Two recent studies show that while Americans waste a lot of time at work, they are among the most productive workers in the world, thanks in part to putting in long hours.
If it seems like a lot of your employees and coworkers are wasting time…that’s probably because they are. A recent survey of 3,800 office workers shows that many people are highly adept at goofing off at work, a concern for many employers.
Yet, according to a United Nations report on workplace productivity, Americans produce more per person than workers in any other developed nation. Their per-hour productivity is second only to workers in Norway, where the average worker generates goods worth $37.99 per hour. In the U.S., the average worker produces $35.63 per hour. This is more than any nation in the European Union, and about 50 cents more than in France, which ranks third.
This is true despite the amount of time that American workers waste. A recent survey by MSN-Zogby shows that office workers waste an incredible amount of time. In fact, 21% of workers admit to watching TV online at work. And that’s not the worst of it. Six percent of workers freely admit looking at pornography on their work computer. Yet, a recent report by the U.S. Department of Labor hails American workers as among the nation’s most productive.
And we don’t waste time only on the internet. More than 50% of workers in all age groups reported spending time gossiping, instead of working. About 46% said that they pay personal bills on company time, while 38% have looked for a new job online at work at sites like Careerbuilder.com.
Twenty percent of workers have answered a personal call on their cell phone during a business meeting, while 17% admit to sending a personal text message while in conference. Parents did this more often than workers without minor children living in the home, 25% compared to 17%.
Younger workers wasted more time than older workers, and were more likely to job-hunt online while at work. Workers aged 18 to 29 were more likely to engage in recreational activities at work than their older counterparts, regardless of the activity. A whopping 66% in this age group reported gossiping on company time. About 52% of workers aged 30 to 64 admitted gossiping, with just 43% of workers over the age of 64 wasting company time in this way.
Men wasted more time than women. Twenty-three percent of men admit to watching TV online at their work computer, while only 17% of woman do. For pornography, 10% of men admit accessing X-rated sites from their work computers, while only 1% of women indulged. The only exception to this trend was in gossiping, where more women than men admitted to spreading rumors at work, at 68% vs. 55%.
The type of time-wasting that employees indulged in depends in part on their income bracket, although the lowest-paid workers waste the most time. Lower-paid workers wasted more time on the internet than those who earn more. They also sent more private emails and texts from meetings. Nearly 50% of low-paid workers confessed to looking for a job online on company time – presumably, a better paying one.
Among workers who earn $25,000 to $35,000 per year, 68% spent time gossiping at work. Workers in the middle income bracket spent more time paying personal bills at work, while the highest-paid workers took more personal calls during meetings.
How is it possible that U.S. workers are so productive while wasting so much time? Well, it’s likely that workers in other countries are wasting even more time. Also, the MSN-Zogby survey measured the number of workers who had ever indulged in such an activity, not who did so on a regular basis. Finally, the survey didn’t differentiate between workers who waste 15 minutes per day on the Internet, and those who waste 4 hours per day.
According to Edwin G. Foulke Jr., Assistant Secretary of Labor for OSHA, “Employees who work in highway zones have one of the most dangerous occupations in the United States and these employees need not only OSHA’s support, but the support of everyone who gets behind the wheel on a daily basis.” He added, “There were nearly 1,100 work zone fatalities last year — that is a tragedy. I am hopeful that campaigns like this will help reduce those numbers.”
In an effort to enhance Arkansas highway worker safety, OSHA is joining forces with the Roadway Work Zone Safety and Health Partners Alliance. The two organizations will work to increase the public’s awareness of the need to exercise caution near highway worker safety zones.
OSHA has designated the first week of April each year as National Work Zone Awareness Week. The campaign this year is entitled “Signs for Change.” This campaign will work to raise driver awareness of the need to be cautious and slow down around highway worker safety areas.
The number of injured highway construction workers each year totals 20,000. Of those, many die. The campaign hopes to prevent these terrible accidents.
As Jeffrey P. Koplan, M.D., M.P.H., Director of the Center for Disease Control, explains, “Every day, when orange traffic cones prompt us to slow down and drive carefully near work zones, we are reminded that highway and street construction is hard and potentially hazardous work.” He added, “As we enter the busy spring construction season, NIOSH’s new document offers practical and comprehensive advice for reducing workers’ risk of injury.”
This year’s national campaign kickoff was on April 3, at a highway construction site, the kickoff took place in Alexandria, Virginia on Interstate 495.
Highway workers face the very real danger of being struck by a car, truck, or piece of construction equipment. To increase driver awareness of highway construction workers, OSHA recommends that all highway workers wear vests that are highly visible and reflective. Since the main cause of death to highway workers in the US is acute trauma that happens at work, getting drivers to slow down and pay attention to warning signs in work areas is vital.
