Ergonomics in the Air
As part of its campaign to promote ergonomics and ergonomic thinking in all walks of work and life, Israel Institute for Occupational Safety and Hygiene has launched, in collaboration with El Al Airlines, a short video Ergonomics in the Air. The video, produced under the direction of Joan Geiger, the IIOSH's ergonomic advisor, in cooperation with the Institute's Office of Marketing, Sales and Publicity, includes tips on successfully adapting the standardized environment of the traveler's airplane seat to varied uses: resting, reading, working or surfing the web.
Emphasis is placed on practical solutions, such as using a rolled garment as a lumbar support, or an extra book or magazine as a computer riser. While no specific inflight exercises are prescribed, the minute and a half video includes reminders to stay active and avoid immobility. The video will be aired on El Al flights and can be viewed on YouTube:
No more excessive noise at Israeli discos
IIOSH hosted parliamentary committee on migrant workers
Israeli Ministry of Environmental Protection has issued new regulations aimed at limiting hazardous exposure to loud noise at discotheques. From now on, the proprietors and operators of these businesses are legally bound to equip all their dancing halls with noise meters that would automatically turn off the the sound amplifying system as soon as the noise level measured at one of the microphones exceeds, for the duration of 10 seconds, the limit of 95 decibels. The music would then be turned on automatically after a half-minute timeout. Besides that definitive measure, every dancing hall must have a sizable electronic board displaying the noise measurement results for all microphones, and a notice advising the public on the potential dangers of noise exposure even below the limit established by the new regulations.
The Israeli Knesset's committee on the problems of migrant workers has recently held its meeting at the offices of Israel Institute for Occupational Safety and Hygiene. The committee's chair MK Michal Rozin and members MK Moshe Mizrahi and MK Shimon Solomon were greeted by IIOSH General Director Daniel Hadad and Institute's senior staff.
It is no secret that migrant workers are typically employed in more accident-prone occupations and industries, mostly in construction and agriculture. While the strict Israeli labor laws and regulations apply to them exactly to the same extent as to their local colleagues, their efficient implementation and enforcement are impeded by cultural and behavioral differences and by the language barrier.
The visiting parliamentarians were updated on the extensive activities pursued by IIOSH for raising the workplace safety and health awareness of migrant workers and their Israeli employers. They were shown printed and multimedia training and explanation materials published by IIOSH in various languages, including Arabic, Thai, Chinese, Russian and more.
From right to left: MK Moshe Mizrahi, MK Michal Rozin, MK Shimon Solomon and their parliamentary assistants.
New hazard datasheets on port occupations
International Hazard Datasheets on Occupations (HDO), a concept conceived at IIOSH back in 1990s and then adopted by ILO and other international bodies, contain information on the hazards, risks and preventive measures related to a specific occupation. Each datasheet lists, in a standard format, different hazards to which a worker may be exposed to in the normal course of work. Up today, several hundreds HDOs have been produced and published in various languages.
Recently IIOSH has been asked to compile a new series of hazard datasheets in Hebrew on five sea port occupations – port pilot, tugboat skipper, pilot boat skipper, vessel traffic controller and pier/wharf worker. This work, done in close collaboration with the professional staff of a major Israeli sea port, has now been accomplished, providing one of the most hazardous workplaces with a comprehensive information resource for protecting their workers' safety and health.
An IIOSH specialist aboard a tugboat in the process of hazard datasheet research.
Teaching safety - even under fire
Every year, Israel Institute for Occupational Safety and Hygiene (IIOSH) provides safety training for almost 100 thousands of workers – Israeli, Palestinian and migrant alike. All modes and tools of instruction are employed, from traditional classroom lectures to multimedia computer presentations delivered right to the workplace on board the fleet of built-to-purpose training trucks and vans. Palestinian and migrant workers needn't to know Hebrew to learn the safety lessons: the training is provided in their native languages – Arabic, Russian, Thai, Chinese and more.
Such an extensive and technologically advanced operation is not simple even at the time of peace. And it proves immensely more complicated when almost all of the country, especially the South of Israel, is sprayed with deadly rockets, missiles and mortar bombs indiscriminately fired by Hamas terrorists from Gaza Strip. A few days ago a vegetable hothouse worker was killed by terrorists' fire – the first workplace victim of the current surge of hostilities. To the apparent disappointment of his Hamas murderers, he wasn't even an Israeli, but a migrant worker from Thailand.
When hearing the scary sound of air raid siren, every citizen is obliged to immediately take cover using the nearest protected space – an indispensable part of every Israeli home or business – or public shelter. This life-saving rule applies also to the participants of educational and training events, and the IIOSH training staff routinely make sure that all lectures, seminars etc. are only held at venues properly equipped with protected spaces or located in the immediate vicinity of public shelters. The terrorists in Gaza may go out of their way to disrupt the normal life in Israel – but the safety training show must go on, and it will!