5 Tips To Reduce Your Stress and Be More Productive

 

I think it is an understatement to say that claims professionals are under a lot of stress.  Nowadays adjusters are forced to do more with less, so in addition to the normal claim investigations they also have to do a billion other things along the course of a normal day.  Add in to that rigid auditing standards, service promises, increased claim counts, and the list goes on and on.

 

Below we talk about some easy ways to take some of the stress out of your life in order to improve your work-life balance.

 

 

  1. Don’t Get Intertwined in Social Media

 

In today’s world, everyone is a mouse click away.  Social media such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and so on have made it possible that you can be connected to everyone, at all times, and the stresses of other people can become your stressors as well.  In fact people can reach out to you and vent about their own problems, which can take time away from whatever project you are working on.  So limit your social media interaction during work hours, and focus on the task at hand.  If you choose to get involved in a Facebook discussion about some hot political topic, do it away from work on your own time when it will not distract you as much.

 

  1. Leave Your Desk For A While

 

I know plenty of adjusters that work 10-11 hour days, and they rarely leave their desk except to go to the printer or to hit the bathroom.  Not only is this crazy, but it is also not healthy.  Getting up and walking around for a bit can be relaxing, especially if you can head outside for a while and get some fresh air.  Maybe go out to lunch every now and then and get away from that office atmosphere.  You don’t have to do it every day, even one or two days a week can make a difference.  The world is not going to fall apart just because you snuck out and got a piece of pizza on your lunch break.

 

 

  1. Decrease Your Social Engagements If Possible

 

Don’t get me wrong, heading to seminars or after work engagements can be a great way to network and share some down time with your friends or work peers.  But you have to keep your events in check.  If you have a crazy week and need the time to focus on other things, don’t be afraid to skip out on an engagement or two.

 

This can especially be true if you have kids that are active in sports or other things that can occur after your work hours during the work week.  Maybe the thing to decrease is the amount of activities they are involved in, since you have to be the one to pick them up and drive them to basketball practice.  Your kid doesn’t have to be on 3 basketball teams during the summer, and in doing this you can decrease their own time stressors as well. Or let them skip a few practices and go out for dinner, or go to a movie and spend some quality time with your children.  If they miss a practice or two I doubt that their ability to hit free throws will decrease.

 

 

  1. Put a Cap on the Hours You Spend at Home Working

 

Many adjusters and other professionals have the ability to access their work from any computer at any time.  This is a great thing to have when you need it, but it shouldn’t be something that you have to engage in all of the time, every single night, and every single week. If you fail to complete a few diary items, your employer is not going to go out of business and lay everyone off.  You have to prioritize what you HAVE to do at home after work hours, and what you COULD do.

 

The hard part here is that the life of a claims adjuster is never caught up.  Rarely can any adjuster be totally done with everything on every file at any given day. It’s like a constantly spinning wheel.  But there are plenty of things that can wait until tomorrow.  Your time after work is just that—your time.  If you choose to spend it plowing through countless medical records for a file then fine, but ask yourself if this is something that has to 100% be done right now and cannot wait until the following day back at the office.

 

 

  1. Take Time to Enjoy Your Hobbies, or Start a New One

 

If you love to golf, and you have had to skip your golf league the last few times because of working late, you need to make sure your time is a priority.  Working late can sometimes be unavoidable, but that doesn’t you can’t hit the driving range after you are done.  Whether it be hitting golf balls, hiking at the park, bowling, or going for a run, take the time to enjoy your hobby of choice.  Don’t put off that time and spending it in front of a computer.

 

These sports and hobbies are things you do to unwind and take your mind off the daily stress.  Not only will doing this reenergize yourself, but it will give you that quality “Me” time that everyone needs. Pencil that time in the calendar, and be sure to stick to it.  Make that a priority for once, instead of pushing it back time and time again.

