Winter Workers Comp Surveillance Tips

 

Now that winter has arrived with a bang, it is always a ripe time for surveillance on those questionable claims.  The hustle and bustle of the Holiday season is over, and people settle in to their normal winter routines, waiting out the cold weather for the arrival of spring.
 
For those problematic claims out there, this time of year is always a busy one for surveillance companies.  Adjusters cannot wait to try and get some film of their injured claimant potentially violating their medical restrictions by shoveling out their driveways or partaking in a winter recreational sport.
 
Here are some tips to keep in mind for a successful hunt of trying to get that elusive film that can direct a claim from compensable to suspended:
 
 
  1. Strike Not Only After the Big Storm, but During It
 
If you are like me and do not own a snowblower, the best way to make shoveling your driveway easier is to do it a few times while the storm is going on.  This makes it a bit easier to heave all the snow off of your driveway.  True, the snow you are pushing may not weigh 500lb, but that is the point. Anyone with a lingering back injury is going to have a hard time pushing a shovel, and I think any doctor will lighten the medical restrictions if they see their patient spending a lot of time outdoors with a shovel. When caught, most claimants will try to say they were only pushing the snow, and not lifting the shovel.  However, any activity is showing that they are active, and it can be a way to get that person back to light duty work if they are currently on a no-work status.
 
 
  1. Use Snow Blowing to Your Advantage
 
If your claimant does indeed have a snowblower, this can mean that they are not actually lifting anything.  But they are on their feet, for long periods of time, pushing and pulling the blower around and being active in general.  This may not mean that they are 100%, but they are certainly capable of doing light duty or sedentary work.  Even if they claim that the snow blower is self-propelled, the claimant is still walking behind it, bending down, and doing this for a period of time. I would find it hard to believe that any doctor would keep this person from doing sedentary work if confronted with the video evidence. Use your tape to get them back to work, and doing something beneficial for your workplace.
 
 
  1. Watch For Potential Aggravation of Injury
 
Snow and ice are slick, and people slip and slide while shoveling and snow blowing.  They are also bent over while using the snowblower which could lead to an aggravation of your current back injury claim.  I am not injured, but I am sore after shoveling.  If I were to already have had a lingering back injury, this is only going to make it worse.  The same could be said if you are watching the video and your claimant slips and tweaks their back, or even worse they fall hard, probably making their current injury worse.  The best way to handle this is to wait to show the doctor the tape until after their next appointment.  In the medical notes, the claimant may show worsening signs of injury, and they probably will not tell the doctor that their symptoms worsened due to falling on their rear end while shoveling.  At this time you have good evidence to show that their injury wasmade worse by slipping and/or falling down.  Make sure you have the doctor be objective.  By showing the doctor the film, you have concrete evidence when paired with the worsened medical report that their injury is now exacerbated by their outside activity. This should allow you to be able to be aggressive in trying to end your comp claim and move it to a personal medical condition.
 
 
  1. Know if they Have any Outdoor Hobbies.
 
Since you know these people for a period of months or years, you may already know that they love to ice fish, or to snowmobile.  Snowmobiling is very arduous, since riding on the machine can lead to jarring of the back, resulting in a worsening of the injury.  Even if they do not claim to be medically worsened, if you can show them active on a snowmobile, then it would seem that they are healthy enough to return to work. The best evidence you could get is if the snowmobile gets stuck and they have to get off and lift the back of the machine to get it working again.  These machines weigh hundreds of pounds, and if you can do that, you should be good enough to be returning to work.
 
Ice fishing is not as arduous, in fact it is pretty lazy, but it can still show a person hauling their gear out to their fishing shack and sitting for long periods of time.  You want to show the doctor that this person is more active than they are leading on.  Once you can show that, you have some great evidence to show that this person is healthy and ready for a return to work in some capacity.
 
 
  1. If You Strike Out, Keep Trying
 
Getting some great surveillance film is luck of the draw.  Sometimes there will be times that you send your vendor out and they return with nothing.  That is OK, you won’t strike gold every time.  But be persistent. Watch the weather reports, be aware of local fishing and skiing competitions, and send your vendor out again.  If indeed you cannot gather any evidence then that is not necessarily a bad thing. This means your claimant is avoiding any activity that will make their pain worse or aggravate their injury.  My friend calls surveillance “the art of verification.”
 
