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Roadside Worker Apparel
Suggestions for curbside construction employees
Wearing the right clothes while on a roadside construction site can make a big difference in your workday and has the potential to dramatically improve job performance. Here are some considerations roadside workers must consider when dressing for work.
• Before preparing for work, check the day’s weather forecast and dress accordingly.
• Be prepared to add layers or take clothes off, depending on changing temperatures, while still having ample skin coverage throughout the day.
• Never work without a shirt in hot weather.
• If you become extremely warm, slow your pace instead of removing skin-protecting clothing.
• Wear appropriate gear to avoid getting your clothing wet in the wintertime.
Wear Protective Gear
• Always wear a hard hat and a soft cap in the winter months.
• Wear safety glasses, goggles or a safety shield to protect your eyes and face.
• Wear a sturdy cotton long- or short-sleeved shirt, depending on the weather.
• Always wear long pants, even on hot days.
• Wear thick socks and safety shoes or boots.
• Use work gloves to protect your hands.
• When working outside, be mindful of these clothing-related precautions:
• Keep your clothes as clean as possible and free of grime and bacteria.
• Avoid and immediately clean oil and chemical spills on your clothing, as these substances are extremely flammable.
• Do not wear clothes that are ripped, have holes or are missing buttons. You risk cuts, getting caught on machinery, bruises and other skin injuries if you are exposed.
• Avoid wearing loose clothing and pants with cuffs that may become caught on other objects.
This flyer is for informational purposes only and is not intended as medical or legal advice.
© 2009-2010, 2017 Zywave, Inc. All rights reserved.
Crane Safety on a Construction Site
Cranes are massive pieces of equipment common to many construction sites that make lifting and transporting heavy materials much easier. While they are an important asset, there are hazards involving all aspects of crane use on a construction site.
Selecting a Crew
According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), only certified crane operators are allowed to operate cranes on a construction site. Operators may be certified through a third-party organization or through their employer, provided the employer is qualified to train the operator.
In addition to one or more operators, there are other positions that need to be filled in order to use a crane.
A “competent person” must conduct shift and monthly inspections of all equipment. OSHA defines a competent person as a person “capable of identifying existing and predictable hazards in the surroundings or working conditions which are unsanitary, hazardous or dangerous to employees, and who has authorization to take prompt corrective measures to eliminate them.”
OSHA defines a “qualified person” as a person “who, by possession of a recognized degree, certificate or professional standing, or who by extensive knowledge, training and experience, successfully demonstrated the ability to solve/resolve problems relating to the subject matter, the work, or the project.” Qualified persons must conduct annual and comprehensive inspection of all equipment, along with duties associated with assembly and disassembly, fall protection, maintenance and repair, and wire rope safety.
Preparing the Area
Cranes take up a lot of space, so preparing the area where a crane will be used is important to ensure the job gets done safely and efficiently. Consider the following when preparing the area:
· Is the ground firm and level? Softer ground is ideal for a crawler crane, while a mobile truck crane works best on hard, dry ground. OSHA mandates that ground conditions must be drained and graded before a crane can be assembled and used. In addition, supporting materials (e.g., blocking, mats, cribbing) should be used.
· Can the crane safely rotate 360 degrees? Tower cranes and telescopic cranes often need to rotate in order to transport materials, so they need to be able to rotate a full 360 degrees. Make sure there are no power lines or buildings in the crane’s path.
· Is there adequate space for the outriggers? Studies have shown that as many as 50 percent of crane accidents occur because the outriggers are not properly used. Some cranes come equipped with outriggers for added stability and to provide the maximum lifting power. Many of today’s cranes have multiple outrigger positions to adapt to more ground conditions.
Access and Egress
One of the most overlooked hazards when using a crane is simply getting on and off the equipment for assembly, disassembly and use. For example, lattice boom cranes require employees to walk on the boom sections to install and remove pins for assembly and disassembly, creating a hazard. Equipment made after Nov. 8, 2011, must be manufactured with built-in walkways for this type of crane. For equipment made before Nov. 8, 2011, the employer must provide fall protection for employees who are on a walking or working surface with an unprotected side or edge more than 15 feet above a lower level when assembling or disassembling a crane, and more than six feet when performing non-assembly or -disassembly work.
Equipment that is manufactured after this date must be equipped to provide safe access and egress between the ground and the operator work station(s), including the forward and rear positions. Walking and stepping surfaces, except for crawler treads, must have slip-resistant features, such as diamond plate metal, strategically placed grip tape, expanded metal or slip-resistant paint.
It is common for the area around the crane to get muddy, so extra precautions should be taken when walking in and around the equipment. The area in front of ladders and walkways should be free of water and mud to avoid slipping. Only ladders or ramps should be used as a means of access or egress from a cab. Scrap lumber or other miscellaneous materials should not be used.
There are special precautions workers must take when rigging a crane. Materials often weight several tons, enough to crush just about anything it its path. Riggers must be qualified to perform any rigging work. Follow these tips to prevent accidents and injuries while rigging:
· Plan a rigging schedule to avoid rigging above or near areas where other work is being performed.
· Never exceed the maximum lifting capacity of a crane.
· Only use hooks with self-closing latches.
· Inspect straps and chains daily for defects:
o Nylon straps tear easily, so examine them for even the slightest fraying.
o Straps with knots in them can reduce the lifting capacity by up to 50 percent.
o Chain links can crack, stretch, twist or warp.
o Rope can get kinked or fray.
· Never leave materials suspended on a crane for extended periods of time.
Clearly, there are many hazards associated with using cranes on construction sites. However, they are an essential part of many construction projects and can be safe if everyone involved is properly trained. Contact Guidepost Insurance Services for more information on staying safe in construction sites.
This Risk Insights is not intended to be exhaustive nor should any discussion or opinions be construed as legal advice. Readers should contact legal counsel or an insurance professional for appropriate advice. © 2012 Zywave, Inc. All rights reserved.
To ensure the safe and proper use of scaffolding on your job site, utilize this checklist to review your scaffolding procedures, including setup, training and use, and fall protection procedures.
GENERAL OSHA REQUIREMENTS
Each employee on a scaffold more than 10 feet above a lower level must be protected from falling to that lower level.
Fall protection consists of either personal fall arrest systems or guardrail systems meeting OSHA requirements.
Scaffolds are to be erected, moved, dismantled or altered only under the supervision of a competent person that is qualified in such activities.
Scaffolds over 125 feet in height and rolling scaffolds over 60 feet in height must be designed by a registered professional engineer, and constructed and loaded in accordance with such design.
Employees performing overhand bricklaying operations from a supported scaffold must be protected from falling from all open sides and ends of the scaffold, except at the side next to the wall being laid.
The scaffold must be erected under the direction of a competent person(s).
Employees involved with set up (or near) the scaffold must wear hard hats.
Scaffold should be level, and footings should be sound and rigid. Do not set footings on soft or frozen ground (that could melt), or on blocks.
The front face of the scaffolding must be set up within 14 inches of the work (or within 3 feet for outrigger scaffolds).
Verify the minimum top edge height on the scaffold is at least 38 inches, but not more than 45 inches. Each top rail needs to withstand a force of at least 200 pounds.
Verify the capacity—the scaffold must to able to hold four times its maximum intended load.
The platform should be complete from front to back and side to side. It must be fully planked or decked, with no gaps greater than 1 inch.
Provide guardrails and toe boards on all open sides.
When erection is completed, wheels and/or castors should be in a locked position.
Ensure all sections are pinned or appropriately secured.
Provide a safe way for workers to get on and off the scaffold (without climbing on cross braces), such as a ladder.
Scaffold must meet electrical safety clearance distances (no overhead obstructions or electric lines within 12 feet of the scaffold assembly).
TRAINING AND USE
Provide training by a competent person to all employees involved in erecting, dismantling, repairing, inspecting and/or working on scaffolds. Training should focus on training workers to recognize the hazards associated with scaffolding activities.
Require employees to inspect the scaffolding before each work shift.
Hard hats must be worn by workers on and around the scaffold.
Verify scaffold loads, including tools and other equipment, are kept to a minimum and materials are removed when the scaffold is not in use.
Ensure employees are removed from scaffolds during high winds or bad weather.
Before moving a scaffold, secure all materials and vacate workers from the platform.
Hoist up all heavy tools, equipment and supplies rather than carry them up by hand.
In addition to meeting general scaffolding requirements, personal fall-arrest systems used on scaffolds must be attached by lanyard to a vertical lifeline, horizontal lifeline or scaffold structural member:
· When vertical lifelines are used, they must be fastened to a fixed safe point of anchorage, independent of the scaffold, and be protected from sharp edges and abrasion. Safe points of anchorage include structural members of buildings, but not standpipes, vents or electrical conduit, which may give way under the force of a fall.
