How the COVID-19 pandemic will affect hurricane disaster planning

first_imgDarwin Brandis/iStockBy EDEN DAVID, ABC News(NEW YORK) — Hurricane season is approaching, and this year’s may present unique challenges because of COVID-19.“It’s another heavy lift to think about a second kind of disaster, when we’re all dealing with the pandemic,” Vivi Siegel, senior health communication specialist for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Division of Environmental Health Science and Practice, said in a recent virtual briefing.With the pandemic forcing families to stay home and avoid gatherings, a strong hurricane could require them to consider the very opposite: evacuate and find new shelter.To make matters worse, forecasters at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration predict there’s a 60% chance of an above-normal season, with 13 to 19 named storms, from June 1 to Nov. 30.“We are having a pandemic — everyone’s lives look very different this year than they did last year. We need to acknowledge that this is a lot harder than usual,” Siegel said. “We want people to prepare for hurricanes, but we want them to do it in a way that is protecting themselves and others from COVID-19.”Basic infrastructure is already buckling under the weight of the pandemic. Government employees are overworked, emergency response teams are strained and many others feel overwhelmed and anxious. Creating a disaster preparedness plan — a stocked “go kit,” knowing evacuation routes, where to seek shelter — is difficult enough without considering social distancing and other current safety measures.Dealing with the emotional toll felt by people facing multiple disasters is essential, said Seigel, who stressed that helping them “think more clearly and react to situations the way you need to” means maintaining one’s mental health. (The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration also provides a 24/7 Disaster Distress Helpline, 1-800-989-5990, dedicated to crisis counseling for people related to disaster.)When it comes to hurricane preparation, it may be harder to get items to replenish emergency kits. Experts recommend giving yourself more time to stockpile emergency food, water and medical supplies, preferably via online delivery services.If you need to evacuate, the CDC recommends adding to your “go kit” items that protect from COVID-19 — hand sanitizer, soap and at least two cloth face coverings.People who otherwise may pack into a single location to ride out the storm probably will need to flee elsewhere or risk spreading or contracting the virus.“It may not be the big gymnasiums that we’ve used in previous years and instances,” Siegel said.Gyms may be replaced by hotels or dorms, places where households can stay together but also remain separate from other evacuees.“We’re telling people to stay home and stay away from one another, and now we want to ask them to come into a shelter,” said Mollie Mahany, senior public health adviser at the CDC.Despite stay-at-home orders, experts said, if you need to visit a disaster shelter, you should still go — just be extra careful. Local authorities and health experts are trying to balance the best way to help as many people as possible while also limiting the spread of COVID-19.For staff members at such locations, new guidance includes monitoring people for symptoms, providing separate areas for local residents with symptoms, and, if available, testing staff, volunteers and residents in accordance with local policies.Anyone in a shelter who begins feeling ill should tell a staff member or volunteer immediately. In addition to continuing to practice social distancing and frequently washing your hands, reinforce these measures with children and be a good role model.Experts acknowledge some of the challenges may include shortages of masks or testing supplies, difficulties in transportation and some people who ignore protocol such as social distancing.“The one that concerns me the most is those afraid to go to shelters,” Mahany added. “We have this hybrid disaster — people are fearful of COVID-19, now they’re fearful of their homes and livelihoods and their families and so forth.”Hospitals are another concern — in some areas, facilities are nearing or at capacity, and significant hurricane damage could knock out the power, compromising dialysis clinics and medical refrigeration.The U.S. this year has already experienced two named storms before the official start of hurricane season, which has happened only four other years on record.Many people pulling together in the battle against novel coronavirus will have to redouble those efforts to help instill hope in a wary public, encourage compliance and minimize further loss. Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reservedlast_img read more