 

 

Summary

 

In this profession we are all faced with a lot of different stressors, and they come at you from all angles.  Injured workers are stressed out because their balance of life is off due to an injury.  They are no longer working, no longer being productive, and they are worried about getting their own lives back in order.  So we not only have to deal with our own life stressors, but we have to figure out a way to try and solve the stressors of our claimants day in and day out.

 

Most of the adjusters use the excuse that “If I take some vacation time away from the office my workload only gets worse, which puts me farther and farther behind.” Part or all of this may be true, but you get vacation time or paid time off for a reason.  Nobody can work 365 days a year without going insane.  Pencil that time off in your calendar and stick to it.

 

 

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.

 

©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.

Study Show Employers Dropping Ball With Workers Stress

No Procedures for Managing Stress in European Workers

 
Most European companies reportedly still don’t have procedures for managing workplace stress and other psychosocial risks, despite the increasing threat that they pose to Europe’s workers.
 
This situation is explored in two new reports from the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work (EU-OSHA), which look at the reasons why, with 79% of managers in the EU being concerned about stress at work, and 40% concerned with workplace harassment and violence, 74% of European businesses still do not have procedures in place to deal with these issues.
 
 
80% of Workers Expect Stress to Increase
 
The reports come at a time when increasing numbers of European workers are reporting problems with stress, and with a recent opinion poll showing that 80% of EU workers expect stress levels to increase in the next five years. The health problems associated with stress and other psychosocial risks are well known, and yet it seems that many European businesses are finding it difficult to prevent them.
 
Findings of the European Survey of Enterprises on New and Emerging Risks (ESENER) show that only 3% of enterprises are tackling psychosocial risks in a fully holistic and systematic way, and 12% did not implement any of the key measures for managing psychosocial risks covered by the survey.
 
 
50 – 60% of All Lost Work Days From Psychosocial Risks
 
The reports looked at the factors that make businesses more likely to succeed in addressing these issues, including concerns being raised directly by employees, and an awareness of the business case for taking this issue seriously: currently some 50-60% of all lost working days are thought to be related to psychosocial risks, while mental health disorders are estimated to cost 240 billion Euros a year in the EU. Businesses that are aware of the close connection between psychosocial risks and high rates of absenteeism are much more likely to make serious efforts to manage those risks.
 
At the same time, the reports identify the barriers that many businesses encounter in trying to deal with psychosocial risks, including a lack of technical support and guidance, and a lack of resources.
 
 
Study Provides Snapshot of Managing Health and Safety
 
The two EU-OSHA reports, ‘Management of psychosocial risks at work’ and ‘Drivers and barriers for psychosocial risk management,’ follow up on EU-OSHA’s ESENER survey. This large-scale study provides a snapshot of the way that managers and workers' representatives are currently managing health and safety risks in Europe’s workplaces, with the focus especially on the growing area of psychosocial risks.
 
EU-OSHA will be making available practical tools for dealing with psychosocial risks in its forthcoming Healthy Workplaces Campaign, in 2014-15.
 

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

 

 


WORKERS COMP MANAGEMENT MANUAL:  www.WCManual.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.

STRESSED OUT – May or May Not Be Compensable Work Comp Claim

 

Everyone has varying degrees of stress in their lives, both inside of the workplace and out.  But the question employers have is when an employee comes to them and attempts to file a work comp claim stating that stress is their injury.  So what do you do? Is this a compensable claim, or should it be funneled more towards a disability claim?

 

Unless there is an extreme isolated event, stress will not be covered under the comp act (But you still should check with your legal counsel at all times).  General job stress is always going to be present.   Long work hours or a tight deadline to meet are considered normal within the workplace.   Just because the stress is present doesn’t mean that it is automatically a covered work comp claim.  [WCx]

 

The only scenario commonly accepted under work comp on a large-scale basis is a robbery, or some other very specific event that can lead to a diagnosis of post-traumatic stress disorder.  Armed robberies, shootings, and other criminal acts that involve another employee can sometimes be covered under the work comp act, since that is deemed the specific catalyst in causing the stress condition.  Harassment, personnel issues within a company involving employment, layoffs, firings, and so on usually will involve more of a human resources issue, and will generally fall under Employment Law rather than Work Comp.  This will vary within the jurisdiction, but think about specifics of the actual activity, and how it caused a worker to be “injured”, either subjectively or objectively, within the course and scope of their employment.