· Be aware that it is dangerous and therefore impermissible for two or more vertical lifelines to be attached to each other, or to the same point of anchorage.
· When horizontal lifelines are used, ensure they are secured to two or more structural members of the scaffold.
For more risk management guidance, contact us today.
Excavation Site Preparations
There are several necessary steps that site preparation contractors and their crew must do in order to begin an excavation project. Once the location for the site is established, the area is prepared for drilling. These steps, though they are not visible after the project is over, are essential. Contractors and workers in charge of site prep face various hazards and should take the necessary precautions to ensure their safety.
LEVELING THE SITE
During this first stage of preparation, the site is leveled (if necessary) with a bulldozer and/or a grader. During this process, there is potential for damage to buried pipelines, unpredictable weather changes, potential for contact with irritant and toxic plants and an uneven ground may cause the bulldozer to roll. Here are some possible solutions to these hazards:
EXCAVATING & TRENCHING
The scale and duration of excavating and trenching are very minor and site-specific. On some drilling sites, a below ground-level cellar may be excavated in which the borehole is drilled. Also, a reserved pit and settling pit may be dug and used for water or fluid discharges.
In this stage, there is a risk for respiratory problems caused by dust and other airborne contaminants, and again, a risk in damaging pipelines and cables. Here are some possible solutions for hazards in this stage of the process:
· Wear appropriate respiratory protection.
· Perform a site line location survey.
CONDUCTOR HOLE AND CONDUCTOR PIPE
Prior to commencing the rig-up progress, the conductor, rathole and mousehole are completed. In certain circumstances, special companies may be hired to begin drilling these three holes.
The conductor hole (sometimes called the starter hole) is a large diameter hole that is lined with pipe. It varies in length depending on the local geology. In this stage of the process, workers are at risk of being struck by the hoisting line, suspended drill or casing. Here are some possible solutions for hazards in this stage of the process:
· Wear personal protective equipment (PPE) such as a hard hat, glasses, safety toe boots and work gloves.
A rathole is a hole in the rig floor that is 30 to 35 feet deep and is lined with casing which projects above the floor. Then, the kelly is placed when hoisting operations are in progress. This is either done by the portable rig that drills the conductor hole, or may be done by the primary rig after rigging up.
At this stage, workers run the risk of falling or stepping into an uncovered mousehole. Do the following to prevent injury:
· Cover the hole until it is lined with casing or other material during rigging-up.
TRANSPORTING EQUIPMENT VIA TRUCKS
Depending on the location of the excavation site, access may require preparation of a road bed. The site and its access road must accommodate a large number of temporary and semi-permanent structures and tanks. All of these materials are transported with trucks. During this part of the process, equipment is loaded on trucks at a previous drill site or storage yard and transported to the new drill location.
In this stage, the soil at the new drill site may not be compacted sufficiently to support incoming loads, which may cause the load to become unstable. In addition, the load may not be secured properly causing it to shift or the tie-downs to fail and the truck may slide off the road in slick conditions. Do the following to prevent accidents:
UNLOADING AT THE DRILL SITE
Once workers are at the new drill site, they must unload the equipment and place it approximately where it will be rigged up. During this stage of the process, improperly secured loads could cause equipment to slide or collapse during unloading. Do the following to prevent accidents:
· Inspect the loads before loading and unloading.
For more trenching information, visit the Occupational Health and Safety Administration at www.osha.gov.
Provided by: Guidepost Insurance Services
Design © 2007, 2012 Zywave, Inc. All rights reserved.
Reduce Your Risk of Back Injuries
Helpful tips for lifting properly at the site
Construction tasks often require working around heavy equipment and being in situations that can cause serious injury. Follow these simple guidelines to ensure that you’re lifting properly.
Proper Lifting Techniques
• Wear gloves if you are lifting rough equipment.
• Clear away any potential obstacles before beginning to carry an object.
• Get a good grip and stable footing. Use your hands, not your fingers, to grip the load, and position your feet so that one foot is next to the load and one is behind it.
• Get under the load by bending your knees, not your back. Bending over at the waist to reach for the object can cause serious injury.
• Keep the load close to your body.
• Never twist your body when you are lifting. Turn your entire body by using your feet.
• Do not lift above the shoulders or below waist level.
Size up the Load
Before lifting an object, check its weight. Decide if you can handle it alone or if you need assistance. As a general rule, most men should not lift more than 37 pounds, and most women should not lift more than 28 pounds. If a particular load is heavier than you can handle, take the following steps:
• Get someone to help.
• Break it down into smaller loads if possible.
• Use lifts or other equipment as aids. These tools were made for heavy lifting.
Lifting as a Team
When others are helping you lift, teamwork is very important. If you’re going to be carrying the load to another place at the construction site, both of you should coordinate this prior to lifting the object. Check the route and clearance. One worker needs to be in a position to observe and direct the other. Lifting and lowering should be done in unison. Don’t let the load drop suddenly without warning your partner.
People who are in poor physical condition are at greater risk for back problems. A conditioning program that includes aerobics, weight training and stretching exercises will help you prepare your body for the rigors of lifting. If lifting is a regular part of your job, you may also want to consider wearing a back belt for added support.
This flyer is for informational purposes only and is not
intended as medical or legal advice.
© 2010, 2017 Zywave, Inc. All rights reserved.
Avoid Fryer Burns
Safety concerns for restaurant workers
According to the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA), deep fat fryers are the leading cause of burns for food service workers.
Workers do not only risk burns when cooking with or cleaning fryers and vents; contact with hot splashing oil is also a serious hazard.
To prevent burns, your first line of defense is to exercise extreme caution around the fryer and oil. Ask a supervisor or a trained employee to show you how to operate the fryer before attempting it on your own.
Once you are trained, always wear the appropriate uniform. A long-sleeved cotton shirt, long pants and an apron all shield your body from hot oil splashes.
· Use the correct grease level and cooking temperature.
· Never put water or ice into the fryer as it may cause a flare-up.
· Do not overfill the fryer with frozen foods as it may cause the oil to splash and bubble over.
· Make sure the floor beneath your feet is completely dry to avoid slipping and bumping into the fryer.
· Wear gloves and use a scraper when cleaning the fryer and hood.
· Avoid reaching over or climbing on top of fryers to clean them.
· Since these appliances are dangerous to operate, make sure you know how to operate a class K fire extinguisher, which is used to put out oil and grease fires.
· In the event of a fire, you and your fellow employees must act fast to prevent further damage and protect yourselves against injuries.
Serving Food the Safe Way
Ergonomic recommendations for wait staff
As you know, your job can be very taxing on your body. Serving food and bussing tables, especially while assuming awkward postures, can lead to neck, back and shoulder injuries.
Specifically, you are at risk of sprains and strains when balancing too many plates, lifting heavy trays above shoulder height, lifting overfilled containers of dirty dishes and excessive reaching across tables.
Tips to Stay in Tip-Top Shape
While you can’t avoid lifting and carrying, there are a number of things you can do to prevent injuries from everyday activities, including the following:
• Avoid awkward postures while carrying trays, plates and glasses.
• Limit the number of plates you carry or ask another server for assistance with a bigger party.
• Use both hands to carry coffee pots or water pitchers. When carrying these items, hold your elbows close to your body.
• Move glasses and cups near you when pouring beverages for patrons instead of reaching across the table to do so.
• Balance trays both on your arm and your hand.
• Alternate carrying items from one hand to the other to give your wrists a rest.
• Balance loads evenly by placing the heaviest items in the middle of the tray.
• Try to stand by the patron you are serving rather than reaching across the table and over other people to hand the patron his/her food.
• When serving to customers in a booth, pass the plates along to the patron sitting the furthest away.
• Ask other employees for assistance when moving chairs and tables.
• Focus on good postures – try to keep your head up and your neck and back straight
• When lifting large trays or bins, bend at the knees and lift with your legs (as opposed to bending at the waist).
Restaurant Safety Hazards
Preventing slips and trips in restaurants
Restaurant floors endure a variety of food spills and cleaning products. As a result, they can pose slip, trip and fall hazards for both employees and patrons. While these hazards are significant, many can be prevented by adhering to these safety tips.
In the Kitchen
Follow these tips to prevent slips, trips and falls in the kitchen:
· Wear non-slip, waterproof footgear. Also, be sure to lace your shoes tightly and never wear open-toed shoes or leather-soled shoes.
· If you spill while preparing food, clean it up immediately. Use cones or signs to warn fellow employees until spills are dry.
· Remove clutter from kitchen workstations to avoid obstructing walkways.
· Place all utensils, ingredients and other supplies back in their proper location after you’re done using them.
· Never run in the kitchen.
· Avoid storing cooking oil on the floor. It may spill, or someone may fall onto it.