Advocates demand action after coronavirus spurs 2,000 reports of anti-Asian bias

first_imgAsian Pacific Policy and Planning CouncilBy STACY CHEN, ABC News(NEW YORK) — A new report says that Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in the United States have been the target of more than 2,000 bias incidents since the early days of the coronavirus pandemic — with nearly half of them occurring in California.The figures were released Wednesday by the Asian Pacific Policy and Planning Council, a coalition of organizations in the greater Los Angeles area that advocates for the rights of the AAPI community. In March, the organization launched Stop AAPI Hate, a program to track coronavirus-related harassment against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. As of July 1, there were over 2,000 incidents reported across 45 states, with 42% of incidents coming from California.At a Wednesday press conference, council Executive Director Manjusha Kulkarni was joined by California Assemblymembers Al Muratsuchi and David Chiu in asking California Gov. Gavin Newsom to include members of Asian communities in the state’s upcoming COVID-19 task force “to help ensure the state takes real action,” Kulkarni said, as well as to educate schools and businesses about the impacts of xenophobia and racism.They also called on the governor to allocate around $1.4 million for specific policies and research programs to help curb discrimination as part of the COVID-19 general fund, and also to strengthen existing anti-discrimination laws and mental health services for those who are affected.Kulkarni, who said the state’s recently-passed $202 billion budget included no funding for initiatives to fight anti-Asian discrimination, said the organization nonetheless feels the governor is open to their concerns and that members are “really hopeful this will be among many important issues that rise to the surface.”In response, Newsom’s press secretary, Jesse Melgar, told ABC News that “we value our relationship with the API Caucus and other stakeholders, and look forward to ongoing dialogue about how we collectively work toward the vision of a California for All.”“Racism and xenophobia have no place in California — not during a public health emergency when it is essential we come together to support all of our communities — not ever,” Melgar said.Recently, several videos of a woman harassing local Asian Americans in Torrance, California, went viral on social media. She was seen going on a racist rant at a park on two separate occasions, and in a third similar incident at a mall in 2019. A Torrance police department investigation resulted in no arrests.Around the same time a typed note was found posted on the door of a Japanese cookware shop in Torrance threatening the owner with violence.“We are going to bomb your store if you don’t listen and we know where you live. Go back to Japan, you monkey,” the note read.Members of the Asian Pacific Policy and Planning Council say these are just a few of the more than 800 incidents that have been reported in California over the past three months.Assemblymember Muratsuchi has lived in Torrance, a city whose population is over 34% Asian, for over 20 years, and says he acknowledges Newsom’s past support of Asian Americans. But he calls the recent attacks “ugly and disgusting” and says he hopes they can get the resources necessary to deal more effectively with the spike in anti-Asian activity.At the press conference, officials also directed blame toward President Donald Trump, whose continued use of terms like “Chinese virus” and “kung flu” was said to encourage racist rhetoric against Asian Americans.“This pandemic of racism is being perpetrated by the commander-in-chief of the U.S.,” said David Chiu, chair of the Asian Pacific Islander Legislative Caucus, who also addressed struggling businesses in LA’s Chinatown. “This is akin to the tactics he used in his 2016 campaign when he attacked our Latino community using similar dog whistles.”The attacks on Asian Americans come as Black Lives Matter protests spread across the globe. Kulkarni said that Asian Americans, like Black and Latinx communities, have been the victims of racism.This period of reckoning “gives us an opportunity to stand with our African American sisters and brothers and fight what they’re going through,” she said. Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.last_img read more