 

We discuss some of the more popular factors of stress scenarios below:

 

  1. What happened?

Depending on the jurisdiction, general workplace stress can be a tough claim to prove to be compensable under whatever work comp statutes are governing the claim. If a worker comes to the employer and says they have stress and need to file a comp claim, no matter what the scenario, the claim should be filed with your carrier.  Remember, it is carrier’s job to determine what is work related and what is not, not yours.  In fact, just the actions of not reporting a claim to your carrier can lead you into hot water with the governing work comp bureau. Despite the issues, and whatever the scenario may be, just file the claim, do your normal investigation, and gather as much information as possible and send it to the adjuster handling the file. Chances are that normal workplace stress will result in a denied claim under work comp, and the worker will be directed to their personal insurance for treatment and coverage.

 

  1. Who was involved?

It is easy to say that a CEO of a large company has more actual job stressors than a person that works in the mail room sorting mail.  But is there an isolated event that caused this stress?  If so, who was involved? One example is altercations that turn physical between employees.   An employee injured in a fight that did not actually “start” the altercation could qualify as a compensable claim.  This situation will typically involve a lot of finger pointing as to who actually started the fight.  This will typically be accepted as comp for the person injured until the facts areiron-clad in their existence and witnessed by others.  If both parties cannot agree or there are other factors involved both inside of outside of the workplace then usually the carrier will not accept anything, and will let the employer be the responsible party as far as leading the investigation.  The workers could then say that they have stress to even come to work now, since they feel they are being judged or gossiped about by the other employees, and again maybe this is compensable and maybe it is not.  All you can do as the employer is report the claim, with as much information as you can, and pass it on to the adjuster handling the claim, and let them do whatever they see fit as far as compensability goes.

 

  1. So what is the injury?

Stress claims come to carriers in a variety of ways, claiming a lot of different subjective and objective injury allegations. Mental stress, fear of other employees or retribution from management over a task that failed, anxiety problems involving coping with the situation, inability to focus on tasks, lost sleep due to the claimant “reliving” the incident, and so on and so on. 

 

As the employer, look for the catalyst.  What caused this situation to manifest?  Was this a one-time acute issue that caused the situation, or was this something that was going on and on for months or years that finally boiled over and caused whatever situation to occur?  How many different coworkers and levels of management were involved during this ongoing time?  Was anything reported to management in the past, and if so what was done with discipline for the involved parties? The hard part of these claims will be talking to all of these other employees to get their sides of the story.  To some, it may have been no big deal, and they could laugh at the allegation of stress arising from this incident.  But to others, they could see it the exact opposite.  

 

People all cope with stress differently, both inside of work and out, and a lot of times these stress claims can involve employees that have a lot of instability outside of the workplace that they can be bringing in with them as soon as the punch the clock to start their shift.  This is what makes these claims so difficult.  Claimants often will not elaborate to their adjuster during the investigation about the stressors of their personal lives outside of work, in order to make this work incident seem all that more isolated, and that is why they think it should be compensable, whether it actually is or not. [WCx]

 

Summary

As an employer you are going to come across one of these stress claims at one time or another.  The most important thing to do is to not blow it off.  Take the claim seriously, and report it to your carrier promptly.  Gather as much information as you can, including names, dates, witnesses, and so on and have these coworkers give statements on what happened so the adjuster can have that as part of their file.  Some may be more willing to talk than others, but it is your job to investigate it as you would with any other claim, despite whatever your personal assessment may be.  In cases such as these, the adjuster can never have enough information, whether you think this claim is compensable or not.

