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What is ALS? Lou Gehrig's Disease, a.k.a. What Stephen Hawking Has

Posted by Joshua Fleishman on Thu, Aug 28, 2014 @ 09:00 AM

ALS is the acronym for Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. It is also known as motor neuronewhat is als disease (MND), Charcot disease, and many know it as Lou Gehrig’s disease (named after the famous baseball player from the 1920s and 30s who was forced to retire and died from ALS).

The disease is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord. The brain sends motor neurons to the spinal cord and from there get sent to muscles all over your body. ALS/MND affect these neurons in a way where they begin to degenerate/break down and then die, unable to send any more messages to the muscles. These muscles that enable us to move around, speak, breathe, swallow, etc. are then weakened and eventually waste away. You are still able to think, see, taste, smell, and feel but you may experience paralysis, muscle weakness, or difficulty breathing, swallowing, or even speaking. Most people with ALS die from respiratory failure, usually within 3 to 5 years from the onset of symptoms. However, about 10 percent of those with ALS survive for 10 or more years. One of these survivors is none other than Stephen Hawking, an English theoretical physicist, who you may be familiar with.

ALS is one of the most common MNDs. People of any race and ethnic background can be affected and in 90-95% of all ALS cases, the disease occurs at random with no clearly associated risk factors. These cases are individuals with no family history of ALS, however 5-10% are inherited. ALS is more common among men than women, with white males, non-Hispanics, and aged 60-69 years being the most common. However, again, younger and older people can also develop the disease.

The Truth Hurts:

  • No test can provide a definite diagnosis of ALS, however having signs and symptoms of both upper and lower motor neuron damage are a strong suggestion of the disease.

  • We do not have the answer as to what causes ALS and why some are afflicted while others are not.

  • No cure has yet been found for ALS. We have some treatments that slow progression and relive some symptoms, however more research is necessary to further understand how to slow, even stop, ALS.

what is the ice bucket challenge

So with many unknown elements involved, we may ask, how do we help? Research is being done to further understand the disease and how to prevent and cure it. But one of the largest movements to fight back against ALS came when 29-year-old Pete Frates, who was diagnosed himself with ALS in 2012, posted a video on social media and challenged some friends to do the same. This was the start of what many know now as the “ALS Ice Bucket Challenge.” Using the hashtag “#ALSIceBucketChallenge” the world over is fighting back against ALS. The viral challenge has since become a sensation, with people across the country and even worldwide showing support, raising awareness, and donating to the previously lesser-known disease.

The challenge has certainly increased awareness. With the assistance of donations (a part of the challenge as well) research and development for a cure for ALS can be realized hopefully much sooner than previously thought. With so many people together for a great cause, the ice bucket challenge has brought in over $41 million dollars so far!

In an effort to continue the trend of raising awareness of ALS, we here at Safety Training Services conclude this article with some helpful ALS facts provided by alsa.org, as well as a video of our company President, Rob Groszewski, showing his support.

“Facts You Should Know” – From alsa.org

  • ALS is not contagiouswhat is als, strike out als
  • It is estimated that ALS is responsible for nearly two deaths per hundred thousand population annually.
  • Approximately 5,600 people in the U.S. are diagnosed with ALS each year. The incidence of ALS is two per 100,000 people, and it is estimated that as many as 30,000 Americans may have the disease at any given time.
  • Although the life expectancy of an ALS patient averages about two to five years from the time of diagnosis, this disease is variable and many people live with quality for five years and more. More than half of all patients live more than three years after diagnosis.
  • About twenty percent of people with ALS live five years or more and up to ten percent will survive more than ten years and five percent will live 20 years. There are people in whom ALS has stopped progressing and a small number of people in whom the symptoms of ALS reversed.
  • ALS occurs throughout the world with no radical, ethnic or socioeconomic boundaries.
  • ALS can strike anyone.
  • The onset of ALS is insidious with muscle weakness or stiffness as early symptoms. Progression of weakness, wasting and paralysis of the muscles of the limbs and trunk as well as those that control vital functions such as speech, swallowing and later breathing generally follows.
  • There can be significant costs for medical care, equipment and home health caregiving later in the disease. It is important to be knowledgeable about your health plan coverage and other programs for which you may be eligible, including SSA, Medicare, Medical and Veteran Affairs benefits.
  • Riluzole, the first treatment to alter the course of ALS, was approved by the FDA in late 1995. This antiglutamate drug was shown scientifically to prolong the life of persons with ALS by at least a few months. More recent studies suggest Riluzole slows the progress of ALS, allowing the patient more time in the higher functioning states when their function is less affected by ALS. Click here for more information on the drug. Many private health plans cover the cost of Riluzole. Further information on Riluzole coverage through Medicare Prescription Drug Benefit can be found in the Advocacy pages of this website.

Tags: what is ice bucket challenge, mnd awareness, what is als, als ice bucket challenge, als awareness

OSHA Training: What's the Difference Between OSHA-10 & OSHA-30?