· Stand on non-slip floor mats in areas that are typically slippery, such as near sinks. Areas around these non-slip mats may be slippery as well.
· Notify your supervisor if you notice any uneven floor surfaces or drain covers that have come loose.
In the Dining Room
Follow these practices to protect your co-workers and customers from injuries:
· Remove clutter from walkways on the floor.
· Straighten out rugs and mats, and make sure they are always in place.
· Clean up any spills immediately, and place signs and cones to warn both patrons and other employees of the hazard.
· Place mats so that patrons do not slip while the floors are still wet.
· Never carry more than you can handle. You should be able to see over what you are carrying in order to properly navigate to your destination.
· Make several trips for large loads.
· Watch where you are walking while carrying loads of dishes back into the kitchen.
© 2007-2010, 2017 Zywave, Inc. All rights reserved
Serve Cocktails Safely
Tips for servers of alcoholic beverages
Preventing violence due to unnecessary overdrinking is part of your job. To keep patrons safe while they enjoy themselves, you must be able to recognize the signs of intoxication and know how to intervene with intoxicated patrons.
Signs of Intoxication
While alcohol affects everyone differently, some common signs of intoxication include:
• Slurred or slowed speech
• Losing one’s train of thought
• Red eyes and an inability to focus
• Decreased alertness
• Staggering or inability to walk
• Reduced fine motor skills, such as being unable to light a cigarette or to place poker chips on a table
• Drinking extremely quickly
• Acting overly friendly or inappropriate
When is Enough, Enough?
To monitor how much a patron is drinking, use the traffic lights system (versus trying to remember the number of drinks that he/she has consumed). Here’s how the system works:
• Green: The patron shows no signs of intoxication, is in a good mood and is not drinking rapidly. You have the “green light” to serve him or her.
• Yellow: The patron is not yet intoxicated, but may be drinking quickly, is in a “down” mood or is showing signs of impairment. You should stop serving this patron before he/she becomes intoxicated; proceed with caution.
• Red: The patron is showing signs of intoxication, may be depressed, aggressive or angry, is drinking fast with the intention of getting drunk. You should STOP serving this patron and seek assistance in removing the patron from the facility safely.
You have a right and a duty to refuse service to patrons who are intoxicated. Keep the following in mind when trying to cut someone off:
• Politely deny service and offer food or alcohol-free drinks.
• Avoid threatening statements. Instead, put the focus on yourself by stating “If I serve you another drink, I may lose my job.”
• Offer to call the patron a ride home.
• Be firm. Once you’ve refused service, don’t back down.
• Stay calm and remain in control. Serve other customers to avoid unnecessary conflicts.
• Be courteous while dealing with someone who may get unruly.
In the event of a violent incident, fill out an incident report documenting the measures that you took to control the intoxicated person. This will assist in defending against liability.
© 2007-2010, 2018 Zywave, Inc. All rights reserved
Food Server Safety Basic
Do’s and don’ts for restaurant servers
All jobs have some physical stressors, and waiting tables is no exception. While serving food and beverages, keep the following safe work practices in mind to stay healthy and injury-free.
Serving food and bussing tables, especially while assuming awkward postures, may lead to back, neck and shoulder strains and sprains. Specific potential hazards for servers include the following:
· Balancing or lifting too many plates or glasses while serving or clearing tables
· Balancing or lifting heavy trays above shoulder height
· Lifting large, overfilled containers of dirty dishes
· Repetitive reaching across tables to serve customers or to clear tables
· Moving and lifting tables and chairs to accommodate customers
Safe Work Practices
· Avoid awkward postures when carrying trays, plates or beverages. For example, serving with unsupported elbows and fingers can increase your risk for injury.
· Limit the number of plates or items you carry, realizing that carrying more than a few items puts additional strain on your arms and back, and over time may lead to injury.
· Use both hands to carry items, such as trays or water pitchers, and carry objects with your elbows close to your body.
· When pouring, move the glass or cup to you rather than over-reaching with a heavy coffee pot or pitcher to fill items.
· Carry plates with your elbows close to your body to lessen the strain on your arms and back. Avoid bending at the wrist or extending upward at the fingers. Your shoulder, arms and hands should be in a neutral position rather than bent at the wrist or extended upward at the fingers.
· Alternate carrying tasks from hand to hand.
· Balance the load evenly, placing heavier items in the center of the tray.
· Make sure trays are clean and dry, and without defect before using.
· Stand by the person you are serving if possible, rather than reaching across the table and over people. In booths, enlist the people sitting closest to the edge of the booth to assist you in passing the plates along.
Foodborne Illness Prevention
Guidelines for health care employees
Preventing foodborne illness is important for everyone. However, when cooking for others, especially senior citizens and those who are ill, you must exercise extreme caution. With about 48 million cases of foodborne illness occurring every year in the United States, food contamination may seem very difficult to prevent. However, by following these safety tips, you can ensure food safety and prevent foodborne illness at your facility.
Safe steps in food handling, cooking and storage are essential to preventing foodborne illness. You typically cannot see, smell or taste harmful bacteria that can cause illness. Keep food safe in every step of preparation:
• Wash hands and surfaces often.
• Separate foods to avoid cross-contamination.
• Cook foods to the proper temperatures.
• Refrigerate leftovers promptly.
Food Handling Guidelines
• Refrigerate or freeze all perishable food items. The refrigerator should be set at 40° F or less and the freezer set at 0° F or less.
o Check the temperatures with a thermometer designated for these appliances.
• Always thaw food in the refrigerator or under cold water, never sitting out at room temperature.
• Wash cutting boards and cooking utensils immediately with soap and hot water after contact with raw meats to prevent bacterial contamination.
• Do not leave perishable foods sitting out for more than two hours.
o If the room temperature is above 90° F, do not leave foods out for more than one hour.
• If food is cooked, but will not be served for more than two hours, keep it in the oven at 140° F and cover with foil.
• Discard canned foods that are dented, seeping or bulging.
• Do not use packages that are torn or open.
• Poultry and meat is only good in the refrigerator for one to two days.
• Keep seafood in the refrigerator or freezer until right before use.
• Throw out foods with any sign of mold growth.
• Never store food near cleaning products or chemicals.
• Store condiments such as ketchup, mayonnaise and dressing in the refrigerator after opening.
© 2007-2010, 2013, 2018 Zywave, Inc. All rights reserved
Laundry handling techniques for health care workers
Sheets, towels, gowns, blankets and other washable items used in health care facilities often come in contact with body fluids that can be dangerous for those who wash them. Contaminated and soiled linens can carry diseases, such as HIV and hepatitis.
If you’re handling or washing laundry items during the course of your workday, take note of the following safety precautions that are designed to help you prevent accidental exposure.
· Touch the laundry as little as possible with your hands.
· If you notice that linens are soiled, bag them separately in the location where they were used, instead of mixing them with other linens to be sorted later.
· Place wet, contaminated laundry in a leak-proof, color-coded bag (usually red) and/or container.
o This container should have a bio-hazard symbol on it to designate the laundry as dangerous and containing human excretions.
· Hold contaminated laundry bags as far away from the body as possible and avoid squeezing the bag excessively because it may cause puncturing.
o Seal the bag tightly to avoid leakage.
o Use carts or laundry chutes designated for soiled linens to transport the bags.
· Do not wash soiled linens with non-soiled laundry.
· If some of the items you will be washing are soiled, never wash them with other items of the same kind unless they are also soiled. Combining sheets, towels or gowns is appropriate when soiled, but never combine a non-soiled gown with a soiled one simply to wash like items together.
· Use hot water to clean and disinfect soiled laundry.
o Cycle should be at least 25 minutes long and water should be at least 160° F.
o Use chlorine bleach for added disinfecting power.
o Add a mild acid to neutralize the alkalinity in the tub to disinfect the linens.
· Only combine like items after they have been properly washed and disinfected.
© 2009-2010, 2018 Zywave, Inc. All rights reserved
Avoiding Muscle and Ligament Injuries
Helpful tips for reducing your risk of strains and sprains
Over six million injuries occur in the workplace every year. Sprains, strains and tears to muscles and connective tissues are some of the most common injuries employees experience.
Sprains and strains can result from lifting injuries, being hit by fallen objects or even a simple misstep. Overusing your muscles can also cause these injuries. Protect yourself and others from these painful injuries by always practicing safety on the job.
Sprains occur when a ligament has been stretched too far from its normal position. Sprains of the fingers, wrists, knees and ankles are most common.
Strains are the result of pulling too far on a muscle or by pulling a muscle in one direction while it is contracting. Strains can also be caused by repetitive movements that lead to an over-stretching of muscle fibers. Strains of the back, neck, groin and hamstring are most common.
Tips for Prevention
To help reduce your risk of sprains and strains while on the job, keep these tips in mind:
• Follow ’s guidelines for safe lifting, especially if your position requires you to lift particularly heavy items.
