CPD: And breathe – managing employees with work-exacerbated asthma

first_img No comments yet. Leave a Reply Click here to cancel reply.Comment Name (required) Email (will not be published) (required) Website In the UK some three-and-a-half million adults of working age suffer from asthma. Through analysis of the intervention to support one worker, Barbra Grohs and Professor Anne Harriss show the important role that occupational health can play in helping to manage and risk manage this condition, especially when it is being exacerbated by the workplace.The aim of this article is to present the occupational health (OH) care of Mali (a pseudonym), a soldering technician, who had been referred to OH by his manager following seven episodes of short-term absence related to asthma.These absences had resulted from exacerbations of his existing asthma and had arisen since commencing his role. There were concerns these absences could be associated with the work processes he performed.About the authorsBarbra Grohs is a specialist occupational health adviser and Professor Anne Harris is emeritus professor in occupational healthWhen undertaking a management referral, the OH nurse/client interaction is associated with professional responsibilities. This includes the OH nurse having a duty to ensure from the outset that the employee has been properly informed of the purpose of the consultation and ensuring they have consented to the process and the preparation and release of an OH report.Written consent to proceed with the consultation was therefore obtained. The role of the advisor and of the OH service in ensuring employees are not harmed by the work they perform was explained and the OH role in promoting the health and wellbeing of the workforce was highlighted (Thornbory, 2014).To establish transparency, the reason for the referral was discussed. The questions raised by his manager and sickness absence dates were confirmed. The consequences of Mali not consenting to either the referral or release of the report were clearly explained.The nature of the report to be sent to his manager following the consultation was clarified and he was told he could have sight of it before it was sent to the referring manager to correct any factual inaccuracies.The confidential nature of the consultation was explained, as was how any health information would be used. Personal information must be kept confidential and information disclosed with the employee’s consent and only when justified. Once this had been established the consultation was undertaken.Characteristics of asthmaAsthma is a common respiratory condition affecting people of all ethnicities, genders and across the age spectrum. It is characterised by airway inflammation, bronchial hyper-reactivity and bronchospasm leading to symptoms of recurring chest tightness, wheezing coughing and breathlessness. It is one of the major non-communicable diseases with more than 235 million people living with this condition (World Health Organization (WHO) 2017).In the UK three-and-a-half million adults of working age suffer from asthma (Asthma UK, 2019) with a significant national impact, as the NHS spends £1bn per annum on treating this condition (Lofts & Wong 2018).Mali disclosed having suffered with asthma since childhood, explaining that strong smells, exercise and stress triggered attacks.He had observed an association between a recent exacerbation of his symptoms and his work as a welder. Such an association has also been noted by the Health and Safety Executive (2019).Recognising trigger factors is important, as avoiding triggers can improve their symptoms reducing the likelihood of an acute exacerbation of their condition.Mali’s condition was controlled using Symbicort and Ventolin inhalers. He was a non-smoker and, other than long-standing seasonal rhinitis, had no other long-term conditions. His asthma had been well controlled until commencing his current post as a full-time soldering technician six months previously.He disclosed having been admitted to hospital for treatment for asthma two years ago, but since that point he had generally been symptom-free, rarely needing to use his Ventolin inhaler.Over the last few months however, and since taking up his current post, he was now having three to four asthma attacks each week. The effectiveness of his medication had last been reviewed by his general practitioner three months previously.Mali’s work tasks involved melting and applying solder using colophony, a rosin-based solder flux. Colophony, a known asthmagen (Health and Safety Executive 2015) is a common cause of occupational sensitisation.It has been identified as one of the top five causes of occupational asthma and in the top ten for causing allergic alveolitis, eye irritation and rhinitis (Burge, 2000). Since starting this job, his use of inhalers had increased and his hayfever symptoms, which included rhinitis and eye irritation, had worsened.Asthma control testAn indication of the level of symptom control can be assessed using the asthma control test (Nathan et al 2004). This incorporates five multi-choice questions producing an overall score of between 5-25, with a score below 19 indicating sub-optimal control. Mali scored within in this category.A purely biomedical model could have been used to identify and document health issues. Such an approach has its limitations as it focuses on biological pathology but fails to take into account subjective experiences and human qualities (Palmer et al, 2013). The biopsychosocial model (BPSM) proposed by Engel (1980) incorporates a more holistic approach than the pure medical model incorporating additional psychosocial facets.Although preferable to a purely medical model, the shortfall is that it lacks sufficient focus on factors within the workplace. The seminal Hanasaari (1988) model takes workplace issues into consideration. Consequently, the assessment process was guided by both the Hanasaari (1988) model and the BPSM, as this provided a systematic approach to taking a medical, psychological and social history and considers the client within the context of the workplace.How these approaches were applied is discussed below. The Hanasaari (1988) model was selected to guide the consultation, as it incorporates a global view on assessing the relationship between the employee (man), health and work represented by the central triad (Federation of Occupational Health Nursing in the European Union (FOHNEU), 1998).An outer circle acknowledges global effects, includes the economic, political, social, ecological and organisational factors. Within these global concepts lie organisational policies and procedures and the legal aspects discussed above, such as the requirements of Section 2 of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH) Regulations 2002.With regards to COSHH, regulations six and 11 are particularly relevant, as the former requires risk assessments and the latter requires