Thursday, February 28, 2013

Higher status workers under pressure; may have detrimental effects

Having more control in the workplace can have negative consequences, according to new research out of the University of Toronto.

Sociologist Scott Schieman measured a range of work conditions using data from a national survey of 6,004 Canadian workers. To measure levels of job pressure, he asked study participants questions such as: "How often do you feel overwhelmed by how much you had to do at work?" "How often do you have to work on too many tasks at the same time?" and "How often do the demands of your job exceed the time you have to do the work?"

He found that roughly one-third of Canadian workers report that they "often" or "very often" feel overwhelmed by work or that the demands of their job exceed the time to do the work. Four out of 10 workers report having to work on too many tasks at the same time "often" or "very often."

"Excessive job demands have detrimental effects," says Schieman. "We know that workers who report higher scores on these indicators of job pressure also tend to experience more problems navigating work and family roles, more symptoms of physical and mental health problems and they tend to be less satisfied with their work."

The study found that having control over one's work schedule and job autonomy are associated with lower levels of job pressure. However, challenging work in which one is required to keep learning new things, engage in creative activities, use skills and abilities and handle a variety of tasks, is associated with higher levels of job pressure as is being in a position of authority where one is supervising or managing others.

Three key indicators of higher socioeconomic status (SES) – education, higher status occupations (executives or professionals) and income – were each independently associated with greater job pressure. "However, those with high SES face greater pressure mostly because of their more challenging work and greater levels of authority," says Schieman.

"These findings speak directly to the idea of the stress of higher status. People talk these days about being 'crazy busy' and not having enough time to do all the things at work that need to get done. But being 'crazy busy' isn't randomly distributed in the population. This study demonstrates an unexpected price for higher SES and more control at work –and that price is excessive pressure in the workplace."

Job-Related Resources and the Pressures of Working Life, is published in the journal Social Science Research.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Wood treatment companies violate federal pesticide laws

Gardner-Fields, Inc. of Tacoma, Washington and IBC Manufacturing Co. of Memphis, Tennessee will pay fines for violating federal pesticide laws, according to separate settlements announced by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

"Companies that sell or distribute mislabeled pesticides put people’s health and the environment at risk," said Ed Kowalski, Director of EPA Region 10 Compliance and Enforcement. "Without proper labeling and safety instructions, users can unintentionally misapply pesticides and may lack important information for emergency first aid."

* Gardner-Fields, Inc. produced, sold, and distributed four IBC Manufacturing Co. wood preservatives under its own brand names with outdated labels. The four products are ATCO Woodlast 1420, ATCO Woodlast 2c 1423, ATCO Woodlast 2 RTU 1422, and ATCO Shakelast 1441. Gardner-Fields agreed to pay a penalty of $35,336 to settle the violations.

* IBC Manufacturing Co., the owner of the products, allowed the wood preservatives to be distributed and sold with outdated labels, by failing to inform Gardner-Fields, Inc. of important label changes required by EPA. IBC Manufacturing agreed to pay a penalty of $265,000 to settle the violations.

During an inspection in September 2008, EPA found that IBC Manufacturing and Gardner-Fields had produced, distributed, and sold four wood preservatives with outdated labels in violation of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act.

Under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act, wood preservatives are considered pesticides that must be registered with the EPA. Pesticides must also be distributed and sold with proper labeling and instructions that include important warning and caution statements about the product and detailed directions on the proper use of the product.

Before a pesticide is registered, the producer must provide data from tests conducted according to EPA guidelines to ensure that the product will not harm people’s health. The EPA examines the ingredients, how the product will be used, and its potential human health and environmental effects. Distributors and retailers are responsible for ensuring that all pesticides distributed and sold fully comply with the law.

