Wednesday, January 23, 2013
According to www.OSHA.gov, the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSH Act) was passed to prevent workers from being killed or seriously harmed at work. The law requires employers to provide their employees with working conditions that are free of known dangers. The Act created the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), which sets and enforces protective workplace safety and health standards. OSHA also provides information, training and assistance to workers and employers. Workers may file a complaint to have OSHA inspect their workplace if they believe that their employer is not following OSHA standards or that there are serious hazards.
Who OSHA Covers:
1.) Private Sector Workers -- Most employees in the nation come under OSHA's jurisdiction. OSHA covers private sector employers and employees in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and other U.S. jurisdictions either directly through Federal OSHA or through an OSHA approved state program. State-run health and safety programs must be at least as effective as the Federal OSHA program.
2.) State and Local Government Workers -- Employees who work for state and local governments are not covered by Federal OSHA, but have OSH Act protections if they work in a state that has an OSHA-approved state program. Four additional states and one U.S. territory have OSHA approved plans that cover public sector employees only. This includes: Connecticut, Illinois, New Jersey, New York, and the Virgin Islands. Private sector workers in these four states and the Virgin Islands are covered by Federal OSHA.
3.) Federal Government Workers -- Federal agencies must have a safety and health program that meet the same standards as private employers. Although OSHA does not fine federal agencies, it does monitor federal agencies and responds to workers' complaints. The United States Postal Service (USPS) is covered by OSHA.
Not covered by the OSH Act:
--Immediate family members of farm employers that do not employ outside employees; and
--Workplace Hazards regulated by another Federal agency (for example, the Mine Safety and Health Administration, the Federal Aviation Administration, the Coast Guard).
Also, according to www.OSHA.gov, employers have the responsibility to provide a safe workplace. Employers MUST provide their employees with a workplace that does not have serious hazards and follow all relevant OSHA safety and health standards. Employers must find and correct safety and health problems. OSHA further requires employers to try to eliminate or reduce hazards first by making changes in working conditions rather than just relying on masks, gloves, ear plugs or other types of personal protective equipment (PPE). Switching to safer chemicals, enclosing processes to trap harmful fumes, or using ventilation systems to clean the air are examples of effective ways to get rid of or minimize risks.
Employers MUST also:
--Inform employees about hazards through training, labels, alarms, color-coded systems, chemical information sheets, and other methods.
--Keep accurate records of work-related injuries and illnesses.
--Perform tests in the workplace, such as air sampling required by some OSHA standards.
--Provide hearing exams or other medical tests required by OSHA standards.
--Post OSHA citations, injury and illness data, and the OSHA poster in the workplace where workers will see them.
--Notify OSHA within 8 hours of a workplace incident in which there is a death or when three or more workers go to a hospital.
--Not discriminate or retaliate against a worker for using their rights under the law.
Much more detailed information can be found at this website: www.osha.gov .
A safety program is a set of policies and work practices specifically designed by your company for your company. It addresses not only the OSHA regulations and ways to reduce the exposure to hazards in your work areas, but also organizes a performance driven framework for continued focus and improvement on safety, according to www.AllAboutOSHA.com.
When you think about the term “safety program”, you probably think about the OSHA regulations and procedures for handling fire extinguishers or ladders, for example. This is only partly true. A safety program is more than canned procedures on how to comply with OSHA regulations. An effective safety program is designed around the work processes or tasks normally assigned to employees and integrates safety and health related decisions and precautions into them. A significant amount of information about this solution can be found at this site: http://www.allaboutosha.com/safety-programs .
There are online courses for OSHA training and certification. One of the better websites is www.OSHA.com, and is not affiliated with any government agency. With on-demand training courses designed by authoritative experts, OSHA.com delivers immediate and cost-effective educational solutions that improve your safety, compliance and risk management initiatives.
Another web portal for OSHA training can be found at www.osha-pros.com . For two decades, OSHA-Pros USA has become synonymous with quality OSHA training and risk avoidance. Founded by Certified Safety Professionals, OSHA-Pros USA provides both online and group onsite courses, including the OSHA 10 Hour Construction Training, OSHA 30 Hour Construction Training, OSHA 10 Hour General Industry Training and the OSHA 30 Hour General Industry Training. All courses are accepted by OSHA in all 50 states and result in the Department of Labor Wallet Card. Established in 1971, OSHA’s Outreach Training program teaches workers about their rights, employer responsibilities, and how to file a complaint as well as how to identify, abate, avoid and prevent job related hazards.
