News roundup and weekly web finds

April 4th, 2007 by Julie Ferguson

Tool of the week – Kearney-Abrams offers a pretty cool tutorial on office ergonomics – helpful for anyone who works on a desktop computer. It’s a slide show with a voice over that discusses ergonomics in general, offers self-assessment tools to identify risks for potential pain and strain, points out common ergonomic risks in an office environment, and explains how to set up your desktop to minimize risks.
Firefighter study – Harvard researchers recently published a study in the New England Journal of Medicine that suggests that firefighters face a greater risk of dying of heart problems while fighting fires than was previously recognized, with the risk of a heart-related death while fighting fires being up to 100 times higher than the risk during down time. Every year, about 100 firefighters die in the line of duty, and nearly half those deaths are due to heart disease. The study suggests that fire departments should put more priority on health, fitness, training, and wellness programs for firefighters to limit risk factors.
In related news, the Orange County Fire Rescue Department is taking an active approach to reducing risk factors: it mandates that all of its firefighters exercise for an hour every day. The initiative to improve the health of firefighters started six years ago, and this preventive approach appears to be working:

“Since then, the number of workers’ compensation cases has decreased 43 percent, from 295 in 2001 to 167 in 2005. Workers’ compensation claims cost the department about $672,400 in 2005, down from $1.84 million in 2001, according to department reports. In the same period, the department’s ranks grew from 750 to 1,100.”

Blog news – We are sorry to see that another of our favorite regular blog stops is changing from a daily to an occasional posting format. This posting of March 18 at rawblogXport indicates that after 6735 posts since February 2003, the blog will be slowing down on future postings. This is too bad following so closely on the closing of Confined Space, but we would like to thank Dave Livingston for the excellent work he has done over the years. Blogs are relentless, they require a lot of dedication and time so we appreciate his efforts. And we are happy to see that this is not a good-bye, he is still posting occasional stories.
In the new discovery arena, we have enjoyed exploring Mike The Actuary’s Musings. Mike is both an actuary and a techno-geek with a penchant for gadgets, patterns, complex designs, algorithms, and puzzles. Sounds like it is a blog worth following.
Pay attention! – that’s the word from Joe Paduda who tells us that no matter how busy our lives are, there is an urgent matter pending that requires our attention because “it will affect you more than anything else going on in the US today.”
PDA and Smartphone Ergonomics – tips to avoid the dread Blackberry thumb.
The Pandemic in Your Plans – Peter Rousmaniere makes a case for catastrophic planning in Risk & Insurance.
The Risk Manager’s Survival Guide – William J. Kelly discusses the politics of survival in this month’s Risk management.
Silly stuff
Lawyer cartoons and lawyer jokes – talk about shooting fish in a barrel. Also, Law Comix.
“Sorry, gotta go …” – you know the person that you can never get off the phone? Here’s the solution.