Preventing chemical exposure in the workplace reduces liability and increases productivity. Contact an Electrocorp air quality expert today for more information on our affordable industrial air cleaners.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

EPA fines six Arizona school districts for asbestos violations

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has fined six Arizona school districts a combined total of $94,575 for Asbestos Hazard Emergency Response Act (AHERA) violations. More than 15,000 children attend the 25 schools not in compliance with the federal AHERA in these districts.

During inspections conducted in 2011, EPA inspectors discovered numerous violations, from failing to inspect facilities for asbestos containing materials, failing to re-inspect campuses with known asbestos containing materials, and failing to have an Asbestos Management Plan. All of the school districts have since taken necessary actions to comply with the law, with the cost of compliance reducing the penalties in most cases to zero.

“Asbestos in schools has the potential to harm the health of students, teachers, and maintenance workers,” said Jared Blumenfeld, EPA’s Regional Administrator for the Pacific Southwest. “EPA takes these violations seriously, and we are satisfied the schools have now conducted inspections and put their asbestos plans in place.”

Each school district is allowed to subtract properly documented costs of complying with the regulations from the penalty amount. The six school districts are:
· Apache Junction Unified School District (Pinal County): fined $21,675, but this was reduced to $7,933 because of the school district’s cost of achieving compliance.
· St. John’s Unified School District (Apache County): fined $14,195, reduced to $824 by the school district’s cost of achieving compliance.
· Florence Unified School District (Pinal County): fined $31,705, but no cash payment was due because the documented costs of compliance exceeded the penalty.
· Vernon Elementary School District (Apache County): fined $2,700, but no cash payment was due because the documented costs of compliance exceeded the penalty.
· McNary Elementary School District (Fort Apache Indian Reservation): fined $14,200, but no cash payment was due because the documented costs of compliance exceeded the penalty.
· Round Valley Unified School District (Apache County): fined $10,100, but no cash payment was due because the documented costs of compliance exceeded the penalty.

Federal law requires schools to conduct an initial inspection using accredited inspectors to determine if asbestos-containing building material is present and develop a management plan to address the asbestos materials found in the school buildings. Schools are also required to appoint a designated person who is trained to oversee asbestos activities and ensure compliance with federal regulations. Finally, schools must conduct periodic surveillance and re-inspections of asbestos-containing building material, properly train the maintenance and custodial staff, and maintain records in the management plan.

Local education agencies must keep an updated copy of the management plan in its administrative office and at the school which must be made available for inspection by parents, teachers, and the general public.

For more information about federal asbestos regulations visit:

Monday, February 25, 2013

China to Impose Limits on Six Industries to Tackle Air Pollution

According to Bloomberg news, China is set to impose industrial emission limits on six industries in an effort to address the country's growing pollution crisis.

Starting March 1st the government is "strictly imposing" limits to improve air quality in 47 cities. New and existing plants including chemical, steel, oil, cement, metal, and thermal power facilities will all be forced to curb emissions.

China is home to 16 of the world's top 20 most polluted cities and has been under the glare of the world media when in early 2013 Beijing broke all records for dangerous air quality.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Occupational exposure to magnetic fields increases risk of Alzheimer's? Maybe, but research still unclear.

Occupational exposure to magnetic fields (MF) may be associated with "moderately increased risk" of certain neurodegenerative diseases -- including Alzheimer's and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, reports the February Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, official publication of the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine (ACOEM).

But the findings are limited by variable evidence and conflicting results, according to the report by Ximena Vergara, PhD, of the Electric Power Research Institute, Palo Alto, Calif., and colleagues.

The researchers analyzed past studies on the association between MF exposure and the risk of neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's and motor neuron disease (MND), including amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. Magnetic field exposure is common among workers in electrical occupations.

The results suggested significant but weak associations between measures of MF exposure and the risk of Alzheimer's disease and MND. Other neurodegenerative diseases -- including Parkinson's disease and multiple sclerosis -- were unrelated to MF exposure.

