Convenience Store Deaths Spark New Safety Regulations

 

Convenience Store and Gas Station Workers Have High Risk of Violence
 
Following a number of high-profile convenience store and gas station deaths across Canada, Saskatchewan is making moves to strengthen its labor laws to better protect late-night workers against such violence, according to a report from the Canadian OH&S News.
 
At the recent Saskatchewan Federation of Labor (SFL) convention in Regina, labour minister Don Morgan unveiled new rules that he said will better protect late-night retail workers, including those who work in convenience stores and gas stations, and those who face an especially high risk of assaults.
 
 
Safety Updates to be Required
 
According to Saskatchewan’s Ministry of Labor Relations and Workplace Safety updates would include safe cash handling procedures, use of video cameras and the provision of good visibility and signage for all late-night premises as part of the improvements. As well, the ministry went on to say, establishments will require a check-in system and personal emergency transmitters will be provided to all clerks working alone on the late shift.
 
Glennis Bihun, executive director of the province’s occupational health and safety department, added that those mandatory regulations are part of the overall workplace hazard assessment programs.
 
“The hazard assessment ensures that the employer takes a look at what the potential hazards are and what the risk of those hazards might be,” Bihun said. “It provides an opportunity for an employer to do an assessment to identify the kinds of things in addition to the mandatory security measures they might need to do to minimize or eliminate the risk of violence for workers.”
 
 
Jimmy’s Law
 
Such efforts come in response to the death of Jimmy Ray Wiebe in 2011. Weibe was shot by armed robbers while working the late shift at a Shell gas station in Yorkton, Sask., near the Manitoba border. That spawned Jimmy’s Law, an initiative calling on the government to improve protections in 24-hour workplaces.
 
The federation, which represents close to 100,000 workers, lauded the government’s efforts to move towards safer environments for late-shift staffers.
 
Late-night retail employees will begin to see the new regulations come into force as early as mid-January of this year.
 
 

Author Michael B. Stack, CPA, Director of Operations, Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc. is an expert in employer communication systems and part of the Amaxx team helping companies reduce their workers compensation costs by 20% to 50%. He is a writer, speaker, and website publisher.  www.reduceyourworkerscomp.comContact: mstack@reduceyourworkerscomp.com.

 

©2012 Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc. 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 about workers comp issues.

Employee Loses Arm, Company Fined 125,000 Dollars, All for Failure to Follow Safety Guidelines

 

Lost Arm in Tree Shredding Machine
 
A Christchurch, New Zealand company and one of its directors have been prosecuted after an employee lost his arm when it became trapped for several hours in a tree shredding machine, according to the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment.
 
 
Fine of $100,000 and Reparations of $25,000
 
Canterbury Greenwaste Processors Ltd., and one of its directors Luke Charles Kepple, were convicted and ordered to pay fines totaling $100,000 and reparations totaling $25,000 following the incident which happened in September last year. [WCx]
 
The Christchurch District Court heard that the victim was processing greenwaste using a ‘ripper’ – a truck mounted shredding machine – and was operating a crane to lift unprocessed green waste into the machine’s hopper.
 
After climbing down from the crane cab, the worker tripped on the ground next to the truck and put his arm out to steady himself. His arm became entangled in the nip point of the unguarded conveyor belt used to transfer the processed waste away from the ripper.
 
 
Worker Trapped for Several Hours
 
“The worker remained trapped in the conveyor for several hours until emergency services were able to free the remains of his arm, which was later amputated in hospital,” said Southern General Manager for the Labour Group of the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE), Jean Martin. [WCx]
 
 
Accident Could Have Been Avoided
 
According to Martin, “This worker experienced injury and trauma that no person should ever be subjected to. This accident could have been avoided if the company had put in place adequate machine guarding, carried out regular hazard checks, and put in place safe operating procedures for using the machinery. It should also have provided safety warning signs and measures for ensuring the ripper could be safely shut off.”
 
