Most people acknowledge that they are not getting enough sleep and that this lack of sleep affects everything from their work to their marital life. Groups such as the National Sleep Foundation regularly announce that at least one-fifth of Americans sleep fewer than 6 hours a night and are sleep deprived. The National Sleep Foundation’s 2008 “Sleep in America Poll,” found that 29% of Americans fall asleep or become very sleepy at work. Phillips Consumer Lifestyle 2010 “Workplace Power Outage Sleep Study” found that nearly one-fourth of 1,000 U.S. office workers admitted to stealing a nap at work. We know better, but we skip sleep anyway. Likewise, management’s response ranges from disinterest to actively encouraging employees to skip sleep and get in more hours.
Big law firms, accounting houses and especially hospitals have long prided themselves on requiring young professionals to work extraordinary hours, and perversely, young professionals wear their sleep deprivation as a badge of honor. Their seniors reason that they put in such absurd hours, so why should the youngsters be any different. Why indeed?
I wince whenever I see motivational posters with an eagle soaring over a mountain and a stirring phrase. That’s not me. Cute phrases and motivational posters have limited effect on a guy who has handled 520 worker fatality cases and hundreds of internal investigations, union drives, and corporate campaigns. But Jere Bucholz’ explanation of how NASA learns from failures was from the real world and motivated me. After the Challenger explosion, NASA could easily have shifted to a bureaucratic mode of always taking the safe course and spending time on justifying one’s actions in the event that they are challenged. That CYA approach won’t put men on Mars or attract and keep the talent necessary to meet that goal. I recently read a Wall Street Journal article about the highly regarded former Army General McCrystal. By all accounts, McCrystal was a superb battlefield general, but he became ensnared in an interview with the never-to-be-trusted Rolling Stone newspaper and had to resign. He’s not a whiner and doesn’t deny his actions. I can’t imagine the pain a genuine warrior feels at leaving the army at his zenith, but McCrystal has moved on and developed a business career.
After 31 years as a labor lawyer, I don’t often feel like an amateur, but that’s how I felt listening to day one’s HR and academic presenters. We overuse the term “Thought Leaders,” but the expression fit the speakers. All of them dug deeply into HR and Talent topics without coming unmoored from practical application. I’ll write more as time permits, but today I want to share a few “nuggets.”
We actively support industry and trade association safety and HR efforts. Please send us information on Safety and HR events, and when we can do so, we will publicize your efforts. Here are some recent examples of successful safety and HR efforts and in BOLD, upcoming opportunities.
OSHA has finally released the Construction Confined Space standard. In addition to the Standard, OSHA has established an improved Construction Confined Spaces page, complete with four new Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) handouts. The final Standard is what we were led to expect when we visited DC last month and more aligns General Industry and Construction practices. See OSHA Press Release.
OSHA has finally released the Construction Confined Spaces standard. In addition to the Standard, OSHA has established an improved Construction Confined Spaces page, complete with four new Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) handouts. The final Standard is what we were led to expect when we visited DC last month and more aligns General Industry and Construction practices. See OSHA Press Release.