 

 

 

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 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. She is the author of the #1 selling book on cost containment, Workers Compensation Management Program: Reduce Costs 20% to 50%Contact: RShafer@ReduceYourWorkersComp.com.

 

Editor 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

 


WORKERS COMP MANAGEMENT MANUAL:  www.WCManual.com

VIEW SAMPLES PAGES

MODIFIED DUTY CALCULATOR:  www.LowerWC.com/transitional-duty-cost-calculator.php

 

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.

 

Korean Court Weighs In On Stress Claim For Dismissal

A Korean court recently ruled that the family of a deceased worker can receive industrial disaster compensation since his death was caused by stress due to a warning of dismissal, a court official said Thursday.
 
 
According to the Yonhap News Agency, the man, surnamed Ji, who was employed at a fish processing company since 1998, collapsed at work and died from a cerebral hemorrhage in 2008. Court officials did not give further details of his identity. (WCxKit)
 
 
After his death, his family requested the state-run Korea Workers Compensation and Welfare Service to acknowledge the case as an industrial death and grant them medical expenses. They said he passed away from stress after his employer saw Ji arguing with his colleague and threatened to fire him.
 
 
Their claim was turned down. They then filed a petition with the Seoul Administrative Court, which deals with appeals against administrative decisions by the government.
 
 
The Seoul Administrative Court acknowledged the link between his disease and stress at work, considering the fact he died the day after he was warned.
 
 
It also noted medical staff's opinion that said his disease was caused by a sudden jump in blood pressure believed to be linked to emotional stress, not to deteriorating health due to a chronic disease. (WCxKit)
 
 
"Because his employer warned him that he would be fired if he kept having quarrels, he is believed to have come under much pressure and stress," the presiding judge Kim Do-kyun said in a ruling. "The court acknowledges a causal relationship between his disease and work."
 
 
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.

 
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

WALES Businesses Receive Help with Workplace Aggression

Customer-facing businesses in Wales are to receive assistance and guidance on how to deal with aggression and violence in their workplaces, which could see the use of safety stickers and safety signs.


In a joint operation
between Powys County Council and the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), officers will pay visits to shops, clubs, pubs and takeaways as part of the regulator's national campaign, Managing Violence and Aggression in the Workplace. (WCxKit)


Statistics indicate
that one worker is attacked or threatened every minute of the shopping day, according to the council, with people often having to be absent from work as a result.


"Businesses shouldn't have to accept
work-related violence as being part of the job and the aim of the project is to raise awareness of the range of measures that can be taken to address aggression and violence, thereby contributing to efforts to reduce the effects of stress at work," councillor Graham Brown commented.


Brown continued
that "simple measures" can be taken to reduce the risk of crime.(WCxKit)


According to the
HSE,the layout, security and general environment of premises all play a part in the risk of violence in the workplace

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. Contact:  Info@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.

©2010 Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc. All rights reserved under International Copyright Law. If you would like permission to reprint this material, contact
Info@ReduceYourWorkersComp.com.

Australia Respectful Behavior Guide and Bullying Hotline

WorkCover NSW (Australia) said it welcomes an independent review into claims of bullying in the Licensing Solutions Unit.

 

Over the past few months WorkCover took steps to ensure employee complaints in respect to bullying are investigated independent of WorkCover to avoid any perceived conflict of interest.(WCxKit)

 

As a workplace safety regulator as well as an employer company officials said it is important WorkCover strive to set the benchmark in terms of managing workplace complaints.

 

WorkCover said it will provide full cooperation with the independent investigator appointed by the Department of Premier and Cabinet.

 

WorkCover has firm policies in place to prevent and address bullying and harassment. Reports of bullying are taken seriously and investigated on the evidence – including an independent investigation if required. (WCxKit)

 

In addition, WorkCover developed a Respectful Behaviors Guide for staff to provide practical guidelines for respectful behaviors in accordance with the organization’s Code of Conduct.

 

Over the past 18 months 95% of WorkCover staff has completed respectful behaviors training.