• If you are lifting something particularly heavy, use extreme caution. When in doubt, ask for help with the lift.
• Reduce repetitive movements if possible; chronic strains are usually the result of overuse.
• Use proper form while completing tasks and avoid extensive gripping, which can increase the risk of hand and forearm strains.
• Practice safety measures to help prevent falls. Avoid slippery surfaces.
• Wear proper attire, including footwear, gloves and other applicable protective equipment.
• Consider your posture when sitting or standing for long periods of time; maintain an overall relaxed position.
• Maintain a healthy fitness level outside of work to keep your body strong and flexible.
• Stretch before you begin working, and take short breaks throughout the day to stretch and rebalance your body.
If you have any questions or concerns about sprains or strains, do not hesitate to contact your supervisor.
Electronic Health Records and Medical Malpractice
Often attributed as a partial cause of the ever-increasing cost of health care, medical malpractice claims are a common, and costly, risk faced by health care providers. However, according to recent research, technological developments in the health care industry may be able to lower some of the risk of medical malpractice claims.
Studies have begun to track the effect that the use of electronic health record (EHR) systems has on preventing medical malpractice claims. EHRs allow doctors to quickly scan patients’ medical histories, giving them more background information, which leads to a more accurate diagnosis. It also means avoiding duplication of tests and negative reactions between medications. When all of this information is readily available, doctors and nurses can make better decisions about patient health. Better care means fewer mistakes, which in turn means fewer malpractice claims. The clear record they provide of a patient’s treatment history also makes EHRs useful in defending against a medical malpractice claim if one is filed.
EHRs may be able to do more than just help prevent claims, they may also get you a lower rate from your insurer. If study results continue to confirm the connection between EHRs and lowered occurrences of medical malpractice claims, insurers may start offering discounts to facilities that implement such systems.
Going beyond the realm of malpractice claims, EHRs also offer a number of other benefits to both your staff and patients. Once implemented, EHRs can streamline many of your existing processes. Charts no longer need to be physically moved from one location to another. With a few clicks, patient information can be brought up anywhere in your facility instantly. This kind of quick access to patient information means information stays up to date and is always on hand. This not only makes life easier on staff members, it also means that patients get high-quality, efficient care.
Even though EHRs can simplify operations and save money in the long run, the investment of time and money that is required to switch to a new system deters some health care providers. However, the switch to EHRs may soon be unavoidable. Recently there has been an increased focus on EHR implementation by federal regulators. Fortunately, with the push for a more broad adoption of the technology comes a potential increase in available government funding to help health care providers make the switch.
When you make the decision to transition from paper records to an electronic system, there will be a learning period that goes along with the implementation process. The full benefit of EHRs cannot be realized unless employees are properly trained in how to use them. If systems are poorly implemented, they will not generate the positive returns they are capable of.
Adopting EHRs takes an initial commitment from you and you staff, but in the long run, they can simplify operations and save money all while helping you provide the best possible care to your patients.
© 2011 Zywave, Inc. All rights reserved.
Preventing Violence in the Health Care Workplace
Workplace violence in the health care industry has been declining, but that doesn’t mean it’s completely absent from hospitals and other medical clinics. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, almost half of non-fatal injuries from occupational assaults and violence occur in health care and social services settings.
Who is most at risk? Statistics indicate that nurses were the most likely victims of assault, most of which are committed by a patient on an employee. Other assaults occurred between a stranger and an employee, and between two or more former or current co-workers. Given the risks, there is an imperative need for health care facilities to establish violence prevention policies to protect their employees.
According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), health care facilities should instill a violence prevention program as part of their larger safety and health program. This program serves to reduce the severity and frequency of injuries that employees face, track the facility’s progress in reducing violence and decrease the threat of violence to employees’ safety. Specifically, the program:
· Outlines a clear policy detailing that violence including verbal and nonverbal threats, will not be tolerated in the workplace
· Eliminates the chance that individuals would seek revenge on an employee for reporting violence
· Encourages employees to report violent acts quickly
· Outlines a plan to maintain safety in the workplace
· Explains management concerns for employee physical and emotional health
· The goal of such a program is to guarantee that:
· Employees comply with and support a violence-free workplace
· Employees feel comfortable reporting violence
When designing violence prevention programs, orchestrate prevention training that is mandatory for all employees. According to OSHA, training is a key element in violence prevention, as the employees receive extensive information about how to conduct themselves in the workplace in the event of violence. They are also formally warned about the no-tolerance policy, in the event that they feel like instigating a fight down the road. Essentially, the intentions of the facility are made extremely clear in the training session.
In addition, by getting to know staff members who are part of the violence prevention initiative, employees may feel more comfortable reporting injuries or threats in the event that they occur. The training may include:
· An explanation of the violence policy and program initiatives
· Encouragement to report threats or violent incidents
· Tactics for preventing or reducing hostile situations, conflict or anger
· Ways to manage anger
· Suggestions for how to resolve conflicts without violence
· Suggestions for how to reduce stress and relax
· Outlining the security procedures for the facility
· Self-defense tips
· Ways to assist a victim in need of support
OSHA also recommends that a health care facility conduct an analysis of records, security measures and trends regarding violence. By doing an analysis, management can identify the recurring threats to their employees, security breaches of any kind and ways to protect their employees in the future. Health care facilities are particularly hazardous, according to OSHA, because of the following:
· Medications and money available in the pharmacy area (robbery target)
· Employees must work evenings in potentially high crime areas
· Employees are exposed to sometimes violent, mentally unstable patients
· Patients may be uncooperative or combative at times
· Rooms may contain furniture or items that could potentially be used as a weapon against employees
After conducting an analysis of the facility, management should instill additional safety controls, including:
· Increase lighting in high risk areas such as patient rooms, isolated treatment areas or outside the facility
· Install metal detectors to alert security staff if patrons are bringing guns or knives into the facility
· Install plexiglass windows around the pharmacy check-out window to minimize the threat of theft
· Use safety devices such as alarms, panic buttons, cameras, two-way mirrors, key-card access systems and hire security personnel
· Install curved mirrors at hallway intersections
· Train staff on how to recognize hostile situations and behavior
· Increase staffing in the evenings or in places where patients may become violent
· Encourage employees to carpool so they arrive and depart in groups
· Provide a complimentary shuttle service or security guards to escort employees out of the building
· Explain the zero tolerance policy for violence to patients
· Have relationships with the local police and alert them of the emergency action plans in the event of violence
· Gather previous records of patients to determine if they pose threats to employees
· Design a program to deal with violent and combative patients including:
o Arrange furniture in such a way to prevent the staff from becoming trapped in the room
o Place minimal, lightweight furniture in the rooms without any sharp corners
o Affix the furniture to the floor
o Remove excess clutter from the rooms, especially items on countertops that could be used as weapons
o Make sure that there is a second exit in patient rooms for employees in the event that the patient becomes violent
o Require that employees implement a buddy system when treating high-risk patients so they are never alone
Response to Violence
In the event that a violent act is committed in the facility, employees need a supportive management staff to rely on to get through the trying time. To ensure that employees receive the support they need, the health care facility should establish a response team to deal with the situation.
This team is responsible for providing medical care for the injured employee(s) and counseling after the fact.
OSHA also requires that facilities fill out an OSHA Form 300 within eight hours of the incident to document all work-related injuries if three or more employees were hospitalized. By documenting violence, OSHA and the facility can determine the severity of the incident and determine how the situation can be prevented in the future.
Remember that it is the facility’s responsibility to take steps to protect its employees from violence and maintain a safe working environment.
This Risk Insights is not intended to be exhaustive nor should any discussion or opinions be construed as legal advice. Readers should contact legal counsel or an insurance professional for appropriate advice. © 2007-2010, 2014 Zywave, Inc. All rights reserved.
Safety Standards for Cleanrooms
The use of cleanrooms is commonly required for manufacturers of sensitive electronic equipment, pharmaceuticals, sterile medical devices and in any other critical manufacturing environment where the contaminants present in outside air could destroy the product’s functionality.
Though cleanrooms are critical parts of the manufacturing environments in which they are used, they are surprisingly unregulated by the U.S. government. In fact, the only federal standard that regulated cleanrooms was canceled in 2001, though manufacturers still widely use the standard as a guideline. It is important to keep in mind that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does have Quality Systems Regulations in place that require manufacturers to use structures that ensure their products meet provisions, and that the business follows good manufacturing practices; however, this does not specifically address cleanroom conditions.
The International Organization for Standardization (ISO), of which the United States is a member, covers the classification of air purity in cleanrooms, and specifies the requirements for testing and monitoring cleanrooms to prove compliance. But from an employer’s perspective, it is not ISO 14644-1 and ISO 14644-2 standards that should determine how to treat your cleanroom facility; rather, it makes the most business sense for you to treat your cleanroom with the utmost care to ensure that the facility stays up to specifications.