health surveillance to be offered to employees working with hazardous materials.The Equality Act 2010 is also pertinent as asthma is a long-term condition, and was significantly impacting on Mali’s quality of life. The decision regarding whether the Equality Act 2010 applies is a legal one, however, and can only be made by a judge or an employment tribunal judge.Under the Hanasaari model, occupational health is presented as a flexible, proactive influence that improves the health of employees, with the potential to affect communities outside the workplace and influencing the total environment.The level of its impact is influenced by: the global environment, teamwork, research and professional and personal values of the nurse (FOHNEU, 1998). Engel’s BPSM incorporates coloured flags representing medical, psychological and social elements that may be barriers to continuing in post.The referral information provided by Mali’s manager was important in relation to the man, work and health triad that is central to the Hanasaari (1988) model. Mali’s manager had provided data-sheets for all the materials to which Mali was exposed in the workplace, including those for solvents and cleaning agents.The data-sheets for these materials included the hazard statements H334 and H335 and risk phrases R42 and R43, indicating their association with respiratory irritation and sensitisation from inhalation and skin contact. Four of the eight chemicals he used could have been aggravating Mali’s asthma and, it was concluded, could be associated with worsening his rhinitis and his increased use of inhalers.Pathophysiological changes associated with asthmaAsthma is a heightened auto-immune response associated with environmental and genetic factors resulting from immune responses elicited by antigens and characterised by raised IgE antibody levels (Spickett, 2013).The IgE antibody is specific to one allergen, triggering the release of histamine and heparin granules from the mast cess into the interstitial tissue, resulting in oedematous and restricted airways (West and Harriss 2016).Lofts and Wong (2018) note two types of occupational asthma: irritant-induced and allergic asthma. In Mali’s case, the material data-sheets confirmed that materials he used at work included both respiratory irritants and sensitisers. Although Mali stated that his asthma attacks could also be triggered by exercise, his symptoms worsened significantly when performing soldering activities.Cullinan (2011) highlights the two broad categories of work-related asthma, the first a newly induced exposure to airborne sensitiser or irritant at work and the second a pre-existing asthma provoked by workplace exposure to aggravating agents, including exercise, fumes and dusts. Welding and soldering are high risk with regards to exacerbation of asthma and the development of occupational asthma.People with asthma have very sensitive airways, triggers causing the muscles around the airways to tighten, restricting their lumen. The lining becomes inflamed with increased sputum further narrowing them, resulting in increasing breathing difficulties (British Lung Foundation (BLF), 2019).Spirometry is the lung function test used in the assessment of people with respiratory illnesses. Three spirometry measurements, the FVC, FEV1 and FEV1/FVC ratio, are compared to predicted values based on healthy individuals with normal lung function of the same sex, age, height and ethnicity of the person being assessed.Interpretation of spirometry results involves comparing measured values to predicted values. If the FVC and the FEV1 are within 80% of the predicted value, the results are considered to be normal. The normal value for the FEV1/FVC ratio is 70% (65% in those aged over 65). The lower the measured value compared to the reference value corresponds to increasingly severe lung abnormality, as shown below.Spirometry test FVC and FEV1Normal: equal to or greater than 80%Abnormal: 70-79% (mild); 60-69% (moderate); less than 60% (severe)Spirometry test FEV1/FVC  Normal: equal to or greater than 70%Abnormal: 60-69% (mild); 50-59% (moderate); less than 50% (severe)Mali’s FEV1 was 70% of the predicted value based on his height and ethnicity and an FEV1/FVC ratio of 69% indicating a moderate abnormality and an obstructive pattern. Mali gave positive answers for asthmatic symptoms, and when spirometry was undertaken an FEV1/FVC ratio of 69% was recorded.In order to gain a better insight into the timing and severity of his symptoms, Mali was asked to participate in serial peak expiratory flow measurements. These were performed two-hourly during waking hours on both work and non-workdays and over a four-week period.The aim was to identify any patterns which might indicate work exacerbated asthma (Moore, 2012). This term describes the worsening of asthma related to work but the patient’s asthma is not caused by work.Engel’s (1980) BPSM provides a holistic understanding of health and as a function of the relationship between biological, psychological and social elements (Lunt et al, 2007) explaining biopsychosocial interrelations, coping mechanisms, personality, social support, organisational culture, and socio-economic elements.In Mali’s case, using this model for a comprehensive assessment provided reliable information for quality clinical records and reports. Central to this model is that healthcare must take account of the influence of psychosocial factors on the course of illness shifting the focus from disease and recognising that illness starts with a health problem, is subjective and has a personal, psychological dimension which is ultimately expressed in a social context (Palmer et al 2013).Cognisance of the clinical effects of asthma is referred to as red flags, (Watson, 2012) and formed one element of the consultation. The second facet of the BPSM is a range psychosocial flags.Watson (2012) observes that yellow flags consider how feelings and behaviours affect the way an employee manages a situation, black flags relate to the environment within which the employee functions whilst blue flags cover workplace concerns and the client’s perceptions regarding their work and health (Watson, 2012).Mali was keen to continue to undertake his existing work responsibilities, so there were no concerns regarding blue flags. He was aware his manager was keen to ensure that none of his team should be exposed to hazardous materials and therefore black flags were not a concern.The only other significant applicable flag was a blue flag and related to Mali’s perception that his colleagues were unsupportive. He reported they made fun of him during exacerbations of his asthma, telling him to calm down as they thought he was having a panic attack. This experience was explored with Mali, along with strategies which could be utilised to address this.Referral to an occupational physicianAs a deterioration in his lung function was noted and associated with his work with