14 Ways to Prevent Workplace Fatalities

One of the leading — and most preventable — causes of workplace fatalities is being struck by objects. Whether it is falling, flying, swinging/slipping or objects on the ground level, fairly simple precautions can all but eliminate these incidents.

 

Struck-by incidents were recently named the leading cause of work-related deaths in North Carolina last year, at 19. Nationally, the government estimates 10 percent of workplace fatalities each year are due to struck-by accidents. Awareness, education, training and the use of personal protective equipment are generally all that are needed to prevent these tragedies.

 

The vast majority of struck-by fatalities involve trucks, cranes or other heavy equipment. The main hazards are vehicles, falling or flying objects, and constructing masonry walls. Here are ways companies can mitigate the risks.
Vehicles

 

Workers can be pinned between construction vehicles and walls, hit by swinging equipment such as backhoes, or crushed under vehicles that have overturned. Vehicle safety practices should be mandatory at any site that involves vehicles and/or heavy equipment.

 

  • Perform a safety check. All vehicles should have proper safety devices. Before every shift, supervisors and/or workers should make sure all vehicle and equipment parts and accessories are in safe operating condition. The vehicle or equipment should be taken out of service until needed repairs are made.
  • Have a clear view. Vehicles should not be backed up if the driver is unable to see what is behind him. If that’s not possible, an audible alarm should be operational or a designated person should direct the vehicle from the outside. The driver should ensure there are no individuals near his vehicle before dumping or lifting materials with it.
  • Set the vehicle before leaving. Parking brakes should be engaged when the vehicle is not in use, and wheels on an incline should be chocked. End-loader buckets, scraper blades, dump bodies etc., should be lowered on the vehicle when it is not in use.
  • Don’t overload. Workers should adhere to the vehicle’s lift capacity.
  • Set up barriers. For construction sites near public roadways, there should be barricades and/or flaggers and good traffic signs set up. Personnel at these sites must be clothed so they are easily visible to other drivers, including reflective material at night.

 

 

Falling / Flying

 

Being under an elevated work area can lead to falling object injuries, while activities such as pushing, pulling prying or grinding may cause objects to be airborne and strike a worker. Workers under or around such areas, as well as those doing overhead work need to be vigilant about safety.

 

  • Check equipment to make sure it is operating properly. Make sure small tools, such as saws have protective guards that are in good condition.
  • Hard hats should be required of all workers in such conditions. Safety glasses, face shields or goggles are advisable in areas where flying particles could be an issue.
  • Look up. Work should not be done where loads are being moved overhead. Barricades should be set up with warning signs posted.
  • Secure the site. Consider protective equipment such as toeboards, debris nets or canopies to catch falling objects. When the work is completed for the day, make sure all materials and tools are stacked and secured to prevent them from falling. Make sure loads are secured and lifted evenly.
  • Compressed air. Compressed air used for cleaning should be reduced to 30 psi. It should only be used with appropriate guarding and protective equipment, and clothing should not be cleaned with it.

 

 

Masonry Walls

 

Positioning slabs and walls or shoring up structures involves heavy loads that must be supported and can lead to catastrophic results if precautions are not taken. A trained professional should dictate when a concrete structure is strong enough to place construction loads on it.

 

  • Brace the structure. Make sure permanent supporting elements are in place or concrete has been tested for sufficient strength for whatever will be loaded on it. Until such time, brace the structure.
  • Limit the numbers. Anyone who is not essential to the construction or lifting operations should be prohibited from the work area.
  • Secure wire mesh. Make sure mesh cannot recoil by securing the ends or turning the mesh roll over.
  • Check the weight. Avoid loading up lifting devices beyond their weight capacity.

 

 

Conclusion

 

Providing training to all workers at risk of struck-by incidents is vital to protecting them. A few simple and inexpensive steps are all that is needed to save lives and protect your company’s bottom line.

 

 

For additional information on workers’ compensation cost containment best practices, register as a guest for our next live stream training.

 

Author Michael Stack, Principal, Amaxx LLC. He is an expert in workers compensation cost containment systems and helps employers reduce their work comp costs by 20% to 50%.  He works as a consultant to large and mid-market clients, is co-author of Your Ultimate Guide To Mastering Workers Comp Costs, a comprehensive step-by-step manual of cost containment strategies based on hands-on field experience, and is founder & lead trainer of Amaxx Workers’ Comp Training Center. .

 

Contact: mstack@reduceyourworkerscomp.com.

Workers’ Comp Roundup Blog: http://blog.reduceyourworkerscomp.com/

Live Stream WC Training: http://workerscompclub.com/livestreamtraining

 

©2017 Amaxx LLC. All rights reserved under International Copyright Law.

 

Do not use this information without independent verification. All state laws vary. You should consult with your insurance broker, attorney, or qualified professional.

Eliminate 20% Of All Workplace Injuries

Major drivers in workers’ compensation programs continue to be injuries resulting from slips/falls and when working at heights.  While these injuries will never be eliminated, employers can take a proactive approach to reducing their prevalence in the workplace.

