013.  Learn more about NIOSH programs here:

Learn more about the NIOSH TWH program at:



OR-FACE Releases New Resources

OR-FACE Incident Maps

One death on the job is always too many. As we share new resources created by the Oregon Occupational Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation (OR-FACE) Program, we are ever mindful of the somberness of this topic.

Since 2003, OR-FACE has tracked over 600 work-related deaths in the state of Oregon and has now published all confirmed Oregon occupational fatalities as interactive maps. These fatality maps can be filtered by year and are coded by events, occupation, and industry. The most current cases, 2011 to present, can be filtered further by both event and year. The maps with all available years selected reveal transportation as the top industry, occupation, and event to fatally injure working Oregonians. For more information about specific fatalities represented in the maps, you can explore the OR-FACE website and even download descriptive abstracts for all cases.

OR-FACE has also just published its Annual Report for 2011. In 2011, OR FACE recorded 59 fatal occupational fatalities and as many incidents. Overall, the number of fatalities went up compared to the 51 fatalities in 2010. Though transportation remains the most common event and occupation for Oregon workplace fatalities, logging and forestry was the most fatal industry with 10 total fatalities.

To receive new investigative reports and other Oregon FACE publications, join our electronic mailing list. Visit our website for all previously released publications and investigative reports.

Oregon FACE website
CROETweb Topic: Occupational Safety & Health Statistics



WestON talks TWH

The 6th annual Western States Occupational Network (WestON) is being held in Golden, Colorado. Total Worker Health (TWH) was the topic of a session that featured three interesting presentations, described below along with links to valuable resources.

  • Brenda Schmidt and Eric Dinenberg of Viridian Health Management described CDC’s National Healthy Worksite project that they are leading. The project is described and toolkits are available at CDC’s National Healthy Worksite website.  Click to learn more about Viridian.
  • Chia Chia Chang of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) described the NIOSH TWH program.
  • Lili Tenney from the Center for Worker Health & Environment in the Colorado School of Public Health (U Colorado) described their Health Links program for small businesses.  Colorado businesses can complete a needs assessment, earn a Healthy Business Certification, find resources, and connect with businesses in the network.  Click HealthLinksColorado to learn about this innovative state program.

Click to learn more information about WestON. The opening session is pictured below. The conference concludes today.

NIOSH Holds National Expert Colloquium on TWH

NIOSH convened the 3rd National Expert Colloquium on Total Worker Health (TWH) Thursday (September 19) in Washington, DC. Shown in the picture (from the right) are NIOSH TWH program managers Casey Chosewood and Anita Schill who convened the Collquium, and NIOSH Director John Howard (Dr. Howard has visited Oregon 2 times to speak at meetings sponsored/supported by CROET).  About 20 people attended the Colloquium in addition to members of the NIOSH TWH team, some also shown in the picture.

NIOSH has recently updated it’s list of issues relevant to TWH, which helps us recognize the breadth of this concept that is leading the nation to redefine health and safety in the workplace.  This is a dramatic expansion of the scope of workplace safety and health. The graphic is shown below.

NIOSH has expansive and important goals for the TWH program.  Selected NIOSH goals and the years they propose to accomplish them, are:

  • Develop a bibliography of TWH literature and reports (2013)
  • Publish a ‘Let’s Get Started’ brochure in TWH (2013)
  • Develop a national standard/statement of prevalent and promising practices through the National Academy of Sciences (2014)
  • Partner with large organizations (they are looking for large employers) to initiate collaborative TWH projects (in the organizations)
  • Establish certificate (2016) and graduate (2018) programs and a journal supported by a professional society (2023) in TWH
  • Establish mechanisms to promote corporate TWH responsibility (2019)

NIOSH has evolved it’s TWH website in 2013 where you can download the seminal articles on TWH.

People invited by NIOSH to discuss TWH came from private industry (e.g., Safeway, IBM, Sodexo), labor (e.g., SEIU, Farmworker Justice), government (e.g., Office of Personnel Management), Universities (e.g., OHSU, SUNY, University of Colorado, Dartmouth) and Health Management organizations (e.g., Viridian, US Healthiest). Kent Anger represented the Oregon Healthy Workforce Center (OHWC) at the meeting. He can be contacted for details.

At Your Fingertips: Oregon Poison Center

Many parents are familiar with the 24/7 services of the Oregon Poison Center – I know that my introduction was in response to learning that my mischievous three-year old had decided to eat all of her fluoride tablets.

What you should also know, is that at least 2,000 of the more than 70,000 calls the Center receives each year are from workplaces. If you haven’t already added the Oregon Poison Center to your list of workplace emergency contacts – do it now.

