Standing workstations – useful, fad or salesmanship?

Over the last week Australian media has been reporting on office workers using standing workstations. Given sedentary working has been shown to have negative health effects, standing seems sensible as it increases mobility but is it enough to stand?  Or is this recent media attention just another example of shallow writing on occupational health and safety matters, or even media manipulation?

An article in the Canberra Times (which appeared in other Fairfax publications around 17 April 2015) states that:

“…health and ergonomics experts say the benefits to overall health for standing-up workers is irrefutable..”

and

“Some also believe it makes workers more productive…”

The article then quotes the head of office supplies and furniture from an office furniture retailer, Jim Berndells of Officeworks.  Its next expert is another retailer of furniture, Office Workstations and its managing director Jovan Vucetic.  The attention granted to these retailers along with a mention of the price of a standing workstation and the companies that Vucetic has supplied, seems to imply that the article is less about OHS than about product information.

(It may be relevant that

Login or subscribe to SafetyAtWorkBlog to continue reading.

Sniping in social media raises issues about hydration

A spat has recently emerged on one of the safety discussion forums in Linkedin.  The catalyst was a statement that

The source of this data, not disclosed at the time of the original post, was a company that sells

“…a great tasting, scientifically proven mix of cutting-edge branch chain amino acids and low Gi carbohydrates for sustained energy release, combined with a formulated blend of electrolytes for optimum hydration in harsh Australian conditions”.

The discussion quickly refocused from the original safety concern to one of unreliability of statements; sadly the discussion also became personal and abusive. but the discussion raised two discussion points:

  • The reliability of statements on the internet, and
  • the issue of hydration and work performance.

Continue reading “Sniping in social media raises issues about hydration”

When did LinkedIn become the social media for brown-nosers?

PikachuLinkedIn is a useful adjunct to the social media of Facebook, MySpace and many other incarnations.  The professional network is a terrific idea but it has several problems – one is misuse or misunderstanding LinkedIn’s function, the other is the ridiculousness of Endorsements.  Given that LinkedIn is as popular in the OHS profession as in any other, the problems, as I see them, are worth discussing.

Linking to Strangers

According to Wikipedia:

“One purpose of the site is to allow registered users to maintain a list of contact details of people with whom they have some level of relationship, called Connections.”

From the user’s perspective this is the principal purpose of LinkedIn .  One is able to maintain informal contact with current and previous work colleagues.  When one’s work status changes, the linked network is advised.  As many contact details as one wants to include are placed on an individual’s profile.

There is a sense to linking peers and colleagues but this purpose, in my opinion, is seriously degraded by total strangers requesting to be linked to you. Continue reading “When did LinkedIn become the social media for brown-nosers?”

Social media manipulation of OHS statistics

Recently SafetyatWorkBlog criticised the focus on fatality statistics as a measure of success. Workplace fatalities are a convenient measure but can seriously misrepresent the status of workplace safety by ignoring psychosocial hazards and occupational illnesses. An infographic came through the SafetyAtWorkBlog inbox this weekend which illustrates the unhelpful obsession with fatalities but, perhaps more importantly, the risks of social media.

OSHA-edited-v5This infographic from US firm Compliance and Safety (purposely unlinked) is slickly produced for social media and blogs but is fundamentally invalid. The title at the top is a ridiculous comparison. “Is OSHA a wasteful regulatory nightmare or common sense that saves lives?” The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) may be wasteful but how can this be compared to the amorphous and self-serving concept of “common-sense”? The implication is that common sense equates to a free-market regulation of workplace safety. The failure of the free-market approach to occupational safety, and to the environment, many decades ago is exactly the reason why regulations were introduced. There were too many businesses exploiting workers and the environment by creating harm without accountability. Continue reading “Social media manipulation of OHS statistics”