 

 

Caution: Slippery When Wet

 

Injuries sustained from slips/falls continue to be the most common workplace incident.  The result of this ongoing trend is that employers pay countless dollars every year in increased workers’ compensation premiums for incidents that are preventable.  Employers seeking to reduce their workers’ compensation costs must become serious in addressing this issue.

 

The National Safety Council has opined based on research that slip/fall injuries account for over 20% of all work-related injuries in the United States.  The actual impact is hard to quantify given the varying resulting injuries.  These incidents can be as minor as a sprain/strain-type injury to severe trauma that includes traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) and back injuries requiring spinal surgery.

 

There are many common elements in any slip/fall workplace injury.  These often include:

 

  • Liquid on the walking surface that was never cleaned up properly or in a timely manner;

 

  • Cracks on flooring, carpeting, or uneven surfaces;

 

  • Failure or of an employer to place required signage warning people of danger;

 

  • Inadequate lighting;

 

  • Exposed cables that result in someone tripping; and

 

  • Stairs, ladders or scaffolding that is not properly maintained.

 

Employers and other interested stakeholders need to take proactive measures on this issue.  Taking time to inspect visually a worksite is an important first step.  This should also include measures where employees can report situations that are unsafe.  Management must then take immediate corrective action to remedy the situation.  Doing so creates a positive safety environment and forces employees to see value in safety measures.

 

 

Look Out Below!

 

Falls from heights are a frequent hazard that result in countless injuries.  A majority of the injuries that occur while working at heights cause catastrophic claims.  According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, falls from heights in the workplace account for roughly 14% of all workplace deaths.  It is also a frequent source of citations from OSHA.  These mainly occur when work is performed on scaffolding and ladders.

 

Working from heights can never be eliminated in the workplace.  Proactive employers can prevent these incidents by taking the following steps:

 

  • Educating all employees on the dangers working at height presents and how to be safe when working in these environments;

 

  • Reducing the amount of time and number of employees that need to work on ladders and scaffolding; and

 

  • Educating all employees on the use of proper safety equipment. This includes exercising caution before working at heights and using only equipment that is free from defect that fits correctly.

 

Management and other interested stakeholders need to be proactive on this issue.  In many instances, this not only includes ethical obligations, but legal standards.  This is also includes making sure employees are given equipment that works.  Other steps include replacing equipment that is outdated or replacing something when it breaks.  Quick fixes do not relay confidence in employees and may be illegal.

 

 

Conclusions

 

All employers must take proactive steps when it comes to a safety work environment and reducing the probability of work injuries.  Two areas of focus should be in the reducing of slip/fall incidents and providing the proper equipment and training for those working at heights.  The immediate benefits of following these best practices will be a reduction in workers’ compensation costs.

 

 

For additional information on workers’ compensation cost containment best practices, register as a guest for our next live stream training.

 

Author Michael Stack, Principal, COMPClub, Amaxx LLC. He is an expert in workers compensation cost containment systems and helps employers reduce their work comp costs by 20% to 50%.  He works as a consultant to large and mid-market clients, is co-author of Your Ultimate Guide To Mastering Workers Comp Costs, a comprehensive step-by-step manual of cost containment strategies based on hands-on field experience, and is founder of COMPClub, an exclusive member training program on workers compensation cost containment best practices.

 

Contact: mstack@reduceyourworkerscomp.com.

Workers’ Comp Roundup Blog: http://blog.reduceyourworkerscomp.com/

Live Stream WC Training: http://workerscompclub.com/livestreamtraining

 

©2017 Amaxx LLC. All rights reserved under International Copyright Law.

 

Do not use this information without independent verification. All state laws vary. You should consult with your insurance broker, attorney, or qualified professional.

Address These 7 Most Common Workplace Safety Concerns

There are many things interested stakeholders can do to reduce workers’ compensation costs.  In doing so, they can make their programs more effective and efficient.  This requires engagement by all interested stakeholders and a willingness to review the workplace and beyond for safety hazards.  Once they are identified, changes need to be made to reduce or eliminate the chance of injury.

 

 

Regular Safety Review of Workplaces

 

Most people are accustomed to an annual “spring cleaning” and regular chores around their home.  The same should apply to the workplace.  Interested stakeholders should make a regular walk-through of their workplaces and make sure everything is in order.  Additional steps and emphasis should occur when spills happen in the work place.  In other instances, employers should engage their employee’s to clean up their workstations and make sure it is clean at all times.

