Introduction.

I started these posts after my partner Travis Vance and I realized that our clients and Firm friends are eager for information in areas other than labor, OSHA, and employment law. A number of nationally renowned thought leaders argue that law firms should broaden their content. I believe that an effective manager or executive is a whole person and their interests and needs are broad. Can one be an effective leader without good health, knowledge, ethics, and happiness? On a practical note, many folks ask me, “What are you reading or listening to?” Respondents to last week’s Roundup seemed to like the Podcast recommendations and movie comments, so we’ll do them again.

We'd really like it if more of you sent in your input, including:

  • Suggestions for topics -what's on your mind?
  • Thought leaders, articles, books or podcasts which have affected you;
  • Your observations about creating a safer and better run workplace.

Thanks.

This Week’s Labor, Employment Law and OSHA Legal Developments.

  • I hoped that we would not have to deal with a Federal Government Shutdown. If the shutdown persists, it will affect OSHA, NLRB and EEOC case handling, which is especially tough for OSHA with their six-month period in which to complete and issue citations. Go to this LINK for our complete analysis of the effects.
  • One question bantered about on Twitter was whether the Shutdown would “toll” OSHA deadlines, such as the 15 working day Contest period or the six-month time in which to issue citations. The answer was NO. Don’t get caught missing a deadline.
  • Halleluiah, the Senate HELP Committee approved proposed Assistant Secretary of Labor – OSHA Scott Mugno on January 18 … again. Hopefully he’ll be approved by the full senate and in office by the time of the ABA OSHA Midwinter Meeting, and can tell us a bit about his plans. The Committee also passed Patrick Pizzella for deputy labor secretary, Wage and Hour Division administrator nominee Cheryl Stanton, and William Beach for commissioner of the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
  • I want to reiterate a common topic at the AGC-National Safety Committee Winter Meetings: Fleet Safety Management. Construction contractors, ready mix and similar employers face their greatest civil and workers comp liability for their vehicles. Struck-bys involving loaders or bobcats on a site – employees hurt jumping off a truck –or worst of all an accident involving a member of the public. It is not just trucking and logistics companies facing these safety and liability challenges. Carl Heinlein of ACIG and a tireless worker for employee safety sent the following link to the National Safety Council, which has defensive diving and other materials.
  • Starting with UNITE-HERE’s war on Hyatt, we have long tracked efforts by unions to organize hotel housekeeping employees using safety as the wedge between employees and the employer and especially ergonomic injuries. A part of this campaign has been to seek local ordinances and State-OSHA rules focusing on Ergonomic injuries and seeking limits on the number of beds made per day, types of sheets, etc. The most significant move was Cal-OSHA’s Approval of a Housekeeping Standard, which is likely to go into effect later this year. Remember that unions win the highest percentage of organizing efforts where safety is a major issue.

Podcasts that Helped Me.

The Importance of Sleep. (Huge issues for each of us professionals and cause of safety issues).

Former SEAL Medical Officer Dr. Kirk Parsley, in The Vital Importance of Sleep, on Mark Divine’s Unbeatable Mind podcast succinctly explained the harm to one’s testosterone and other effects of regular sleep deprivation, and the connection to weight gain, fatigue and diminished judgment. Dr. Parsley talked also about our high achieving culture which values and boasts about not sleeping enough and the foolishness of that attitude.

I have long believed that fatigue is the most common threat to employee safety, judgment and productivity. Please see my past FP posts: LINK 1, and LINK 2 of two-part series, and LINK 3.

Personality Types.

Apparently I am the only person in the Country who was not familiar with Gretchen Rubin. I had even bought my wife Rubin’s NYT bestseller, The Happiness Project. I listened to Rubin first on my go-to source of interesting people, The Tim Ferriss Show, on which Tim interviewed her. I was struck by her down-to-earth nature and self-deprecating manner. I commend his interview because Tim leads her to talk about her own life, her routine, and how she found her calling> Rubin is a morning person, task-oriented, and an “Upholder” under her analysis of traits – and yet she avoids the appearance of being judgmental and rigid of many people of this type.

She is all over YouTube, but I next listened to an interview of her on the Commonwealth Club of California podcast series where she talked about how she classifies people by her “Four Tendencies.” I’ve ordered her book, The Four Tendencies: The Four Personality Profiles that Reveal How to Make Your Life Better (and Other People’s Lives Better Too). Her Four Tendencies are:

  • Upholders respond readily to both outer expectations and inner expectations.
  • Questioners question all expectations; they meet an expectation only if they believe it’s justified, so in effect they respond only to inner expectations.
  • Obligers respond readily to outer expectations but struggle to meet inner expectations
  • Rebels resist all expectations, outer and inner alike.