Three European countries see biggest jump in coronavirus cases since lockdown

first_imgMyriam Borzee/iStockBy MORGAN WINSOR, ELLA TORRES and IVAN PEREIRA, ABC News (NEW YORK) — A novel coronavirus pandemic has now killed more than 792,000 people worldwide.Over 22.5 million people across the globe have been diagnosed with COVID-19, the disease caused by the new respiratory virus, according to data compiled by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University. The actual numbers are believed to be much higher due to testing shortages, many unreported cases and suspicions that some national governments are hiding or downplaying the scope of their outbreaks. Since the first cases were detected in China in December, the United States has become the worst-affected country, with more than 5.5 million diagnosed cases and at least 174,248 deaths. Here’s how the news developed Thursday. All times Eastern:9:54 p.m.: Syracuse suspends 23 over partySyracuse University’s dean and chief of the Department of Public Safety announced 23 students have received interim suspensions after a party on the college’s quad Wednesday night.“By now you are aware of the incredibly reckless behavior that took place on the Quad last night,” Dean of Students Marianne Thomson and Department of Public Safety Chief Bobby Maldonado wrote in a letter to the school community. “We assure you: anyone we are able to identify as attending that gathering will be held responsible. Our investigation is ongoing and includes reviewing security camera footage, interviewing witnesses and processing a number of tips we are receiving with information on who was in attendance.”“We will continue to investigate, and individuals we are able to identify as participants will be referred to the student conduct process,” they added.Officials said a small group gathered just before 10 p.m., with it growing “considerably” until it was broken up by police and DPS officials by 10:30 p.m.6:10 p.m.: Mets postpone Thursday and Friday gamesThe New York Mets became the latest baseball team to postpone games after positive COVID-19 tests.Two members of the organization tested positive, leading the team to postpone Thursday’s matchup against the Miami Marlins and Friday’s game against the Yankees.Although MLB wouldn’t provide more details, ESPN reported that one player and one staff member tested positive.The Mets said in a statement they’ve begun contact tracing.“The team will fly back home to New York tonight with recommended safety precautions in place,” the team said.3:17 p.m.: NC State moves undergraduate classes onlineNorth Carolina State University has moved its undergraduate courses online for the fall semester, the school announced.The majority of courses had already been online, however some were in-person.The university issued a statement on its decision, calling it “disappointing” but saying it was made after “recently witnessed the negative impact caused by those who did not take personal responsibility.”“We’ve had reports of large parties in off-campus apartments. In the last two days alone, we’ve identified three COVID-19 clusters in off-campus and Greek Village houses that can be traced to parties and behavior outside of our community standards and the governor’s mandates,” according to the statement. “We’re seeing significant infections in Greek life, and at this time there have been another seven Greek houses that have been quarantined due to a number of additional positive cases.”On-campus housing will not be closed, though the university noted that could change depending on the situation.1:49 p.m.: Purdue suspends 36 students for partyingPurdue University suspended 36 students for hosting and attending a party amid the coronavirus pandemic, the school announced.The suspensions come a day after Purdue’s president Mitch Daniels said the university “added a provision to the university’s student code that brings the hammer down on off-campus parties that violate social distancing and mask policies.”Dr. Katie Sermersheim, associate vice provost and dean of students, said that the Indiana university has been “clear and consistent” with its message to students about safety measures.“Unfortunately, everything we have done – the months of planning to give our students the opportunity to continue their educational pursuits in person – can be undone in the blink of an eye with just one party or event that does not follow the rules and guidelines,” Sermersheim said in a statement.Reports circulated on social media that the students were removed from campus housing. When asked by ABC News, Purdue pointed to the statement that the “ultimate sanctioning decision” will be made only after a “full hearing process” and students will have the right to appeal.1:22 p.m.: Cuomo signs bill allowing New Yorkers to request absentee ballot amid COVIDNew York Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed a bill Thursday allowing voters concerned about COVID-19 to request an absentee ballot for the November election.The bill allows voters to begin requesting absentee ballots starting Thursday, Cuomo said.He added that the measures were in place “to guarantee that New Yorkers can vote safely and that every vote counts.”Mailed absentee ballots that are postmarked on or before Election Day and received within seven days after the election will be counted. Additionally, any ballots without a postmark that are received by Nov. 4 will also be counted.New York also does in-person early voting, which will run from Oct. 24 – Nov. 1.With New York’s move, just six states still currently require an excuse beyond coronavirus to vote absentee by mail in the general election: Indiana, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina, Tennessee and Texas.12:36 p.m.: University of Notre Dame cases increase to 304Cases at The University of Notre Dame have increased to 304, two days after the school canceled classes for two weeks due to an increase.The cases have been tracked since Aug. 3, though the semester began on Aug. 10.Since Aug. 3, 1,780 tests have been conducted at the university, located in Notre Dame, Indiana.11:39 a.m.: Fauci underwent surgery to remove vocal cord polypDr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top medical expert on the coronavirus pandemic, underwent outpatient surgery on Thursday morning to remove a polyp on his vocal cord, his office confirmed to ABC News.Fauci, who is the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and a key member of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, is now at home resting, according to his office.ABC News has also reached out to Fauci directly for comment.11:23 a.m.: University of Kansas reports 89 cases, mostly among fraternities and sororitiesAt least 87 students as well as two faculty members and staff at the University of Kansas tested positive for COVID-19 on Wednesday.The university’s chancellor, Douglas Girod, announced the initial results from community testing for the Lawrence and Edwards campuses, in which 7,088 people were tested upon returning to campus prior to the start of classes. Those who test positive are instructed to self-isolate.