 

Author Michael B. Stack, CPA, Director of Operations, Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc. is an expert in employer communication systems and part of the Amaxx team helping companies reduce their workers compensation costs by 20% to 50%. He is a writer, speaker, and website publisher.  www.reduceyourworkerscomp.com Contact mstack@reduceyourworkerscomp.com

 

 


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Do not use this information without independent verification. All state laws vary. You should consult with your insurance broker or agent about workers comp issues.

 

©2012 Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc. All rights reserved under International Copyright Law. If you would like permission to reprint this material, contact us at: Info@ReduceYourWorkersComp.com.

Australian Employer Fined 350K Following Death of Man

A major development company has been fined $350,000 for an "immense oversight" at the construction of a giant warehouse in Melbourne's southeast that led to the death of a man.
 
 
According to information from the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union, County Court judge Liz Gaynor said that John Parton's fate was sealed when Australand failed to oversee properly work being done at the Dandenong South site where he was killed when a steel frame collapsed. (WCxKit)
 
 
She said it was only luck that more men had not yet arrived for work when the structure, measuring 82 meters by 240 meters, crashed down on the 47-year-old Langwarrin man.
 
 
Gaynor said the steel frame had not been properly braced and a colleague with Mr. Parton narrowly escaped death or serious injury.
 
 
She said failing to ensure the partially built frame was braced was a "serious example" of an occupational health and safety breach that had resulted in the "massive collapse of a massive structure.”
 
 
Australand, the principal builder of the project and in charge of overseeing construction, was fined $350,000.
 
 
Australand had no prior convictions and Gaynor said it had shown remorse and taken immediate steps to improve safety on its projects.
 
 
Acting director of WorkSafe's construction and utilities team, Allan Beacom, said after the sentencing that temporary bracing on partially-built structures was integral to workplace safety.
 
 
There are a surprisingly high number of structural failures where this simple step has not been done, and in every case, people are at risk," he said.
 
 
The incident must act as a reminder to all that fundamental safety responsibilities must be adhered to." (WCxKit)
 
 
Charges against two other defendants in the case are yet to be heard.

 

Author Robert Elliott, executive vice president, Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc. has worked successfully for 20 years with many industries to reduce Workers Compensation costs, including airlines, healthcare, printing/publishing, pharmaceuticals, retail, hospitality and manufacturing. See www.LowerWC.com for more information. Contact: Info@ReduceYourWorkersComp.com.
 

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Do not use this information without independent verification. All state laws vary. You should consult with your insurance broker or agent about workers comp issues.
 
©2011 Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc. All rights reserved under International Copyright Law. If you would like permission to reprint this material, contact

4 Additional Ways to Reduce Claim Exposure During Business Peak Times

No matter what season whether it is winter, spring, summer, or fall, it is some company's “busy” or peak season somewhere. Unfortunately for niche businesses, this peak time can also be a prime time for workers compensation injuries.  
 

New staff is hired to meet the upcoming demands, and the company employees are working longer hours to meet the demand. The equipment begins to require more maintenance and repair during this “busy” period. It is imperative not to forget about workplace safety during this time. Here we discuss a few ways to curb the exposure to injuries.
 
 
1. Solid hiring practices
When demand is high for the work product, it is easy to forget focusing on important aspects of the business. The peak time of year means hiring new full time and part time employees. These employees may be referrals from other employees or simply walk in with little to no experience. 
 
 
Evaluating the job candidates is critical. On average, first-year employees have a higher incidence of injuries than more experienced or tenured employees. This may sound obvious, but hiring practices are key in preventing workers compensation injuries. Workplace safety must be part of the screening process as well as physicals and drug screens prior to hiring. Monitor the potential employee’s attitude toward safety during the interview process and while touring the workplace. The way the employee behaves during this time could be a sign of carelessness that could lead to a workplace injury. (WCxKit) One company had 80% of injuries occuring to employees with less than one year's tenure.
 