The Oregon Poison Center can receive calls both from workplace healthcare providers and directly from employees. Calling the universal number: 1-800-222-1222 triggers connection with the center targeted to your geographic area, which for callers from Oregon, Alaska and Guam is the Oregon Poison Center located here at OHSU. It’s particularly helpful, of course, to have a Material Safety Data Sheet/Safety Data Sheet or information from a label or container – but don’t delay calling if you don’t have this information readily on-hand, and make sure you use your voice, not text, when you call.

The poison center was established by an act of the Oregon State Legislature in 1978 to provide emergency treatment information for patients experiencing a poisoning or toxic exposure. This center is staffed by registered nurses with specialized training in poison and toxic substances, and a medical physician is always on-call. Approximately 20 different nurses, including those on-call, cover the 24-hour periods, and the on-call physicians are all board certified in toxicology.

Visit the Oregon Poison Center website.

CROET’s Toxicology Information Center
CROETweb Topic: Emergency Preparedness in the Workplace

Work, Family & Health Network Meets at Portland State University

The Work, Family & Health Network met in Portland last week to discuss their research progress. The Network is a group of scientists conducting the largest Randomized Controlled Trial of a work-family balance intervention in the workplace.  It has been conducted with supervisors working in information technology and health care settings. The intervention involves job restructuring, computer-based training on family-supportive supervisory behaviors and behavior tracking or self-monitoring to support behavior change.

Shown in the picture is Dr. Leslie Hammer discussing the findings on work-family and family-work conflict following the intervention.

To quote from the WFHN website, the Network is providing scientific evidence about how changes in the work environment can improve the health of workers and their families while benefiting organizations. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) launched the Network in 2005.

More will be learned from this research in the next year as the results from the data collected 6 and 12 months after the intervention reveal  changes in a myriad of health measures collected about the supervisors and the employees of the supervisors who were trained.

Look to the Network’s website for results and their dissemination plans as the intervention materials, training and tracking software will be available on their website in the near future. There will be a no-cost option that uses paper-based and powerpoint presentation materials drawn from the intervention as well as a low-cost option of the original materials and software from the study.


The Power of Wellness Networking

CROET and the Oregon Healthy Workforce Center joined other organizations committed toward worksite wellness earlier this week at the Worksite Wellness Summit, sponsored by the American Heart Association and held at the Nike Campus.

CROET’s Dr. Kent Anger (right) trades notes with SAIF Corporation’s Deb Fell-Carlson.

Although we exhibit frequently at events around the state, generally the key conference themes are related to workplace safety.  At this event we continued to expand our list of individuals and organizations interested in learning more about our research outcomes, and tools and tips to more effectively address safety, health, wellness and well-being. We appreciate learning more about how different organizations are effectively addressing wellness at work.

Kudos to AHA and the key event sponsors for putting together this annual event. And if you are in the Portland area and looking for upcoming educational and networking events, make sure you join the Portland Worksite Wellness Network at its no-cost monthly meeting in downtown Portland.

Oregon Healthy Workforce Center website
CROETweb topic: Total Worker Health and Wellness 

Calling all Industrial Hygienists, Safety Professionals and Occupational Health Nurses!

Have you added the 2013 Northwest Occupational Health Conference scheduled for October 9-11 in Seaside, Oregon to your itinerary for this fall? The NOHC is recognized as one of the top regional conferences sponsored by an American Industrial Hygiene Association section, ours being the Pacific Northwest Section. With such a small and unique profession, it is even more important for us to seize opportunities to meet face-to-face with others who share our work interests and daily challenges, even though the “crunch” and demand of work makes it feel difficult to get away.

We are particularly excited about the content for this year’s NOHC. The Wednesday short course, sponsored by the Peter Breysse Memorial Endowed Lectureship Fund, is on Biomarkers and Workplace Exposures: Implications for Health and Safety Practitioners, and includes well respected presenters including Glenn Talaska of the University of Cincinnati, Mike Morgan of the University of Washington and many others.

2012 NOHC Special Event in Bellingham, WA on the Schooner Zodiac.

Thursday’s concurrent sessions includes presentations provided by top practitioners and academics from both within and outside our region.

Those of us at CROET and the Oregon Healthy Workforce Center are particularly pleased to help arrange Friday’s Joint Session with a keynote presentation on Job Stress: Causes, Consequences and Interventions provided by Joe Hurrell from St. Mary’s University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and the current editor-in-chief for the Journal of Occupational Health Psychology. This presentation, specifically targeted to occupational health and safety professionals, is timely with job stress recognized as a top hazard in our workplaces. Make sure to stick around for the rest of Friday morning as we share success stories and tips for better addressing and integrating safety with health and well-being at work.

Last but not least at NOHC, is the opportunity to catch up and learn about new tools, technologies and resources from the attending vendors – stop by and visit CROET and the Oregon Healthy Workforce Center – and catch up on what’s happening with Tsunami Planning in Oregon at our social event. Registration is open now – see you in Seaside!

CROETweb subtopic: OSH Professional Development
Pacific NW Section AIHA on Facebook


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