 

 

Addressing Common Safety Concerns

 

Additional steps must be taken to ensure a safe and secure workplace.  Some easy to implement suggestions include:

 

  • Fire extinguishers: State laws and local ordinances typically provide guidance on what types of fire extinguishers should be in a work place and their quantity.  They should be visible and in proper working order at all times.  They also require regular servicing;

 

  • First Aid Kits: Every workplace should have a First Aid kit that meets basic emergency needs.  In addition to Band-Aids, tape and gauze, it is also important to include ice packs and other essentials.  What is stocked in a kit should be consistent with the type of work performed in your workplace.  Always be ready to dial 9-1-1 if a severe injury occurs;

 

  • Emergency evacuation plan: Having an effective plan that is understood by all employees is important.  Evacuation plans should also be posted around the workplace and pointed out to new employees when they first start.  Reminders should occur that involves all employees and contractors on an annual basis;

 

  • Fire and severe weather drills: Planning for a fire or severe weather is often overlooked in workplaces.  Planning for the unexpected is critical and can pay dividends in moments of danger.  It is also important to remind all employees what they are to do in these instances on an annual basis;

 

  • Workplace violence: It is a sad reality of modern society that violence takes place in the workplace.  Proactive stakeholders can implement several strategies to prevent this from occurring and mitigate their risk.  Identifying potential violence issues is the first step to successfully addressing this issue.  It is also important that employers effectively deal with it when it occurs, which can include termination of an employee.  Having an “active shooter” protocol is also something to consider.

 

  • Other Workplace Safety: Employers can also be proactive on issues of workplace safety by reviewing their policies and procedures related to safety.  Important steps one can take include making sure all employees wear proper identification while in the work environment.  Badges can also be used to unlock/lock critical access points.  Keep in mind that certain entrances must remain unlocked during normal business hours.

 

  • Safety Requires Everyone: Workplace safety requires the engagement of all employees—from upper management to the newest employee.  When leadership within an organization takes the lead, others will take notice and follow.

 

Conclusions

 

Reducing workers’ compensation costs starts with a safe work environment.  Some of these program-enhancing steps are simple, yet require everyone to be fully engaged.

 

 

For additional information on workers’ compensation cost containment best practices, register as a guest for our next live stream training.

 

Author Michael Stack, Principal, COMPClub, Amaxx LLC. He is an expert in workers compensation cost containment systems and helps employers reduce their work comp costs by 20% to 50%.  He works as a consultant to large and mid-market clients, is co-author of Your Ultimate Guide To Mastering Workers Comp Costs, a comprehensive step-by-step manual of cost containment strategies based on hands-on field experience, and is founder of COMPClub, an exclusive member training program on workers compensation cost containment best practices.

 

Contact: mstack@reduceyourworkerscomp.com.

Workers’ Comp Roundup Blog: http://blog.reduceyourworkerscomp.com/

Live Stream WC Training: http://workerscompclub.com/livestreamtraining

 

©2017 Amaxx LLC. All rights reserved under International Copyright Law.

 

Do not use this information without independent verification. All state laws vary. You should consult with your insurance broker, attorney, or qualified professional.

4 Keys to Keeping Employees Safe Behind The Wheel

With fuel prices still low, many experts predict 2017 will see increased road travel. Employers need to be aware of the risks to workers who drive and take steps to protect them.

 

Transportation incidents are the No. 1 cause of workplace fatalities, claiming nearly 40 percent of all occupational deaths in the most recent year for which data is available from the government. They are also the top risk for business travelers abroad, especially in Africa and the Eastern Mediterranean.

 

Workplace crashes can be expensive for a company in terms of lost productivity, as well as workers’ comp costs. The good news is the risks can be greatly reduced by taking action.

 

1. Safe driving policy

 

Every organization has different needs and may have differing ways to protect employees who drive. However, there are several components that transcend all companies. Having a Safe Driving Policy that is well thought out, supported by all levels of the organization and communicated to employees is key. Among the elements to consider are the following:

 

  • Use of technology. Texting and using hand-held phones while driving should be verboten by all organizations. Many states do not have laws supporting a ban, but research strongly indicates the risk of a crash is greatly increased when drivers text or use hand-held phones.
  • Seat belts. These should be required of all drivers. Nearly every state mandates seat belts for drivers.
  • Prevent drowsy driving. Accidents involving tired drivers occur most often between the hours of 12 – 2 a.m., 4 – 6 a.m., and 2 – 4 p.m. Companies should allow workers to take breaks for brief naps and to stop for the night if they are too tired. Providing information on good sleep habits is also helpful.
  • Alcohol and drugs. Driving after drinking and/or using illegal drugs should be strictly prohibited. The issue can be dicey when prescription medications are involved. At the very least, workers should be given information about the potential effects of certain drugs.
  • Plan the trip. The worker and his supervisor together should determine the destination, route and travel schedule. Before sending a driver out, the worker and/or supervisor should check for any adverse road conditions and/or closings.

 

 

2. Driver selection

 

Before putting any employee behind the wheel of a company vehicle, it’s imperative to make sure the person has a valid driver’s license. Employers should also check driving records before hiring employees who are likely to drive for the company, and recheck them annually.

 

 

3. Training

 

All new hires should be required to undergo driver training. Classroom instruction can address new equipment, regulatory updates, and changes in procedures. If possible, behind-the-wheel training should also be included. A driving expert or trained supervisor can ride with the employee and evaluate his skills and behaviors. Workers should be coached on any unsafe driving behaviors. The employee’s driving performance should be reevaluated at least annually.

 

Training on particular vehicles is important, as company cars may include equipment and safety features unfamiliar to the worker. Workers should also be informed about any in-vehicle monitoring systems present, including why they are there.