 
2. Proper orientation and safety training
Safety comes first and the facility should maintain safety at all times of the year. Focusing on safety only during a peak time is ineffective and potentially hazardous. Protocol for repairs, maintenance, and inspections should happen consistently throughout the year.
 
 
Employees should be reminded about safe work practices and be trained in proper safety techniques. Emergency procedures, safe work practices, protective equipment are key to preventing injuries during the peak time and anytime of the year. Mock injury set ups can be educational and reveal how employees will respond in an emergency situation. Having a plan in place will help employees know how to respond properly and effectively should an injury occur.
 
 
3. Proactive and involved supervision
Supervising and enforcing safe work practices is a key component to reducing the risk of injuries. Every employee is responsible to work safely, even if it is not the easiest and fastest way. Managers and supervisors onsite should be aware of an employee's every move. Operational guidelines such as proper guards for saws and safety glasses are crucial. If a supervisor catches an employee working unsafely, the employee must be disciplined. Employees will only take safety seriously, if there are serious and automatic consequences. 
 
 
The employee should be allowed to provide feedback keeping the lines of communication open. Employees are not prisoners, and employees most likely has ideas on how to change workstations to increase safety standards. Providing incentives like raffles for free gas cards is an easy option. A supervisor can implement a new safety technique and the results will travel to senior level management. By giving the employee a chance to weigh in, work safety techniques will be more successful overall.
 
 
4. Super fast accident response
As mentioned above, employees must understand what to do should an accident occur. If an employee using a saw cuts a hand and tells a supervisor about the accident, the supervisor will then tell the HR person and take the employee to receive medical care. The first report of injury is completed and called in to the insurance  carrier. The employee returns to the shop bringing the medical slip to the HR person, who then faxes or emails the adjuster. Within 24 hours, the adjuster already has the injury report, statements from the supervisor and HR, and the medical slip. These items are crucial to a claim being handled properly after an accident.
 
 
This example may sound like workers compensation 101, but it is surprising how many employers do not stick to this process.   Having a proper procedure in place following an injury prevents a delay. And any delay affects wage payments, medical coverage, and a return to work. Take time to have a step by step process and mock injuries, so that when an actual injury occurs, everyone knows exactly what to do. (WCxKit)
 
 
Summary
Peak work seasons elevate the exposure on many levels. With proper hiring practices, solid orientation, thorough training, proactive supervision, and fast accident response, and reporting everyone knows how to respond to an injury in the workplace. It sounds simple, but practice makes perfect. Do not wait until an injury happens to figure out how to handle it.  


Author Rebecca Shafer
, JD, President of Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc. is a national expert in the field of workers compensation. She is a writer, speaker, and website publisher. Her expertise is working with employers to reduce workers compensation costs, and her clients include airlines, healthcare, printing, publishing, pharmaceuticals, retail, hospitality, and manufacturing. See www.LowerWC.com for more information. Contact: RShafer@ReduceYourWorkersComp.com.
 


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Do not use this information without independent verification. All state laws vary. You should consult with your insurance broker or agent about workers comp issues.
 
©2011 Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc. All rights reserved under International Copyright Law. If you would like permission to reprint this material, contact Info@ReduceYourWorkersComp.com.

Shocking Safety Violations Endanger Electrical Workers

For failing to provide a safe work environment for workers installing an electrical grid upgrade both The Hartford Financial Services Group Inc. and Grubb & Ellis Management Services Inc. were cited by the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) for serious violations of workplace safety standards for exposing workers to electrical hazards at The Hartford’s corporate headquarters and data center in Hartford, CT.

 

 

Employers are charged by OSHA with the responsibility of providing safe and healthful workplaces for employees and OSHA sets and enforces these standards by providing training, education, and assistance.

 

 

The Hartford was issued one serious citation and may be fined as much as $7,000. Grubb & Ellis was issued six serious citations with $34,000 in proposed fines. OSHA issues a serious citation when there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.