colophony he was referred to the occupational physician (OP) for a further opinion.A diagnosis of work-exacerbated asthma resulted. This condition is generally manageable provided there is careful attention to the control of workplace exposures. Elimination of causative materials, substituting these with other reagents, engineering and administrative controls are first-line control strategies.Personal protective equipment (PPE) should only be considered as the last resort once all other available control measures have been tried and deemed inadequate. This advice was incorporated in the response from the OH nurse to Mali’s manager.A further recommendation was that the efficacy of control measures should be checked and an occupational hygienist would be able to give advice on whether current control measures were both sufficient and effective.Cullinan (2011) notes that such workplace controls should be supplemented with appropriate pharmacological treatment of the underlying disease.ConclusionEffective collaboration with an OH multi-professional team including an OH nurse, physician and hygienist helped Mali returned to work safely. This supported the employer to meet its business needs and its legal obligation to ensure the safety at work of its employees.As a result of a risk assessment and a further assessment undertaken by an occupational hygienist it was decided that improvements could be made with regards to local exhaust ventilation.The specification of an extracted booth with air speed between 0.5m and 1m per second at the face of the booth and tip extraction on the soldering iron would reduce exposure to hazardous substances during soldering.Effective local exhaust ventilation or dust/fume extraction can carry away airborne contaminants before they can be inhaled.In conclusion, considering the effect of work processes on health and health on work and viewing these through the lens of the Hanasaari (1988) model focused the approach of the OH adviser when considering the effect of work processes on health and health on work.It acted as a reminder that the role of the OH adviser is to consider how work-exacerbated ill health can be addressed.The multi-disciplinary team approach involved further advice from an occupational physician and an occupational hygienist. The BPSM guided the consultation by the OH nurse and ensured psychosocial elements were acknowledged.Recommending strategies that supported Mali to remain at work and avoid unemployment was an important public health initiative, as unemployment and financial deprivation is associated with deteriorating health (Black, 2008).ReferencesAsthma UK (2019). Asthma Facts and Statistics. Available from: www.asthma.org.uk/about/media/facts-and-statistics/British Lung Foundation (2019). Spirometry and Reversibility Testing. Available from: www.blf.org.uk/support-for-you/breathing-tests/spirometry-and-reversibilityBlack, D, (2008). Working for a Healthier Tomorrow. Available from: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/209782/hwwb-working-for-a-healthier-tomorrow.pdfBurge, P., (2000). Colophony Hypersensitivity Revisited. 30. P158-9, Clin Exp Allergy. Available from www.occupationalasthma.com/occuapational_asthma_viewreference.aspx?id=4138The Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002. Available from: www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2002/2677/regulation/7/madeCullinan, P, (2011). Evidence Based Guidance for the assessment of new employees with asthma: A report to the British Occupational Health Research Foundation. Available from: http://bohrf.org.uk/downloads/Evidence_based_guidance_for_the_assessment_of_new_employees_with_asthma.pdfEngel, G, (1980). The Clinical Application of the Biopsychosocial Model. AMJ Psychiatry; 137: 535-805.Federation of Occupational Health Nurses within the European Union (FOHNEU), (1993). Hanasaari Conceptual Model. Available from: https://fohneu.org/r-d/hanasaari-modelHarriss, A, and Smith, S, (2016). Taking a Health History in Occupational Health. Available from www.personneltoday.com/hr/taking-a-health-history-in-occupational-health/Health and Safety Executive [no date], COSHH essentials: Controlling exposure to chemicals – a simple control banding approach. Available from: www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/guidance/coshh-technical-basis.pdfHealth and Safety Executive (2015), Controlling Health Risks from Rosin (Colophony) – based Solder Flux fume. Available from: www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/indg249.htmLofts, J, & Wong, C, (2018). 10 Facts about Asthma that will make you re-think the condition. Available from: www.echo.co.uk/blog/10-facts-about-asthma-that-will-make-you-rethink-the-conditionLunt, J, et al (2007). Available from: Applying the Biopsychosocial Approach to Managing Risks of Contemporary Occupational Health Conditions: Scoping Review Available from: www.hse.gov.uk/research/hsl_pdf/2007/hsl0724.pdfMoore, V, (2012). Spirometry: Step by Step. Breath ESR Journals, 8, pp232–240. DOI: 10.1183/20734735.0021711. Available from: https://breathe.ersjournals.com/content/8/3/232Nathan, R A, Sorkness, C A, Kosinksi M, et al (2004). Development of the asthma control test: a survey for assessing asthma control. Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology 113 (1) 59-65Palmer, K, Brown, I, and Hobson, J, (2013). Fitness for Work: The Medical Aspects, 5thEd. Oxford University Press, OxfordSpickett, G, (2013). Oxford Handbook of Clinical Immunology and Allergy. 3rd Edition. Oxford. Oxford University PressThornbory, G, (2014). Contemporary Occupational Health Nursing: A Guide for Practitioners. London, RoutledgeWatson, H, (2012). CPD: Psychosocial flags system. Available from: www.personneltoday.com/hr/cpd-psychosocial-flags-system/West, A, and Harriss, A, (2016). Work Aggravated Asthma. Available from: www.personneltoday.com/hr/case-study- /World Health Organization (2017). Asthma. Available from: www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/asthma Occupational Health & Wellbeing research round-up: August 2020Occupational health is “thin line” protecting the Covid-19 frontlineThe workload in healthcare occupational health has increased 20-fold as a… Occupational Health & Wellbeing research round-up: December 2020Fatigue and workplace exercise programmesWork-related fatigue is related to a range of negative consequences, including poor productivity. This study… Occupational Health & Wellbeing research round-up: October 2020Work environment risk factors for MSDsErgonomic improvements and stress reduction interventions are likely to cut the prevalence of sickness…center_img CPD: And breathe – managing employees with work-exacerbated asthmaOn 3 Jan 2020 in Continuing professional development, Respiratory, OH service delivery, Research, Return to work and rehabilitation, Occupational Health, Personnel Today Related posts: Previous Article Next Articlelast_img read more