What Does Clean Mean?
Individual subsets of industries set their own standards for just how “clean” companies’ cleanrooms must be. For example, integrated circuit manufacturers must operate in a cleanroom of no more than ISO 4, which does not allow any particles greater than 5 micro-meters in size, or one-thousandth of a millimeter. Depending on the type of manufacturing that is performed at your workplace, your ISO rating can vary. Check your industry cleanroom standards to determine the proper ISO rating.
Standards aside, a cleanroom is only useful if it is maintained properly. Many employers are unaware of the fact that a particle 200 times smaller than the width of a human hair can cause a major contamination disaster in a cleanroom. Contamination will not only cost your company because of expensive downtime while the problem is fixed, but it will also result in increased product costs. For example, many electronic products produced in a contaminated cleanroom will not function properly and will result in product recall, while medical devices manufactured in a contaminated cleanroom will not meet FDA regulations.
Building a cleanroom properly is the first step to saving money in the long run, since it is much easier to eliminate the possibility of contamination as the facility is being built. Removing contamination after the fact is not only extremely difficult, but also enormously costly in both time and money. It is important to warn your employees that contamination can come from many unexpected sources, including the following:
· Other elements of the building or facility that hold the cleanroom, including walls, floors, ceilings, paint, coatings and air conditioning debris
· Equipment and supplies, such as loose particles from friction, vibrations, brooms, mops, items brought into the cleanroom and cleanroom debris
· Microorganisms, like viruses, bacteria and fungus
· People are often the largest source of contamination. This can come from skin flakes and oil, hair, saliva, cosmetics or perfume, and clothing debris like lint and fibers. However, it can also come simply from peoples’ presence; a motionless person, standing or seated, generates 100,000 0.3 micron-sized particles each minute, and a person walking at a swift pace will generate 10,000,000 particles per minute.
Ensuring that the facility meets the accurate air quality standards starts with requiring employees to wear the proper equipment while inside the cleanroom.
To lower your cleanroom’s risk of contamination, take the following precautions:
· Warn employees about the danger to the company in bringing personal items—such as wallets and phones—out while in the cleanroom.
· Encourage employees to make as subtle and slow of movements as possible while in the cleanroom.
· Check periodically for leakages in the shell enclosing the cleanroom that separates the clean air from the rest of the building.
· Monitor the cleanroom closely during construction.
· Regularly measure and test the cleanroom to ensure it is running properly.
Remember that following these guidelines could save your company hundreds of thousands of dollars in lost product and in downtime by lessening your risk for cleanroom contamination.
© 2007-2010, 2013, 2018 Zywave, Inc. All rights reserved
Safety Glove Options
Choosing the right glove for the job
Since no one glove protects against hazards in every task you do, you must take several considerations into account before choosing the right glove for the job. In addition, you must balance the amount of protection needed with the glove’s characteristics to determine which pair will allow you to work both safely and efficiently.
Measure your hand circumference around the palm or at the base of the fingers. The number of inches will determine your size.
Disposable thin-gauge gloves made from natural rubber latex (NRL), nitrile, neoprene or plastic PVC offer the most dexterity and sensitivity.
Thin, disposable gloves allow for work with small parts, food products and other delicate tasks but don’t offer as much protection.
Protection against Chemicals
Use disposable nitrile gloves when handling oils and grease. They also protect against dry chemicals and many other lab chemicals.
These types of gloves can be layered to provide added protection.
Wear cotton or leather gloves, preferably with coating, when handling abrasive or heavy objects. Gloves coated with NRL, PVC, nitrile, neoprene and polyurethane outwear normal cotton and leather gloves by two to 10 times.
Gloves with coating offer the least amount of dexterity, so choose a pair with lighter weight coatings, palm-coating or flat-dipped gloves.
If you need to protect your hands against sharp objects, choose gloves with a higher level of cut resistance (Level 0=<200 grams to Level 5=3,500 grams). Keep in mind, however, that no glove will protect you from a serrated or moving blade.
Handling Oily or Slippery Objects
Wear sponge or foam-coated gloves that allow you to have a solid grip on slippery objects. Oil is able to penetrate these types of gloves, making the objects easier to hold and reducing the risk that you will drop them and injure yourself or a co-worker.
Wear gloves coated in NRL, nitrile, neoprene or PVC when handling fuels, grease and oils.
Wear butyl or laminate gloves when handling ketones.
Wear neoprene when handling acids and caustic materials
© 2009-2010, 2018 Zywave, Inc. All rights reserved
The Distraction of Personal Electronic Devices
Keep focused to avoid workplace accidents
To prevent the dangers associated with distracted driving, more and more states have passed laws banning the use of cellphones while behind the wheel. The need for such laws is a good example of the common and dangerous side effect of personal electronic devices.
Our workplace safety is built on attentive employees focused on the task at hand, and such devices can play an unfortunate role in creating workplace accidents. Too many workers think that they can safely perform their jobs while talking on the phone, texting or listening to music. Unfortunately, these actions are more distracting than most realize.
Don’t let the use of personal electronic devices lead to an injury. Do your part to keep distractions out of the workplace.
Texting combines a number of hazards. Not only are you distracted by the conversation taking place, you also become distracted by operating your cellphone. While inputting a message, it is easy to lose track of what is going on around you as you no longer have a visual connection to your surroundings. A message may only take a few seconds to send, but in a fast-paced environment even that may be too long.
Many people mistakenly believe that using a hands-free device allows them to safely talk on the phone without hurting their ability to carry out other tasks. While such devices do free up both hands, studies have repeatedly shown that the conversation itself is the biggest cause of distraction. Even though using a hands-free option seems like a safe alternative to a handheld device, for your own safety they should be avoided in situations where your full concentration is needed.
There are a variety of sounds in the workplace that alert workers to what is happening around them. Unfortunately, when you are listening to music from a personal electronic device, a shout from a coworker, an odd sound from a malfunctioning machine or the backup alarm from a truck or forklift can be easily missed.
In addition to hurting your ability to hear warnings, devices that deliver sound directly into the ear may increase hearing loss in noisy environments. Headphones can obstruct the proper fit of PPE while offering no hearing protection of their own. Also, to drown out background noise, volume is often raised above the normal listening level. This increases the amount of harmful noise you are exposed to, accelerating hearing loss.
© 2011, 2018 Zywave, Inc. All rights reserved
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) keeps records not only of the most frequently cited standards overall, but also within particular industries. The most recent statistics from OSHA reveal the top standards cited in the fiscal year 2021 for the machinery manufacturing industry. This top 10 list comprises establishments that create end products that apply mechanical force, such as the application of gears and levers, to perform work. Some important processes for the manufacture of machinery are forging, stamping, bending, forming and machining used to shape individual pieces of metal.
Description of Violation
Cited Standard Number
1. General Requirements for All Machines – This standard refers to machine guarding of presses, power saws, jointers and milling machines. Requirements include securing anchoring fixed machinery, operation guarding and types of guarding.
2. Respiratory Protection – This standard refers to respirators use to protect employees from hazardous substances. Requirements of this standard include a written program, selection of respirators, medical evaluations, fit testing, safe operating procedures and training.
3. Control of Hazardous Energy (lockout/tagout) – Control of hazardous energy is the practice of de-energizing equipment and locking the energy source to prevent release of energy. Requirements include written procedures, training and periodic inspection.
4. Hazard Communication – This standard refers to the UN Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals. Requirements include developing and implementing a program, recordkeeping, labeling and training.
5. Powered Industrial Trucks – Powered industrial trucks include forklifts and fork trucks. This standard’s requirements include operator training, inspections and safe work practices.
6. Wiring Methods, Components and Equipment for General Use – This standard refers to the practice of using the proper methods when wiring different setups. Requirements include following proper methods for temporary wiring, cable trays, electrical cabinets and switches.
7. General Electrical Requirements – This standard refers to the practice of examining, installing and using electrical equipment of different types, sizes, voltage and current capacity. Requirements include specifications for electrical connections, terminals, guarding live parts and working with 600 volts.
8. General Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Requirements – This standard refers to providing, managing and maintaining the proper personal protective equipment for employees. Requirements include identifying required PPE, maintenance, sanitation, replacement and training.
9. Reporting Fatalities, Hospitalizations, Amputations and Losses of an Eye – This standard covers types of injuries that require OSHA reporting. Fatalities must be reported within 8 hours, and hospitalizations, amputations and eye loss must be reported within 24 hours.
10. Portable Fire Extinguishers – Portable fire extinguishers are used to by employees to put out small fires. Requirements of this standard include placement of fire extinguishers, employee training and inspections.
