Inclement Weather Policy Should Factor In Safety, Pay

An inclement weather policy has two dimensions: The first and most important is employee safety; the second is pay.

“Employers should give serious thought to allowing employees to stay home on days when there is a significantly elevated risk of a traffic accident, as no employer wants to see an injury or fatality occur because an employee felt obligated to come to work even though the roads were not safe,” noted Paul DeCamp, an attorney with Epstein, Becker & Green in Washington, D.C., and former administrator of the U.S. Department of Labor Wage and Hour Division.

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Cold Stress: Cold Stress can be Prevented

It is important for employers to know the wind chill temperature so that they can gauge workers’ exposure risk better and plan how to safely do the work. It is also important to monitor workers’ physical condition during tasks, especially new workers who may not be used to working in the cold, or workers returning after spending some time away from work.

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Employers should consider a prescription drug use policy to avoid lawsuits.

If your workers are engaged in safety-sensitive duties, know if they are using prescription medications.

The issue of privacy has become a matter of paramount importance in modern life, particularly with regards to medical issues.

Health care professionals and their assistants are constrained from revealing a person’s medical history and treatment without the express permission of their patients. However, in the workplace, liability can attach to an employer if an employee causes an accident, and the issue of liability can be exacerbated if the employee was impaired by an undetected use or misuse of legal prescription drugs. It’s a good idea for employers in safety-sensitive industries to be proactively aware if their employees are using prescription medication that may physically and mentally impair them.

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Family Safety During the Holidays

21 Nov 2017 Safety
This time of year people can often become rushed, distracted or tired — which all make home fires more likely to happen. Follow these tips to help keep your family and visitors safe this holiday season.

Stay with the stove. Thanksgiving is the No. 1 day of the year for home cooking fires, followed by Christmas Day and Christmas Eve. Remember to always stay with the stove whenever you are using it, and never leave the house with the oven on (turkey, anyone?).Keep the handles of your pots and pans turned back away from the edge of the stove so they aren’t knocked or pulled down. Always keep the area around the stove completely clear of flammable items like hot pads, paper towels, cookbooks and decorations.

Reduce the risk of turkey fryers. Turkey fryers are risky because they use a lot of cooking oil at high temperatures. Hot oil can be released during cooking, and the burners can ignite spilled oil. If you decide to fry, remember to not to overfill the pot with oil, choose a smaller turkey (10 pounds or less), and ensure it’s completely thawed and patted dry before cooking. Only fry on a flat surface in a well ventilated, outdoor area.

Caution with candles. Use candle holders that are sturdy and won’t tip over easily. Better yet, use flame-less, battery operated candles. Keep candles at least 1 foot from anything that can burn like decorations, towels and curtains. Never leave children or pets alone in a room with a lit candle. Always blow out all candles when headed to sleep or leaving home.

Add water daily to trees. When shopping for a real Christmas tree, look for one with fresh, vibrant green needles that are hard to pluck and don’t easily break from the branches. It shouldn’t be shedding any needles when you buy it.

Before placing the tree in the stand, cut 1 to 2 inches from the base of the trunk. Position it away from exits and at least 3 feet away from any heat source, and remember to add water every day to the tree stand. Always turn off Christmas tree lights before leaving your house or going to sleep.

Light it right. Look on the manufacturer’s label or box to check if the lights are designed for indoor or outdoor use. Only use outdoor-approved lights outside, and only use outdoor lights on a real Christmas tree, even if it’s indoors.

Follow the instructions for the maximum number of light strands to connect. Replace any strand with a frayed cord or loose bulb connections. When hanging up lights, use clips (not nails) to help prevent cord damage, and work with a partner if you have to get on a ladder.

Stay warm safely. Before you curl up with a good book by the fire, be sure to get your chimneys cleaned by a professional and your heating equipment inspected every year. Keep anything that can burn at least 3 feet away from portable space heaters and fireplaces. (Read More)


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Fall protection leads OSHA’s ‘Top 10’ list of most frequently cited violations

26 Sep 2017 Safety

The preliminary list of OSHA’s Top 10 violations for Fiscal Year 2017 remained largely unchanged from FY 2016, except for one new addition: Fall Protection – Training Requirements (1926.503) entered the list at No. 9 with 1,523 violations, just ahead of Electrical – Wiring Methods (1,405 violations). The entire list was revealed during the 2017 National Safety Council’s Congress & Expo.
The top five remained identical to the FY 2016 list, with Fall Protection – General Requirements at No. 1 by a wide margin with 6,072 violations. In a distant second was Hazard Communication with 4,176.

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Apply these 5 techniques to help employees return to work after a medical accident.

19 Sep 2017 Medical

When a worker gets hurt or sick and misses a substantial amount of time, it can be hard for you as a business owner to know what to do. The situation can become even more challenging when it’s time for the employee to return to work after a medical absence.

If you don’t have a plan for dealing with people’s return as well as their absence, this could become a major distraction.
Balancing Responsibilities as a Business Owner
Any sort of employee sickness or injury — regardless of whether it was sustained on the job — is sensitive. Obviously, rules, laws and company-specific protocol have to be respected as well as the personal side of the matter.

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Silica: What on earth is all the fuss about?

5 Sep 2017 Medical

Prescription for Disaster:  Louisiana’s Opioid Addiction

Anne Ourso Landry | June 21, 2017

Every time Roy Martin has to replace an employee, it shells out at least $25,000 to hire and train someone new. And in recent years, the Alexandria-based lumber company has increasingly spent more to replace lost workers as a national epidemic has infiltrated the Louisiana workforce, driving up turnover and absenteeism rates, while decreasing productivity.

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