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What's Trending
(Source: Tech Crunch, Jan 2019)
Amazon built an electronic vest to improve worker/robot interactions

Over the course of the last year, Amazon began rolling out a new worker safety wearable to over 25 sites. The Robotic Tech Vest was designed by The Amazon Robotics and was created to keep workers safe when they need to be in close contact with robotic systems or retrieve fallen items. Built-in sensors in the vest alert robotic systems of the wearer’s presence to avoid collision.

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Relevance: As robot and human collaborations become increasingly common, employers can take proactive steps to prevent accidents. While collaborative robots usually operate within a safety limit in a shared workspace with human workers, robot accidents do occur especially during non-routine operations such as maintenance. Such a device allow safe interaction between that human workers and their robotic counterparts.

WT2 (Source: AIG, Dec 2018)
9 reasons to pilot ergonomic sensors to protect workers from injuries help improve worker safety

Recently, AIG published the report “9 reasons you should consider piloting wearable now to help improve worker safety” on the use of ergonomic sensors to help prevent soft tissue injuries in workers. Data collected from the wearables could identify processes resulting in poor ergonomics.  This would help employers identify at-risk workers and and have timely interventions.

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Relevance: Ergonomic sensors can potentially help employers manage workplace safety better. Wearables can help to identify high risk workers and activities for employers to better allocate resources for safety-related training or process changes. Wearing a device can also motivate workers to correct poor postures and movements. Data from wearables can be used to understand the behaviours of safe and injury-free workers from whom others can learn.
Books from the WSH Institute Collection*
Workplace Well-being: How to Build Psychologically Healthy Workplaces

Arla Day and E. Kevin Kelloway

Psychosocial health

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The Ways to New: 15 Paths to Disruptive Innovation

Jean-Marie Dru

New ways of work

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Click here to access WSH Institute's e-books collection.

* The WSH Institute Collection is a compilation of WSH-related resources accessible to the public through our collaboration with the National Library Board (NLB).

OWL Highlights
Fostering safety communication among construction workers: Role of safety climate and crew-level cohesion

Effective safety communication plays an important role in reducing the risks of workplace safety incidents. Evidence from previous research had shown that poor safety communication is a common problem in the construction industry. 

This study examined the role of safety climate and crew-level cohesion on safety communication levels. It obtained data from 57 construction workplaces in the United States. The findings revealed that a more positive safety climate fosters higher levels of safety communication; crew-level cohesion can foster safety communication; and synergy between safety climate and the crew-level cohesion will foster even higher levels of safety communication amongst workers. 

These findings suggested that 

  1. employers, contractors and supervisors must give attention to cultivating a positive safety climate to promote effective safety communication;
  2. employers need to invest in efforts to promote cohesion amongst the workers, which can contribute to improving safety communication; and
  3. synergistic effect exists between safety climate and crew cohesion for better safety communication.

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Theme: Safety Communications
Date of Publication: December 2018
Source: International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health

Occupational noise exposure is associated with hypertension in China: Results from project ELEFANT

This study explored the effect of occupational noise exposure and the risk of developing hypertension in young adults. 

A total of 118,143 participants, aged between 18 and 40 years old were recruited through the Environmental and Lifestyle Factors in Metabolic Health Throughout Lifecourse Trajectories (ELEFANT) project, a population study based in Tianjin, China. Participants’ systolic blood pressure (SBP) and diastolic blood pressure (DBP) were measured.  

Amongst the participants, 3,016 were exposed to high levels of occupational noise.  The relationship between noise exposure and blood pressure as continuous variables was investigated using multivariate regression analysis.

The results indicated that participants with high occupational noise exposure were positively associated with higher blood pressure levels. Additionally, men and individuals with higher BMI who were exposed to high levels of occupational noise were found to have higher risk for hypertension. 

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Theme: Occupational Disease
Date of Publication: December 2018
Source: PLoS ONE

The future of workplace health

Majority of Singaporeans between the ages of 25 to 64 are employed. Hence, the workplace plays a key role in influencing healthy behaviours and improving health outcomes amongst Singaporeans. This report explored the trends and key issues in workplace health and provided evidence-based recommendations and a framework for interventions. 

Four trends that were identified to have an impact on workplaces in Singapore included: 

  1. an ageing population;
  2. high levels of chronic diseases;
  3. increased awareness of mental health; and
  4. more people working outside traditional employment.

These trends, together with risk factors such as an increasing obesity amongst workers and high number of smokers, highlighted the increasing importance of an integrated approach to workplace health management. The recommended framework presented eight categories of workplace health interventions that employers could implement such as nutrition, workplace infrastructure and health screening.

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Theme: Total Workplace Safety and Health
Date of Publication: 2018
Source: PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC)

Awareness into action: A holistic approach to cultivating mentally healthy workplaces in Australia

Mental ill-health significantly impacts both employers and employees. In Australia, there has been a rise of mental ill-health in the workplace. However, there is an enduring stigma associated with it. According to this study, majority of full-time working Australians were uncomfortable about discussing or disclosing a mental health condition to a manager and would rather take a sick day and attribute it to a fictitious illness. 90% employees were fearful of talking about mental illness due to stigma; 78% were afraid of losing their job; and 84% were concerned that mental health issues would not be taken as seriously as physical illnesses. This report recommended that employers adopt a holistic approach to address mental ill-health in the modern workplace. 

The five key action areas were: 

  1. promoting mental health benefits of physical activity and good general health;
  2. fostering mental health awareness through training and encouraging transparent dialogue;
  3. creating positive organisational design that directly influences employee motivation and happiness;
  4. nurturing a positive workplace culture that is transparent and inclusive; and
  5. developing partnerships and alliances between government, insurers, mental health professionals and other entities to improve communication, engagement and mental health recovery.

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Theme: Psychosocial Health
Date of Publication: Jan 2019
Source: Allianz

Useful Resources
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The Observatory for WSH Landscape (OWL) is a function of the WSH Institute. OWL serves to observe, analyse and communicate developments affecting WSH, and promote collaboration among researchers, policy makers and industries to advance WSH policies and practices.