Archive for August, 2010

Busy People Can Find Time for Themselves

Friday, August 27th, 2010

Twenty-four hours – that’s all we get. No amount of wishing, complaining or creative time management will ever change that. Each day contains only so many hours; each week has just so many days. The amount of work we must try to squeeze into those hours can be mind-boggling, not to mention the family responsibilities, household maintenance, social commitments and life in general. We sometimes comfort ourselves with the notion that it’ll get easier once we’ve landed that corner office or taken our business to the next level. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way. The work demands change, but they rarely become less intense or time-consuming. Our over-scheduled, chronically demanding, not-enough-hours-in-the-day lives pose significant risks. When life is imbalanced, relationships suffer, work performance deteriorates and parenting skills go down the tubes. Potential emotional effects include feelings of stress, anxiety, depression, irritability and hopelessness. What can be done to protect ourselves from burnout in the midst of what sometimes feels like a life run amok? The following tried-and-true techniques can help:

Prioritize. Not everything is urgent or even necessary. Focus on what’s most important, put other things on the back burner and take some off your plate altogether.

Ask for help. Hire help where appropriate or call on a friend, family member or colleague to pitch in.

Take a break. In 30 minutes or less, you can de-stress, refocus and re-energize yourself. Why not read a book, take a walk or ride your bike? You can play with your pet, listen to music or flip through a magazine. You can work in your garden or simply take a catnap. When time’s up, get back to work.

Say no! You don’t have to agree to every request you get. At work and at home, it’s perfectly appropriate, healthy and necessary to set limits on the tasks and activities you’ll add to your already full schedule.

Stop trying to be perfect. There’s very little in life that has to be done to perfection. Few people notice the difference between a job well done and a job perfectly done. Do it well and move on.

The reality is that it’ll never be easy to balance the demands of work, family and the rest of your life. Make the most of your time and remember to appreciate the good stuff: find gratification in your work, enjoy your family and friends and take pride in your accomplishments. With the proper balance and perspective, life can and should be rewarding, engaging and, at times, simply magnificent

By Dr Liz Bywater

Global Safety Network Announces Alliance with Continental Safety Consulting, LLC

Monday, August 23rd, 2010

From: Bob Peterson, President
Global Safety Network, a National Risk Mitigation and Consulting Company, is proud to announce an alliance with Continental Safety Consulting, LLC, a Louisiana based full service safety compliance company.
This collaboration will provide Global Safety Network

What should a collector do with the first specimen if the temperature was out of range or the specimen showed signs of tampering and the employee refused to provide a second specimen under direct observation?

Friday, August 20th, 2010

When a specimen is out of temperature range or shows signs of tampering and the employee refuses to provide a second specimen under direct observation, it is considered a refusal to test. The collector does not retain the first specimen, but discards it.

Illegal Use of Prescription Drugs Continues to Rise

Friday, August 20th, 2010

Medtox reports that prescription opiates (hydrocodone, oxycodone, codeine) and benzodiazepines (diazepam, alprazolam and lorazepam) have become some of the most popularly abused prescription drugs in America. A spate of celebrity overdoses and deaths has spotlighted this problem. Non-medical utilization of these drugs and the subsequent overdoses exceeds the carnage of fatal automobile accidents in some states, especially in adult populations ages 35-54. Prescription opiate abuse is dominated by
hydrocodone and oxycodone. The most common forms of these drugs are Vicodin and Oxycontin. Diazepam (valium) is a member of a separate classification of drugs called benzodiazepines. Included in this family of substances are Ativan (lorazepam) and Xanax (alprazolam). The benzodiazepines are frontline medications used to induce sleep and reduce anxiety. Frequently both classes of prescription drugs are combined to form “loads.” The composition of “loads” varies from city to city and region to region. More often than not, alcohol is mixed with these prescription drugs. When this occurs, a pharmacological synergy ensues resulting in exaggeration of sedative symptoms and physiological loss of control. A trip to the emergency room often follows.

FMCSA Releases Safety Measurement System to Motor Carriers

Monday, August 16th, 2010

The U. S. Department of Transportation

Department of Transportation Publishes Final Rule

Friday, August 13th, 2010

The following is a summary of the the Final Rule is effective October 1, 2010:

1) The Department is required by the Omnibus Transportation Employees Testing Act (Omnibus Act) to follow the HHS requirements for the testing procedures/protocols and drugs for which we test.