*ACV (Average Cost per Violation) – The dollar amount represents the average cost per violation that employers in this industry paid in 2021. To understand the full capacity and scope of each standard, click on the standard number to visit www.osha.gov and view the language in its entirety. Source: OSHA.gov
Design © 2022 Zywave, Inc.
Keep Your Hands, Wrists and Fingers Safe
Helpful tips for reducing your risk of injury at work
Hand, wrist and finger injuries are among the most common ailments suffered by workers, and they can be both extremely painful and debilitating. An occupational injury not only causes initial pain – it can also require weeks or months of rehabilitation.
Sources of Injury
Throughout the day, your hands come in contact with a multitude of hazards such as heavy or fast-moving machine parts, sharp tools and corrosive chemicals. The following is a sampling of hand, wrist and finger hazards you might face on the job every day:
• Cutting tools operating at high speeds
• Heavy machinery
• Extreme temperatures
• Pinch points
• Equipment without machine guards
• Wearing clothing that can get caught in a machine
Personal protective equipment (PPE) is designed to shield your body from hazards. Since the hands, wrists and fingers are so susceptible to injuries, there are many varieties of PPE to choose from and that your employer may require.
• Select gloves that are appropriate for the task at hand. Make sure they are long enough to fit correctly. Gloves that are too big can get caught in machinery, and gloves that are too small wear out easily.
• Leather gloves provide protection from bruises, cuts and minor burns. Cut-resistant gloves offer shielding from sharp-edged tools. Heat-resistant gloves offer protection against burns. Rubber, vinyl or neoprene gloves shield hands from corrosive materials.
• Barrier creams applied to the skin provide an invisible protective coating against minor irritations.
• Guards or hand pads protect against heat and abrasive materials.
• Finger guards protect against pinch hazards.
While PPE will shield you to some extent, you also must learn how to recognize potential hazards and then take the proper steps to avoid them. Consider the following recommendations while on the job:
• Develop a “safety first” attitude and take time to familiarize yourself with the hazards in your working environment. Become familiar with all equipment and know what others are doing around you.
• Concentrate on the task at hand, even when you’re frustrated or when there are distractions.
• Use common sense and remain alert for unexpected problems. Be wary of possible hazards.
© 2014, 2018 Zywave, Inc. All rights reserved
Steer Clear of Trips and Slips
Helpful tips for reducing your risk of injury at work
Wet floors, spills and excess clutter can mean disaster for employees on the warehouse or retail floor, causing many every year to suffer lost pay and serious pain. Injuries caused by slips, trips and falls range from sprained or strained muscles and joints to broken bones and head injury. There are several precautions you should take to ensure your safety and the safety of others.
• Keep floors clean and dry at all times. Wet floors present a slip hazard and can promote the growth of infection-causing microbes like mold, fungi and bacteria.
• Remove all objects and clutter from aisles, exits and passageways.
• In the event that grease or oil spills on the kitchen floor, clean the mess immediately and alert your co-workers of the problem before they accidentally fall.
• Use floor or ceiling electrical plugs for power to avoid running a cord down a long hallway.
• Display warning signs to alert others of a wet floor.
• Use floor mats while surfaces are drying after cleaning to provide traction.
• Clean up spills immediately.
• In areas prone to slipping (toilet and shower areas), use a no-skid wax product to clean.
• While washing the floor, wear protective footgear to prevent falling.
• Keep an eye out for uneven floors, and fix them or notify someone who can immediately.
• Use strong ladders to reach as opposed to standing on small stools or boxes.
• Stretch out bulging carpets to prevent trips and falls.
• Use the handrails while walking down stairs to prevent slipping or walking too fast.
• Repair broken light fixtures and replace bulbs for adequate visibility.
Always Stay Alert
Adopt a see it, sort it mentality. If you notice any situation that you think could present a slipping, tripping or falling hazard, act immediately to remedy it or notify your supervisor. You could be saving an unsuspecting victim serious pain.
© 2010, 2018 Zywave, Inc. All rights reserved
Handling E-commerce Risks
Selling your goods online can enhance customer relationships, attract new customers and increase sales revenue. However, if you are considering expanding your business online, it is important to understand what is required to maximize information security and minimize credit card payment risks. E-commerce sites that have little or no fraud controls in place can experience a chargeback rate of 10 percent or more. It is important to understand the basics of credit fraud before opening up for business online.
Typical Risks for E-Commerce Merchants
Those handling transactions online should consider the following common risks:
· Account information theft by hackers
· Account information theft on site
· Customer disputes and chargebacks
To avoid chargebacks, it is up to the e-commerce merchant to apply the right tools and controls to verify the cardholder’s identity and the validity of the transaction. When used efficiently, these systems can reduce fraudulent transactions and the potential for customer disputes:
· Address Verification Service checks a credit card holder’s billing address with the issuer, providing merchants with an indicator of the validity of the transaction.
· Card Verification Value numbers are printed on the back of credit cards and can help ensure that the customer is in possession of a genuine card.
· Fraud Screening examines transactions and calculates the level of risk associated with each transaction, providing merchants with risk scores.
Chargebacks are transactions that are returned as your financial liability, and they translate into extra processing time and cost in addition to possible loss of revenue. They occur for several reasons:
· Customer-disputed transactions
· Authorization issues
· Inaccurate or incomplete transaction information
· Processing errors
When cardholders dispute transactions on their statements, they usually ask for a copy of the receipt, which you should provide to the card company as soon as possible to avoid loss.
Train Your Staff
Be sure your staff is aware of the risks of credit fraud and chargebacks. They should know the chargeback rules and regulations that your provider uses and be well-versed in your risk management policies and procedures.
This Risk Insights is not intended to be exhaustive nor should any discussion or opinions be construed as legal advice. Readers should contact legal counsel or an insurance professional for appropriate advice. © 2011 Zywave, Inc. All rights reserved.
Protect Your Online Retail Network
With the increasing popularity of smartphones and tablets, access to online shopping websites is only a fingertip away for most consumers. As a result, the online retail industry is an increasingly attractive target for major cyber attacks. The results—including tarnished reputations, lost sales and costly lawsuits—can be devastating.
This happened to Zappos, a large online shoe and apparel store owned by Amazon. Cyber criminals broke into Zappos’ internal network and stole personal information from 24 million customers, including names, addresses and the last four digits of credit card numbers. Zappos attempted damage control by informing their customers about the incident and advising them to change their passwords, but much of the damage was already done.
As an online retail business, your success is dependent on the health and security of your biggest tool—your network. In order to protect your network and keep your online business profitable, it is critical that you understand the risks you face.
Hackers and Hacktivists
Do you think hackers only target big brand retail websites that can gain them national attention? Think again. In reality, data thieves are simply looking for the path of least resistance, and have begun to realize that small to medium size online retailers make easier targets because they generally lack IT departments and the high-level security software that big retailers have. Despite the increasing number of large and high publicized cyber attacks, 85 percent of small business owners believe their company is safe from cyber attacks.
A cyber attack could knock a small to midsize online retailer offline for days, causing them to lose sales, customers and their reputation. Worse yet, a single data breach could even force some small retailers out of business. Visa, Inc. estimates that 95 percent of the credit card data breaches reported to them happened with their smallest business customers.
Not all hackers are after customers’ credit card numbers. “Hacktivists” attack computers or computer networks as a means of political protest. They’re not just targeting government websites, though. In April 2011, hacktivist group Anonymous attacked the Sony® website in hopes of gaining attention about recent legislation called the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA). They gained attention, and Sony’s website was offline for hours.
What is a DDoS Attack?
Hackers can attack online retailers in a number of ways, one of which is a distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack. DDoS is a type of cyber attack in which a hacker floods your retail website with traffic and overwhelms your server to the point that your legitimate customers are unable to access your site. DDoS attacks can last a few hours to a few days; meanwhile, your company loses out on business and may incur the cost of bringing in an IT specialist to investigate and stop the attack.
Can You Prevent a DDoS Attack?
Industry experts report that DDoS attacks have risen 30 percent in recent years. This could cause a huge loss for online retailers, especially if the attack occurs on Cyber Monday or during the busy holiday shopping season. Although many times DDoS attacks occur on larger brand online retailers, no retailer is immune. Small and midsize companies that rely on larger e-commerce providers or payment processing companies could be affected if those larger companies come under attack.
With DDoS attacks, you’ll usually never find the source of the attack. Instead, focus on procedures to carry out once an attack happens, including communicating the incident to customers.
Mitigate the DDoS Risk
To mitigate some risks that DDoS attacks pose, it is important to understand your Web hosting environment. Some examples of Web hosting include the following:
o Shared hosting, in which multiple websites share a single server. This is the most common and economical option for small companies, as the host likely already has a DDoS response plan in place.
o Cloud hosting, a newer platform where the hosting is decentralized and users are only charged for the services they use, not a flat fee.
o In-house hosting, in which a company, such as a larger online retailer, hosts its own site and assumes all of the responsibility for DDoS attacks.