 

Refresher training can be done periodically to reinforce best practices. Drivers involved in an accident attributed to them should be provided remedial driver training.

 

 

4. Vehicle selection/Maintenance

 

Employers should buy or lease vehicles with high safety ratings. Employers can supply each vehicle with emergency supplies, such as flashlights, flares, blankets and bottled Water.
Vehicles should be inspected on time and maintained according to manufacturers’ timeframes. Also, someone — a designated person or the worker who has most recently driven the vehicle — should ensure tires are properly inflated, and other safety procedures are followed.

 

 

Conclusion

 

The best way to protect employees from motor vehicle crashes is to limit their driving. Employers should consider whether work can be done without travel. If driving is unavoidable, schedules should be established to ensure workers have adequate time to get to their destinations while obeying speeding and other traffic laws. Establishing a company-wide culture of safe driving can reduce risks drivers face.

 

 

For additional information on workers’ compensation cost containment best practices, register as a guest for our next live stream training.

 

Author Michael Stack, Principal, COMPClub, Amaxx LLC. He is an expert in workers compensation cost containment systems and helps employers reduce their work comp costs by 20% to 50%.  He works as a consultant to large and mid-market clients, is co-author of Your Ultimate Guide To Mastering Workers Comp Costs, a comprehensive step-by-step manual of cost containment strategies based on hands-on field experience, and is founder of COMPClub, an exclusive member training program on workers compensation cost containment best practices.

 

Contact: mstack@reduceyourworkerscomp.com.

Workers’ Comp Roundup Blog: http://blog.reduceyourworkerscomp.com/

Live Stream WC Training: http://workerscompclub.com/livestreamtraining.com

 

©2017 Amaxx LLC. All rights reserved under International Copyright Law.

 

Do not use this information without independent verification. All state laws vary. You should consult with your insurance broker, attorney, or qualified professional.

4 Tips To Ensure Safety Committee Success

Employers are often seeking ways to reduce workers’ compensation costs without hiring expensive consultants.  They are also seeking ways to keep costs down and promote buy-in from all employees.  One way to do so is to establish a safety committee to examine workplace issues and promote a better work environment.  Such committees are easy to establish and have an immediate impact.

 

 

Committee Objective and Purpose

 

No two safety committees will look alike.  A number of factors that influence the internal operations of a business and its demands will dictate their size, shape, structure and objectives.  Overall, they should have a similar purpose.  That being to promote a safe work environment and improve the well-being of all employees.

 

 

When establishing or re-evaluating an existing safety committee, it is important to look into common traits of successful groups.  These include:

 

 

  • Development of a safe work place and defining the objectives with safety and productivity in mind;

 

  • Prepare or review safety programs that are typically implemented by the human resources department and provide effective safety suggestions;

 

  • Provide training on important workplace safety issues. These include office security, compliance with applicable regulations and a plan on how to respond to a variety of accidents, injuries and other emergencies; and

 

  • Assist as needed in accident investigation and response.

 

 

It is important for an employer to help a safety committee effectuate positive change.  If there is no “buy-in” from management and other stakeholders, having such group is pointless.

 

 

Scope of a Successful Safety Committee

 

When starting a safety committee in your workplace, the first objective should be to define the roles of committee members and set realistic goals. Membership should include a representative cross-section of the company.  Members should include management, labor leaders, if applicable, middle management and general office employees.  It is important to empower all members of the committee.  Everyone on the committee must have a voice, and his or her concerns should be received with respect.

 

It is also important to define the roles of committee members.  This may include a formal chain of command that includes a committee chair, vice-chair, other officers and general members.  Membership roles and terms must be defined to provide clarity.  Rotating membership is also important so all business segments can have a voice.

 

 

 

Ensuring a Safety Committee’s Success in Your Organization

 

It is pointless to have a committee and not highlight their work and accomplishments.  Taking proactive steps from the onset will ensure a safety committee gains credibility with all employees.  Some things to consider once a safety committee is operating include:

 

 

  • Defining a clear agenda that is published for everyone to know what is being discussed;

 

  • Taking minutes from each safety committee meeting. What takes place at safety committee meetings should also be published in a conspicuous location.  Suggestions may include posting them in a common area such as a break room, or on a company-wide Intranet site;

 

  • Highlighting the accomplishments of the committee will further advance the interests of safety and set the right tone; and

 

  • Encourage and acknowledge feedback will enhance safety best practices within the organization as a whole.

 

 

It is important for a safety committee to be visible and proactive.  It can also help reinforce safety reminders discussed in meetings and promote a consistent message.

 

 

Conclusions

 

Having a safety committee is an effective and efficient tool to reduce workplace injuries and workers’ compensation costs.  It requires a commitment from all interested stakeholders within a company.

 

 

 

For additional information on workers’ compensation cost containment best practices, register as a guest for our next live stream training.