2) Primary laboratory requirements in this final rule include:

  • Testing for MDMA (aka. Ecstasy);
  • Lowering cutoff levels for cocaine and amphetamines;
  • Conducting mandatory initial testing for heroin;

3) The Department brought several testing definitions in-line with those of HHS.

4) Each Medical Review Officer (MRO) will need to be re-qualified including passing an examination given by an MRO training organization – every five years. The Final Rule eliminated the requirement for each MRO to take 12 hours of continuing education every three years.

5) An MRO will not need to be trained by an HHS-approved MRO training organization as long as the MRO meets DOTs qualification and requalification training requirements.

6) MRO recordkeeping requirements did not change from the five years for non-negatives and one year for negatives.

7) The Final Rule does not allow the use of HHS-Certified Instrumented Initial Testing Facilities (IITFs) to conduct initial drug testing because the Omnibus Act requires laboratories to be able to perform both initial and confirmation testing but IITFs cannot conduct confirmation testing.

CSA 2010 (cont)

Friday, August 13th, 2010

CSA 2010 has three major components: Measurement, Evaluation and Intervention.
Measurement (more…)

CSA 2010

Tuesday, August 10th, 2010

Comprehensive Safety Analysis 2010 (CSA 2010) is a Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) initiative to improve large truck and bus safety and ultimately reduce commercial motor vehicle-related crashes, injuries and fatalities. CSA 2010 introduces a new enforcement and compliance model that allows the FMCSA and the states to contact a larger number of carriers earlier in order to address safety problems before crashes occur.

Limitations of the current Operational Model

FMCSA’s compliance and safety programs improve and promote safety performance and save lives. However, agency resources available for these efforts have remained relatively constant over time, despite increases in the number of drivers and carriers being regulated. As a result, FMCSA’s current compliance review program reaches only a small percentage of motor carriers, making it increasingly difficult to continue to improve motor carrier safety using existing tools.

SafeStat is FMCSA

If a collector makes an error on a CCF and the collector is not available to sign a corrective statement (e.g., collector on vacation, no longer with the company), can the collector

Friday, August 6th, 2010

If the error was the use of a non-DOT form (to include use of the old Federal CCF), the collector or the collector

Oral Fluids Testing and Passive Exposure to Marijuana

Friday, August 6th, 2010

Cannabis (marijuana) is the most widely used illegal substance in the world. In 2007 the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) survey reported that 5.8% of the US population ages 12 and older smoked marijuana in the past month. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recently reported that in 2007, 8.6% of nighttime drivers were positive for cannabinoids in blood and/or oral fluid, almost four times higher than the percentage of drunk drivers.

Oral fluid is gaining prominence due to its easy, non-invasive collection under direct observation, and reduced potential for dilution and adulteration. It is widely used for monitoring drugs of abuse in the workplace, and criminal justice programs. When oral fluid testing was first introduced there were concerns about whether marijuana could be detected, and if it was, how to distinguish marijuana use from passive exposure. Since then, oral fluid has been demonstrated to be effective at detecting marijuana. Also the recent detection of carboxy-THC (THCA), a metabolite of marijuana in oral fluid could provide evidence of active smoking.

Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is the main active ingredient in marijuana and is readily detected in oral fluid following marijuana intake. THC is also present in marijuana smoke, creating the potential problem of differentiating between active use and passive exposure. While there are several studies addressing passive exposure and the concentration of THC in oral fluid, the detection of carboxy-THC (THCA) could eliminate the concern of passive exposure.

Recent work carried out at the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) using the QuantisalTM collection device has characterized cannabinoid disposition in oral fluid, and confirmed earlier publications that the marijuana metabolite, THCA is in fact present in saliva in measurable concentrations.

The NIDA study found that THCA was the most prevalent analyte and was detected in 98.2% of specimens with concentrations up to 1117 pg/mL. THC itself was present in only 20.7% of samples. The group concluded that measurement of THCA in oral fluid not only identifies cannabis, but also minimizes the possibility of passive inhalation and suggests that THCA may be a better analyte for detection of cannabis use.

In the near future, laboratories offering the identification of the metabolite THCA in oral fluid will be able to confidently address claims of passive exposure to marijuana, further strengthening the utility of oral fluid as an alternative specimen.