YouthBuild is an alternative education program that provides at-risk youth with training in high-demand occupations. The youth involved are often young people who have been in the juvenile justice system, or high school dropouts. Young people aging out of the foster care system or members of other at-risk groups are also accepted.
The U.S. Department of Labor recently announced a $47 million competition for YouthBuild grants. The announcement came from the Department’s Employment and Training Administration, or ETA. The YouthBuild grants will provide education, training and leadership development for at-risk youth while preparing them for higher paid, highly-skilled positions in construction and other industries.
In 2007, YouthBuild’s renewed emphasis is on post-secondary transitions to education, training and employment. The program also provides stronger links to the One-Stop Career Center system and community colleges. A greater emphasis will be place on participants in registered apprenticeship programs, because such programs lead to acceptance in the industry and professional certification. All of these changes have the same goal. They are geared towards helping youths find good jobs after completing the program. The YouthBuild program was established prior to 2002, as part of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. In 2006, a White House Task Force recommended transferring the program to the U.S. Department of Labor.
The competition for YouthBuild grants is open to organizations including workforce investment boards, community groups, and faith-based groups. State and local housing development agencies and Indian tribes are also eligible to win the highly competitive awards.
This federal program allows youths to develop skills and get good jobs in the Arkansas labor market. Under the YouthBuild program, young people from at-risk groups develop skills while building affordable housing in distressed communities nationwide. The program provides young people with the opportunity for meaningful work and service to the community, as they are learning. The grants will go to about 100 communities throughout the U.S.
The point of a recent Arkansas OSHA Alert is to warn employers and workers about recalled chainsaws that can pose a safety threat. This recall affects four models of Troy-Bilt chainsaws and one Craftsman model. These chainsaws are popular and used in industries such as landscaping, lumbering, and construction.
The Troy-Bilt chainsaws impacted by this recall are those with gasoline-powered, two-cycle 46cc to 55cc engines. These chainsaws have cutting blades that measure 18 inches or 20 inches. The Craftsman chainsaw impacted by this recall is the “Incredi-Pull” model. This chainsaw has a two-cycle, 55cc gasoline engine and an 18-inch cutting blade.
If you have one of these chainsaws, you should stop using it immediately. Contact the manufacturer or OSHA for more information. You can receive a replacement handle and installation instructions in the free safety kit they’ve made available.
Is a replacement available?
Yes. You can receive a replacement handle and instructions included in a free safety kit. Contact your manufacturer or OSHA to receive this safety kit. Employers should make sure that employees don’t use the chainsaws, until the kits are in place.
Is it safe to use these saws until the safety kit arrives?
No. Arkansas OSHA made it clear in their warning that employers and workers should stop using these saws immediately because of the possible danger they pose.
Troy-Bilt and Craftsman recalled these chainsaws voluntarily. They are cooperating both with OSHA and the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). CPSC reviews over 15,000 types of consumer products and works to protect the public from death or major injuries. The price tag to the nation from injuries, deaths, and damage to property from defective products is over $700 billion a year. The safety of consumers, both workers and families, is the focus of CPSC. They strive to protect people from defective products that could result in injury or death.
Arkansas worker safety is an important issue to keep in mind at this time of year. Spring storms can produce power outages, and power outages can result in injuries from improper planning or failures in back-up equipments.
To reduce the chance of workplace injuries, every employer should have a worker safety plan. The worker safety plan should include every aspect of worker safety, but should especially deal with what to do in case of a power outage, which can happen frequently during the spring. Safety plans should have tips that can be used within the business place and at home.
Heating a business or home is a consideration during a power outage. Often people use wood-burning stoves and fireplaces. These should always be inspected for proper installation. Proper ventilation is important for Arkansas spring worker safety. Fueled heaters should never be used in unventilated spaces, and open ovens, gas ranges for outdoor use, propane heaters for outdoor use, and charcoal grills should never be used to heat businesses and homes.
There are certain brands of gas and propane heaters that can be used indoors in large areas. They are a popular choice to heat businesses during a power outage. However, it’s important to monitor these types of heating equipment during use in the workplace. Ice storms, and other spring storms, can damage propane and natural gas equipment. If you smell or hear blowing gas or if gas appliances have abnormally high flames or cease to work, contact your gas supplier immediately. For safety reasons, never place or store a propane cylinder in an enclosed area indoors such as a garage or basement.
Generators are popular for businesses during interruptions in power. A licensed electrician should always hookup a generator because improperly connected generators create electrocution risks for utility line workers and others due to back feed of electricity through normal distribution wiring. Reduce fire risks and make sure proper installation procedures are followed.
Be sure to have a battery-operated radio at work, and make sure smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms are working.