 

As well, WorkCover contracts two independent providers to deliver :

 

  1. A 24-hour Bullying Response Service – a dedicated advice hotline that staff can call with bullying related concerns as well as free counseling and advisory services.
  2.  A free and confidential WorkCover Employee Assistance Program for staff to seek professional assistance for any work-related or a personal problem.

 

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. www.LowerWC.com  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.

 

©2010 Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc. All rights reserved under International Copyright Law. If you would like permission to reprint this material, contact Info@ReduceYourWorkersComp.com.

 

NEW YORK New Stress Claim Decision in Work Comp

A very recent New York decision, 2010 NY Slip Op 07295 (10/14/10), demonstrates the consequences for the employer when an outsider traumatizes an employee. Since the employee was left permanently totally disabled, the names of the parties are omitted in this article.
An employee at a gas station was cooperating with the police in a crime report. The police left but one returned when it was discovered that a police flashlight was missing. The employee was accused of having it. The flashlight was discovered in the police vehicle next to a seat. An officer continued the confrontation even after the flashlight was located and the employee was arrested and handcuffed. (WCxKit)
The employee, over age 50, began to experience severe stress symptoms after the arrest. Eventually, the employee was found to be permanently totally disabled by the WCB.
The employee brought a suit against the police and recovered a substantial amount, which was deducted from the future comp payments, but the employer still has substantial future liability.
The result seems extreme and bizarre. Admittedly, such an incident is stressful – but permanent total disability? And why is the employer, otherwise blameless, at risk for the entire award – minus the tort settlement?
First, people react differently to extreme stress and some, as in this case, will become permanently disabled. Second, the incident was without question work related. The employer was fortunate in that the outside force was held liable for most of the damage. (Armed robberies often result in such stress with little or no chance of recovering anything from the criminal.)
An employer cannot be cautioned to avoid hiring person at risk for extreme stress related disability. It is entirely unpredictable who will react and how they will recover. An employer is advised to provide emotional and financial support, through short-term and long-term disability, a group medical plan and assistance in filing for SSDB, while a comp claim runs its course through the system.
Early emotional, medical and financial support will greatly lessen the chances of permanent disability. The plans making payments until the comp claim is resolved will be reimbursed by the comp carrier. (WCxKit)
Friction causes overheating and failure. Coordinating delivery of benefits reduces friction – and failure.
Author: Attorney Theodore Ronca is a practicing lawyer from Aquebogue, New York. He is a frequent writer and speaker and has represented employers in the areas of workers' compensation, Social Security disability, employee disability plans, and subrogation for over 30 years. Contact Attorney Ronca at 631-722-2100.
 
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.
 
©2010 Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc. All rights reserved under International Copyright Law. If you would like permission to reprint this material, contact Info@ReduceYourWorkersComp.com.

