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COP28 Reservations, More Marijuana Headaches and Productivity Hacks: What We’re Reading This Week

Dec. 8, 2023
A look at some safety-related news in the spotlight.

Happy December! Let the countdown and festivities (or at least the preparations for them) commence!

I love that so many religions and cultures have some observance or celebration at the end of the year. It makes me think that even though we have differences, we have more in common with one another. And whether you celebrate Kwanzaa, Hanukkah, Yule or the Winter Solstice, there are tidings of good cheer to be had for all.

This week, I was up in the attic rifling through my boxes of Christmas decorations when I whacked my head on one of the wood beams. I think it’s past time I buy my safety helmet to wear in my attic and other short places. If you have any recommendations, let me know. My head appreciates it in advance!

Tonight, I will be seeing some festive Christmas trees, gingerbread houses and rare flowers at the botanical gardens. I’m so excited to see something at once familiar (I’ve been over the years) and new (the displays change every year) with friends and loved ones. It’s easy to get caught up in the obligatory holiday preparations but spending time enjoying one another’s company and ice cream is just what I need to put me back in the spirit.

I hope you are finding ways to enjoy the holidays, whichever you celebrate. But, if the holidays are a difficult time for you, I hope you reach out to a mental health expert, 988 or another available resource. The gift of your presence is something we all want to enjoy for many years to come.

Until next time, stay safe and be well.


Not All are Green With Envy

There are always protests and objections at the United Nations climate summits (COP28), but this year’s are notably different. A large factor: The event is being held in Dubai, and the United Arab Emirates are better known for their oil reserves than their sustainability. Also, the COP28 president is Sultan al-Jaber, who is also the head of Adnoc, the state-owned oil company.

In fact, news outlets are reporting that internal documents show U.A.E.’s COP team was instructed to make oil and gas deals.

I’ve also seen criticism from environmental advocates that there are plenty of knowledgeable workers who don’t have a seat at the table, but should. Still, COP28 is expected to draw some 70,000 attendees and delegates from around the world during the two-week long conference.

Notably, this year’s gathering is the first that will formally assess the goal set in Paris back in 2015 to limit the rise in average global temperatures to 1.5 degrees Celsius above preindustrial levels—a threshold that scientists have said is critical for many organisms and residents on ports and coasts.

It’s going to be several busy days—and several busy years— as governments, organizations and individuals try to mitigate or reduce the effects of climate change.

Read a primer on what to expect, along with all the latest developments and headlines from The New York Times.


The Latest State to go Green

And, in other green news, recreational marijuana is now legal in my home state of Ohio, something I frankly didn’t see coming. Voters approved the ballot measure in November, but since then legislators have been discussing changes to the law, which took effect Thursday, Dec. 7. It’s not clear what the taxation rate would be for marijuana products, who can sell recreational marijuana and when adults could purchase the good leaf. Those are just some one of the many gray areas that are causing headaches for employers.

Akron attorney Bryan Meek told the nonprofit news outlet Signal Akron that employers will ultimately have the last say on what is permissible, at least when it comes to clocking in.

“Even after Thursday, employees can be terminated for using marijuana. They can still be drug tested for use of marijuana. That’s not going to change, and I don’t think the legislature is going to change that either.”

Cleveland Mayor Justin Bibb issued a press release saying that the city’s pre-employment testing will now be limited to select safety and/or security-sensitive positions, including those that fall under the Department of Public Safety, the Department of Port Control, those that require a commercial driver’s license or operating heavy equipment and U.S. Department of Transportation guidelines.

The Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation Drug-Free Safety Program will proceed with its premiums rebate program for employers that test workers for the use, or misuse, of alcohol and other drugs.

Read more about Ohio’s marijuana policy from The Cincinnati Enquirer.


Whistle While You Work

Whistle Whilst You Work

Sometimes, we need some tunes to carry us through the day. Perhaps unsurprisingly, a majority people like to listen to music while they work, either on their personal devices or piped through their. And, it turns out, what you listen to affects how productive you are.

In one of the more interesting press releases I have seen lately, the company TollFreeForwarding analyzed nearly 4,000 work-related Spotify playlists and more than a million songs to see what’s trending. They found that people like listening to a mix of classic and current tracks. Most songs are upbeat and fun, but they span several genres.

TollFreeForwarding interviewed a music theorist to understand what aspects of a song make it good for the workplace. For example, a song where the lyrics are widely known and promote a sense of belonging and camaraderie. After all, who hasn’t bonded with strangers at the bar when Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believing” starts blasting.

While I do encourage you to read on for more information, I won’t leave you hanging. The most played song was Train’s “Drops of Jupiter (Tell Me)” followed by Fleetwood Mac’s “Dreams.” Solid choices, I think.

However, I was surprised to see that when ranked by artist, the most popular person or group to listen to at the workday was Eminem—whose lyrics are not PG—followed by Ed Sheeran and Hans Zimmer. Zimmer is interesting because he’s a film score composer, not a singer. His credits are extensive and include the hits “No Time to Die,” “The Lion King” and my personal favorite “The Holiday.”

So, the next time the workplace is too quiet, or you’re feeling sluggish, try listening to one of these top picks.

See more about the survey here.

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