The primary audience of such books is the individual who wants to improve oneself – which means almost all of us – but I am also eager to apply such analysis in the workplace to better manage people and to work better with other leaders. One has to understand how people are wired differently than you in order to manage or work with them. Might avoid a few lawsuits as well ....

Movies I’ve Lately Seen.

While in California on business, I spent time with my son who is working in the entertainment industry. I saw two of the 2017 movies that he most loved; both of which are contenders for various Oscar nominations, including Best Picture.

  • The Shape of Water. I love Guillermo del Toro’s movies and am eager to see him win a Best Picture Oscar and join the other two members of the “Three Amigos,” Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, and Alfonso Cuaron, who already have their Oscars. Despite people wondering if the movie was weird and whether the wildly overhyped scene of a woman having sex with the monster was as creepy as it sounded … the movie is beautiful, and the 60’s Cold War setting is fascinating in its cultural references and in its striking look.
  • Lady Bird touched me and made me smile, although, as a dad, this story of a senior in a Sacramento Catholic School also tugged at my heart. My son said that the movie touched his emotions of any he saw this year. My wife laughed through it, which is understandable because one can see themselves in the characters. Also, if you sent your kids through Catholic School, you’re laugh along with the affectionate humor. Sweet movie and brilliantly done.

It’s tough for me to rank the movies that “I” think are 2017’s best, and I have not yet seen the Florida Project. So far, my top three are:

  • The Shape of Water
  • Lady Bird

Dunkirk comes close to tying with Darkest Hour, and Darkest Hour with Lady Bird. Some days, I feel like moving Darkest Hours and Dunkirk up to numbers one and two – which is why I could not be a decisive film critic. In some ways, it is a shame that we had two brilliant movies about the beginning of WW II in the same year. Nevertheless, the order of release is backwards. Dunkirk came out first but the events in Darkest Hour immediately precede it. If you have not seen either movie, watch Dunkirk first.

Howard

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.

I’ll share below documented conclusions about how sleep deprived employees harm the workplace.

  • In a 2009, Journal of Psychology article on the Mining Industry, University of Washington Foster School of Business Professor Christopher Barnes found that people, on average, slept 40 minutes less than normal on the Sunday night after first switching to Daylight Savings Time. On the next work day, there was a 50% increase in severe accidents resulting in injuries, medical attention and absence from the job, and an overall 6% increase in workplace accidents.
  • Barnes found in another story that fatigued employees are more likely to “cyber loaf” and check out websites when they should be working. Similarly, late night use of smart phones for work was documented to result in a less engaged and effective employee in the office the following day.
  • Manufacturing and construction employers are effectively using LEAN philosophies to more effectively complete production. However, as Susan L. Kone, Ph.D., found, the LEAN staffing model may be at cross purposes with the business strategy and actually cause more production errors.
  • Properly carried out, LEAN manufacturing holds out great promise. However, some employers simply reduce the number of employees without determining how to improve productivity through training, engineering, and work practice changes.
  • One’s judgment and self-control declines when one is fatigued. Dr. Barnes’ 2013 Harvard Business Review Blog concluded that “sleep deprived people are more likely to cheat.”
  • University of Kentucky professor and DeWall lab director, Dr. C. Nathan DeWall, has established that metabolic depletion “lack of energy” and sleep deprivation limits one’s self-control.
  • Nancy Shoot pointed out in a March 2013 MPR piece that:

“People eat more when they’re short of sleep. And that impulse to snarf when sleepy can cause quick weight gain … people who are allowed to sleep just 5 hours a night ate more than when they received 9 hours of sleep. In only 5 days of shortened sleep, they gained almost 2 pounds!

  • In an August 2013 MPR article, Professor Penelope Lewis, author of “The Secret World of Sleep: The Surprising Science of the Mind at Rest,” explained that we replay and consolidate memories while asleep. Put simply, sleep less, and remember less.
  • In an April 2015 Ted talk Russell Foster explained that:

Our ability to come up with novel solutions to complex problems is hugely enhanced by a night of sleep. In fact, it’s been estimated to give us a 3-fold advantage. Sleeping at night enhances our creativity.

By now, like many executives, you may agree that sleep deprivation causes problems in the workplace, but what are you going to do about it?

Put simply, employers have to incorporate admonitions to sleep into training and mentorship.Employees, in particularly managers and professionals, will not sleep more until they learn that their failure to get enough sleep will affect their professional success.