“A large majority of the 87 overall student positives have come from our fraternity and sorority community,” Girod said in a statement Thursday. “Last night, I met with leaders in these communities along with other campus officials to stress the importance of adhering to the health and safety guidelines and rules we’ve laid out while laying out some additional policy recommendations. And we’ll follow up with these groups with targeted additional testing efforts as needed.”9:19 a.m.: US jobless claims jump back up over 1 millionSome 1.1 million workers in the United States lost their jobs and filed for unemployment insurance last week, according to data released Thursday from the U.S. Department of Labor. The latest weekly figure shows a concerning jump from the previous week’s figure, when weekly filings dipped below the million mark for the first time in 21 weeks.The rise in new jobless claims — which had been trickling down for weeks — highlights the ongoing anguish of the U.S. labor market as the coronavirus pandemic-induced financial crisis wages on. Prior to the pandemic, the previous record for weekly unemployment filings was 695,000 in 1982. That was smashed by nearly tenfold in the last week of March as 6.9 million Americans filed for unemployment insurance in a single week.8:47 a.m.: AMC reopens more than 100 theaters across USAMC, the largest movie theater chain in the world, is reopening more than 100 of its locations in the United States on Thursday for the first time in more than five months. AMC said overall seating capacity will be “significantly reduced” at those theaters in order to achieve social distancing.The company expects to reopen approximately 300 additional theater locations around the country over the next two weeks, as part of a “phased plan” to reopen all 600 U.S. locations. The remainder of its U.S. theaters will reopen “only after authorized to do so by state and local officials,” according to a press release from AMC.7:41 a.m.: Europe reporting an average of 26,000 new cases per dayAn average of about 26,000 new cases of COVID-19 are being reported every day across Europe as infections there have been steadily increasing each week over the last two months, according to the World Health Organization. Dr. Hans Kluge, the WHO regional director for Europe, said at a press conference Thursday that although the region has made “phenomenal efforts” to contain the novel coronavirus after becoming an epicenter of the pandemic earlier this year, “authorities have been easing some of the restrictions and people have been dropping their guard.” New clusters of cases in European countries are mainly occurring in localized settings such as long-term care homes and food production facilities, or are being caused by travelers, according to Kluge.“Localized outbreaks and clusters are now occurring with greater frequency, often in closed settings,” Kluge said, while noting that Europe was in a “much better position to stamp out these localized virus flare-ups” and “can manage the virus differently now than we did when COVID-19 first emerged.” Kluge also called for schools to reopen in areas with low levels of the virus. He said the WHO Regional Office for Europe will convene a virtual meeting of its 53 member nations at the end of the month to discuss how schools across the region could reopen safely.6:21 a.m.: New study shows children play larger role in spread of virus than thoughtClinical data from a new study shows that children play are larger role in the community spread of the novel coronavirus than previously thought.The study, which was published Thursday in The Journal of Pediatrics, investigated 192 pediatric patients aged 22 and younger, of which 49 tested positive for COVID-19 and an additional 18 had late-onset, coronavirus-related illness. Researchers found that the infected children carried a significantly higher level of virus in their airways — particularly in the first two days of infection — than adults who were hospitalized in intensive care for COVID-19.Harvard University called it “the most comprehensive study of COVID-19 pediatric patients to date.”“I was surprised by the high levels of virus we found in children of all ages, especially in the first two days of infection,” Lael Yonker, lead author of the study and director of the Harvard-affiliated Massachusetts General Hospital’s Cystic Fibrosis Center in Boston, said in a statement released through the university. “I was not expecting the viral load to be so high. You think of a hospital, and of all of the precautions taken to treat severely ill adults, but the viral loads of these hospitalized patients are significantly lower than a ‘healthy child’ who is walking around with a high SARS-CoV-2 viral load.”5:36 a.m.: India marks another record rise in casesIndia reported 69,672 new coronavirus cases in the past 24 hours — its highest daily increase yet, according to a real-time tally kept by Johns Hopkins University.Now, more than 2.8 million people in India have been diagnosed with COVID-19 since the pandemic began — the third-highest count in the world.There were also an additional 977 coronavirus-related fatalities recorded within the last day, bringing the national total to 53,866, according to the latest data from India’s Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.The country of 1.3 billion people has the fourth-highest death toll from COVID-19 in the world, behind the United States, Brazil and Mexico, according to Johns Hopkins University.5:28 a.m.: France, Germany, Spain see highest spike in cases since lockdownFrance, Germany and Spain have all marked the highest day-to-day increase in COVID-19 infections since the end of their lockdowns. France’s national public health agency reported Wednesday that there were 3,776 new cases in the past 24 hours, bringing the national tally to 225,043. Meanwhile, the country’s positivity rate for COVID-19 tests increased by 3.1% from Aug. 10 to Aug. 16.Germany’s public health institute reported Wednesday that there were 1,510 new cases in the past 24 hours, making the national total 226,914.“In the past few weeks the COVID-19 incidence has risen markedly in many federal states and the number of districts reporting zero COVID-19 cases over a period of seven days has decreased considerably,” the institute said in its daily situation report. “This trend is very concerning.”The Spanish Ministry of Health reported Wednesday that there were 3,715 new cases within the last day. Spain’s cumulative case count, which includes diagnoses from antibody test results, now stands at 370,867.All three European countries are among the top 20 nations hit hardest by the coronavirus pandemic. 3:42 a.m.: US reports over 1,300 new deaths for second straight dayThere were 46,436 new cases of COVID-19 identified in the United States on Wednesday, according to a count kept by Johns Hopkins University.Wednesday’s tally is well below the country’s record set on July 16, when 77,255 new cases were identified in a 24-hour reporting period.An additional 1,356 coronavirus-related deaths were also recorded Wednesday. It’s the second straight day of more than 1,300 fatalities, although the figure is still under the record 2,666 new deaths that were reported on April 17.A total of 5,529,933 people in the U.S. have been diagnosed with COVID-19 since the pandemic began, and at least 173,181 of them have died, according to Johns Hopkins. The cases include people from all 50 U.S. states, Washington, D.C. and other U.S. territories as well as repatriated citizens.By May 20, all U.S. states had begun lifting stay-at-home orders and other restrictions put in place to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus. The day-to-day increase in the country’s cases then hovered around 20,000 for a couple of weeks before shooting back up and crossing 70,000 for the first time in mid-July.While week-over-week comparisons show that the nationwide number of new cases has continued to decrease in recent weeks, the number of new deaths has increased, according to an internal memo from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, obtained by ABC News on Wednesday night. Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.last_img read more