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Frost flowers – implications for tropospheric chemistry and ice core interpretation

first_imgThis paper discusses the chemical composition of frost flowers and their accompanying slush layers and the evidence for their role as a salt source in processes important to atmospheric chemistry and ice core interpretation. Analysis of Antarctic frost flowers shows that they are highly saline and fractionated in sea-salt ions, with sulfate being depleted strongly relative to sodium. Because frost flowers give a bright return on satellite scatterometer images, the times and places of their formation can be identified. When winds blow towards an aerosol sampling station from areas identified by the scatterometer as covered with flowers, the collected aerosol is also depleted in sulfate. Because the flowers have a large salinity, bromide concentrations are elevated in frost flowers relative to seawater. With their high surface area, it is possible that bromine is released to the atmosphere from frost flowers, with consequent implications for tropospheric ozone depletion. The finding that quantities of fractionated sea salt are available at the sea–ice interface in the winter months and may be transported inland as aerosol also has implications for the interpretation of ice core records. Analysis of one near-coastal core shows that the majority of the sodium comes from a fractionated source rather than from open water. Hitherto, strong sea-salt signals in ice cores have been attributed to increased open water and more efficient transport inland, perhaps due to stormier weather. At least in coastal regions, however, these signals may be related instead to the increased formation of sea ice and frost flowers.last_img read more