13 Red Flags of Workplace Violence and How to Prevent It

Eight employees killed, 2 injured. Two workers killed, one injured. Boyfriend follows girlfriend to work – kills her at her desk. And, on and on it goes – daily – in every news media in the country and beyond.
Violence in the workplace is not limited to a general idea of physical assault – although intra-employee assaults, harassment and bullying are very common. Murder in the workplace is becoming common and continues to be an issue far greater than employers and employees realize.
Workplace violence cannot be eliminated entirely. However, the employer who has a workplace safety program with a section on preventing violence can achieve a significant reduction in both workplace injuries and the severity of the injuries due to violence. (WCxKit)
The two-prong approach to mitigating workplace violence consists of recognizing violent situations and implementing preventive steps.
I.       Recognizing Workplace Violence
1.     Employers and employees must understand a safe work environment is everyone's responsibility.
2.     Employers need to train employees on how to recognize an unsafe situation relating to co-workers.
3.     Employers need to stress workplace violence does not “go with the job” and no one has to “put up with it.”
4.     Employees must notify management of abnormal behaviors of co-workers who threaten, by word or action, themselves or other workers.
Red Flags of Workplace Violence
Most violent employees behave in ways that alerts co-workers and employer prior to a violent act.
Look for these red flags of violence:
1.     Prior history of violent behavior.
2.     Making threats, either verbal or physical.
3.     Unexplained mood changes.
4.     Screaming, yelling, or making a fist.
5.     Expressing homicidal or suicidal thoughts.
6.     Holding a grudge against a supervisor/co-workers.
7.     Blaming all things that go wrong on co-workers, supervisors, or management.
8.     Expressing a feeling of loss of control within his/her life.
9.     A history of domestic abuse.
10. Being obsessed with weapons or carrying a weapon.
11. Being a loner with no involvement with co-workers.
12. Having paranoid behavior or making statements reflecting paranoid thoughts.
13. An unwanted romantic interest in a co-worker. (WCxKit)
14. Abuse of alcohol/illicit drugs/medications off work.
15. Abuse of alcohol/illicit drugs/medications at work (grounds for immediate termination).
16. Extreme financial and/or extreme family problems.
Employee Responsibility
Once employees know and understand the red flags for potential violence, the employer must provide an environment where employees feel free to report their concerns confidentially without fear of any reprisal from supervisors or management.
Reporting a Red Flag or Risk of Violence
1.     The employee notifies the immediate supervisor at once.
2.     The employee's supervisor takes appropriate action according to the employer's Safety Program.
Your company safety program must include a written policy on preventing workplace violence including a zero tolerance statement for workplace violence; zero tolerance for the threat of workplace violence — verbal and/or physical.
3.     If the supervisor does not take the appropriate action, the employee follows the chain of command (involving Human Resource) until management takes protective measures to ensure employee safety.
4.     The employer assesses and documents both objective and subjective behavior(s) of the employee causing concern. Immediately implementing proactive, preventive procedures.

II. Implementing Preventive Steps
Implementation is more, much more, than a set of neatly written “rules” and/or “policies.” Implementation means having proactive, concrete action in place before there is a crisis, such as an employee shooting up the entire workplace and training, training, training until everyone knows exactly what to do to prevent violence in their workplace.
10 Safety Actions to Take
1.     LOCK all outside access doors. Limit access (keys/cards) to designated personnel. Everyone else must be “buzzed” in by authorized personnel.
2.     Hire qualified security guards.
3.     Limit access inside your facility to those persons working in specific areas.  For example, only accounting people have keys/cards to the accounting area. Everyone else must be “buzzed” in by authorized personnel.
4.     LOCK access to the Human Resource department. No one enters without permission.
5.     Establish and enforce a no weapons policy, i.e., no one (except security) may bring a weapon of any kind into the physical workplace. Violation subject to immediate dismissal.
6.     Install a metal detector monitored by a security guard.
7.     Prohibit weapons of any kind from being brought onto the employer’s property, i.e., parking lot, shipping zone, outdoor areas where employees may congregate. Violation subject to immediate dismissal.
8.     Encourage employees with domestic dispute problems to freely come forward (notify supervisor and HR) of any potential family problems. ASK before allowing someone to visit an employee in a domestic abuse situation. Work with local police to enforce protective orders.
9.     Do not allow unauthorized persons, i.e., visitors, family members, delivery people, vendors, to wander around unaccompanied.
10. Move dismissals, reprimands, and other potentially volatile employee interviews offsite to a secure, neutral location or to a locked off-limits area on the employer’s property with security guards present. Be alert for potential “bad/odd actions.”
Speaking of Dismissals . . .
1.     Search the employee and possessions. Just think, if the man who carried his lunch box to his firing (odd action) containing his guns into the kitchen was searched OR not allowed access to the kitchen after his dismissal, lives might have been saved.
2.     Security guards (2) accompany the employee from the front door to the interview room and remain in the room, out of earshot.
3.     At the conclusion, especially if the employee is fired, the guards accompany the employee to his/her vehicle and off the premises. 
4.     Arrange for all personal effects to be sent to the employee. 
5.     The ex-employee is NOT allowed back onto the property or into the employer’s building for any reason. 
 
