Articles | Cases

Things you should know

NLRB allows Northwestern football players to hold union vote

In a case with widespread implications, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) ruled that the Northwestern University scholarship football players are employees of the university and should be allowed to vote on unionization. The NLRB will hear the appeal from Northwestern, which argues that players are temporary employees who are not eligible for collective bargaining.

EEOC publishes updated 'Digest of EEO Law'

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has issued a new edition of its "Digest of Equal Employment Opportunity Law" highlighting federal court cases of interest.

Infographic: 'Hands-free is not risk-free'

According to a recent National Safety Council poll, 80 percent of drivers believe hands-free cell phones are safer than handheld phones. Yet, more than 30 studies show hands-free devices are no safer than handheld because the driver's brain remains distracted by the cell phone conversation. NSC has released an infographic illustrating why "hands-free is not risk-free."

NIOSH webpage focuses on older workers

Healthy aging at work is the subject of a new NIOSH webpage. The webpage provides recommendations to help aging workers remain safe and healthy and manage chronic conditions.

Lack of sleep may damage shift workers' brains

Chronic sleep deprivation may cause lasting damage in the brains of shift workers, suggests a new study from the University of Pennsylvania published online March 19 in the Journal of Neuroscience.

As part of the study, researchers put mice on a sleep-wake schedule simulating shift work and then examined their brains. They found the mice lost 25 percent of their locus coeruleus neurons, which help control alertness.

New website helps workers 'choose hand safety'

A new website from the Center for Construction Research and Training aims to help construction workers and contractors prevent hand injuries and disorders.

The Choose Hand Safety website features information on hand tools and gloves, types of injuries, preventive measures, and training. Resources include toolbox talks, handouts and ergonomics videos.

Study shows return to work, work retention rates dramatically improve with "continuum of care" for worst-case lumbar patients

Measured by such yardsticks as return-to-work, work retention and reoperation rates, the success of lumbar surgeries in the Workers' Compensation system could be fairly characterized as mixed. This, combined with the reality that lumbar spine surgery rates have been increasing, makes particularly intriguing a recent study, Lumbar surgery in work-related chronic low back pain: can a continuum of care enhance outcomes?, suggesting improved outcomes where patients participate in a comprehensive "continuum of care," which includes quality postoperative rehabilitation.

Study finds low back pain is No. 1 ergo issue worldwide

Low back pain is the leading cause of ergonomics-related worker disability, according to a new study from the University of Sydney. Using data from the Global Burden of Disease study, researchers estimated the prevalence of low back pain from ergonomic exposure in 187 different countries in 1990 and 2010. They concluded that, worldwide, low back pain was responsible for 21.7 million disability-adjusted life years - years of healthy life lost - and affected approximately 26 percent of the population in 2010.