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Registered Nurse II

first_imgMinimum QualificationsAssociate’s Degree or Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing.Two years of relevant experience as a licensed Registered Nurse(RN). Degrees in lieu of experience will not be accepted.Current license as a Registered Nurse (RN) by the State ofTexas Board of Nursing. Basic Life Support (BLS)Certification. SummaryThis Department of Cardiology at Baylor College of Medicine isseeking an expert level professional nurse who demonstrates amastery level proficiency in delivering patient care in theambulatory care setting. The individual will assist physicians withtreatment room examination and procedures, schedule tests andappointments, answer patient calls, record and communicateinformation to referring physicians. Serves as a resource fordepartment, Registered Nurses I and II’s, and unlicensed clinicalstaff members. Cardiology related experience as registered nurse isrequired.Job DutiesPerforms responsibilities in a manner that promotes quality andsafe patient care and a positive patient experience.Adheres to the scope of practice as defined by the Texas NursePractice Act.Provides professional nursing assessment of patients.May ensure efficient operation of the clinic or unit byscheduling and planning for use of staff, supplies, andequipment.Assists with treatment room examination and procedures onpatients.Schedules appointments, tests, and examinations with hospitaland other doctor’s offices.Documents patient care services by charting in patient’selectronic medical record.Instructs patients concerning the preparations needed for testsand surgical procedures.Communicates with other health care professionals regardingorders and care of patients.Executes physician orders and administers medications andtreatments for patients.Promotes patient’s independence by involving patient indefining and establishing patient care goals; teaching andcounseling patient, friends, and family and reinforcing theirunderstanding of disease, medications, and self-care skills.Provides telephone triage to patients and ensure patientsreceive the right level of care.Monitors Registered Nurses I & II’s, and unlicensed staffmembers by directing, guiding, and influencing the outcome of anindividual’s performance and activity.Precepts / orients new clinical staff.Delivers staff education, clinical in-services and/orparticipates in clinical staff meetings based on the needs of thedepartment.Respects and supports patient rights and promotes positivefamily and patient relations.Prioritizes and organizes work so that assignments arecompleted in an efficient and timely manner.Identifies and supports cost containment and efficiency forpatients and the clinic.Supports the clinic / departments compliance with regulatoryrequirements.Maintains clean and safe work environment; stocks, and orderstreatment room supplies.Maintains a professional and cooperative relationship amonghealth care teams by communicating information, responding torequests, and building rapport by participating in teamproblem-solving methods.Serves as a subject matter expert and clinical champion forareas of expertise within your specialty.Conducts Performance Improvement activities that support theclinic / departments goals for quality, patient experience, patientsafety, and/or efficiency. Preferred QualificationsExperience: At least one year of relevant experience inCardiology.Certification: Advanced Cardiovascular Life Support (ACLS)Certification.INR clinic experience.center_img Baylor College of Medicine is an Equal Opportunity/AffirmativeAction/Equal Access Employer.5789CA; CHlast_img read more

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Graduate starter salaries rise

first_imgNational forecasts have shown that the average graduate starter salary is set to increase by 4%, rising to £26,000 this year.This would be the largest rise in graduate starting salaries since 2007, should the forecast made by the Association of Gradute Recruiters be proved right. This has fuelled rumours that the nature of the labour market is changing, with lower interest in pure profit and a greater weight placed on the development sectors.Although statistics show that around 5-10% of graduates fail to find work in their first year after university, an Oxford University spokesperson told Cherwell, ‘Oxford is in a particularly strong position when it comes to student employment, because recruiters in all professions value the skills that the tutorial system and the rigours of an Oxford education provide.’They added, ‘This translates into very high employment rates and well above average salaries as well.’Oxford graduate statistics show that in 2010, job vacancies posted on Oxford’s careers website rose by 71% from the previous year, whilst 75% of employers report that Oxford students are more likely to have better initiative and problem-solving skills than students from other universities.60% also report that Oxford students are more likely to have all eight of the CBI’s employment skills. This translates into the graduate salary as well. Those students who go on to full time employment have a median salary 20% higher than the UK national average six months after graduating. Of those students, 20% earn more than £30,000 pounds a year, in comparison to 10% of the UK average.One recent Oxford history graduate, now at law school and employed by a top London law firm, told Cherwell, ‘I am extremely happy with my starting salary and I definitely think being an Oxford graduate gave me a big head start in getting a very competitively paid job.’However she added, ‘I have lots of friends who are also Oxford graduates and working very hard in demanding jobs whilst being paid half as much as I will be. The level of salary goes with the career path you choose, the Oxford degree is a great help in getting the job you want but won’t raise your salary compared to graduates from other universities.’According to 2012 statistics released this year, the highest graduate starter salary is still investment banking, at £45,000, whilst those entering the retail industry earn £24,000. Those in the public sector earn the lowest, with a starting salary of £23,000.last_img read more