Posted by Joshua Fleishman on Mon, Aug 11, 2014 @ 10:30 AM

In 1971, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) created an Outreach Training Program as a voluntary program with a purpose to promote workplace safety and health, as well as help workers become more knowledgeable about workplace hazards and their rights. Over the years OSHA has done well to expand the reach of the program and with this growth has increased training availability with their train-the-trainer format. In fact according to OSHA, between FY 2008 and FY 2013, more than 3.6 million workers were trained in job hazard recognition and avoidance through the program.

OSHA offers Outreach Training Programs for 4 industries: Construction, General Industry, Maritime, and Disaster Site work. For the sake of this article, we will be covering the construction and general industries. Although their class formats and even a few topics are similar, generally they cover a different set of topics and the atmosphere and scope is much different and taking one over the other can be unnecessary and a waste of time and money, depending on the industry you work in.

Why were these implemented?

The OSHA Outreach Training Program provides training on the recognition, avoidance, abatement, and prevention of workplace hazards. Outreach classes also provide overview information regarding OSHA, including workers’ rights, employer responsibilities, and how to file a complaint.

Importance of safety training, osha 30 class, fire extinguisher serviceWhy take one over another?

The 10 hour courses are designed and intended for entry or lower level workers, due to the nature of the material covered. It is a more simplistic approach and covers a smaller scope. The 30 hour courses are designed and intended for higher level workers, those with some safety responsibility, due to the larger scope and more topics included in the 30 hour course. Although it should be noted, that any worker would benefit from either 10 hour or 30 hour courses; however as stated earlier, a worker in the construction industry would not get a proper representation of their industry in the general industry course and vice versa.

What is the difference between the two?

As per OSHA.gov’s website: “The 10 hour course provides basic awareness training on the recognition, avoidance, abatement, and prevention of workplace hazards. The course also provides information regarding workers' rights, employer responsibilities, and filing a complaint.

The 30 hour course provides a greater depth and variety of training on an expanded list of topics associated with workplace hazards in each industry. OSHA provides authorized trainers procedures for each industry program on the topic outlines for each industry.”

The neat thing about these programs is that they are customizable to a company’s own wants and needs. For example, the 10 hour General Industry course covers the following mandatory topics:

  • Introduction to OSHA
  • Walking/Working Surfaces
  • Exit Routes, Emergency Action Plans, Fire Prevention and Protection Plans
  • Electrical Hazards
  • Personal Protective Equipment
  • Hazard Communication

With the following example topics being selective or optional and can be selected to best tailor to a specific company based on want/need:

  • Hazardous Material Flammable/Combustible
  • Machine Guarding
  • Confined Space Entry Awareness
  • Lock Out/Tag Out

The list becomes even longer when you look at a 30 hour OSHA course. It is a more detailedImportance of safety training, osha 30 class, hazard communication training version of the previous topics and also includes Materials Handling in the mandatory topics, but adds 6 or so additional topics to be covered. The construction industry courses include even more additional topics for individual selection. The mandatory topics are different as well, tailored to include more construction specific topics, the most important difference is that of “Focus Four Hazards” which include: Fall Protection, Electrical, Struck By, and Caught in/Between.

Can anyone take either class?

These courses are not designed to be exclusive to an age group. Everyone, of all ages, can benefit from OSHA courses. Especially the general industry as it covers a good number of general topics (as the name would imply) that can be used in any setting, even an office workplace or at home.

And again, you should be certain to verify which course (General Industry or Construction Industry) is a best fit for you when registering. At STS, we are happy to answer anyone's questions regarding this difference, as it important to attend the correct one for your industry. Find out more by contacting us, or sign up for OSHA courses here.

Importance of safety training, osha 30 class, office safetyAre these classes required?

Short answer, no. They are a recommendation from OSHA as an orientation to occupational safety and health for workers. However, some states have enacted laws that mandate the training. Also, certain employers or organizations may require this training.

What are the benefits to me?

With the courses not being mandatory for all, what is the reason you should take these courses? Well, in a perfect world, one would hope you’d want to take these courses simply to establish a good safety values and attitude at your workplace. But the reality is often times not so. So below you will find a few valuable reasons to engage yourself or your staff into OSHA compliance safety training.

  • It promotes good safety culture through peer training
  • Training is intended to be participatory, using hands-on activities
  • Trainers are able to tailor the training topics based on specific needs of their audience
  • Outreach training content includes hazard recognition and avoidance, workers’ rights, employer responsibilities, and hot to file a complaint; it emphasizes the value of safety and health to workers, including young workers
  • Outreach training is available in languages other than English (Spanish, Polish, etc.)
With the mindset you now have that OSHA outreach training is valuable training for any individual looking to stay safe in their workplace and promote a good safety culture, you may decide to sign up for yourself or others at your workplace. Safety Training Services, Inc. offers OSHA courses monthly, find out when the next available course is for you by clicking the PDF below.
2017 Safety Training Course Schedule

If you are looking for any other safety-related course, click below to see what other courses are available!
Show me the classes!

Tags: general safety tips, osha compliance, importance of safety training, fire extinguisher service, osha training program, general office safety, osha 30 class