Many small and midsize online retailers use shared hosting because they don’t have IT departments and the capabilities to host their own sites. When selecting a Web hosting service, consider the following:
o Does the hosting company cater only to e-commerce clients or to a variety of clients? The behavior of other users on the server could impact the performance of your website.
o How many websites are packed on a single server?
o What type of DDoS response plan does the host have in case of an attack on the network?
Hackers love to steal credit card data, and online retail websites have plenty of data available. With the increased use of wireless networks, data theft can occur more easily. Cyber threats include fraud, worms and viruses.
Most websites use secure socket layers (SSL), which are supposed to guarantee that log in, password and credit card information is safe during a customer’s online shopping. SSL relies on special electronic certificates issued to a secure website, but each Internet browser validates the certificates in a different way. Keep in mind that SSL is not immune from hacking, and beware of fake certificates.
Mitigate Data Breaches
Are you providing your customers with a secure online shopping experience? Consider the following:
o Comply with the Payment Card Industry-Data Security Standard (PCI-DSS). Merchants who don’t can get fined by credit card companies.
o Purchase as much security as you can afford. Consider how much lost customer data or lost customers would cost your company.
o Maintain continuous vigilance of your site and know your real customers.
o Have firewall segmentation between wireless networks and point-of-sale networks, or in front of any network that comes in contact with credit card information.
o If you suffer a data breach, communicate this to your customers.
Cyber security is a serious concern for online retailers of all sizes. We are here to help. Contact Guidepost
This Risk Insights is not intended to be exhaustive nor should any discussion or opinions be construed as legal advice. Readers should contact legal counsel or an insurance professional for appropriate advice. © 2011-2013 Zywave, Inc. All rights reserved.
Five Steps to Controlling WC Costs
It’s always important to gain better control over your rising workers’ compensation costs. One solution to shift your focus from solely trying to minimize lost-workday incidence to a more holistic approach. Having a sound safety program designed to continuously improve can yield significant savings by reducing injuries and illnesses over the long run–saving workers’ compensation dollars and protecting your bottom line.
The Five Steps
You can control workers’ compensation costs with five steps designed to create a well-rounded safety program that produces a safer job site, achieves OSHA compliance and reduces accidents.
1. Establish Compliance Standards
In addition to being a requirement for those in the construction industry, OSHA standards provide a good pathway to incident reductions. A good number of accidents stem from poorly developed, poorly trained or poorly implemented OSHA programs.
OSHA construction standards require written programs be developed and then communicated to workers. Experience shows that companies with thoroughly developed, OSHA-compliant programs have fewer accidents, more productive employees and lower workers’ compensation costs.
2. Integrate Programs into Daily Operations
Policies alone won’t get results; the program must move from paper to practice to impact your bottom line. Achieving this requires a strategic plan clearly communicated to workers, good execution, and a culture that both inspires and rewards people to do their best.
As with any business initiative, the success of your safety program depends on putting supervisors in the best position to succeed. If your frontline supervisors understand the program and are motivated to make it work, the program succeeds; if not, the program is an endless drain on resources and energies. Providing supervisors with knowledge and skills through training is critical to the success of any program.
A solid OSHA program, integrated into the daily operation and led by competent supervisors, is just the beginning. Successful safety programs focus on being proactive instead of reactive.
3. Accident Investigations
Accident investigations provide an excellent source of information on real or potential issues present on the job site. Since workers’ compensation covers a worker’s wages for injuries or illnesses that arise from or out of the course of employment, increasing claims drive up workers’ compensation costs. To reduce costs, you must reduce accidents. And the ability to reduce accidents is significantly enhanced when they are fully investigated instead of simply being reported.
Accident reports are historical records that only cite facts, while accident investigations go deeper to find the root cause and make improvements. To stop rising workers’ compensation costs, you must have an effective accident investigation process that flushes out the root cause of the problem. Unless the root cause is discovered, recommendations for improvement will be difficult if not impossible to implement. Again, training proves beneficial because a site supervisor skilled in incident analysis is a better problem solver for all types of issues, not just safety.
All accidents should be investigated to find out what went wrong and why. Some may suggest investigating every accident is a bit over the top and only those that incur significant costs are worthy of scrutiny. But if your emphasis is only on those incidents that have to be recorded on the OSHA 300 log, you should be aware of the largest accident category, first aid-only incidents. Many firms focus solely on recordables or lost time accidents because of the significant costs involved, but they don’t realize that the small costs and high numbers of first aid-only incidents add up.
Statistics show that for every 100 accidents, only 10 will fall under OSHA regulations as recordable. If you investigate only the accidents you must, the vast majority will go unnoticed. Reducing serious accidents means you must reduce your overall rate of all accidents–including first aid-only incidents. That only happens when every incident is fully investigated to find the root cause, and corrective actions are identified and integrated into daily job tasks.
The fourth step focuses on training, which plays a significant role in safety and in reducing workers’ compensation costs. The goal of training is to develop competent people who have the knowledge, skill and understanding to perform assigned job responsibilities. Competence, more than anything else, will drive down costs. Site supervisors must have the knowledge and ability to integrate programs into each job on the job site so that employees know what is expected of them. Contact your representative at . to obtain comprehensive safety materials and programs.
5. Continuous Improvement
The final step is auditing your safety program for continuous improvement. Once the programs are developed and implemented, they must be reviewed on a regular basis to make sure they are still relevant and effective. This might require a significant change in how you manage your safety program, but if your workers’ compensation rates are high it may be time to make this leap.
Safety Makes Good Sense
All employers should strive to keep their employees as safe as possible, and it also makes the most sense for the health of your business:
Work with the Experts
At ., we are committed to helping you establish a strong safety program that minimizes your workers’ compensation exposures. Contact us today at (855) 454-6100 to learn more about our OSHA compliance and safety program resources.
This Risk Insights is not intended to be exhaustive nor should any discussion or opinions be construed as legal advice. Readers should contact legal counsel or an insurance professional for appropriate advice. © 2010 Zywave, Inc. All rights reserved.
Date: Review conducted by:
The nature of retail operations can increase associated safety exposures, especially as it pertains to burglary risks. Nevertheless, there are steps your business can take to minimize potential exposures. Use this safety checklist to keep your retail business securely protected in case of a burglary.
Do employees exchange money with the public?
Is the business open during the evening or late night?
Is the business located in a high crime area?
Has the site experienced a robbery in the past three years?
Has the site experienced other violent incidents in the past three years?
Has the site experienced threats, harassment or other abusive behavior in the past three years from patrons?
Do employees have access to a telephone with an outside line?
Are emergency telephone numbers posted adjacent to the telephone?
Is the entrance to the building easily visible from the street and free of heavy plant growth?
Is the lighting bright in the parking lot and adjacent areas?
Are all indoor lighting fixtures working properly?
Are windows and views to the outside and inside clear of advertising and other obstructions?
Is the cash register in plain view of customers to deter robberies?
Is there a working drop safe or time access safe to minimize cash on hand?
Are security cameras and mirrors placed in locations that would deter thieves or provide greater security for employees?
Are there height markers on exit doors to help witnesses provide more complete descriptions of assailants?
Are employees protected through the use of bullet-resistant enclosures in locations with a history of robberies or assaults in high-crime areas?
ADMINISTRATIVE AND WORK PRACTICE CONTROLS
Are there emergency procedures in place to address robberies and other acts of potential violence?
Have employees been instructed to report suspicious behavior or persons?
Are employees properly trained on emergency responses for robberies and other crimes that may occur on the premises?
Are employees trained in conflict resolution when faced with violent situations?
Is cash control a staple in the violence and robbery prevention program?
Does the site have a policy concerning the number of cash registers open during evening hours?
Does the site have a policy requiring less than $50 in the cash register?
Are signs posted notifying the public that limited cash is on hand?
Do employees work with at least one other coworker throughout the entirety of their shifts?
Are there protective measures in place for employees who must work alone?
Are there procedures in place to ensure the safety of employees who open and close the establishment?
For more risk management guidance, contact us today. This checklist is merely a guideline. It is neither meant to be exhaustive nor meant to be construed as legal advice. © 2008, 2012, 2014 Zywave, Inc. All rights reserved
Warehousing and Transportation
Staying Safe on the Loading Dock
Precautions for avoiding injury
The loading dock is an essential component of ’s business, but despite its daily use, it still presents serious safety hazards. There are risks for pinch point injuries from rolling doors, falls from elevated docks and truck beds, and accidental collisions between equipment and workers—among other injury-causing hazards.
Avoid Injury on the Dock
All workers must be alert to these hazards to avoid injury. To stay safe at your facility’s loading dock, consider these useful recommendations:
· Always wear the proper personal protective equipment (PPE), such as gloves and steel-toed boots with grip soles. Wear ear muffs or plugs where required.