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BREAKING NEWS: CHANNEL 44 TV

first_imgDonald Trump Lands Tri-State, Attends Private FundraiserAUGUST 15TH, 2016 MATT PEAK CAMPAIGN 2016, EVANSVILLE, INDIANA Republican Presidential Nominee Donald Trump returns to Evansville.He landed at Tri-State Aero Monday afternoon and is expected at Steve Chancellor’s residence for a fundraiser in his honor.44News Reporter William Wolkoff was at Tri-State Aero when Trump landed and 44News Reporter Heather Good reports at the site of Chancellor’s home. Mayor Winnecke And City Council Discuss The 2017 BudgetAUGUST 15TH, 2016 BRITNEY TAYLOR EVANSVILLE, INDIANA Evansville Mayor Lloyd Winnecke and the city council are discussing the 2017 budget.Council members say the total budget will be around $337 million. They also say the city will have an increase in water, gas, and electric bills of a combined $330,000.During his time in office, Mayor Winnecke has pushed for funding to rebuild Roberts Park into a walkable green space. But council members say it probably won’t fit into next year’s budget.Finance Chairman Dan McGinn says: “His pet-project is Roberts Park. He understands that may have to be put off for another year or two. So at least at this time, there is no request for budgeting for Roberts Park.”McGinn says, council members are advising Winnecke to be careful with the budget next yearFacebookTwitterCopy LinkEmailSharelast_img read more

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OCHS Girls Tennis Team is Holding a Car Wash at the Intermediate School…

first_imgTennis is part of the Ocean City recreation program for the summer. Get a clean car and help the Ocean City High School girls’ tennis team get a clean start on the season tomorrow at the annual Car Wash fundraiser.The event will take place Saturday August 27 at the Intermediate School from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. Asking price for the car wash will seriously undercut a professional wash. However, additional donations are greatly appreciated.All proceeds from the event will benefit the OCHS girl’s tennis team and senior scholarships,The tennis team, a longtime power in the Cape Atlantic League is ready for its maiden voyage in the new West Jersey Conference. Please stop by and show our Red Raiders how much we support their hard work and dedication. You will leave with a clean car and a smile on your face for helping a great cause.last_img read more

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Tix Now On Sale for The Robber Bridegroom, Starring Steven Pasquale

first_imgTickets are now available to see stage and screen fave Steven Pasquale in The Robber Bridegroom. Directed by Alex Timbers, Alfred Uhry and Robert Waldman‘s musical comedy will play a limited engagement February 18, 2016 through May 29. Opening night is scheduled for March 13 at off-Broadway’s Laura Pels Theatre in the Harold and Miriam Steinberg Center for Theatre.Based on the short story by Eudora Welty, The Robber Bridegroom transports the audience to the Natchez Trace in Mississippi, a dangerous and mysterious corner of the country teeming with a rogue’s gallery of the most beguiling con men, hucksters, and charlatans you’ll ever meet. Chief among them, Jamie Lockhart (Pasquale)—fair‐faced gentleman by day, hard‐hearted bandit of the woods by night. When he falls for the beautiful daughter of a wealthy planter, his world and code of ethics are turned upside down.The Robber Bridegroom marks the 40th anniversary of the original, which opened on Broadway in 1975 starring Kevin Kline and Patti LuPone. The show’s bluegrass score has since been performed across the country, with the song “Sleepy Man” joining the canon of American standards.The production is part of Roundabout’s 50th anniversary season. Show Closed This production ended its run on May 29, 2016 View Comments The Robber Bridegroom Related Showslast_img read more