Workplace safety and health is a very important issue, and the OSHA programs at both the federal and state levels mandate how employers must comply. If you feel that you need more help, the resources listed in this material can assist you in getting up to speed, and help you stay out of trouble. Organizations are subject to heavy fines if violations are reported and verified. Be careful to follow OSHA guidelines as an employer; and if you have problems as an employee with workplace safety, and your company is not responsive to your issue, you have adequate resources at your disposal to help with a resolution. Follow the rules, and be vigilant about protecting yourself, your business, and your employees and co-workers.
Until next time.
Wednesday, January 16, 2013
According to The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Division of Healthcare Quality Promotion, more than 70,000 visits to emergency rooms each year are for accidental medication overdoses, some of which are ultimately fatal. Most cases occur when a child accesses prescription medication while a parent or childcare provider is distracted or in another room, though there are incidents involving medication poisoning resulting from inadvertent double or incorrect doses. If your doctor has prescribed medication or recommended an over-the-counter drug for treatment and symptom management, these tips may help you prevent an ill-timed second dose, as found on www.becomeananny.org , and here is the detailed information: http://www.becomeananny.org/blog/preventing-double-dosing-when-children-are-prescribed-medication/ .
As children that are prescribed daily medication for a chronic condition begin to get older and accept responsibility for their own dosage, it’s imperative that parents take the time to explain the importance of scheduling each and every dose properly, as well as the many intricacies of taking a powerful chemical. Instituting a “when in doubt, don’t” policy, which means that your child always opts not to take medication if they aren’t sure about the last dose without speaking to an adult, can help to prevent kids that are eager to grow up from overdosing themselves with their medication, according to www.BecomeaNanny.org.
According to Southwestern Medical Center in Lawton, Oklahoma, every day, people play Russian roulette with their prescription drugs, herbal and over-the-counter or OTC medications and vitamins. Mixing these medications and remedies can result in serious or even fatal health consequences. It is common for doctors to tell (patients) to bring in their medications; most of the time they don’t. Many patients don’t know for sure what they are taking. If they do know the name, then they don’t know the strength or dosage, or they know what the pill looks like but not what it is.
Sometimes people bring in a list, but it is usually an older list without their current medications listed or changes in strength. When patients actually bring them in, very often physicians find that they have two bottles of the same thing or they have two different medications within the same class which results in double dosing. Many people not only have more than one doctor now, they also use more than one pharmacy; so duplicate or overlapping drugs for the same health issue can’t even be caught by the pharmacist. More details can be found at this site: http://www.southwesternmedcenter.com/2012/news/if-you-want-to-avoid-double-dosing-brown-bag-it/ .
With insurance companies mandating the use of generic drugs whenever they're available, it's all too common for patients to get confused and end up with bottles of a brand-name drug and a generic version at the same time without realizing it, according to www.Caring.com. "For example, a common diuretic is Furosemide. The brand name is Lasix. A patient might have a bottle of Furosemide and a bottle of Lasix and not know they're the same thing," says internist Bruce Mann, M.D. "In essence, the patient is taking twice the dose." Since generic drugs don't list the equivalent brand name on the label, you might not spot this unless your brand-name version lists the generic name in the fine print.
How to avoid it: When your doctor prescribes a new medication, make sure you have a chance to go over all the details you might need to know later. Have the doctor write down the name of the drug (brand and generic, if available), what it's for, its dosage, and how often and when to take it. Try to remember both names for future reference. Also, look up the generic names for each of your brand-name prescriptions and vice versa; then line up all of your medicine bottles and see if you have any duplications. The numbers are simply staggering: Every year 1.5 million people are sickened or severely injured by medication mistakes, and 100,000 die. And yet all of those deaths are preventable. Much more info about medication mistakes can be found at this site: http://www.caring.com/articles/medication-mistakes .
Seniors are especially vulnerable to double dosing medications. According to www.CareFamily.com, proper medication management is vitally important for seniors’ daily care, over-all health and well-being. According to the Federal Drug Administration, medication misuse often causes falls, moodiness, loss of appetite and weakness. Seniors should take their medicine in the exact amount and at the time when their doctor prescribes. Some seniors, if they miss a day’s dose, will double-dose the next day. Others may take a medication in the evening that should be taken in the morning. Another common thing seniors may do is cut pills in half to extend the quantity, in an effort to save money. Consider using a medication planner or pill case to organize the medications in a daily format, or even chart them on paper or a calendar. More advanced medication dispensing equipment is also available. More information about tips on taking medication can be found at this site: https://www.carefamily.com/Articles/health-medicine/managing-your-medications/ .
