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In the News
They're back! After decades of being largely wiped out in Western countries, the bed bug made a comeback in the 1990's. Since then bed bug infestations have been on the rise, usually occurring in or around places where people sleep such as apartments, hotels, rooming houses, shelters, dorms, and private homes.
However as recent outbreaks have shown, these tiny parasites are known to travel, hitching rides on luggage, purses, clothing and books, and showing up in non-residential environments and workplaces such as offices, waiting rooms, retail stores, theatres and even libraries. Anyone can get an infestation of bed bugs and this does not mean a lack of cleanliness.
About bed bugs
Bed bugs (Cimex lectularius) are small, oval shaped, wingless insects, about the size of apple seeds. They typically feed on a diet consisting solely of blood once a week, but they can live for months without feeding. They usually come out at night to feed on the blood of people and animals, biting their victims as they sleep. Bed bugs are not known to spread diseases and the bites do not usually require any medical treatment. Some people however can have an allergic reaction to the bite, developing itchy welts. Scratching the bites can lead to infection.
The flattened bodies of bed bugs allow them to hide in very small places such as seams of mattresses, cracks, crevices, electrical outlets, box springs, bed frames, headboards, behind wallpaper, or in any other objects around a bed or on the floor. Bed bugs can't climb metal or polished surfaces and aren't able to fly or jump.
Workers at risk of workplace exposure
Bed bugs can be unknowingly brought into the workplace by employees, custodial staff, visitors, customers, vendors, clients and others. People who work in or visit locations with bed bug infestations, especially workers who handle bedding, clothing, or furniture where bed bugs could be hiding, are at higher risk for exposure. These occupations include fire fighters, health care professionals, housing management staff, housekeeping and custodial staff, police, and social workers who work in or visit hospitals, long-term care facilities, shelters, rooming houses, hotels, motels and residences.
If you pick up bed bugs while you are working, you could spread the infestation to other sites such as your central workplace, vehicle, or home, as well as to your work equipment and personal belongings.
What to do to prevent picking up bugs
Bed bugs have to hitch a ride to travel, therefore take these precautions while at the worksite to reduce the risk of picking up bed bugs:
What employers can do to prevent bed bug infestations
What to do after leaving a potentially bed bug infested location
Found a bed bug at your worksite?
More information about bed bug prevention
Office work may seem harmless enough, sitting all day at a desk using a computer. However all that prolonged sitting, typing on a keyboard and using a mouse for hours at a stretch every day can set the stage for musculoskeletal injuries (MSIs). Symptoms of an MSI can include pain, joint stiffness, weak or aching muscles, redness and swelling, numbness and tingling, a burning sensation, and a general feeling of tiredness.
The three factors that present the greatest risk for MSIs involve:
CCOHS produces free monthly podcasts on a wide variety of topics designed to keep you current with information, tips and insights into the health, safety and well-being of working Canadians. You can download the audio segment to your computer or MP3 player and listen to it at your own convenience...or on the go!
Radiation in the Workplace: The Basics
This month's edition of Health and Safety To Go! features Claire Cohalan, of the Radiation Safety Institute of Canada in the first of this special two-part mini-series on radiation in the workplace. This episode focuses on radiation basics such as what radiation is, where it can be found and the health effects to workers.
The podcast runs 9:26 minutes. Listen to the podcast now.
Encore podcast: Workplace Noise
Occupational noise is one of the most common health hazards in the workplace and can affect people differently, depending on how susceptible they are. CCOHS explains the types of workplace noise and how it can affect your health.
The podcast runs 4:22 minutes. Listen to the podcast now.
See the complete list of podcast topics. Better yet, subscribe to the series on iTunes and don't miss a single episode.
CCOHS created a membership program to offer greater value to their clients as well as build stronger and more dynamic client relationships. The Membership Program offers organizations the opportunity to advance their health and safety programs through close affiliation and collaboration with CCOHS, and its extensive network and wealth of resources. Becoming a member can enhance your organization's ability to stay compliant, show due diligence, and achieve excellence in every aspect of their health and safety initiatives.
There are five levels of membership to choose from: Platinum, Gold, Silver and Bronze as well as a recently added Student option. Annual memberships start from as low as $100. Plus there's a $25 option for students wishing to get the jump start on their health and safety career.
Advance your organization's health and safety program by joining the CCOHS Membership Program and you'll receive:
CCOHS is calling for entries for the annual Dick Martin Scholarship Award. If you are enrolled in an occupational health and safety programme (that leads to an occupational health and safety certificate, diploma or degree) in a Canadian college or university - you qualify! If you aren't a student yourself, pass this along to someone who is. This year CCOHS will award three scholarships of $3,000 each.
How to apply
All you have to do is submit a 1000-1200 word essay on a topic related to your area of study in occupational health and safety. Essays will be judged on the intellectual content, the practical and theoretical value and the presentation and style.
So get busy - the entry deadline is January 31, 2012.
Learn more and apply for the scholarship.
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The Health and Safety Report, a free monthly newsletter produced by the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS), provides information, advice, and resources that help support a safe and healthy work environment and the total well being of workers.
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