Other Considerations
Workplace violence is not limited to employees. Often estranged domestic partners or estranged lovers strike out at a partner while the partner is at work.
Persons dealing with the general public, such as convenience store cashiers, are subjected to violence from outsiders.
Terroristic acts by disgruntled former employees or disgruntled customers can be the cause of workplace violence. In some metropolitan areas gang-related activity can invade the workplace.
A part of your safety program is to address the access to the work site by non-employees. Your employees must know what protocol is in place, to both prevent individuals from gaining access and to allow access. Management is immediately notified when any deviation from the established procedure occurs. (WCxKit)
Just as employers have a “no personal phone call” policy, they can also have a “no personal visitor” policy. Or, allow employees to register the name of any person(s) they do not want admitted to their workspace.

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. Contact:  RShafer@ReduceYourWorkersComp.com

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.
 
©2010 Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc. All rights reserved under International Copyright Law. If you would like permission to reprint this material, contact Info@ReduceYourWorkersComp.com.

CANADA Chaplains Lose Grievance in Hospital Bullying Case

More than a year after hearings got under way, a labor arbitrator has ruled against a trio of chaplains who complained their boss, a priest at St. Boniface General Hospital (Winnipeg), bullied them.
According to The Canadian Press, arbitrator Arne Peltz reported in his 140-page decision that the complaints of harassment and abuse "were entirely without merit.''
Peltz also commented the complainants, a non-denominational minister, a Roman Catholic nun and a priest, should ask Father Gerry Ward for forgiveness. (WCxKit)
He says Rev. Carlyle Murrell-Cole, Sister Jeannine Corbeil and Father Roland Lanoie should search their hearts and reflect deeply on the moral quality of their actions.
The three each sought a month off, $10,000 and disciplinary action for Ward, the director of spiritual care services at the hospital.
According to the trio, Ward verbally abused them, threatened to undermine their careers, and then labeled them as troublemakers.
"At the very least, these three chaplains owe the hospital and Father Ward a public apology,'' Peltz concluded. “ After the unrelenting and unfair attack he has sustained, I hope Father Ward can forgive them.''
The chaplains are still employed in the spiritual care department.
In his decision, Peltz said their complaints were "frivolous and vexatious'' and "blown out of proportion.''
Corbeil testified that Ward referred to the department as a "kindergarten'' and a nuclear medicine specialist as "the lady who glows in the dark.''

She said Ward informed her that her large size intimidated a chaplain and her temper had others referring to her as Attila the Nun.

Lanoie questioned why he wasn't getting his work schedule sent to him electronically anymore, and Ward informed him it was because Lanoie was rude to his assistant.
Ward's assistant informed the hearing she didn't know anything about it and that she hadn't reported to Ward that Lanoie was rude to her.
After Murrell-Cole was elected as the chaplains' union representative, he was removed from his long-held position as the psychiatric unit's chaplain.
Murrell-Cole complained he was reassigned to a greater workload and a desk he had to share with other chaplains.
The hospital defended Ward, arguing the trio turned out to be unhappy employees resistant to change who challenged their boss's authority.
In 2008, they filed a grievance against Ward. The hospital's head of human resources looked into their claims and brought in an outside consultant who said the chaplains were the problem, not their boss, the hospital's lawyer Ken Maclean said during the hearings.
Ward walked into a "very troubled workplace . . . with problematic communication . . . He was hired to end that discord,'' Maclean commented. (WCxKit)
The labor arbitrator, who listened to the two sides over the course of a year, said in his award that Ward had his work cut out for him when he was brought on in 2005.
"The evidence revealed a picture of an exasperated (spiritual care) director who was facing intractable conflict including intemperate, sometimes insubordinate conduct by part of his staff,'' Peltz wrote in his decision.
"The grievers were ungovernable but Ward and (human resources) persisted in efforts at counseling, coaching and mediation, rather than discipline.''
Still, Peltz ordered the hospital to pay $2,500 in compensation to Murrell-Cole after he was shuffled out of his position in the psych ward, his original position. Peltz said while the hospital was acting in good faith it was in violation of the grievance investigation process.

