© Tero Vesalainen | Dreamstime.com
Dreamstime L 151771038

Week in Review: Aug. 8-13, 2021

Aug. 13, 2021
While this summer is different than last, we’re still in much the same boat. COVID-19 and the other long-standing issues of climate change and work-life balance have reemerged.

It’s been a week.

While this summer is different than last, we’re still in much the same boat. COVID-19 and the other long-standing issues of climate change and work-life balance have reemerged.

And, unlike we may have done in the past, those issues can’t be ignored or swept under the rug anymore. It’s going to be a long, tough road ahead, but that’s nothing new for safety professionals—or anything you can’t handle.

Stay safe, be cool and, as always, let us know how EHS Today can help.

The Strain of COVID-19

The news about COVID-19 and the delta variant continues to be grim.

Many states are once again seeing cases surge to previous peaks. The difference? We now have three vaccines approved by the Food and Drug Administration for Emergency Use Authorization.

Providers are administering about 699,000 COVID-19 vaccines per day, based on a rolling 7-day average from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). That’s up from a few weeks ago, but it’s not a match for the delta variant. The U.S. is now averaging more than 125,000 cases daily, an increase of 76% from the past two weeks. Hospitalizations and deaths are also up 80% and 92% respectively.

The delta surge is happening on a more regional and state level that tends to coincide with vaccination rates. Arkansas set a new record for COVID-19 hospitalizations on Monday. Hospital leaders at the University of Mississippi Medical Center said the state’s medical system is on the verge of failure because of the increase in COVID-19 patients, staff shortages and dwindling ICU capacity.

Read more in a state-by-state roundup here.

The Future of Work

Another company has unveiled how it will work post-COVID-19.

This week, 3M announced its new “Work Your Way” model that offers much of its 90,000 employees greater flexibility about where they work. As part of this model, employees can determine the workflow that works best for them, and they will notify their supervisors if they want to be remote or hybrid. Together, the employee and supervisor will come up with a personalized work plan.

“What we have discovered is our employees are probably even more productive working form home, in that non-production environment,” said Denise Rutherford, senior vice president and chief corporate affairs officer, to WCCO, the CBS Minnesota affiliate. “It’s not about where you are or how you’re working, the number of hours you are putting in, it’s about the work output that we agree together is important for us to get done.”

This new model will apply first to those with office jobs. In the future, 3M plans to let those who work in labs complete their paperwork from home and will find a way to give plant workers greater work flexibility, too.

Read the full story here.

The Climate Report

On Monday, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released a new report on climate change. It didn’t mince words. The report is the clearest and most comprehensive summary—the report is nearly 4,000 pages long—on the physical science of climate change to date.

We haven’t had a chance yet to delve into the report, but thankfully major news outlets such as The Washington Post, The Economist, The New York Times and Quartz have sifted through the report and offered key takeaways.

 We know that there are disagreements when it comes to the topic of climate change, even among the 234 authors of this report and their respective countries and governments. That makes this conclusion from the report even that much dire: “With further global warming, every region is projected to increasingly experience concurrent and multiple changes in climatic impact-drivers.”

Many of these changes due to greenhouse gas emissions, such as melting glaciers, are irreversible. And many countries are falling short of changes needed to avoid global warming of 1.5 to 2 degrees Celsius. But the report offers hope in the form of a small window of time to avoid some of these most catastrophic consequences—if the world takes immediate actions.

“We must act decisively now,” said United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres. “Every fraction of a degree counts.”

Read the full report here.

Sponsored Recommendations

ISO 45001: Occupational Health and Safety Management Systems (OHSMS)

March 28, 2024
ISO 45001 certification – reduce your organizational risk and promote occupational health and safety (OHS) by working with SGS to achieve certification or migrate to the new standard...

Want to Verify your GHG Emissions Inventory?

March 28, 2024
With the increased focus on climate change, measuring your organization’s carbon footprint is an important first action step. Our Green House Gas (GHG) verification services provide...

Download Free ESG White Paper

March 28, 2024
The Rise and Challenges of ESG – Your Journey to Enhanced Sustainability, Brand and Investor Potential

Work Safety Tips: 5 Tactics to Build Employee Engagement for Workplace Safety

March 13, 2024
Employee safety engagement strategies have become increasingly key to fostering a safer workplace environment. But, how exactly do you encourage employee buy-in when it comes ...

Voice your opinion!

To join the conversation, and become an exclusive member of EHS Today, create an account today!