 
Summary
 
There are a lot of people out there that love the snow and the winter weather.  I know people that have fishing shacks that are like a mini house, complete with TV and propane heaters.  Some people snowmobile for miles in the bitter cold, and they actually enjoy doing it.  This doesn’t mean that everyone out there is up to something bad, but it is a possibility.  So take my pal’s advice, and verify that your claimant is doing exactly what they are supposed to be doing–which is laying low, resting, and giving their injury time to heal before returning to work. 
 
 
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
 
©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.

Surveillance Cameras Can Make Difference In Work Comp Claims

I always laugh when I hear my friend talk about the fact that “Big brother is watching us.”  Really, what does that mean?  I’m sure the government has bigger things to do than watch my pal’s daily activities.  This guy is the last of the great types of people out there. For example, he has never paid a bill online.  He doesn’t own a cell phone. He refuses to join those clubs at the supermarket so you can get the discount card because “They will track what I buy, and I don’t want them to know my weekly grocery list.”

 

I’m serious, this is a real guy.  He is a great friend, and a great insurance professional, but I really think he needs some professional help. These days everything is intertwined. Social Networking, internal company networking, outside work groups and seminars, etc.  Everyone learns a lot of everyone else because they see each other at the same seminars, they mingle at the same vendor day outings, and they talk about current events over lunch, etc.

 

The point of this is that we are all aware that someone is indeed watching our activities to some degree.  It may not be satellites from outer space that are focused on following us around, but a lot of businesses have surveillance cameras and they use them all day, every day.  The reason for the cameras will vary from employer to employer, but it is safe to say that the main reason is for security, and the second reason is for being able to obtain evidence should something happen to an employee or customer. What are the benefits of having cameras around your workplace?

 

1.   Obtaining video evidence

 

Having some video footage of an injury or crime is fairly concrete.  The tapes will not lie.  If you can identify the subject on the videotape, it is damning evidence against them should they try to say that they are not guilty of whatever wrong that was committed.  Now that most videos are digital, these files can be emailed and downloaded to your insurance company no matter where they are located. An adjuster has a picture in their mind of how the injury or act was committed, but being able to see actually what happened can really nail the defense of a claim.

 

 2.   Increased safety

 

If an employee knows that the cameras are rolling they are less likely to take a safety risk while working.  Workers will cut corners now and then in any capacity. Sometimes these corners will lead to an injury.  Most jurisdictions have a defense against injury caused by a direct violation of safety protocol.  If you take the video evidence away, you lose some of the structure to your defense of a claim.

 

 3.   Employees know you they are being watched

 

Employees behavior will change if they know they are being watched, especially when it comes to horseplay around the workplace.  A degree of horseplay is to be expected at work, whether it is harmless or not.  In fact, most jurisdictions allow work comp coverage of a horseplay injury to some extent.  Of course, not all employees will be aware of this fact.  Just the presence of cameras will lessen horseplay overall, which will save an injury at some point.  I have seen countless claims as a result of horseplay, some minor in nature and some that result in surgical intervention.  Any way that you can decrease these claims should be seen as a positive.

 

 4.   Psychological impact

 

Going back to my paranoid pal, you can see the psychological impact that cameras can have.  Workers will be on their best behavior if it is known that there are cameras around and that these videos are constantly being reviewed.  Several studies have been done that show the positive impact of cameras in the workplace, so why should you not implement them at your work?

 

 5.   Camera review opens a light duty job possibility

 

I have worked with a lot of employers that use videotape review as a light duty job with employees that have medical restrictions from a comp claim.  They will monitor the closed circuit TVs, watch for spills, report theft or suspicious behavior, and also be in charge of tracking and labeling the video files for storage.   This is not the most glamorous job in the world, but it is one that needs to be done.  It is also job that benefits the employer, especially if it helps to deter theft.

 

 

Summary

 

The use of surveillance cameras in the workplace is nothing new.  Employers that use them have less injury, especially from questionable incidents around the job floor.  My advice is to look at your options and get some consultations on how this can benefit your workplace.  The cost of the equipment is little in comparison to the cost of a severe injury happening at your workplace.

 

 

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.

 

Assault on ACT WorkSafe Female Inspector Caught in the Act

 
WorkSafe ACT (Australia) said the alleged assault of one of its safety inspectors by a worker at a Gungahlin cafe was caught on a closed-circuit television camera.
 
