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Posted in on Wed, Jun 21, 2006

Des Plaines, IL (June 21, 2006) – T he American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE) and Industrial Safety & Hygiene News (ISHN) will be host to a webcast June 28 at 1:00 p.m. EST titled “Best Practices: Protect Your Employees and Your Company Against Reproductive Health Risks and Liabilities.”

ASSE member Dan Markiewicz, MS, CIH, CSP, CHMM, will present the 60-minute program . He has provided training sessions and professional development courses on workplace reproductive and developmental health issues for ASSE and several other organizations, including NASA and the Academy of Certified Hazardous Materials Managers. He has conducted more than 500 health and safety evaluations/assessments at work sites worldwide over a 30-year career and has worked for public agencies in environmental health, and as a safety, health and environmental manager for diversified manufacturing operations. Markiewicz has also taught at Bowling Green State University, University of Toledo, and the Medical College of Ohio and is president of Markiewicz & Associates, Ltd.

The webcast will provide information on how to identify reproductive and developmental risks in your workplace; how to design a program to manage and mitigate potential liabilities; an update on workplace productive health legal cases; and, where to find online resources and tools to address reproductive and developmental health concerns – such as the European Union standards for conducting risk assessments for pregnant workers. To register go to

ASSE members have urged employers and employees alike to identify increased workplace safety risks for pregnant workers and to address those issues. For instance, when a woman is pregnant, her balance, reach distance and lifting capability changes. Additionally, hormonal changes that occur with pregnancy affect ligaments and joints, which can cause postural problems, backache and impairment of dexterity, agility, coordination and balance. Pregnant women may be more affected by some ergonomic hazards such as awkward postures, heavy lifting, repetitive forces and limited rest periods. As a result pre-term delivery, low birth weight, spontaneous abortion, and stillbirth could occur.

“Heavy lifting tasks can also cause the flow of blood in the body to be altered which can affect the fetus,” ASSE member and Practice Specialty Administrator Linda Tapp, ALCM, CSP, of Cherry Hill, NJ, said in her report titled ‘ Maintaining the Safety and Health of a Diverse Workforce.’ “ Intra-abdominal pressures are also increased during heavy lifting. Hormone disturbances as well as nutritional deficits can also occur.”

Workplace controls implemented for expected mothers protect them as well as the child. These controls include: assigning less physical tasks, restricting lifts, adjusting work and breaks, and varying the employee’s tasks if possible; using foot rests when standing and sitting helps with circulation; removing obstacles, which are more difficult for a pregnant employee to see, at floor level; arranging work so that it is kept close to the body; and, encouraging the use of good support for the back.

F ounded in 1911, the Des Plaines, Illinois-based ASSE is the oldest and largest professional safety society and is committed to protecting people, property and the environment. Its 30,000 members manage, supervise and consult on safety, health and environmental issues in all industries, government, education, labor and insurance. Go to for more information.

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