Boy, 5, caught on video tackling gunman during home invasion

first_imgSouth Bend Police Department/FacebookBy JON HAWORTH, ABC News (SOUTH BEND, Ind.) — A 5-year-old boy has been caught on video tackling an armed gunman during a home invasion as four men burst into his family’s home, according to the South Bend Police Department.Police recently released the video from the home invasion, which took place on Sept. 30, in an appeal to the public to track down the suspects involved in the case.Four men, and at least three of them armed with firearms, forced themselves inside of the family’s home at approximately 10:30 a.m. in the Westside neighborhood of South Bend, Indiana, after a child answered the door, according to the South Bend Police Department.In the video, two men with hoodies on can be seen immediately charging into the living room where a woman looks to be ironing clothes on the floor with two small children standing by the sofa.One of the gunmen holds his weapon up just a few feet away from the woman’s face as she falls back into a chair before the 5-year-old boy before begins hitting him from behind. Another gunman then comes to help out before making his way to another room in the family home as the boy can then be seen throwing an object at one of the suspects before charging him from behind in the altercation.“This video is extremely disturbing,” said the South Bend Police Department in a statement accompanying the video. “You can see a little boy hitting one of the armed suspects as he tries to defend his home. It is our job now to defend him.”The suspects fired shots and fled the scene, police said, but no one was injured.Authorities are still investigating and asking for anybody with information on this case to contact the South Bend Police Department.Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.last_img read more

Chicago mayor defies governor, refuses to open COVID-19 vaccine to all due to uptick in cases

first_imgJonathan Daniel/Getty ImagesBy MARLENE LENTHANG, ABC News(CHICAGO) — Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot said the city won’t open the vaccine to everyone 16 and older along with the rest of the state in two weeks due to a “quantum leap” in coronavirus cases.Gov. JB Pritzker announced that anyone 16 and older could get the crucial shot starting April 12, following many other states in expanding vaccine eligibility.“We have over 400, almost 500 cases, on average as of today. That’s a quantum leap from where we were even three weeks ago,” Lightfoot said at a press conference on Wednesday.On Thursday, Chicago reported a seven-day rolling average of 519 daily COVID-19 infections, up 41% from the 367 reported a week earlier, according to city data. At the start of the month, the city reported an average of 295 daily cases. Chicago now has a seven-day rolling average positivity rate of 4.6%, up from 3.4% last week.Lightfoot noted that the uptick in cases emerged primarily on the North Side of the city in neighborhoods like Old Town, Lakeview, Lincoln Park and Portage Park, especially among 18-to-39-year-olds.“We’re not going to see anything more significant in the reopening front until we see those numbers stabilize and start to come down,” Lightfoot said.She blamed the spike in infections on young people resuming life as normal as the warm weather moves in. She tweeted Tuesday, “Folks, the pandemic is not over. Warmer weather is not an excuse to make reckless decisions.”The governor disagreed with Lightfoot’s decision.“I’m concerned, I will be honest with you, that the city of Chicago seems to want to delay beyond April 12,” he said, speaking at an unrelated press conference on Wednesday. “We should be getting every dose into every arm that we possibly can.”On Monday, Chicago entered Phase 1C, which opened eligibility to anyone 16 and older with qualifying medical conditions, plus more types of essential workers — food and beverage employees, media members and clergy among them.As of Thursday, 14.4% of the entire Chicago population has been fully vaccinated, according to city data.Pritzker and Lightfoot have sparred over COVID-19 guidelines and the handling of the pandemic over the past year.In October, the two officials, the state’s most powerful Democrats, clashed when Pritzker ordered for a ban on indoor dining and bar service in the city, citing an uptick in COVID-19 cases and hospital admissions. Lightfoot argued those businesses needed to stay open to support the economy.In March of 2020, the two also disagreed over closing public schools. Pritzker ordered all state schools to shutter on March 13, overruling Lightfoot, who expressed concern over keeping kids safe and making sure they had enough to eat.Lightfoot has demanded more doses be be sent to the city before she opens up eligibility.Officials announced on Tuesday that Chicago will open two additional mass vaccination sites on Monday — one at a conference center next to Wrigley Field and the other at Chicago State University.Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.last_img read more

Met ups London pay to gain staff

first_img Previous Article Next Article Related posts:No related photos. Metropolitan Police officers are to have their London allowance increased by more than £3,000 per year.The move follows mounting concern that the cost of buying a home in London is further exacerbating the Met’s existing recruitment crisis.The rise will push up the allowance – which has not been updated since 1981 – from £1,011 to £4,338.In addition, officers will continue to receive the London weighting, which currently stands at £1,662, taking their total payments for working in the capital to £6,000. But the increase in the London allowance will only apply to officers recruited after September 1994. Earlier this year, the Police Federation called for a review of the London payment to tackle the recruitment problem. Vice-chairman Dave Rodgers said the force was losing more staff than it was taking on because potential new recruits could not afford to buy a house in London. Met ups London pay to gain staffOn 25 Jul 2000 in Personnel Today Comments are closed. last_img read more

