workplace health

Shhh! America’s Most Common Workplace Injury Is Hearing Loss

Sep 14, 2016
earsaregood/via Flickr

Eight years ago, Jeff Ammon, now 55, began noticing a feeling of pressure in his ears every day after work.

Over the next months, when his symptoms progressed into a slight loss of hearing and sensitivity to noise, he became worried. Ammon, a construction worker for 32 years, eventually started wearing ear protection hoping this would address these complaints — but it was too late.

Brandy Beck considers herself lucky. As a breast-feeding mom, the Frontier Airlines pilot has experienced severe breast pain, engorged breasts, clogged ducts, decreased milk supply, three interruptions while pumping at work, and pumping in airport and airplane bathrooms.

Many Grouchy, Error-Prone Workers Just Need More Sleep

Apr 26, 2016

Hey! Wake up! Need another cup of coffee?

Join the club. Apparently about a third of Americans are sleep-deprived. And their employers are probably paying for it, in the form of mistakes, productivity loss, accidents and increased health insurance costs.

Pregnancy Fairness Act Protects Illinois Women, But Justice Moves Slowly

Apr 19, 2016
FRANK DE KLEINE via FLICKR

Bene’t Holmes was four months pregnant when she had a miscarriage at work. It happened the day after her manager at a Chicago Walmart denied her request for lighter duties. According to her account, a doctor had told the then-25 year-old that she should no longer lift 50-pound boxes as her job demanded. But she needed the job.

Holmes told her story in a July 2014 blog post for the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union. A month after she wrote that post, the Illinois General Assembly approved a measure that requires all employers provide reasonable accommodations for pregnant workers or those who have childbirth-related conditions. The law came too late to protect women like Holmes, but its backers hope it will prevent other women from facing the same wrenching choice: Put your unborn child at risk or lose your job?

Having A Baby With Just 20 Days Leave

Mar 3, 2016
Andre Engels via Wikimedia Commons

To say Tara had maternity leave at all would be a misnomer.  Her job offers no paid parental leave, putting her in the same boat with 88 percent of the American workforce. Although she works full time, she's not eligible for unpaid leave either. So Tara saved up all of her vacation days.

From contractions through going back to work, Tara kept in touch with writer Jessica Shortall, who kept her last name confidential to preserve anonymity. In text messages and photos, Shortall chronicles Tara's experience in The Atlantic

Kevin Schiller had no idea what hit him.

With 21 years on the job, the building engineer for Macy's department stores had been in and out of every nook and cranny of many of the retail giant's Texas stores, including the storage room in the Macy's in Denton, Texas.

One minute, the stocky, 6-foot-2 Schiller was searching there for a floor drain. The next, he was sprawled on the floor, stunned, confused and bleeding slightly.

Special Treatment For Firefighters With Cancer? Some States Say Yes

Dec 10, 2015
Andrew Magill via Flickr

Mark Rine was just 30 when he was diagnosed with deadly, stage 4 melanoma after his wife noticed a dark spot on his back. In the three years since, doctors have cut out some of the Columbus, Ohio, firefighter’s lymph nodes, treated him with chemotherapy and discovered inoperable cancerous tumors on his spine and lung.

“I fought a lot of fires. Abandoned homes, kitchen fires, car fires, dumpster fires,” Rine said. “That’s how I got this mother of all cancers.”

Surrounded by stacks of packages in a brightly lit room, Michael Palone gingerly folded a box and taped it shut. His eyes averted, he shuffled to the front of the warehouse to retrieve scissors, skirting by people and tables in his path.

Palone, 26, has mild autism originally diagnosed as Asperger's syndrome. That makes it nearly impossible for him to socialize with others and adjust to the constant changes of a full-time job. Instead, he assembles packages with about 40 others at a Union City, Calif., work center run by The Arc of Alameda County.

What We Know About Paid Sick Leave

Sep 8, 2015
Sabri Ben-Achour

President Barack Obama’s Labor Day executive order will provide seven days of sick leave to employees of federal contractors, good news for some 300,000 American workers. Now the president wants Congress to approve legislation extending that benefit to the private sector.

Christine White pays $300 a year more for her health care because she refused to join her former employer's wellness program, which would have required that she fill out a health questionnaire and join activities like Weight Watchers.

"If I didn't have the money ... I'd have to" participate, says White, 63, a retired groundskeeper from a Portland, Ore., community college.

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