· Make sure trailer lanes are clearly marked so that backing up, parking and spotting is easier.
· Make sure that dock bumpers are in place and in working condition. Report any damaged bumpers to your supervisor to ensure that they are replaced as quickly as possible.
· Do not sit idle on a dock. This will prevent unnecessary exposure to diesel exhaust.
· Never lean on or hang over a loading dock, as you could fall off the dock or be crushed by a backing trailer.
· Steer clear of trailers when a forklift is loading or unloading.
· Check dock levelers or bridges before using them.
· Use trailer locking devices to prevent a gap from opening between the trailer and the dock.
· Do not operate any machinery that you are not trained to use.
· Never load trailers that are not firmly seated against a dock, and always check the weight capacity of the leveler before you begin loading a trailer.
· Inspect the trailer’s floorboards to assure that they can withstand the load, the lifting device and your body weight combined.
· Your load should never exceed the capacity of your loading equipment.
· Keep aisles and working areas free of clutter and debris on loading docks.
· Only walk in the designated pedestrian walkways.
If you notice any safety hazards at the loading dock, or have any safety concerns, contact your supervisor. A safe workplace starts with being alert to potential hazards!
This flyer is for informational purposes only and is not intended as medical or legal advice.
© 2010, 2017 Zywave, Inc. All rights reserved
Are You Aware of All of Your DOT and FMCSA Compliance Obligations?
- Transportation requires an enormous amount of coordination and recordkeeping. We can offer you forms, checklists and guides to help keep you in compliance with the Department of Transportation (DOT) and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).
Does Your Business Have a Recordkeeping System in Place for DOT-Required Forms?
- The DOT requires commercial motor carriers to keep a number of forms related to topics such as vehicle registration, medical examinations, and drug and alcohol testing. Make sure to avoid costly fines by using the customizable forms available from Guidepost Insurance Services.
How Does Your Current Broker Help You Improve Your Basic Scores?
- Keeping all of your FMCSA behavior analysis and safety improvement category (BASIC) scores low can help you reduce accidents and lower insurance costs. Our clients have access to toolkits that can help lower your BASIC scores and keep your business in compliance with the FMCSA’s larger compliance, safety, accountability (CSA) program.
does your broker provide you with timely updates on new and revised osha regulations?
· OSHA constantly updates its standards, and just one update can drastically impact the auto industry and your operations. We can give you attorney-reviewed documents that outline your obligations, letting you focus on repairs instead of complicated OSHA rules.
are you prepared for an unaNnounced osha inspection?
· If an unannounced OSHA inspection finds violations at one of your service areas, you may have to pay fines and watch your reputation plummet. We can offer you compliance resources and inspection guides that will help you address issues before they occur.
does your business comply with osha’s hazard communication standards?
· Auto repair employees often have to work with or around hazardous substances, and even one incident can lead to serious injuries and costly fines. Our clients have access to toolbox talks and articles specific to the auto industry, as well as workplace posters and hazard communication programs that can ensure your business is compliant with OSHA standards.
© 2017 Zywave, Inc. Allrights reserved.
Guide to Improving Your FMCSA Unsafe Driving Score
· Their fleet size
· Whether or not the vehicles they operate require a commercial driver’s license
· The type of carrier they are (e.g., for-hire, private, flatbed, van, utility or construction)Essentially, CSA is a monitoring and evaluation system that allows the FMCSA to intervene when safety regulations are not being followed by carriers or their drivers. Here’s an overview of how it works. Your company’s performance data appears online in the FMCSA’s Safety Measurement System (SMS). Data in this system—most of which is available to the public—is updated once a month to include the latest information related to driver and vehicle violations, crash reports from the last two years and investigation results. The FMCSA organizes SMS data into seven Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Categories (BASICs):
1. Unsafe Driving
2. Crash Indicator
3. Hours-of-service Compliance
4. Vehicle Maintenance
5. Controlled Substances/Alcohol
6. Hazardous Materials (HAZMAT) Compliance
7. Driver FitnessThe FMCSA then measures a motor carrier’s performance under each one of these BASICs, assigning them a score and prioritizing riskier fleets for interventions (e.g., warning letters, investigations and fines). Scores are based upon roadside, on-site and off-sit inspection results and are reflected as a percentage rank from 0 to 100. The higher the percentile, the worse the safety performance. This percentage is then compared to a predetermined threshold the FMCSA uses to flag problematic fleets and take corrective action.
· Time—A time weight of one, two or three is assigned to every violation based on when the violation occurred. The more recent the crash, the more it will impact your score:
o Violations are weighted triple if they occurred between now and six months ago.
o Violations are weighted double value if they occurred between six and 12 months ago.
o Violations have a single weight if they occurred between 12 and 24 months ago.
o Violations drop out of the system if they occurred more than 24 months ago.
· Severity—A severity weight between one (least severe) to 10 (most severe) is assigned to every applicable violation. In general, the severity weight relates to the level of crash risk associated with the violation. Essentially, violations that could increase the likelihood of future crashes (e.g., reckless driving) are weighted heavier. What’s more, if the violation was severe enough to warrant an out-of-service order, the violation is assigned an additional two points. For a full list of violations and their corresponding severity weights, click here.
For each BASIC, the FMCSA sets what’s called an intervention threshold. If a carrier scores at or above this threshold, interventions like a warning letter or—if you don’t improve—an on-site inspection can occur. For the Unsafe Driving BASIC, the intervention threshold is 65% for general carriers (50% for passenger carriers and 60% for HAZMAT).SMS website. To log in, you will need to secure a PIN from the FMCSA. If you do not have a PIN, you can request one online. Once logged in to the system, you will have access to your scores and can even deep dive into violations for specific drivers. If your business is at or above the intervention threshold for any of the BASICs, you will see a warning symbol () in the system. This essentially means your fleet has been prioritized for further monitoring, and you will need to act to lower your score and avoid any further consequences.
1. How their violations impact BASIC scores—Drivers should understand how violations not only harm their personal record, but also contribute to your business’s score. Specifically, employees should be aware of what violations carry more points and have the greatest impact on the Unsafe Driving BASIC. For instance, cellphone usage and failing to wear a seat belt carry a heavier point value than speeding 6 to 10 mph over the speed limit. Making drivers aware of these sorts of distinctions can reinforce simple safety precautions—precautions that can go a long way toward lowering your BASIC score.
2. How long violations stay with the company—Drivers may not be aware of how long violations impact your business’s BASIC score. Just one violation can affect your company’s standing for up to two years. What’s more, violations may remain on a driver’s record for three years. It’s also important to educate employees on how recent violations have a greater impact than those that occurred in the past.
3. How warnings impact BASIC scores—Drivers need to be aware that even if they don’t get a ticket, your organization can still be affected. In fact, warnings can impact BASIC scores just as much as a ticket, making it crucial for drivers to operate with the highest levels of care and safety when out on the road.
· Telemetric and GPS systems—Telemetric and GPS systems allow carriers to monitor things like driving speed, hard braking and other behaviors in real time. This allows you to flag potentially risky behavior for review and provide employees with specific training resources to improve their driving. What’s more, these systems can increase efficiencies by simplifying recordkeeping practices, and giving drivers and carriers actionable data on things like fuel economy and vehicle diagnostics. Telemetric and GPS systems are often tied to electronic logging devices (ELDs) that may already be mandatory.
· ELDs—The basic purpose of ELDs is to allow truck and bus drivers to track their hours of service, automating the process and making it easier for safety inspectors to spot violations. ELDs can also monitor hours driven, vehicle movement, miles driven and location information for even more consistent, accurate metrics. Again, these devices are required by law for many motor carriers.
· Dashcams—Dashcams provide both drivers and carriers footage they can review following a violation. Dashcams can be installed to cover a variety of angles, including the road, the cab or a combination of the two. These cameras are typically set up to record specific incidents, such as collisions, swerving or hard braking. You can even use this footage during driver performance reviews, encouraging positive driver behavior or providing one-on-one coaching following an incident.When collecting data from these systems, it’s critical to take action whenever possible. Be sure to review the data you collect and address driver concerns as they arise. Overlooking poor driving behavior can compound exposures for your business and increase the likelihood of preventable crashes and violations. It should be noted that, while these systems are meant to benefit the driver and provide key insight into safety concerns, employees may be resistant to active monitoring. As such, it’s important to remind them that:
1. Keeping BASIC scores under the intervention threshold can lead to fewer roadside inspections, protecting their record and allowing them to perform their job without interruption.
2. If they are involved in an accident and are not at fault, the data can be used to back up their claims.
3. Your organization may get a break on insurance for staying below the intervention threshold, and savings may be passed on to them.