 

 

OSHA found The Hartford’s data center policy required electricians employed by its maintenance contractor, Grubb & Ellis, to perform work in live electrical panels for computer equipment without first de-energizing (shutting off) the panels. Grubb & Ellis failed to de-energize the electrical panels before having its employees perform installation work and grid upgrades.

 

In addition, Grubb & Ellis was cited for:

 

  1. Assigning employees to work on live parts and circuits on the electrical systems;

 

  1. Failing to train workers on electrical safe work practices and use of protective equipment needed to guard against electrical hazards;

 

  1. Failing to have in place a specific hazardous energy control procedures to prevent the activation or the release of hazardous energy from equipment during maintenance and repair work;

 

  1. Failing to develop and adequately train all authorized employees on hazardous energy control and procedures for safely applying, using, and removing energy control devices.

 

“Employers must understand they or their contractors must first de-energize electrical equipment and circuits before employees work on them,” said Paul Mangiafico, OSHA’s area director in Hartford. “Working on live electrical equipment needlessly exposes workers to potential death or disabling injury from arc flash, arc blast, or electric shock. Proper and effective safeguards must be in place and in use at all times.”

 

 

Each employer has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and proposed penalties to comply, meet with OSHA’s area director or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

 

 

Detailed information on electrical hazards and safeguards at: http://www.osha.gov/SLTC/electrical/index.html

 

Information on hazardous energy control is at: http://www.osha.gov/SLTC/controlhazardousenergy/index.html

 


Author Rebecca Shafer
, JD, President of Amaxx Risks Solutions, Inc. is a national expert in the field of workers compensation. She is a writer, speaker, and website publisher. Her expertise is working with employers to reduce workers compensation costs, and her clients include airlines, healthcare, printing/publishing, pharmaceuticals, retail, hospitality, and manufacturing. See www.LowerWC.com for more information. Contact:RShafer@ReduceYourWorkersComp.com or 860-553-6604.

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Do not use this information without independent verification. All state laws vary. You should consult with your insurance broker or agent about workers comp issues.

 

©2011 Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc. All rights reserved under International Copyright Law. If you would like permission to reprint this material, contact Info@ReduceYourWorkersComp.com.

 

Report Critical of Efforts for Worker Protection

A report, critical of worker protection efforts, was issued by Researchers at the Lowell Center for Sustainable Production at the University of Massachusetts Lowell.
 
The Center conducted a year-long analysis of successes and failures of OSHA’s 40-year history. The final report identifies strategies to improve U.S. workplaces. The document uses case studies to highlight failures of government and industry policies and practices. (WCxKit)
 
 
Among them are stories of immigrant workers killed or severely burned in house fires caused by chemicals used to refinish floors, and healthcare workers disabled by back injuries from heavy lifting and awkward postures.
 
 
Suggested reforms include “prevention through design” initiatives to design out hazards and make jobs, products, and materials inherently safer. (WCxKit)
 
 
The report concludes that the current regulatory approach to worker protection “is inadequate given the broad changes to science, technology, and policy necessary to protect workers.”


Author Robert Elliott
, executive vice president, Amaxx Risks Solutions, Inc. has worked successfully for 20 years with many industries to reduce Workers Compensation costs, including airlines, healthcare, printing/publishing, pharmaceuticals, retail, hospitality and manufacturing. See www.LowerWC.com for more information.  Contact:  Info@ReduceYourWorkersComp.com or 860-553-6604.

 
WORK COMP CALCULATOR:   http://www.LowerWC.com/calculator.php
 
WC GROUP:  http://www.linkedin.com/groups?homeNewMember=&gid=1922050/
SUBSCRIBE: 
Workers Comp Resource Center Newsletter

Do not use this information without independent verification. All state laws vary. You should consult with your insurance broker or agent about workers comp issues.

©2011 Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc. All rights reserved under International Copyright Law. If you would like permission to reprint this material, contact
Info@ReduceYourWorkersComp.com

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