 
According to The Canberra Times, the young female inspector was placed on sick leave after she was allegedly manhandled out of the cafe July 29.(WCxKit)
 
 
Work Safety Commissioner Mark McCabe reported details of the assault, claiming his organization would not stand for any bullying of its officers.
 
 
McCabe stated the female inspector was revisiting the cafe after a previous health and safety audit had revealed issues that needed immediate attention including a faulty griller with exposed wires and fire safety problems.
 
 
She was returning to the cafe to ensure the matters had been addressed. The young woman had dealt with the same person on each occasion and had shown her identification.
 
 
McCabe claimed he had viewed CCTV footage of the incident. Police were investigating the alleged assault and seeking witnesses.(WCxKit)
 
 
According to McCabe, inspectors also deserved to work in a safe environment as they carried out their duties.

 
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.


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©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.

Surveillance of Injured Worker During Prayer Service Does Not Violate Privacy

A Pennsylvania court has ruled that videotape surveillance of an injured worker during an Islamic prayer service did not violate the worker's privacy [Tagouma v. Investigative Consultant Servs., Inc., 2010 PA Super 147, 4 A.3d 170 (Pa. Super. Ct.2010).
 
 
The employer's workers compensation carrier hired the defendant investigation firm to perform surveillance on the worker. An investigator observed the worker as he stood inside an Islamic Center near a window and prayed.
 
 
The investigator stood some 80 yards away and for 45 minutes videotaped the worker by means of a zoom lens. After the videotape was shown to a workers compensation judge, the worker filed a tort action alleging invasion of privacy against the investigation firm.
 
 
A court of common pleas granted the defendant summary judgment and dismissed the case. The worker appealed. The Superior Court of Pennsylvania agreed with the trial court, indicating that the worker failed to show that he had a reasonable expectation of privacy while praying, that he had a diminished expectation of privacy based upon his filing the workers compensation claim, and that the Islamic Center was open to the public and the worker prayed directly in front of a large window. The court also indicated that the use of the telephoto lens was not unreasonable nor was it intrusive. Larson's Workers Compensation Law   [See Ch. 127 ]
 
 
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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

Surveillance and Its Proper Use In Work Comp Claims

In January, Democratic state Rep. Sal Pace of Colorado introduced a bill designed to significantly restricted the use of surveillance on workers' compensation claims. The bill, endorsed by the plaintiff's bar and labor unions, would make surveillance nearly impossible by requiring the employer to have “a reasonable basis to suspect an injured employee had committed fraud or made a material misstatement concerning a claim.”
 
In other words, you needed proof the employee had already committed fraud before surveillance could be used to verify the employee's disability. The bill, approved by the Colorado House Judiciary Committee, died May 5, 2010 when the Senate committee voted 4-3 not to advance it for a vote by the full state Senate.
 
Surveillance often stops fraudulent claims. So why would a state ever consider barring surveillance? The answer comes from the mishandling of surveillance by both the workers’ comp adjuster and the private investigators (PI) hired by the adjuster. In a search of the internet for workers’ comp surveillance, there was just about as many horror stories about it being abused as there were cases where it was beneficial.
 
Surveillance abuses by PI's included:
1.       The lazy PI who was observed in a parking lot by a stranger placing a black box, later determined to be a GPS device, underneath the employee's car. Instead of properly observing the claimant, the PI was using GPS to track the employee's whereabouts. Of course the stranger told the employee, who called the police. 
2.       The PI who dropped a vehicle battery in the employee's yard and waited for the employee to notice it and come out to remove it.
3.       The PI who trespassed and buried a motion activated wireless camera under a tree in the employee's yard.
4.       Illegal phone taps (invasion of privacy).
5.       Digging through the employee's trash dumpster (invasion of privacy).
6.       The PI who acted as a stranded motorist and asked the employee to change a tire.
7.       The PI contacting an employee represented by an attorney. The adjuster cannot contact the employee when represented by an attorney and neither can an agent of the adjuster.
 
Adjusters Misuse of Surveillance
Often when the adjuster cannot think of anything else to do when the file comes up on diary, and the employee has been off work for a long period of time, the adjuster will request surveillance “to see what the employee is up to.”  
 
Surveillance should not be used as a substitute for proper and aggressive file management by the adjuster. If the adjuster actively works the claim with the nurse case manager, the adjuster then knows what the medical status is and whether or not surveillance is need. If there are no fraud red flags in the claim and nothing in the medical reports or medical notes indicating the employee is malingering, surveillance will not pay off for the adjuster in most claims. 
 