Office romances pose a problem for firms

first_img Previous Article Next Article Comments are closed. Office romances pose a problem for firmsOn 17 Oct 2000 in Personnel Today Few employers have a written policy on romantic relationships between staff, although many believe they harm teamwork.A survey from employment analysts IRS has found most employers choose to tackle the problem by having a quiet word with the couple. This task is usually split between the line manager and the HR department. But in one in five companies nobody has taken the lead in resolving the issue.The survey questioned 94 private and public sector organisations about consensual sexual and romantic relationships in the workplace, and what policies were used to deal with them.Most respondents believed there was little impact on workplace performance, but 36 per cent believed teamwork would be adversely affected, and 27 per cent considered that the working environment and atmosphere were likely to be damaged.Respondents felt this was a “fraught” issue, and many said they wanted it handled better. More than a third of those questioned said they are planning to make changes during the next five years.Angela Baron, employee resourcing advisor to the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, said she is not surprised at the lack of formal policies dealing with romantic relationships at work. “It is an area which is impossible to legislate. The advice we give is that if someone is in a relationship and not performing their job adequately, the issue should be dealt with under disciplinary relationships, which is about avoiding bringing personal activities into the office,” she said.Baron believes companies are cautious about how they act in this area since they do not want to drive relationships underground, particularly if company security could be threatened as a result.“For employers such as banks there are solid business and security reasons for having policies. The important thing is not to legislate against it, but to manage the consequences,” she said.How many workplace relationships take place is still unclear. Anecdotal evidence indicates that 50 per cent of people meet their partners at work, although recent statistical evidence seems to refute this. But for one respondent the issue is a live one. “This organisation has an astonishingly high rate of relationships. It does not seem to affect the workings of the business, except where there is a line-management issue,” was the comment.• IRS Employment Trends, 020-7354 5858web link www.irseclipse.co.uk Some views on work relationships“The manufacturing sector is very traditional in that many families work in the same environment. Consensual relationships are accepted as commonplace and not necessarily discouraged.”“This is such a difficult area – personal life versus private life versus work life. There should be guidelines HR can give to managers, including on working arrangements if the two parties work together.”“In an ideal world it would not happen, but it does, and is a problem which all managers will have to address at some point”“We do not find relationships unacceptable as long as professionalism is maintained and the business is not compromised.”“We have found these types of relationship usually end with one of the parties leaving the workplace when it finishes.”By Kathy Watson Related posts:No related photos.last_img read more

