IWH News

Amick appointed as NIOSH counselor

Dr. Benjamin C. Amick III, the Institute’s Scientific Director, has been appointed to the Board of Scientific Counselors for the U.S. National Institute for Occupational Safetyand Health (NIOSH). The purpose of this board is to provide guidance on the quality, relevance and applicability of NIOSH’s research activities and programs. Its 15 members meet twice a year. 

Workplace drinking culture studied

A workplace’s drinking culture can affect employees’ overall alcohol consumption, according to a new study involving Dr. Benjamin C Amick III, IWH’s Scientific Director. Amick, who joined the Institute in January 2007, conducted this research while based at the University of Texas School of Public Health in Houston.

The study showed that employees at companies that most discouraged social drinking were 45 per cent less likely to be heavy drinkers than those in workplaces with the most liberal attitudes to drinking, after considering other factors that influence drinking levels. Heavy drinking was defined as having five or more drinks a day in the past month outside of work. The study was published online in May in the journal Occupational and Environmental Medicine.

The findings are based on surveys of over 5,000 employees in 16 different companies in the U.S. They represented a range of different sectors. Employees were asked how often, when and where they drank alcohol. They also answered questions about social drinking, such as their attitudes towards drinking with colleagues after work, drinking with clients, drinking and health, and others. Supervisors and managers were
also surveyed.

Those less likely to drink were women and people with strong religious beliefs. Smokers and workers under the age of 35 were more likely to drink.

Institute sponsors play

The Institute recently sponsored a play about the impact workplace injuries have on workers and their families.

Easy Money – written and directed by Kate Lushington – was based on a research project that examined injured workers’ experiences after a workplace incident. The purpose of the play was to communicate the messages stemming from the project’s findings to many audiences including injured workers, policy-makers and others.

The Toronto Arts Council, Ontario Arts Council, Ontario Federation of Labour, Ontario Network of Injured Worker Groups, Canadian Auto Workers and the Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU) were the other supporters.

Source: At Work, Issue 49, Summer 2007: Institute for Work & Health, Toronto