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Ben Whishaw Circles Mary Poppins Returns

first_imgBen Whishaw(Photo: Caitlin McNaney) View Comments Ben Whishaw, who recently appeared on Broadway in The Crucible, is in talks to join Emily Blunt and Lin-Manuel Miranda in Mary Poppins Returns. According to the Hollywood Reporter, the stage and screen star would play a grown-up version of Michael Banks.The film will premiere on December 25, 2018. Meryl Streep is also in talks to join the project; the Oscar winner would play Mary Poppins’ cousin Topsy. Original Mary Poppins stars Julie Andrews and Dick Van Dyke are also rumored to make appearances.The film, set 20 years after the events of the 1964 feature, will follow Michael as he seeks to reunite with his sister Jane. Mary Poppins (Blunt) flies in to help, with her friend Jack the lamplighter (Miranda) in tow. The movie will feature songs by Tony-winning composing team Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman.Whishaw made his Broadway debut earlier this year in The Crucible. His notable screen credits include Q in both Skyfall and Spectre, The Lobster, The Danish Girl and Suffragette. His U.K. stage credits include Bakkahi, Mojo, Peter and Alice, The Pride and an Olivier-nominated performance in Hamlet.last_img read more

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Bathe Your Produce.

first_imgUniversity of Georgia experts say some produce washes are moreeffective at removing harmful pathogens from fresh fruits andvegetables than the chlorine rinses the food industry uses.Larry Beuchat, a microbiologist with the UGA College of Agriculturaland Environmental Sciences, has tested many produce washes inhis Griffin, Ga., lab.”I’ve tested produce washes that are currently on themarket and some that are in the developmental stages,” Beuchatsaid. “Some are as good as water when used to remove pathogenicbacteria from a wide range of fruits and vegetables. Some areperhaps even better than chlorine, which is used fairly extensivelyin the produce industry to wash fresh-cut produce.”Tested on Lettuce, Tomatoes, Apples andAlfalfa SproutsBeuchat says Fit, a Procter and Gamble product, worked wellin lab tests. “Fit performs as well as high levels of chlorinewhen used to remove populations of bacteria on lettuce, tomatoes,apples and alfalfa seeds intended for sprouts,” he said.”The science is there to prove it removes these pathogens,”he said. “But Procter and Gamble can’t state that on theproduct label until they get EPA and FDA approval to do so.”But should you add Fit or other produce washes to your shoppingcart? Beuchat said it’s your decision.”Whether you buy produce washes is a matter of personalchoice,” he said. “If you are concerned about pathogenicmicroorganisms on your produce, I would recommend buying it. Ihaven’t tested all the products on the market. But in my experience,it does as good a job as chlorinated water and sometimes better.”Pesticide ResiduesProduce-wash manufacturers label their products as effectiveat removing pesticides. But UGA foods and nutrition specialistsdon’t recommend buying the washes solely for this reason.”In the United States, there’s very little produce withpesticide residues anywhere near the allowed tolerance levels,”said Elizabeth Andress, an Extension Service food safety specialist with the UGA College of Family and Consumer Sciences. “It would be hard to find detectable levels of pesticide residues on our fruits and vegetables even if you went looking for them.”Andress said the FDA safeguards fresh produce by monitoringpesticide residues at wholesale and retail levels.”If you use a produce wash, you may be reducing the levelsof pesticide residues. But the levels were nowhere near harmfulto begin with,” she said.If you just want cleaner produce, Andress recommends washingproduce under running water.”Tests show produce washes do apparently make producea little bit cleaner,” Andress said. “But I would personallyquestion whether they are worth the extra cost.”Don’t Soak Produce in WashesDespite the introduction of produce washes, UGA foods specialistsstill recommend cleaning fruits and vegetables under running water.”What slightly concerns me is the way these products areapplied,” Andress said. “To clean produce, you haveto soak the food in the produce wash. Soaking produce can damagethe quality. I hope people don’t let their fruits and vegetablessit in these solutions, thinking, ‘the longer it soaks, the better.'”Aside from cleaning produce and removing pesticides and pathogens,produce washes claim to remove wax.”Even if the product does remove wax, these are food-gradewaxes that aren’t harmful,” Andress said. “They’re alreadyapproved for food use.”Produce washes have many uses. But as with other products,shoppers will ultimately determine their success.”We aren’t telling people produce washes aren’t safe touse, because that’s not true,” Andress said. “They areeffective. But to me, it’s more of an economic issue. Is the costreally worth it? It depends on whether you want to pay for theadded safeguard.”last_img read more