There were some notable inconsistencies regarding the link between MF exposure and neurodegenerative diseases. Associations for MND were stronger in studies based solely on job titles, and for Alzheimer's disease in studies using estimated MF exposure.

Few studies included direct measurement of MF exposure or data on other potentially relevant job exposures, such as electrical shocks. There was also evidence of possible "publication bias," with studies reporting finding no link between MF and Alzheimer's disease being less likely to be published.

Because of the weaknesses in the evidence, no "reliable inferences" can be drawn about the effects of occupational MF exposure, according to Dr Vergara and coauthors. They write, "In light of these problems we believe that conclusions about the relations of occupational MF exposure to neurologic disease will require improvement in exposure assessment, disease classification, [and] more complete reporting of results."


Thursday, February 21, 2013

OSHA reminds employers to protect workers from dangers of carbon monoxide exposure
The  Occupational Safety and Health Administration is reminding employers to take necessary precautions to protect workers from the serious, and sometimes fatal, effects of carbon monoxide exposure.

Recently, a worker in a New England warehouse was found unconscious and seizing, suffering from carbon monoxide poisoning. Several other workers at the site also became sick. All of the windows and doors were closed to conserve heat, there was no exhaust ventilation in the facility, and very high levels of carbon monoxide were measured at the site.

Every year, workers die from carbon monoxide poisoning, usually while using fuel-burning equipment and tools in buildings or semi-enclosed spaces without adequate ventilation. This can be especially true during the winter months when employees use this type of equipment in indoor spaces that have been sealed tightly to block out cold temperatures and wind. Symptoms of carbon monoxide exposure can include everything from headaches, dizziness and drowsiness to nausea, vomiting or tightness across the chest. Severe carbon monoxide poisoning can cause neurological damage, coma and death.

Sources of carbon monoxide can include anything that uses combustion to operate, such as gas generators, power tools, compressors, pumps, welding equipment, space heaters and furnaces.

To reduce the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning in the workplace, employers should install an effective ventilation system, avoid the use of fuel-burning equipment in enclosed or partially-enclosed spaces, use carbon monoxide detectors in areas where the hazard is a concern and take other precautions outlined in OSHA's Carbon Monoxide Fact Sheet. For additional information on carbon monoxide poisoning and preventing exposure in the workplace, see OSHA's Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Quick Cards (in English and Spanish).

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA's role is to ensure these conditions for America's working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance. For more information, visit

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

OSHA/NIOSH Alert: Methylene Chloride Hazards for Bathtub Refinishers

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH)-supported Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation (FACE) Program have identified at least 14 worker deaths since 2000 related to bathtub refinishing with stripping agents containing methylene chloride.

Methylene chloride, a chlorinated solvent, is a volatile, colorless liquid with a sweet-smelling odor. Exposure occurs via inhalation or skin contact.

Read the hazard alert here.

For affordable and reliable job site chemical and odor solutions contact an Electrocorp air quality expert at 1-866-667-029.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Firing range employees may be inhaling lead

Photo: Niels Noordhoek
The "smoking gun" for gun range employees may be lead exposure.

Firing ranges should have a well-designed and operating ventilation system, explains Martin Cohen, director of the Field Research and Consultation Group at the University of Washington School of Public Health.

The researchers work with gun ranges to evaluate their ventilation systems and test their employees’ exposure to airborne lead levels which are generated when a gun is fired. The “smoke” in a smoking barrel is what may contain high concentrations of lead.

Cohen says that the methods that the employer and workers use to clean and maintain the range are crucial to protecting the workers from lead exposure. If workers sweep, fine lead dust particles can become airborne and produce a respiratory exposure hazard.

If a workers’ eight-hour average airborne lead levels exceeds the “action level” of 0.03 milligrams per cubic meter, the facility is required to comply with stringent regulations involving respiratory protection, ventilation controls, housekeeping and practices to keep the worker from leaving the facility with lead on their clothes or body.