Seniors having trouble understanding or remembering or whose health is declining are particularly vulnerable to medication errors, according to www.MedicineOnline.com. Research shows the average senior takes four prescription medications daily and fills 18 a year. Of course, people with multiple chronic conditions may take many more medicines each day. And, when you add in any over-the-counter remedies or nutritional supplements that seniors rely on to relieve symptoms or improve their health, it's no wonder they sometimes get confused or have drug interactions that could pose serious health threats. Complicated dosing regimens don't help matters.
People taking the blood thinner Coumadin, for instance, must be constantly monitored to ensure they're getting enough of the drug to keep their blood from clotting but not so much that they experience any unusual bleeding. Physicians may fine-tune the dosing by switching patients, say, from one tablet daily to one tablet four days a week and one-and-a-half tablets three days a week. Plus, there's also the risk that patients being treated by more than one physician will be prescribed a double dose of the same active ingredient or two drugs that interact negatively with one another. More details can be found at this website: http://www.medicineonline.com/news/10/97/Help-Seniors-Sidestep-Medication-Mishaps.html .
The probability of double dosing is common, and the best options to avoid it can be found with the sources quoted in this article. The most important aspect of taking medications is to follow the directions, and talk with your doctor about any and all medications you take regardless of type, including vitamins, supplements, and all prescriptions. Prevent tragic consequences by paying attention to what you are doing, and also have someone you can trust to help you if you experience difficulty with your medications. Be safe, not sorry.
Until next time.
Wednesday, January 9, 2013
According to the Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF), states have the option of operating their own exchange or partnering with the federal government to run an exchange. States choosing neither option will default to a federally-facilitated exchange. All exchanges, regardless of how they are administered, must be ready to begin enrolling consumers into coverage on October 1, 2013 and must be fully operational on January 1, 2014. While many states have already announced their intentions, several remain undecided as to which exchange approach they will take.
The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) recently extended the deadlines for states to make their decisions, giving states until December 14, 2012 to decide whether to run a state-based exchange, and until February 15, 2013, to opt for a partnership exchange. Even with the additional time for decision making, states opting for a state-based or partnership exchange will face challenges to making the necessary policy and implementation decisions, according to the KFF. Much more detail can be found at this site: http://www.kff.org/healthreform/upload/8213-2-2.pdf .
You can also go to the Kaiser Foundation site that talks specifically about the state exchanges. Go in-depth and learn more about each state’s progress in setting up exchanges including the legislative process and the next steps: http://healthreform.kff.org/state-exchange-profiles-page.aspx . Additionally, state by state analysis can be found at this Kaiser hosted site: http://www.statehealthfacts.org/comparemaptable.jsp?ind=962&cat=17 .
According to USA Today, the federal government conditionally approved eight additional states to run health exchanges on January 4, 2013, bringing the total to 20 states that will have the programs that were authorized by the 2010 federal health care law. The newly approved states that will run their own exchanges are California, Hawaii, Idaho, Nevada, New Mexico, Vermont and Utah. Arkansas will partner with the federal government for its exchange. Although states with Republican governors have fought the law, such as Texas, four of them -- Idaho, Nevada, New Mexico and Utah -- have created the exchanges.
The conditional approvals follow those issued previously granted to Colorado, Connecticut, the District of Columbia, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Maryland, Minnesota, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island and Washington to operate State-based Exchanges and to Delaware to operate a State Partnership Exchange, according to the US Department of Health & Human Services (HHS). To date, 20 states including DC have been conditionally approved to partially or fully run their marketplaces – with the remaining states having until February 15, 2013 to apply for a State Partnership Exchange. More details can be found at this site: http://www.hhs.gov/news/press/2013pres/01/20130103a.html .
Because the law known informally as “Obamacare” is politically controversial, many Republican governors and legislatures have declined to prepare for the exchanges, which go live in 2014, according to Government Executive magazine online. Conditional approval, said Gary Cohen, director of HHS’ Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight, means the state’s plan is “neither approved nor denied” while the department continues overseeing each state’s ongoing activities in managing the marketplaces and helping consumers. Individuals, families and businesses who seek insurance under the law may be eligible for tax credits. “There will be future opportunities to become a state-based exchange,” Cohen added, describing an annual process that means states could apply by this November to stand up an exchange by 2015. States that opt for the hybrid approach could pursue full exchanges later on, the guidance says, according to this site: http://www.govexec.com/management/2013/01/hhs-ushers-eight-more-states-health-exchanges/60456/ .
