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By Jeffrey Jacobs, M.D., M.P.H.
However you choose to pronounce the acronym, it’s helpful to understand the origins of ORCHSE Strategies.
The company was established as Organization Resources Counselors, Inc., in 1972 to facilitate industry understanding of governmental occupational health, safety and environmental policy and regulatory decision-making. Health, Safety and Environment was later added to the name to represent the interests of member organizations in diverse industry sectors.
I recently attended an ORCHSE meeting in northern Virginia to meet with other EH&S professionals. I was impressed with the quality of the presentations. One in particular stood out.
James Wesdock, M.D., M.P.H., Global Health Director at Alcoa, presented a straight-forward proposal to offer all welders a vaccine to protect against pneumonia. He explained the reasoning behind this initiative:
According to data presented by Dr. Wesdock:
By comparison, about 1 million people get pneumonia and approximately 50,000 die of it annually in the U.S., the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports. Vaccination could help prevent many of these illnesses and deaths.
Alcoa has offered voluntary vaccination to its employees since June 2017. Nearly 800 welders have been vaccinated (about 30 percent of eligible employees). In Brazil, a group of 76 Aloca workers uniformly accepted the vaccine. In the United States, only about 13 percent of eligible individuals have agreed to receive the vaccine.
It appears that cultural norms influence vaccination rates. For example, Dr. Wesdock said Brazilian workers may be more willing to trust medical authorities and accept their recommendations than employees in the U.S.
He encourages corporate medical directors in companies with welders to consider this preventive approach. For more information, contact Dr. Jacobs: Jeffrey.firstname.lastname@example.org
Dr. Jeffrey Jacobs is Vice President/Clinical Lead, Medical Exams & Travel, and an Associate Medical Director at WorkCare.
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