Friday, February 15, 2013

OSHA cites Dayville, Conn., cosmetics manufacturing plant for chemical and other hazards

The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited U.S. Cosmetics Corp. with 20 alleged serious violations at its manufacturing plant on Louisa Viens Drive in Dayville. The safety and health inspections, which began in October 2012, were conducted under OSHA's Site-Specific Targeting Program that directs enforcement resources to workplaces where the highest rates of injuries and illnesses occur. Proposed fines total $53,561.

"These citations address a cross section of electrical, mechanical, chemical and other hazards that can exist in a manufacturing environment, but which must be addressed systematically and effectively to protect the safety and health of workers at this plant," said Warren Simpson, OSHA's area director in Hartford. "Left uncorrected, they expose employees to the hazards of electrocution, arc blasts, lacerations, falls and being trapped or overcome in confined spaces."

OSHA's Hartford Area Office inspection found that the employer failed to develop and implement an electrical safety-related work practices program for employees performing live electrical diagnostic work and supply personal protective equipment to employees performing live trouble-shooting, or who verified that electrical equipment was properly de-energized. Additionally, maintenance personnel had not been trained regarding safe electrical work practices and personal protective equipment.

OSHA also identified deficiencies in the plant's program regulating employees' entry into confined spaces to perform work. These included entry permits that did not address entry procedures, safeguards and hazards, not locking out hazardous power sources before entry and no rescue service or retrieval equipment to remove employees during an emergency in a confined space. The inspection found instances of unguarded machinery; fall and tripping hazards; unlabeled containers of hazardous chemicals; ungrounded containers used to dispense flammable liquids; lack of quick drenching facilities for employees working with caustic chemicals; and ungrounded electrical equipment, damaged power cords and other electrical hazards. A serious violation occurs when there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

OSHA cites Kingston, NY, manufacturer for 23 serious safety violations, proposes $123,000 in fines for Hunter Panels LLC

The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Hunter Panels LLC with 23 alleged serious safety violations at its Kingston, N.Y., production plant. The manufacturer of roof insulation panels faces a total of $123,000 in fines following an inspection that began in July 2012 by OSHA's Albany Area Office.

OSHA found several deficiencies in the plant's process safety management program, a detailed set of requirements and procedures employers must follow to address proactively hazards associated with processes and equipment involving large amounts of hazardous chemicals. In this case, the chemical was n-pentane, an organic compound used in the manufacturing process. The cited deficiencies included missing process safety information, failing to develop and implement safe work practices, correct equipment deficiencies, follow up on the findings of compliance audits, address all hazards identified during a process hazard analysis, and document the resolution of corrective actions. A serious violation occurs when there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.

"The stringent and comprehensive requirements of OSHA's process safety management standard are designed to prevent catastrophic incidents, such as the uncontrolled release of highly hazardous chemicals," said Kimberly Castillon, OSHA's area director in Albany. "The safety and well-being of employees requires full, effective and proactive adherence to the standard's requirements by the employer."

OSHA's inspection also identified deficiencies in the plant's emergency response, confined space and hazardous energy control programs, lack of personal protective equipment, accumulation of combustible dust, as well as fall and respirator hazards. 

"One method of enhancing workers' safety is for an employer to develop and maintain an effective illness and injury prevention program in which management and employees work together to identify and prevent hazardous conditions," said Robert Kulick, OSHA's regional administrator in New York.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

OSHA fines Grede Wisconsin $274k for exposing workers to dangerous respirable dust

The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Grede Wisconsin Subsidiaries LLC for 28—including three repeat—health violations under the national and regional emphasis program on primary metal industries for exposing workers to crystalline silica dust and other hazards at the Browntown iron foundry following an August 2012 inspection. Proposed penalties total $274,500.

"Grede Wisconsin Subsidiaries is compromising the safety of its workers by allowing previously cited deficiencies to continue," said Kim Stille, OSHA's area director in Madison. "Employers who are cited for repeat violations demonstrate a lack of commitment to workers' well-being. OSHA is committed to protecting workers on the job."