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, HHS also on January 4, 2013, issued new guidance to states on marketplaces that will be operated in partnership with the federal government. This guidance outlines the various options that states have to provide input and guidance, and take ownership over significant components of the operation of a FFE. The State Partnership Exchange (SPE) options provide states with a high level of participation in plan management and consumer assistance/ outreach either on a permanent basis or as they work toward a goal of running a State-based Exchange. With an SPE, states can continue to serve as the primary point of contact for issuers and consumers, and will work with HHS to establish an exchange.
The guidance outlines state functions, activities, and responsibilities for a "State Plan Management Partnership Exchange," and the "State Consumer Partnership Exchange." To operate an SPE in 2014 a state must complete the relevant portions of the Exchange Blueprint and be approved or conditionally approved by HHS for the functions and activities the state will perform. States may receive funding for the start-up year expenses for activities related to establishing an SPE. After grant funding set aside in the Affordable Care Act (ACA) for this purpose has been depleted, HHS anticipates that continued funding under a different funding vehicle will be available to support these activities. The new guidance also describes how HHS plans to integrate traditional state regulatory functions and activities into FFE operations in the absence of a partnership. More details can be found at this site: http://www.ncsl.org/issues-research/health/american-health-benefit-exchanges.aspx .
Regardless of your opinion about Obamacare, Health Exchanges, or insurance in general, the cost and complexity of finding affordable quality health care coverage is definitely increasing this year and into 2014. You’ll need very expert guidance to help navigate your way through whatever choices are in your state. Now is the time to start researching what you plan to do starting in 2014. Individuals and companies face challenges for finding the best coverage at the best price. Do your homework early, and avoid the year end rush. It’s going to be crunch time the closer you get to next year, and you’ll need to know your options before the end of this year.
Until next time.
Friday, January 4, 2013
Muscle is mainly made up of protein, according to Hella Wella’s report by Dr. John Cuomo, Executive Director of research and development at USANA Health Sciences. Therefore, protein metabolism (breaking protein down into amino acids and combining those amino acids into new proteins) is critical for muscle building. Collagen is also made of protein and is the connective tissue in muscle that anchors muscles to bone. In addition, muscle function is dependent on energy production. The energy used by all cells is called ATP. Glucose (carbohydrate) is a key fuel for ATP production. Bodies uses glucose as the main fuel to produce energy in all cells, including muscle cells. Are you getting all of your vitamins? Here are five vitamins you need to build up muscle strength:
1. Vitamin D--Vitamin D plays a very important role in immune and muscle function. There are numerous studies showing that vitamin D is essential for overall immune system function. Studies have shown that proper vitamin D levels in the body are associated with muscle strength and performance.
USANA research shows that to have an optimal range of vitamin D in the body, most people need to take 4000 to 6000 IU supplemental vitamin D every day. USANA’s Vitamin D supplement has 2000 IU of vitamin D per tablet. Keep in mind that vitamin D is also required for the uptake and utilization of calcium and phosphorous — and both of these minerals are required for muscular contraction and function as well as bone growth and strength. Phosphorous is also required for ATP production and energy metabolism.
2. Omega-3 fats--Fish Oil or the omega-3 fats in fish oil may decrease muscle protein breakdown. This may be through improvements in insulin sensitivity, and insulin resistance is associated with muscle breakdown. There is also a new study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition showing that fish oil helps enhance the effect of strength training in elderly women. Fish oil is most commonly obtained through supplements and food, such as a variety of fish.
3. Vitamin C--Vitamin C is important for our muscles, and we need it to function properly. Vitamin C is required for collagen and elastin synthesis, and it is also an important supplement to take daily because it’s responsible for the health of the blood vessels, which support the muscles’ needs for oxygen and nutrients. Good sources of vitamin C include broccoli, tomatoes, strawberries, and grapefruit.
4. Vitamin E--Vitamin E is a very important antioxidant that helps cell membrane recovery from oxidative stress. Cell membrane reliability is essential for cellular function and growth. To add vitamin E into your diet, try almonds, spinach, carrots, and avocados. Many different oils are also good sources of vitamin E, such as olive oil, corn oil, canola oil, and sunflower oil.