 

Author Michael Stack, Principal, COMPClub, Amaxx LLC. He is an expert in workers compensation cost containment systems and helps employers reduce their work comp costs by 20% to 50%.  He works as a consultant to large and mid-market clients, is co-author of Your Ultimate Guide To Mastering Workers Comp Costs, a comprehensive step-by-step manual of cost containment strategies based on hands-on field experience, and is founder of COMPClub, an exclusive member training program on workers compensation cost containment best practices.

 

Contact: mstack@reduceyourworkerscomp.com.

Workers’ Comp Roundup Blog: http://blog.reduceyourworkerscomp.com/

Live Stream WC Training: http://workerscompclub.com/livestreamtraining.com

 

©2017 Amaxx LLC. All rights reserved under International Copyright Law.

 

Do not use this information without independent verification. All state laws vary. You should consult with your insurance broker, attorney, or qualified professional.

11 Tips To Keep Aging Workers Safe, Healthy and Productive

The workforce is getting older. People are living longer, and their dollars aren’t necessarily going as far as they’d like. In 2015, 22.6 percent of the workforce was at least 55 years old and the percentage is expected to be nearly one-quarter of the workforce by 2024.

 

That’s good news for companies that don’t want to lose the benefits of older workers — institutional knowledge, lower turnover, more dedication to work, and positive values. However, while older workers also tend to have fewer workplace injuries, they generally take longer to heal. Savvy employers know they must take steps to address changes related to the aging process.

 

 

The Problems

 

Our bodies generally show signs of aging around ages 40 to 50. Not all older workers have the same physical or mental issues associated with aging, but there are often changes that impact vision, hearing, strength and flexibility, and cognitive skills.

 

Older workers tend to experience more problems with their backs, shoulders, knees and trunks, while younger workers are more likely to have head and hand injuries.

 

The risk of falling also increases with age. Workers in their early 20s had about 8 percent of the fatal falls in 2014, while those in the 55 to 64 age group had 20.7 percent, and those over 65 had a fatal fall rate of 27.3 percent.

 

Cumulative trauma disorders related to ergonomic issues also tend to be heightened among older workers.

 

 

What to Do

 

Employers cannot single out older workers — or any employees — for health-related changes without running the risk of discrimination allegations, unless it is an accommodation for someone with a disability as defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act. But changes can be made that will make all workers safer. The primary ones focus on physical changes to the workplace and changes to job design.

 

Before undertaking any changes, it is wise to get input from workers — of all ages. While managers may think they know what might improve health and safety, those doing the jobs on a daily basis have much better insight. Plus, getting the help of workers will better ensure their buy-in.

 

 

Work environment

 

  1. Turn up the lights. Put adequate lighting in all areas — inside and out, to make sure surfaces are clearly visible. Change burnt out bulbs as soon as possible. Table lamps should be set so the bottom of the lampshade is at the eye level of the person using it. You can also help workers see better by supplying magnifying lenses, larger computer typeface, and screens to cut down on glare. Having contrasting colors on ramps and stairways will help workers see them better.
  2. Maintain good housekeeping. Get rid of clutter and have a policy that requires workers to move boxes or other objects out of normal walking areas when not in use. Walkways should also be free of electrical cords and other objects that could cause an employee to trip and fall.
  3. Turn down the noise. Implementing a hearing conservation program is best. Where possible, sound dampening materials should be placed in areas with loud noises. Alternatively, provide sound-reducing headphones; but make sure any warning bells or alarms have visual as well as auditory alerts.
  4. Solid footing. All walking surfaces should be kept dry. Paper towels should be available near doorways and other areas where water, snow or ice may be tracked. If an area is perpetually wet, make sure there is adequate signage. Provide mats and slip-resistant shoes for workers in areas where there may be grease or slippery surfaces. If possible, use flooring material that is easier on the knees and hips — such as wood instead of concrete.
  5. Assistive devices. Manual hoisting cranes are a great way to help reduce back strain and prevent musculoskeletal problems. Automating processes where possible will also help reduce strain on the body.
  6. Adjust work stations. Make sure workers are comfortable and are properly situated in their chairs and at their desks. If possible, have an ergonomist survey the area and make recommended changes.
  7. Make sure equipment is always in proper working condition and that safeguards are fully operational. If your employees drive company vehicles, make sure to adhere to the manufacturer’s maintenance schedule. Also ensure tires are properly inflated and washer fluid is always available.

 

 

Job Design

 

  1. Take a break. Allow workers to take more frequent, short breaks where possible, to allow the body to reenergize.
  2. Rotate jobs. When feasible, allow for job rotation across workstations to balance the loads on workers’ bodies. It also helps reduce repetitive motions, which can cause pain.
  3. Schedule changes. Revise schedules if needed to ensure workers do not handle strenuous tasks for long periods of time. Make sure a worker is able to perform any task before assigning it.
  4. Workers who have more autonomy are more productive. Allow employees to work from home when possible, and/or work during non-traditional hours.

 

Conclusion

 

Making some common-sense changes with the help of employees at all levels of the organization is an easy way to prevent injuries among all workers, especially older ones. Companies that do so see increased productivity and money saved on their workers’ compensation and healthcare budgets.