Before a workers’ comp adjuster considers surveillance, the adjuster should consider a background check and check credit on the employee. The background check, costing about $50, turns up information on lawsuits, judgments, liens, criminal record, home value, other property ownership, marriages, divorces, relatives and most important, business interest(s).
 
While most of the information will have no bearing on the workers' compensation claim, the occasional information on vehicles owned, a sideline business or rental property owned would be extremely valuable to a PI if surveillance becomes an option.
 
When there are red flags in the claim, or the employer learns the employee is working at another job, or there is some other development indicating fraud, then surveillance should definitely be considered.
 
Before employing a PI, the adjuster needs to have a discussion with the PI on surveillance methods to be used. The adjuster needs to make it clear to the PI that during surveillance the investigator:
 
1.       may not trespass on the employee's property,
2.       take pictures/video of the employee in their home,
3.       contact the employee if the employee is represented by an attorney,
4.       use any form of entrapment,
5.       defame or cast suspicion on the employee if they contact the employee's neighbors,
6.       violate any privacy law, or
7.       violate any other law.
 
Even in cases where there is a lot of circumstantial evidence indicating the employee may not be injured as badly as the employee claims, surveillance will not always provide video or other proof that the employee is exaggerating the injury claimed. In the cases where the PI obtains video of the employee shoveling heavy snow, pushing a lawn mower or other activities beyond the restrictions placed on the employee by the medical provider, the adjuster needs to be careful how the information is used. 
 
When surveillance produces proof the employee is exaggerating his injury status or is involved in an outright fraud, the adjuster must consult with the defense attorney. There has been more than one adjuster who has taken surveillance information and invalidated it by misusing it. The natural tendency is to send a copy of the video to the medical provider and the employee's attorney as proof the employee is a fraud. That can be a big mistake. 
 
When surveillance produces usable evidence, the adjuster requests further  surveillance of the employee. A fifteen second video of the employee carrying a heavy box of trash to the curb can easily be discounted by the employee as “a good day” and does not show him in bed for the next couple of days because he picked up the box. Instruct the PI to obtain video on additional days to diminish the “one good day” rebuttal by the employee and the employee's attorney.
 
Once there are several videos of the employee doing activities beyond the doctor's restrictions, then the adjuster and defense attorney obtain as much contradictory information from the employee as possible, including statements the employee gave to the medical providers, the information the employee gave to the employer, and the information the employee gave to the adjuster, or the employee's attorney gave to the adjuster. Once all the claims made by the employee as to the inability to work are documented, take a deposition from the employee as a further on record of the employee’s statements about the inability to work. 
 
Once the employee’s deposition is complete, the defense attorney presents the video surveillance to the employee's attorney. After the employee and attorney view the video, then the employee's attorney is advised a copy of the surveillance tape will be shown to the medical provider(s).
 
If the video is sent to the medical provider(s) prior to the employee and attorney seeing it, such an action may be viewed as a discovery violation in some jurisdictions. Showing the video to the employee's attorney and the employee first keeps the employee's attorney from arguing to the workers’ comp board or court as to the video’s inadmissibility. 
 
After the employee’s deposition describing all the restrictions, limitations and inability to work is documented, the quality surveillance video proving otherwise often results in the employee and employee's attorney wanting to make a quick and reasonable settlement of the workers’ comp claim.
 
The adjuster, employer, and defense attorney then consult on what course of action they want to take including fraud prosecution, recovery of benefits paid, the employee's voluntary resignation, nominal settlement, etc. (workersxzcompxzkit)

The adjuster
begins by using proper medical management of the claim to get the employee back to work. If medical management has not returned the employee back to work, or there are red flags on the file, or information comes available indicating the injury may not be as severe as the employee claims, consider using surveillance. Surveillance when properly used can be invaluable to the adjuster in disproving the fraudulent workers’ comp claim
.

Author Rebecca Shafer, J.D.
Consultant, 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. She can be contacted at:  RShafer@ ReduceYourWorkersComp.com or 860-553-6604.

Podcast: KNOW the New OSHA Recordkeeping Rules — OR Risk Fines and Criminal Penalties.
 
Click Here:  http://www.workerscompkit.com/gallagher/podcast/Non_Compliance_with_Recordkeeping_Standards/
 

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.
 