Expert advice

first_imgSeveral cases have now established what the role of the OHphysician is and what he or she is or is not expected to comment upon. Tworecent cases both involve the same employer and the same OH physician. In the first of these cases – Vicary v British Telecommunications,1999, IRLR 680 – the Employment Appeal Tribunal made it clear that it was notfor the OH physician to express an opinion as to what is or is not a normalday-to-day activity nor was it her duty to tell the tribunal whether theimpairments were or were not substantial. Those are matters for the employmenttribunal to arrive at its own assessment. Previous Article Next Article The role of OH physicians and nurses In those cases the courts would take careful note of anypublished guidelines of clinical governance as a guide to whether or not anegligent practice had been adopted. Level of expertise The Regional Medical Officer Dr Macaulay was described bythe employment tribunal as “an impressive witness”. She had a specialqualification in occupational medicine and had attended a number of courses onthe Disability Discrimination Act 1995 and its application in the employmentfield. Comments are closed. Anyone holding them selves out as an “expert” isexpected to operate to the highest standard of care as practised by the verybest in that profession. Some practical advice However, now the courts are taking a slightly different viewof experts. In the case of Bolitho v City and Hackney Health Authority, 1997, 3WLR 1151, the House of Lords held that in most cases where distinguishedexperts in the field were of a particular opinion, that would be ademonstration of the reasonableness of that opinion. However, there may becases where the court was not satisfied with this evidence. This article looks at these issues and offers some advicefor OH staff when operating in what might be a litigious matter. – Stick to your remit and do not overstep your proper anddesignated role. If you are asked for advice on a sickness, absence, pensionor PHI matter. OH nurses should be qualified with the appropriate relevantcredentials in occupational health issued by the RCN or UKCC. Again trainingand re-training is essential during the course of employment. The courts have in the past taken the view of the medicalexpert as to what standard can be expected of a specialist in that particularfield. Before the Woolf reforms (of the civil courts and procedure), medicalexperts appointed by both parties would fight it out in court – entreating thejudge to accept one opinion rather than the other. Following the Woolf reforms,it is expected that the parties will agree a joint expert and that the courtwill not be asked to accept one expert view rather than another. Related posts:No related photos. “Nor is it”, held the EAT, “for the medicalexpert to tell the tribunal whether the impairments which had been found provedwere or were not substantial. These are matters for the Employment Tribunal toarrive at its own assessment” Negligence is established when the doctor or nurse’s act oromission (or advice) falls below that expected of a person of that level ofexpertise, and that act or omission has caused physical, mental and/or financialdamage to a patient or employer. If, in a rare case, it had been demonstrated that theprofessional opinion was incapable of withstanding logical analysis, the judgewas entitled to hold that it could not provide the benchmark by reference towhich the doctor’s conduct fell to be assessed. When it comes to the standard of care expected, the normalrule is that a doctor or nurse will be judged by the same standards as those ofa reasonably competent member of that profession. In other words, a doctor or nurse will be held to benegligent if he or she has failed “to exercise the ordinary skill of adoctor (in the appropriate speciality, if he be a specialist)”. The EAT criticised the employment tribunal for its approachand made this statement about seminars and courses: “…the fact that themedical adviser had been told on some disability discrimination course orseminar that something was or was not a normal day-to-day activity is not ofrelevance to the tribunal’s determination. It is not for a doctor to express anopinion as to what is a normal day-to-day activity. That is a matter for [theemployment tribunal] to consider using their common sense.” – Don’t feel threatened or intimidated by either theemployee – in rare cases doctors and nurses have been threatened with physicalor oral abuse from disgruntled employees – or by the employer; in some cases itis sensible to have a chaperone present and a tape recorder so that you candictate your observations during the course of the examination. – Re-read the scheme to ensure that the employee is givenall his/her rights. The EAT held that the employment tribunal had beenover-influenced by the employer’s regional medical officer’s opinion of whetheror not the impairments were “substantial” under the Act and in effectadopted her assessment instead of making their own. – Have a copy of the up-to-date sick pay/early retirement,long-term disability scheme or policy so you know exactly what the rules foreligibility are and what your role is. I am currently advising an employer who refused to allow anappeal from a refusal to give a long-term disability pension – only to findupon reading the scheme that employees have the right of appeal with a newindependent consultant, if they do not accept the original decision! Expert adviceOn 1 Feb 2001 in Clinical governance, Personnel Today Nobody’s perfect but if you act as an expert you mustexhibit the best possible standard of care. Here are the issues and some practical advice.  By Gillian Howard The common law has always made it clear that no one, howevereminent in their field, is expected to be perfect. In one case the Court ofAppeal stated that “The law does not require of a professional man that hebe a paragon combining the qualities of a polymath and prophet”. The court had to be satisfied that the exponents of a bodyof professional opinion relied upon had demonstrated that such opinion had alogical basis and in particular had directed their minds, where appropriate, tothe question of comparative risks and benefits to reach a defensibleconclusion. Anyone who calls them selves an “OHphysician/adviser” would be expected to be qualified in that field. Inother words, OH physicians should at the very least have gained the Diploma inOccupational Medicine from the Faculty of Occupational Medicine. Suchphysicians should also ensure that they are kept up to date by attendingseminars on the latest case law and legal developments in the occupationalhealth field and perhaps then move on to take the Membership or Fellowshipexaminations. During the course of her evidence, she gave her opinion onwhether the applicant’s impairment could be regarded as “substantial”under the terms of the Disability Discrimination Act 1995. The employmenttribunal accepted her evidence as if she were an “expert” givingevidence in the High Court. This was wrong! Two years later and with the same Dr Macaulay givingevidence in the tribunal, the EAT reminded her again of her role in disabilitydiscrimination cases – Abadeh v British Telecommunications, 2001, IRLR 23. Itheld: “It is not the task of the medical expert to tell the tribunalwhether an impairment was or was not substantial. That is a question which thetribunal itself has to answer. The medical report should deal with the doctor’sdiagnosis of the impairment, the doctor’s observations of the employee carryingout day-to-day activities and the ease with which he was able to perform thosefunctions, together with any relevant opinion as to the prognosis and theeffect of any medication.” For both OH physicians and nurses, the need to have anup-to-date library and subscriptions to relevant materials in employment lawand occupational health  is essential aswell as regularly attending training sessions and seminars. In other words, it is not the role of the OH physician totell the tribunal whether an impairment was or was not “substantial”.This was the role of the tribunal and the question that it had to answer – acase of deja vu for the OH physician! Gillian Howard is an employment lawyer and consultant withLondon law firm Howard & Howard Several recent cases concerning the DisabilityDiscrimination Act 1995 have highlighted the distinct and specific role of theOH expert and have clarified where the expert’s evidence should start andfinish. The Bolitho decision Part of the role of the OH physician or nurse is to advisemanagement accordingly when presented with employees who have chronic orlong-term illness or injury; potential disability issues and the need foradjustments at their workplace; possible long-term disability claims; andemployees who remain at work who may have mental health problems or alcohol ordrug addiction problems. The standard of care What do you need to be? As far as employers are concerned, it is imperative that anOH physician or nurse keeps up to date with the relevant employment legislationand case law so that they are in a position to advise accordingly. “A professional man (or woman) is not guilty ofnegligence if he (she) has acted in accordance with a practice accepted asproper by a responsible body of medical men (women) skilled in that particularart. Putting it the other way around, a man (woman) is not negligent, if he(she) is acting in accordance with such a practice, merely because there is abody of opinion which would take a contrary view.” Disability and discrimination – Take advice from colleagues, your professional body ordefence union if you are unsure of what advice to give. The courts as a general rule still use the famous Bolam test(Bolam v Friern Hospital Management Committee, 1957, 1 WLR 582) to determinethe question of negligence. What is negligence?last_img read more