 

 

Author Michael Stack, Principal, COMPClub, Amaxx LLC. He is an expert in workers compensation cost containment systems and helps employers reduce their work comp costs by 20% to 50%.  He works as a consultant to large and mid-market clients, is co-author of Your Ultimate Guide To Mastering Workers Comp Costs, a comprehensive step-by-step manual of cost containment strategies based on hands-on field experience, and is founder of COMPClub, an exclusive member training program on workers compensation cost containment best practices.

 

Contact: mstack@reduceyourworkerscomp.com.

Workers’ Comp Roundup Blog: http://blog.reduceyourworkerscomp.com/

Live Stream WC Training: http://workerscompclub.com/livestreamtraining.com

 

©2017 Amaxx LLC. All rights reserved under International Copyright Law.

 

Do not use this information without independent verification. All state laws vary. You should consult with your insurance broker, attorney, or qualified professional.

Crystalline Silica: OSHA Acts To Protect Workers From Exposure

OSHA has issued a final rule to curb lung cancer, silicosis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and kidney disease in America’s workers by limiting their exposure to respirable crystalline silica.

 

The rule is comprised of two standards, one for Construction and one for General Industry and Maritime. The Final Rule is projected to provide net benefits of about $7.7 billion annually.

 

 

2.3 Million Workers Exposed to Respirable Crystalline Silica

 

About 2.3 million workers are exposed to respirable crystalline silica in their workplaces, including 2 million construction workers who drill, cut, crush, or grind silica-containing materials such as concrete and stone, and 300,000 workers in general industry operations such as brick manufacturing, foundries, and hydraulic fracturing, also known as fracking. Responsible employers have been protecting workers from harmful exposure to respirable crystalline silica for years, using widely-available equipment that controls dust with water or a vacuum system.

 

The U.S. Department of Labor first highlighted the hazards of respirable crystalline silica in the 1930s, after a wave of worker deaths.

 

The department set standards to limit worker exposure in 1971, when OSHA was created. However, the standards are outdated and do not adequately protect workers from silica-related diseases. Furthermore, workers are being exposed to silica in new industries such as stone or artificial stone countertop fabrication and hydraulic fracturing.

 

A full review of scientific evidence, industry consensus standards, and extensive stakeholder input provide the basis for the final rule, which was proposed in September 2013.

 

The rule-making process allowed OSHA to solicit input in various forms for nearly a full year. The agency held 14 days of public hearings, during which more than 200 stakeholders presented testimony, and accepted over 2,000 comments, amounting to about 34,000 pages of material.

 

 

Enhanced Employer Flexibility In Choosing How To Reduce Levels

 

In response to this extensive public engagement, OSHA made substantial changes, including enhanced employer flexibility in choosing how to reduce levels of respirable crystalline silica, while maintaining or improving worker safety.

 

Both standards contained in the final rule took effect on June 23, 2016, after which industries have one to five years to comply with most requirements, based on the following schedule:

 

  • Construction will have until June 23, 2017, one year after the effective date, while General Industry and Maritime will have until June 23, 2018, two years after the effective date.
  • Hydraulic fracturing has until June 23, 2018, two years after the effective date for all provisions except Engineering Controls, which require compliance by June 23, 2021.

 

OSHA approved State Plans have six months to adopt standards that are at least as effective as federal OSHA standards. Establishments in states that operate their own safety and health plans should check with their State Plan for the implementation date of the new standards.

 

 

Author Bob Bower, Medcor, Director of Operations. Medcor helps employers reduce the costs of workers’ compensation and general health care by providing injury triage services and operating worksite health and wellness clinics. Medcor’s services are available 24/7 nationwide for worksites of any size in any industry. Headquartered in McHenry, Illinois, the company operates 174 clinics and provides triage services to over 90,000 worksites across all 50 states and US territories. Medcor’s triage methods are covered by U.S. & foreign patents, including U.S. No. 7,668,733; 7,716,070; & 7,720,692; other patents pending. Medcor is privately held. Learn more at www.medcor.com.

Obesity Is Costing You More Than A Lean Physique

obesity increasing costsIs there a cost to being obese? Experts say, “absolutely.” The costs of obesity can extend beyond personal health. There is a lifelong financial impact, beyond medical bills. There are direct health costs (medical services) and indirect costs: value of lost work, quality of life and insurance – all related to obesity.

 
According to a report from the Department of Health Policy at George Washington University’s School of Public Health and Health Services, the tangible annual health and work-related costs of obesity for a woman amount to $4,789 more than a woman of average weight would pay. For an obese man, those added costs are $2,646 annually.
 

 

Being obese can impact insurance rates, even more so than your age.

 

Prevention is key. Start making choices that will reduce obesity. Get moving and strengthening. Physical activity is one way you can invest in your long-term health. Movement is great for your mind, body and can promote weight loss.

 
Eat less processed foods, and eat less in general. Nourish your body with at least five servings of fruits and veggies daily. Make meal choices to include lean proteins and healthy fats.

 

Enjoy a good night’s sleep, and manage your stress. Lack of sleep and excess stress can sabotage weight loss efforts.

 
Participate in your company’s wellness program. Taking advantage of company wellness perks is a way to be proactive about investing your wellbeing.

