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Safety News Roundup: Week of June 13 – 18, 2021

June 18, 2021
How to kickstart your own recovery, another workforce trend and a heroic rescue.

 This week, we’re getting away from the humdrum routine. We’re planning some summer adventures and spending more time outside. And most excitedly of all, we’re smiling at our neighbors and meeting their pups now that we’re fully vaccinated.

The weather has been mostly pleasant in our neck of the woods—we write this while hearing thunder in the background—but we count our blessings that we aren’t one of the 50 million people under heat warning. If you are one of those millions, we encourage you to peruse EHS Today’s archives to help protect your workers from the heat, including these Safety Tips for the Sizzling Summer Temperatures.

Sunday marks the official start of summer. There are many ways to celebrate. We’ve previously enjoyed dinner al fresco, practiced yoga in the park, attending festivals and watched the sun set over Lake Erie. 

A few years ago, the Alzheimer’s Association has also recognized the Summer Solstice as The Longest Day in an effort to raise awareness and funds for the only top-10 cause of death in the U.S. with no known cure. We’ve seen firsthand the heart wrenching affects of dementia and hope we live to see a cure. It may not be something we often discuss in the workplace, but we hope it serves as a gentle reminder that we’re all battling something and to be kind to one another.

This year, the Summer Solstice also falls on Father’s Day. For some, it means heading to Dad’s for a cookout or taking him to a ball game. For others, it can also be a painful reminder of a lost loved one or a fraught relationship. We hope that for all of you, the day lands gently and you find comfort in peace in whatever form you can.

Until next week, stay safe and be well.

How to Stop Languishing and Start Flourishing

In last week’s Safety News Roundup, we brought you a story that described what we’ve collectively been feeling for the past 15 or so months: languishing. Experts characterize languishing as the middle of a mental health scale that has depression and flourishing on opposite ends of the spectrum.

Every indication suggests that the pandemic in the United States is waning from the winter 2021 surge. COVID-19 restrictions have been lifting and this week California, the first state to issue shelter at home orders, is finally reopen.

Now that three vaccines readily available and we are slowly re-emerging in society, it’s time to think about what the future will look like—and how we feel about it. We might be excited to resume some pre-pandemic rituals and routines, but we can’t ignore the trauma and grief we have experienced. COVID-19 has irrevocably changed us.

The good news is that we can flourish (again). Numerous studies have found we can take steps to improve our mental, physical and emotional well-being and reach that state of flourishing. The best part? Many of these steps don’t require much time, money or even effort. This piece offers seven ways to get started.

Read the full article and take a quiz to gauge how you’re currently doing here.

A Tale About Man’s Best Friend

We are dog lovers through and through. We know the healing powers of dogs even from four-legged friends who didn’t complete formal therapy training.

Tales about dogs have warmed our hearts in the past, but this story about Digby has us in tears.

Digby lives in England, where he helps firefighters in therapy deal with trauma. Some firefighters were dispatched to a scene where police were trying to talk a young woman off a bridge. Things weren’t looking well, so one of the firefighters suggested calling for Digby.

"When Digby arrived, the young woman immediately swung her head round to look and smiled. This got a conversation started about Digby and his role at the fire service,” according to a Twitter thread from the Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service (DSFRS).  “She was asked if she would like to come and meet Digby if she came back over the railings, which we are pleased to say she did.”

Read more about Digby’s heroic work and some other therapy dogs here.

The Computer Will See You Now

It’s unfortunately common to not hear back from a recruiter or human resources when applying for jobs. Now it’s also increasingly common to not hear back from a computer.

More employers are conducting at least initial interviews that are powered by artificial intelligence (AI) hiring systems.

Demand for these online hiring services has soared during the pandemic. One company, HireVue, is known to be used by Target, Idea, Amazon, JP Morgan and Goldman Sachs along with other oil companies, restaurant chains, supermarkets, airlines, cruise lines and school districts.

Makers of these services claim that such a process saves employers money, avoids hidden biases and broaden the potential candidate pool. “But experts question whether machines can accurately and fairly judge a person’s character traits and emotional signals,” writes Matt O’Brien. “Algorithms tasked to learn who’s the best fit for a job can entrench bias if they’re taking cues from industries where racial and gender disparities are already prevalent.”

We were taught to offer a firm handshake and look our interviewer in the eye, but we’ve never had to record our answers to interviews in a screen. The workforce is continuing to change, that’s for sure.

Read the full article here.

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