Call to curb rise in top pay

first_img Previous Article Next Article Leaders of the £650bn pensions industry have criticised government ministersfor failing to introduce tough measures which could help shareholders curb therise of company directors’ pay. The NAPF urged members at its annual conference to lobby the top 750companies and persuade them to put their pay reports to a vote of shareholders.Only 10 of the UK’s top 350 companies held a shareholder vote on directors’pay structures last year, according to the association. In a letter to itsmembers, chairman of NAPF’s investment committee Alan Rubenstein backed arecent demand by institutional investors for more accountability on pay. A group of institutional investors led by Hermes, one of the UK’s largestfund managers, have asked companies to put their remuneration reports to a voteat their annual general meetings. Together this group owns more than 5 per centof the UK stock market. Related posts:No related photos. Call to curb rise in top payOn 30 May 2001 in Personnel Today Comments are closed. last_img read more

Learning for life: Osteoporosis

first_img1.c) Undertake a literature search on osteoporosis inorder to update and revise your knowledge of this disease in more depth. 2.d); 3. b); 4. d); 5. a); 6. a) What do you know about ultrasound? Thinkabout how you can find more information about the different types of ultrasoundequipment available. Discuss with your colleagues the value of the differenttypes of equipment in your work area. 7. c); 8. d) Review the healthpromotion work that you do on “healthy living and healthylifestyles”. Do you cover, or take into account osteoporosis in this work?9. b); 10. b) Design a programme or a poster on osteoporosis awarenessfor use in your area of practice. Comments are closed. Related posts:No related photos. Previous Article Next Articlecenter_img Learning for life: OsteoporosisOn 1 Jul 2001 in Personnel Today Life Long Learning and Continuing Professional Development are the processesby which professionals, such as nurses, develop and improve their practice. There are many ways to address CPD: formally, through attending courses,study days and workshops; or informally, through private study and reflection.Reading articles in professional journals is a good way of keeping up-to-datewith what is going on in the field of practice, but reflecting and identifyingwhat you have learnt is not always easy. These questions are designed to helpyou to identify what you have learnt from studying the article. They will alsohelp you to clarify what you can apply to practice, what you did not understandand what you need to explore further. 1. Osteoporosis affects a) All women b) One in three women c) One in three women and one in 12 men d) One in 12 women and one in three men 2. Per year osteoporosis costs the NHS a) £15,000 b) £150,000 c) £1.5m d) £1,500m 3. Half the survivors of a fractured hip a) Are permanently disabled b) Never regain their former level of independence c) Always regain their level of independence d) Make a complete recovery 4. New bone is laid down by cells called a) osteoclasts b) osteobasts c) osteophytes d) osteoblasts 5. The World Health Organisation defines osteoporosis in terms of a) Bone density b) Fracture risk c) Post-menopausal age at time of fracture d) Ratio of healthy bone 6. Ultrasound is ideal in a community setting because it is a) Safe, painless, portable and quick b) Safe, painless, portable and inexpensive c) Safe, painless, inexpensive and quick d) Safe, quick, inexpensive and portable 7. Which of the following is NOT part of an osteoporosis risk assessment?a) It must be carried out by trained personnel b) There must be an auditable set of procedures c) It must use the most easy-to-use equipment d) The full range of risk factors should be investigated 8. Women can take action to reduce bone loss by a) Taking medication b) Seeing their doctor for a prescription c) Doing nothing and resting d) Following a healthy lifestyle 9. Which of the following is NOT an increased risk factor inosteoporosis? a) Early menopause b) Regular exercise c) Previous fracture after a minor accident d) Family history of a broken hip 10. Occupational health nurses can help to a) Take on the work of the GP b) Prevent 200,000 fractures a year in the UK c) Carry out tests as no special training is needed d) Reduce GPs’ budgets Feedbacklast_img read more