5. B vitamins--An array of B vitamins are essential to muscle strength and tone:
• B1 (thiamin) is important for protein metabolism and the formation of hemoglobin. Hemoglobin carries oxygen to cells, including muscle cells, and without oxygen energy, production is compromised. B1 nutrients can be found in cereal, bread, meat, rice, and nuts.
• B2 (riboflavin) is involved in energy metabolism, glucose metabolism, the oxidation of fatty acids, with some effects on protein metabolism. B2 nutrients can be found in cheese, eggs, milk, and peas. B3 (niacin) is essential for energy production.
• B3 nutrients can be found in milk, eggs, fish, legumes, and potatoes.
• B6 (pyridoxine) is important for protein metabolism, growth, and carbohydrate utilization. B6 nutrients can be found in soybeans, butter, brown rice, and fish.
• B12 (cyanocobalamin) is important for the maintenance of nerve tissue and is essential for the metabolism of fats and carbohydrates, energy metabolism, and cell regeneration. B12 nutrients can be found in milk, poultry, eggs, meat, and liver.
• B7 (biotin) is important for amino acid metabolism, and amino acids are the building blocks of protein. Good sources of B7 include mushrooms, egg yolk, beef liver, and brewer’s yeast.
But building muscle tone still requires work. According to CoachCalorie.com, building muscle is not as easy as most people think. It takes hard work, planning, and an awareness of what stimulates muscle growth. The following 10 muscle building tips will help you take your fitness program to the next level, found at this website: http://www.coachcalorie.com/muscle-building-tips-increase-muscle-tone/ .
According to the media partner of Lance Armstrong Foundation, found at www.LiveStrong.com , here are 5 tips for building muscle tone:
1. Watch Your Diet--Diet plays an integral role in building good muscle tone. High protein diets help your body to build muscle definition. Vitamin rich diets, popularized by many fitness buffs, help the body burn fat and increase lean muscle mass. Watching your calorie intake is important, but it should be relative to your size, body type and workout regimen. Average caloric intake is often not right for everyone, so ask your nutritionist or doctor how many calories you should consume each day.
2. Drink Water to Stay Hydrated--Muscles need the purification properties of water in order to regenerate, so keep them lubricated with at least 40 ounces of water a day. If you're training to increase muscle tone, your body will be begging for more water. Drinking water during your workout also keeps the body hydrated and allows the muscles to stay pliable and healthy while you are exercising. Continual fluid intakes keeps the body flushed of toxins and impurities.
3. Rest Your Body--Working out every day is not good for your body and will lead to muscle fatigue, which will eventually impede muscle growth and definition. Interspersing your workout with days of rest is important to keep the body rejuvenated and properly functioning. In a typical regimen, you might work your upper body on Mondays and Thursdays and your lower body on Tuesdays and Fridays, with days off on Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday. You can do cardio, such as running or swimming, four or five days a week. Variations in your daily routine also keep the body guessing. Muscles build with a variety of exercises. Toning happens when the muscles are continually challenged by different activities, so changing your workout routine will do wonders to build muscle tone.
4. To Lift or Not to Lift--It is all the rage to hear phrases like "use high reps and low weights," or "do cardio, cardio and more cardio" from experts advising you on how to build muscle tone. However, building muscle tone is particular to each person and a workout routine should ideally fit the individual. Some bodies respond well to high rep/low weight workouts while others do not. The goal of weight training is to build muscle definition by performing your exercises properly. Find a trainer or workout partner to help you maintain good form during your exercises; it will do much more for your definition than simply doing many repetitions of an exercise improperly.
5. Other Cardio Options--Aerobic exercise is vital to weight loss and burns fat to reveal the body's natural muscle tone. However, you don't have to run until exhaustion to define your body. Sports like cycling, badminton, basketball, dance or yoga are excellent ways to get a cardiovascular workout. Finding an aerobic activity that fits your personality and interests will do more for you than simply running on a treadmill for 30 minutes a day. According to several research studies, you will burn more calories and fat doing cardio activities you enjoy as opposed to activities you find boring and tedious.
Read more: http://www.livestrong.com/article/9751-need-building-muscle-tone/#ixzz2H13u1wwS .
Don’t be a New Year floozie. Make the commitment to get healthier this year, and stick with it. You’ll be glad you did. And, you’ll look and feel better, with improved health and muscle tone.
Until next time.