The three repeat violations are for exposing workers to respirable dust containing silica above the recommended exposure level, unguarded conveyor tail pulleys and failing to apply energy isolating devices to equipment during service and maintenance. A repeat violation exists when an employer previously has been cited for the same or a similar violation of a standard, regulation, rule or order at any other facility in federal enforcement states within the last five years. Similar violations were cited in 2010 following an inspection at the company's Berlin plant and in 2009 at the Browntown plant.

A total of 24 serious violations include OSHA's confined space permit regulations; excessive accumulation of sand and dust; unguarded railings; failing to provide adequate personal protective equipment for eyes, hands, and face to protect against metal splash hazards; provide hazardous energy control procedures; provide employees effective information and training on hazardous chemicals in their work area; and provide employee representatives with access to exposure records within a reasonable time frame. Several violations were cited regarding respiratory protection, including a lack of medical evaluations, fit testing and training. A serious violation occurs when there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.

One other violation was issued for not allowing OSHA representatives prompt access to employee exposure records. 

OSHA has placed Grede Wisconsin Subsidiaries in its Severe Violator Enforcement Program, which focuses on recalcitrant employers that endanger workers by committing willful, repeat or failure-to-abate violations. Under the program, OSHA may inspect any of the employer's facilities or job sites.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

EPA Makes Public Comprehensive Information on Use of Chemicals in the U.S.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has released the 2012 Chemical Data Reporting (CDR) information on more than 7,600 chemicals in commerce. The CDR database contains comprehensive use and exposure information on the most widely used chemicals in the United States.

Companies are now required to provide information on chemicals used in children’s and other consumer products, along with reports on commercial applications and industrial uses of chemicals. For the first time ever, EPA also required companies to substantiate confidentiality claims in order to ensure that as much information as possible is made available to the public.

“The 2012 Chemical Data Reporting information will help EPA and others better assess chemicals, evaluate potential exposures and use, and expand efforts to encourage the use of safer chemicals,” said EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson. “The CDR data also highlight the clear need for TSCA reform. Updating this critical law will ensure that EPA has access to the tools and resources it needs to quickly and effectively assess potentially harmful chemicals, and safeguard the health of families across the country.”

The CDR rule, the source of this new data, was issued under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). The rule requires companies that manufacture or import chemicals to report manufacturing and import data every four years when site-specific production volume exceeds 25,000 lb. This report is for calendar year 2011. The EPA received reports on 7,674 chemicals, including 354 that were reported as used in children’s products. 1,704 chemicals were reported as used in consumer products and 3,073 were used in commercial applications or products. The remaining chemicals reported were for industrial use only. The CDR information includes data on chemicals that are used in children’s products such as toys, playground and sporting equipment, arts and crafts materials, and textiles and furniture.

Chemicals used in consumer products, particularly those intended for children, present potential for direct exposure to the public and are priorities for assessment by the agency. Although reporting on these chemicals is compulsory, currently there are no requirements under TSCA that existing chemicals be evaluated for safety.

Yet EPA has taken action and begun a process to ensure that chemicals used by the public on a daily basis are safe. The process identifies potential chemicals for near-term review and risk assessment under TSCA. In 2012, EPA released a work plan of 83 chemicals for further review as part of the agency’s existing chemicals management program. From that list, seven chemicals were identified for risk assessment development in 2012 and 18 for assessment in 2013 and 2014. In January, 2013, EPA released for public comment and peer review an initial set of draft risk assessments of five chemicals for particular uses found in common household products
The 2012 CDR information released today is available at Users can download or search the database. In addition, users can tailor the search results to view information on specific uses of chemicals, such as those used in products intended for use with children.