©2009 Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc. All rights reserved under International Copyright Law. If you would like permission to reprint this material, contact Info@ReduceYourWorkersComp.com  

Video Leads to Arrest for Workers Comp Fraud

Our fraud message is clear – employers must pursue any and all workers’ comp claims where there is even a hint fraud is taking place. Be bold – investigate. Lately, video-taping seems to be working well. Make sure to check state law though, because in some states, like OH and CO are more restrictive.
 
Videotape showing a Buffalo man repairing a BMW led to his arrest for collecting $3,850 in workers' compensation benefits he accepted after testifying he was physically unable to walk without assistance or even go grocery shopping.
 
The New York State Insurance Department reported the individual was arrested following a joint investigation by the Department's Frauds Bureau and Travelers Insurance Company investigators.
 
The individual, who was released pending a future court hearing, started collecting workers' comp benefits after suffering a back injury while working at a salt factory. Last year, he testified at a workers' comp hearing that the injury prevented him from working or engaging in normal activities, like going to the grocery store.
 
However, surveillance investigators captured videotapes of the individual demonstrating him working on a car and moving about without assistance. (workersxzcompxzkit)
 
The man was arrested by Buffalo police and charged with grand larceny and workers' comp fraud. 
He could be sentenced to up to seven years in prison if he is convicted.

 

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, health care, manufacturing, printing/publishing, pharmaceuticals, retail, hospitality and manufacturing. He can be contacted at: Robert_Elliott@ReduceYourWorkersComp.com or 860-553-6604.


Podcast/Webcast: Claim Handling Strategies
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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.

Workers Comp Surveillance Video Proves Fraud

Bad News Delivered to Former Postal Service Employee Investigators got  a break in a case when surveillance videos demonstrated a postal mechanic, claiming a workplace injury, showed the man attending a football game, painting his house and doing other activities without apparent stress to his right arm.   The worker, claimed he was unable to after injuring his right arm on the job. (workersxzcompxzkit) The defendant,  found guilty on two of 14 counts of filing false reports to receive workers' compensation will spend 10 months in federal prison, must return nearly $55,000 in workers' comp benefits and medical costs he received and  pay an additional $1,400 to a crime victims' fund.

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, health care, manufacturing, printing/publishing, pharmaceuticals, retail, hospitality and manufacturing. He can be contacted at: Robert_Elliott@ReduceYourWorkersComp.com or 860-786-8286.

WC IQ Test: http://www.workerscompkit.com/intro/ WC Books: http://www.reduceyourworkerscomp.com/workers-comp-books-manuals.php WC Calculator: www.reduceyourworkerscomp.com/calculator.php Follow Us On Twitter: www.twitter.com/WorkersCompKit Do not use this information without independent verification. All state laws vary. Ask your workers' comp insurance broker about any workers' comp issues.

©2008 Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc. All rights reserved under International Copyright Law. If you would like permission to reprint this material, contact Info@ReduceYourWorkersComp.com

Three Strategies to Design Effective Workplace Video Surveillance Privacy Policy

Video Surveillance Cameras and Employee Privacy

 

Employers incur  liability risks when installing secret video surveillance cameras in the workplace. Here are three strategies to manage these risks. There’s also a Model Policy below that you can adapt. Monitoring the workplace is important to curb fraudulent workers’ comp claims and liability claims, such as staged slip and fall accidents in retail stores and food service operations, and also to improve workplace security.

 

Strategy #1: Create a Written Surveillance Policy

 

A written surveillance policy  helps employers comply with the notification requirement of the personal privacy laws by informing employees that they’re being monitored and telling them how the footage will be used. Your surveillance policy, like our Model Policy, should tell employees the following:

 

The purpose of surveillance.   Explain why surveillance cameras are being used. Employees are less likely to complain if they know you’ve installed surveillance cameras to increase security in the workplace.

 

The camera locations  and times when surveillance will be conducted. Note where each camera is located and when it will be operational so employees will know when they’re being watched. Also, note if the cameras are on continually or are motion activated.

 

Permitted uses of footage.  Explain the permissible uses for the footage from the surveillance cameras, such as to investigate the theft of stock or equipment. And explain how it won’t be used, such as to monitor employee performance. Also, note who has access to the footage and how long the footage will be maintained. And warn employees that if they use surveillance camera footage inappropriately, they’ll be subject to discipline up to and including termination.