 
Seek professional support. If you are not having success with your weight loss efforts, look to a professional for guidance. It does not matter if you have been overweight your entire life, there are changes you can start to make at any age to improve your health.

 

 

Author: Heather Klaus, Medcor, Wellness Program Manager. Heather oversees Medcor’s internal wellness program for nearly 900 associates nationwide.  She also develops and supports wellness programs for Medcor clients.  Heather is a regular author and contributor to health and wellness blogs, videos and newsletters.  Heather holds a Bachelor’s in Science from Northern Illinois University in Nutrition and Dietetics. She is a certified trainer, fitness instructor and Lifestyle and Weight Management Consultant.  http://www.medcor.com.  Contact: heather.klaus@medcor.com

Supervisor Is First Line Of Defense In Work Accident Prevention

The best workers comp claim is the claim that never happened.  An effective approach to accident prevention is having supervisors actively involved in the safety program.  The importance of safety training for field or floor supervisors cannot be overstated.  Having supervisors actively involved in safety programs gets them to “buy into” the program, making it more effective, and making safety an important daily job duty for supervisors makes safety a routine practice.

 

 

Safety Responsibilities of Supervisors

 

Supervisors’ safety responsibilities must be incorporated into their job descriptions as important performance measurements.

 

Safety objectives that should be a regular part of every supervisor’s job include:

 

  • Inspecting work areas to identify any safety issues

 

  • Initiating work orders for safety related repairs

 

  • Insuring all needed repairs are completed timely

 

  • Knowing and complying with all OSHA and state requirements

 

  • Enforcing employee compliance with all safety regulations

 

  • Training all new employees on the safety plan

 

  • Having monthly safety meetings with group employees

 

  • Safe completion of all work

 

  • Recording all safety incidents

 

  • Reporting all safety incidents to management

 

  • Investigating all accidents

 

  • Preventing the reoccurrence of similar accidents

 

  • Reviewing with management how to improve safety

 

 

Knowing and Implementing the Safety Plan

 

Management must ensure that supervisors know and implement the current safety plan.  Supervisors must be familiar with any updates to the safety plan and immediately communicate these changes to their group employees. Supervisors should review the changes and the overall safety plan with their group employees at the monthly safety meetings.

 

Review of Safety Work Orders

 

Management should regularly review a supervisor’s safety work orders for repairs or improvements and this information should also be included in a supervisor’s performance review.  Management must verify that the supervisor is identifying and correcting legitimate safety hazards. The accuracy and the effectiveness of the safety work orders will impact the overall outcome of the safety program.

 

Accident Reporting

 

An important safety duty of a supervisor is to create a detailed accident report after each injury.  The accident report should always be reviewed by management immediately following an incident and the quality of all accident investigations completed by the supervisor should be a part of every performance review.

 

The supervisor’s manager should check each supervisor’s accident report to determine if the supervisor:

 

  • Interviewed the injured employee and the co-workers/witnesses

 

  • Included an investigation of the object/ machinery/ equipment involved

 

  • Determined if the accident was the employee’s fault or caused by an object/equipment/ machinery defect.

 

  • Recommended how to prevent a similar accident from occurring in the future

 

 

Safety Reporting Is More Than Completing OSHA Forms. 

 

Safety reporting should entail a review of injury accidents by categories determined by management.  Sample categories include employee error, equipment/machinery malfunction and unforeseen circumstances.  The purpose is to identify areas where further safety improvements can be made.

 

Checking the OSHA Website

 

One good way to keep supervisors up to date on safety prevention is to have them or their managers regularly check the OSHA website at http://www.osha.gov/.  OSHA provides easily downloadable posters, flyers, educational materials and apps to help supervisors prevent accidents and injuries.

 

The Supervisor’s Performance Review

 

Performance reviews are one way to insure that supervisors meet their safety goals.  Management should not measure safety solely by the number of injury claims reported.  By emphasizing the prevention of injuries, management reduces a supervisor’s temptation to underreport the minor injuries that do occur.

 

In performance reviews, management should assess a supervisor’s:

 

  • Completion of regular safety inspections

 

  • Timeliness of repair orders

 

  • Compliance with OSHA and other regulations

 

  • Safety training provided to employees

 

  • Recommendations on how to improve safety

 

Integrating safety into supervisors’ job performance will improve compliance with all safety requirements and reduce the number of workers’ compensation claims.

 

 

Author Michael Stack, Principal, COMPClub, Amaxx LLC. He is an expert in workers compensation cost containment systems and helps employers reduce their work comp costs by 20% to 50%.  He works as a consultant to large and mid-market clients, is co-author of Your Ultimate Guide To Mastering Workers Comp Costs, a comprehensive step-by-step manual of cost containment strategies based on hands-on field experience, and is founder of COMPClub, an exclusive member training program on workers compensation cost containment best practices. Through these platforms he is in the trenches on a working together with clients to implement and define best practices, which allows him to continuously be at the forefront of innovation and thought leadership in workers’ compensation cost containment. Contact: mstack@reduceyourworkerscomp.com.