Read more about the CDR data, including fact sheets, at

Monday, February 11, 2013

UK Police issue asbestos warning to job site thieves

Concerned that this theft may come back to haunt them, police officers in Carlisle, England are issuing a serious warning to the burglars who made off with an industrial vacuum over the weekend. 

That's because the  'NUMATIC'  vacuum taken from a local job site was used to remove asbestos, an insulation material known to be extremely hazardous when inhaled.

The tiny fibers can easily become airborne and cause serious health problems including mesothelioma, a cancer which affects the lining of the lungs and the lining surrounding the lower digestive tract. It's known as a 'silent killer" as the disease takes years to develop, but once it's diagnosed, it is almost always fatal.

Source: Carlisle Police

Friday, February 8, 2013

VIDEO: 'Stop Silicosis': Workplace Safety In 1938

They were worried about it in 1938 and today, nearly 2 million American workers are exposed to workplace silica dust. Legislation to cut the legal exposure limits are still in limbo. OSHA sent a proposal for new silica rules to the White House Office of Management and Budget, but almost two years later, it's still under review....

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Silicosis suit could crush S.Africa’s gold mining sector

Source: Agence France-Presse

Thousands of ex-gold miners suffering from silicosis have launched a class action suit in South Africa, in what could prove the final nail in the coffin of the country’s battered but vital mining sector.

Already buckling under huge operational costs and seemingly endless labour unrest, some 30 gold mine operators were last month slapped with litigation by thousands of their former employees.

The plaintiffs - mostly black migrant labourers from nearby countries and South Africa’s far flung mountainous villages of the Eastern Cape region - allegedly contracted the lung disease while drilling gold bearing rocks.

Already theirs is the biggest class action in South Africa’s legal history, involving more than 17,000 complainants.

And the list is growing by around 500 people each month, according to lead attorney Richard Spoor.

That stream could very well become a torrent.

Academic calculations estimate some 280,000 people have worked in gold mines for a minimum of 10 years, long enough to inhale dangerous levels of silica dust.

When exposed for long to excessive amounts, the dust gets locked in the lungs and permanently scars the organ, resulting in silicosis, a disease that has no known cure.

Symptoms include shortness of breath, chest pains and persistent cough. Sufferers are more susceptible to other lung diseases like tuberculosis.

Read More

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Gulfshore clean-up worker claims benzene exposure

Source: The Louisiana Record

A captain of a vessel assigned to clean-up the oil spill in the Gulf has filed a lawsuit claiming she was subjected to a hostile work environment and exposed to benzene.

E. Darlene Morgan-Hudson filed suit against Cal Dive International Inc. in federal court of New Orleans.

Morgan-Hudson was working for the defendants from December 2009 through July 24, 2011 as a master of various vessels. She claims she was subjected to a hostile and unsafe work environment while being “battered, harassed, intimidated, and threatened.”

The plaintiff claims she was called offensive names by co-workers, received reports that crew members would not work with her because of her gender, was isolated and ostracized at safety meetings because of her gender, was advised that she was inadequate and incapable of performing her duties as master because of her gender and was physically and psychologically battered by a co-employee.

In addition to the hostile work environment, in April 2010, Morgan-Hudson claims that she was required to captain the M/V American Fox into the oilfield and spread dispersants without the proper safety equipment for protection from benzene exposure. In June 2011, she became sick as a result of the harassment and exposure to the dispersants.

Morgan-Hudson claims she has been deemed medically “unfit” for return to offshore work as a Master in the Maritime.

The defendant is accused of negligence for failing to appropriately address, investigate and correct or act upon repeated complaints of sexual harassment and battery, negligence for failing to establish anti-sexual harassment protocol and for the negligence and unseaworthiness of the vessel.

The plaintiff is seeking an award of damages for loss of earning capacity, physical pain and mental anguish, medical expenses, interest, and court costs.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Chronic diseases caused by chemical exposures in great-grandmothers

Scientists from Washington State University showed that a chemical mixture of different plastic-related compounds can cause health effects in rats, three generations after the actual chemical exposure occurred.