 

Contact information  for person handling privacy issues. Assign someone to handle employee privacy concerns. Then include the name and contact information for that person in the policy. The person in charge of employee privacy concerns can help answer any questions employees have about the use of the cameras and defuse small problems before they become big lawsuits.

 

Strategy #2: Post Signs

 

Don’t just hand  out your surveillance policy and hope for the best. Meet with employees to discuss the policy with them. And post warning signs about the cameras in obvious places. Then clients, customers, contractors and other visitors to your workplace will be notified of your use of surveillance cameras. Here’s Model Language you can adapt and use on your warning signs:

 

Model Language
WARNING:  This area and all activities occurring within it are being monitored and recorded by surveillance cameras. For further information, please contact [insert name, title, and phone number].

 

Strategy #3: Train Camera Operators on Privacy

 

If your surveillance cameras  will be monitored by employees, train those employees on your surveillance policy, the applicable privacy laws and the consequences if the policy or those laws are violated. It’s also a good idea to train any employee who’ll have access to the footage, such as supervisors. Such training may deter employees from, say, playing funny footage of an employee spilling coffee for their friends and colleagues.

 

Conclusion

 

Whether employees  have a legal right to privacy is almost beside the point. Most employees believe they have at least a limited right to privacy while at work. And most don’t want to be spied on while working at their desks or on the production line. But the use surveillance cameras can not only be appropriate, but also beneficial to employees. So it’s critical that you are sensitive to possible employee concerns when using surveillance cameras and take care to only use such cameras when necessary.  (workersxzcompxzkit)

 

Next:  MODEL VIDEO SURVEILLANCE POLICY

 

Reprinted with Permission:  Just Cause  http://www.safetycomplianceinsider.com/
by Bongarde Media Co. (ULC), Jim Pearmain, Product Manager Information Services.

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Do not use this information without independent verification.
All state laws vary.

©2008 Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc. All rights reserved under International Copyright Law. If you would like permission to reprint this material, contact Info@ReduceYourWorkersComp.com

 

Model Workplace Privacy Policy for Video Surveillance

MODEL VIDEO SURVEILLANCE POLICY

 

  1. PURPOSE

 

After careful consideration,  [insert company’s name] (the “Company”) has determined that the use of surveillance cameras is necessary to ensure the safety of employees and company equipment. Such use will improve safety and security by deterring acts of theft, violence and other criminal activity, and increasing the likelihood that perpetrators of these acts will be identified. The Company has created this surveillance policy in furtherance of these purposes and to assist in complying with federal and provincial privacy laws governing the collection of personal information.

 

  1. CAMERA LOCATIONS AND TIME OF OPERATIONS

 

The Company  has installed surveillance cameras in the following locations:

 

[Insert list of locations].

 

Each of these  locations was chosen because of its increased potential for incidents of theft, violence and other criminal activity. They are also areas where employee expectations of privacy are minimal. At each location, cameras will record images only between the hours of 5 p.m. and 8 a.m. All areas subject to surveillance will be identified by signs that are clearly posted at the entrance to that area.

 

  1. USE AND RETENTION OF FOOTAGE
  2. Surveillance cameras  shall be used for the sole purpose of deterring theft, violence and other criminal activity. At no time shall the cameras be used to monitor employee productivity or performance.
    2. In the event  of a reported or observed incident, the recorded footage may be used to assist in the investigation of the incident and may be turned over to law enforcement personnel, if appropriate.
    3. At no time  will persons other than those designated by the Chief of Security have access to the footage made in the course of surveillance. Personal information contained on the footage shall not be used or disclosed for purposes other than those for which it was collected, except with the consent of the individual or as required by law.
    4. Footage from  the surveillance cameras will be kept for a maximum of two (2) weeks unless required for the purposes outlined in this policy. If footage has been used to investigate an incident, that footage will be retained for one year after a final decision is reached concerning the incident.
    5. Old footage  that isn’t reused or recycled for surveillance will be shredded, burned, magnetically erased or otherwise made permanently unreadable. (workersxzcompxzkit)
  3. SANCTIONS

 

Individuals who fail  to follow this policy or who use surveillance camera footage inappropriately will be subject to disciplinary sanctions, up to and including termination.

 

Reprinted with Permission: Just Cause  http://www.safetycomplianceinsider.com/
by Bongarde Media Co. (ULC), Jim Pearmain, Product Manager Information Services.

 

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