 

 

©2016 Amaxx LLC. All rights reserved under International Copyright Law.

 

Do not use this information without independent verification. All state laws vary. You should consult with your insurance broker, attorney, or qualified professional.

 

6 Techniques To Avoid Lifting Injuries

One of the most common causes of workers compensation claims is the improper lifting of a heavy object by an employee. It is also one of the easiest workers compensation claims to avoid. When an employee injures a back, it is usually not the heavy weight, but the method of lifting the weight that was improper. These back injuries can be avoided. The teaching of proper lifting techniques, to any employee who may be called upon to physically move objects, is an essential part of any good safety program.

 

There are at least 6 common things that employees do that cause them to hurt their back. They are (this is not an all inclusive list)

 

  1. Twisting while lifting
  2. Holding the object too far away from the body
  3. Lifting with the back bent
  4. Contorting the body to lift in an unnatural way
  5. Losing their balance while lifting
  6. Not coordinating their lift with other co-worker(s)

 

 

Twisting while Lifting

 

When a heavy object needs to be moved from a floor or other level to a higher level, the employee will often be paralleled to the higher level when the object is picked up and will have to twist to set the object on the higher level (shelf, cart, conveyor belt, etc.). The employee should approach the object perpendicular to the higher level where the object is going to be placed, with the employee, the object and the higher level in a straight line. This puts the object in the middle between the employee and the higher level, allowing the employee to lift the object without twisting. It also allows the employee to have the head facing straight forward to keep all parts of the spine in a straight line.

 

 

Holding the Object Too Far from the Body

 

Sometimes employees just do not want to get dirty. If the object is dirty, greasy, oily, etc., the employee may be inclined to try to lift the object while holding the object away from the body. This is difficult to do with light objects and a recipe for an injury with heavy objects. The further the object is from the body, the harder it is too lift and the more strain it places on the body. The employees need to be taught to hold the object they lift as close to the body as possible to avoid strain on the back.

 

 

Lifting with the Back Bent

 

When employees have not been taught the proper lifting techniques for heavy weights, they are often inclined to keep the legs straight and the back bent. This is backwards of the proper way to lift. The employee should be facing the object with the feet shoulder width apart. The employee should keep the back straight and bend the knees to lower the body closer to the object. This allows the employee to lift the object with the strength of the legs instead of placing tremendous strain on the back by trying lift with the back bent.

 

 

Contorting the Body to Lift in an Unnatural Way

 

Often the box of supplies, or bucket of parts or other heavy object is surrounded by other objects that are in the way of the employee trying to lift the object needed. When the employee contorts the body to lift a load in a cluttered area, the worker is inviting injury. While it takes a little longer, the employee should be taught to move other items out of the way (using proper lifting techniques) before trying to lift a heavy object. The employee should be sure the area around the object and the pathway from the object is clear prior to lifting it.

 

 

Losing Balance While Lifting

 

There are different ways the employee can lose his balance while lifting a load. Common mistakes include placing the feet too close together, picking up an irregularly shaped object where the load is uneven, trying to pick up a stack of two or more objects at the same time, or trying to pick up an object that is too heavy. The employees should be taught that the feet need to be at least shoulder width apart, or slightly wider. If the load is unevenly balanced, the employee should redistribute the weight of the load if more than one object, or to get someone to assist in lifting the object if the weight of the object is unevenly distributed.

 

 

Not Coordinating the Lift with Others

 

When two or more people are lifting a heavy object at one time, not only is there a strong probability of a back injury if done incorrectly, the employees may badly smash toes. When it takes more than one person to lift an object, and a forklift is not option, it is imperative that all the parties to the lift communicate where they are holding or grasping the object, where they are moving the object to, and when they will lift simultaneously.

 

 

Proper lifting can easily be taught to all employees involved in any type of manual labor. The basic points each employee needs to know include:

 

  1. Keep the back straight at all times
  2. Keep the load as close to the body as possible
  3. Keep the feet at least shoulder width apart with the toes turned slightly outward
  4. Bend the knees, not the back
  5. Keep the object to be lifted directly in front of you to avoid twisting
  6. Keep your head forward facing the object
  7. Breathe out as you lift

 

 

Author Michael Stack, Principal, COMPClub, Amaxx LLC. He is an expert in workers compensation cost containment systems and helps employers reduce their work comp costs by 20% to 50%.  He works as a consultant to large and mid-market clients, is co-author of Your Ultimate Guide To Mastering Workers Comp Costs, a comprehensive step-by-step manual of cost containment strategies based on hands-on field experience, and is founder of COMPClub, an exclusive member training program on workers compensation cost containment best practices. Through these platforms he is in the trenches on a working together with clients to implement and define best practices, which allows him to continuously be at the forefront of innovation and thought leadership in workers’ compensation cost containment. Contact: mstack@reduceyourworkerscomp.com.

 

 

©2016 Amaxx LLC. All rights reserved under International Copyright Law.

 

Do not use this information without independent verification. All state laws vary. You should consult with your insurance broker, attorney, or qualified professional.

 

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