The article published in the peer-reviewed scientific online journal PLOS1 demonstrated that chemical exposure during pregnancy could lead to changes in the testis, prostate, kidney, ovaries and fat storage of affected animals. In addition, in the third generation after the exposure occurred, animals had a higher incidence of obesity and other effects, including changes to the testis and ovarian disease.

These effects are hypothesized to be caused by the chemical exposure to the pregnant great-grandmother, and passed on to subsequent generations by changes on the DNA, so called epigenetic effects.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Bosses must stick to consequences to stop employees from wasting time online, researcher finds

Are your employees watching cat videos, shopping online and updating their Facebook statuses?

A Kansas State University researcher studied cyberloafing -- wasting time at work on the Internet -- and the effects of Internet use policies and punishment on reducing cyberloafing.

Joseph Ugrin, assistant professor of accounting at Kansas State University, and John Pearson, associate professor of management at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, found that company policies are not enough to stop workers from wasting time at work and that sanctions with policies must be consistently enforced for policies to be effective.

The study will be published in the journal Computers in Human Behavior.

Cyberloafing results in lost productivity and could put companies in legal trouble when workers conduct illegal activity or unacceptable behavior like viewing pornography on work computers. Between 60 and 80 percent of people's time on the Internet at work has nothing to do with work.

Although organizations benefit from positive aspects of the Internet like improved communication, some have trouble addressing cyberloafing, Ugrin said. Companies spend time, money and effort trying to monitor computer usage, detect what employees are doing online and write policies for employees on acceptable Internet behavior.

The researchers, who surveyed office workers and university students, found that both older and younger workers find ways to waste time on the Internet -- but in different ways.

"Older people are doing things like managing their finances, while young people found it much more acceptable to spend time on social networking sites like Facebook," said Ugrin, who studies behavioral and ethical issues related to accounting and information systems.

Threats of termination and detection mechanisms are effective deterrents against activities such as viewing pornography, managing personal finances and personal shopping, according to the study. However, that may not be enough.

Policies must be enforced to discourage activities like excessive personal emailing and social networking.

"We found that that for young people, it was hard to get them to think that social networking was unacceptable behavior," Ugrin said. "Just having a policy in place did not change their attitudes or behavior at all. Even when they knew they were being monitored, they still did not care."

Researchers discovered that the only way to change people's attitudes is to provide them with information about other employees who were reprimanded.

But that strategy can have negative consequences in the workplace and can lower morale, Ugrin said.

"People will feel like Big Brother is watching them, so companies need to be careful when taking those types of action," he said.

The study allows questions for further study, Ugrin said.

"We don't want to make everyone at work upset because the corporate office is watching over their employees' shoulders," he said, "but what if workers are wasting all of their time online? Where's the balance?"
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Friday, February 1, 2013

Air cleaners for wide format solvent printers

That distinctive print shop smell was once considered just a part of the job, but the pervasive odors associated with wide format solvent printers are now known to cause serious health issues.

Electrocorp's air cleaners for wide format solvent printers and other industrial printing applications prevent the toxic build up of printing solvents and other pollutants, by adsorbing harmful volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and trapping paper and toner dust.

Our air purifiers are compatible with wide format solvent printers manufactured by*:
Hewlet Packard ®, EFI - Vutek ®, Mutoh ®, Mimaki ®, Roland ®, DGI ®, Seiko ®, and numerous other brands.

Electrocorp's air purifiers for wide format solvent printers and other industrial printing applications remove airborne chemical fumes and gases, as well as capture paper dust, toner dust and printing odors from:
  • Alcohols
  • Inks
  • Dyes
  • Cleaners
  • Ammonia
  • Lead
  • Paper dust
  • Solvents
  • Formaldehyde
*Note that these registered trademarks are the property of their respective owners.