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.
Contact: RShafer@ReduceYourWorkersComp.com
 or 860-553-6604.

  Join WC Group:  http://www.linkedin.com/groups?homeNewMember=&gid=1922050/

 
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.

©2010 Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc. All rights reserved under International Copyright Law. If you would like permission to reprint this material, contact
Info@ReduceYourWorkersComp.com.

Stress Concerns Increase Over European Workplace Safety

Concern about psychosocial risks such as stress, violence, and harassment is increasing in European organizations, the first findings of the biggest workplace health and safety survey in Europe show.

The new data was released by the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work (EU-OSHA) at the mid-term review conference of the Community Strategy for Health and Safety at Work (2007 – 2012).
 

Four out of five European managers express concerns about work-related stress, the ‘European Survey of Enterprises on New and Emerging Risks’ (ESENER) reveals, making stress at work as important as workplace accidents for companies (79%). Work-related stress is very acute in health and social work (91% of companies regard it as of some or major concern) and in education (84%).
 
With the financial crisis in full swing, 79% of European managers voice their concern about stress at work, which is already recognized as an important burden on European productivity,” said EU-OSHA Director Jukka Takala at the conference in Barcelona. “But despite the high levels of concern, it is clearly worrying that only 26% of EU organizations have procedures in place to deal with stress. The ESENER survey highlights the importance of providing effective support for enterprises to tackle stress, which will be crucial in ensuring we have the healthy productive workforce needed to boost European economic performance and competitiveness.”
 
The survey also shows 42% of management representatives consider it more difficult to tackle psychosocial risks, compared with other safety and health issues. The sensitivity of the issue (53%) and lack of awareness (50%) are the main barriers for dealing effectively with psychosocial issues, according the findings.
 
ESENER shows workplaces with employee participation are much more likely to see successful health and safety measures implemented. This is particularly the case for smaller workplaces where it is an important trigger for effective management of psychosocial risks.  The survey found the main barriers for dealing with health and safety issues are lack of resources (36%) such as time, staff, or money and lack of awareness (26%).
 
In fact, 84% of companies with formal on-site employee representation have an occupational safety and health (OSH) policy or action plan, compared to only 71% of companies without formal representation.
 
Measures to deal with psychosocial risks such as violence, stress, and bullying are applied about twice as frequently by enterprises consulting their employees than by those designing their measures without employee participation.
 
Survey evidence also shows that even smaller companies are able to carry out in-house risk assessment, but need support in the form of expertise, guidance, and tools to manage their risk management process effectively and to design and implement successful preventive measures.
 
Through its campaign and information services EU-OSHA is working to raise awareness on workplace hazards and promote comprehensive and integrated risk management. EU-OSHA makes available a number of products to make this process easier, especially for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). A new Risk Assessment Tools Database brings together checklists, handbooks, brochures, questionnaires, and interactive tools from across Europe, and is freely available from the Web site. An Online interactive Risk Assessment Too’ (OiRA) is currently being developed to encourage and help many thousands of European SMEs across all sectors to carry out risk assessments.
 
In the context of the Community Strategy for Health and Safety at Work (2007-12), it is important to know how to successfully managed workplace risks and to identify an overcome  obstacles, so future OSH strategies are better planned and supporting measures tailored to companies’ needs. (workersxzcompxzkit)
 
The ESENER survey is a unique pan-European indicator of OSH performance designed to assist policymakers evaluate the progress and implementation of the Strategy.
 
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, manufacturing, printing/publishing, pharmaceuticals, retail, hospitality and manufacturing. Contact him:  Robert_Elliott@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.

©2010 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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