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The key to post-pandemic success for debit

first_img 3SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr,Tom Bennett Tom Bennett is a Principal Consultant with the Checking and Debit Card practice at Advisors Plus with over 25 years of experience in the financial services industry. Tom advises credit … Web: www.pscu.com Details A seismic shift is underway when it comes to member payment preferences, particularly as it relates to debit and digital payments. Debit has seen an impressive resurgence through the pandemic, helping to reposition checking at the pinnacle of the consumer payment relationship. The time is now for credit unions to cement their role as the primary financial institution (PFI) by adapting to this shift, capturing account growth and facilitating mobile and digital wallet options for their members. Debit by the NumbersSeveral findings from PSCU’s weekly COVID-19 transaction trends analyses give credence to the surge in debit and its importance to credit union success and growth:Double the growth rate – Debit purchase volume growth is currently trending in the teens through August, over twice its historical 7% mark.Strongest growth in CNP – Debit usage for card-not-present (CNP) transactions – including online purchases, recurring payments and digital wallets – is seeing significant growth.  Since mid-April, debit CNP growth year-over-year has averaged over 40%. Historical cash transactions flowing to debit – ATM withdrawal volume remains down over 20% year-over-year, while a national shortage of coins is testimony to the reduced flow of cash usage for transactions. According to the Fed’s 2019 Diary of Consumer Payment Choice, 80% of cash transactions are under $25. Given this small ticket size, the majority have likely flowed to debit.    More cards in use – A typical credit union portfolio has three times as many debit cards as credit cards, with each card conducting over three times as many transactions. Account acquisition is also multiples higher. This underscores the magnitude of debit as a payment vehicle and its importance to the credit union.Debit and Checking Growth OpportunitiesPSCU’s Advisors Plus consulting team has identified four areas of focus credit unions should pursue with respect to debit and checking:Capitalizing on Digital PaymentsThe growth of remote or CNP payments has averaged over 40% during the pandemic, as compared to the mid-teens before the pandemic. This makes it more critical than ever to obtain top-of-wallet position for members’ debit cards.Amazon, the clear e-commerce leader, has seen consistent year-over-year debit growth of more than 80%. Money services as a merchant category is also growing at a similar rate and includes person-to-person transfers and remittances. The recovery of quick service restaurants (QSR) has been faster than full-service restaurants, thanks in large part to their drive-thru option and food delivery services like DoorDash and Uber Eats. For successful credit unions, capturing this volume creates an “annuity” of transactions that will have a long-term impact.Nothing may be more imperative than keeping the debit card top of wallet among the many digital wallets in the market, including mobile apps and P2P platforms. This will require constant communication among credit union members and staff. Creating awareness of these offerings through various communication channels, member incentives, and staff training is key.Leveraging Contactless OpportunitiesNow is the time for credit unions to leverage contactless opportunities. Numerous studies confirm an increased desire among consumers for touchless payment options like contactless. Data from PSCU’s weekly analyses supports this, with strength in remote/CNP transactions, declining ATM cash withdrawals and growth in contactless products such as dual-interface cards and mobile wallets. Credit unions should consider the issuance and promotion of contactless cards and mobile wallets (“Pays”).  Reinvigorating Checking Account GrowthWhile debit volumes have trended upward overall, there has been a recent slowdown in checking account growth due to the pandemic, driven by reduced branch hours, closures and inadequate online account opening solutions. Many credit unions have also moved away from free checking, which could make them less appealing than competitors.PSCU’s analysis indicates that checking growth drives almost half of debit volume growth, in addition to new member growth. Successful credit unions have capitalized on this event. For some credit unions, this increased focus on checking has been internal – like employee incentive enhancements and more rigid tracking around active account growth – while others have focused on external promotion to members – including advertising and direct mail with incentives for new accounts. A combination of both strategies is critical.The design of the checking account can also have implications. Some credit unions continue to focus on dated accounts named “regular” or “golden” checking, with features that no longer resonate with the overall market, such as free money orders or free notary service. Others are adding fees in search of profitability, at times with ancillary benefits like cell phone protection or identity theft services. This transition has been tough, especially when existing members are impacted. Credit unions need to validate the strength of their solutions against their competitors, their target market, and their existing member base.Enhancing Checking Account ConnectivityThe checking account gives consumers broad access to a variety of services. Online banking and mobile deposit capabilities were critical in allowing credit unions to close branches while still servicing members during pandemic shutdowns. Direct deposit is the rocket fuel that makes debit run, as evidenced by the fact that debit growth turned positive when COVID-19 stimulus checks were directly deposited into checking accounts. Credit unions should increase focus on these services, continually soliciting enrollment and working to ensure members and staff understand their capabilities.  Credit unions that adapt to the changing payments landscape and facilitate mobile and digital wallet options for their members now will see rewards well into the future, regardless of what it might hold.last_img read more

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