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hr by design

A good sentiment to express to your people this week- “Let's be careful out there today.”

Safety Issue (managing risk)- "you really do care about your people and if it happened to other local firms, it can happen to you."

Plus, 3 reasons why you are going to read this newsletter on workplace safety and do something positive as a result:
(1) the law requires it,
(2) it's the right thing to do, and
(3) re-read the Heading (above).
Last week, 3 workers were hurt in a explosion and fire in northwest suburban Cary. Moreover, another firm will pay $60,000 in fines (a local services business) for OSHA violations where no one was even injured.

ACTION ITEM #1:

Do your employees drive as a part of their work day? Think about your field sales, delivery, and even other personnel running to the bank or picking up supplies or lunch.
Do you have written company “Driving while on Company Business” policy? Require the use of seat belts and prohibit texting or checking email while driving on company business. (JGC: When I was driving and my kids didn't have their seat belts on, I'd say, “You'd better buckle-up, I'm not feeling very lucky today”.)
In addition, Please pull-over when talking on a cellphone. Consider a limitation of the use of a cellphone while in a company vehicle only while the vehicle is not moving. FACT: Drivers are 23x
more likely to be in an accident (100,000+ accident a year) when drivers are “texting”.
*There is a major initiative by AT&T and other Fortune 500 firms on "Texting & Driving...it can wait".
* There's an App (free) for that to: "AT&T DRIVEMODE". (if the links above don't work, please email me for them.)

ACTION ITEM #2a:

CALL your Worker's Comp Insurance carrier to perform a free annual safety inspection of your facility/office. They will tell you which of the 17 OSHA General Industry Stds. (ie, all companies) applies to your particular business.
Yes, this applies to Offices & Service firms too...Do you have cleaning supplies in common areas for employees to use to help keep the place clean? Even if you are Service business, there are still safety regulation you must comply including written safety programs that must be followed. Here's a article paraphrased from Daily Herald in July 2012.

Local Health Club hit with $60k fine by OSHA
Federal officials have proposed penalties totaling $60,000 against a Libertyville health club for failing to provide protective equipment (PPE) to employees who worked with hazardous chemicals. Officials announced the proposed fine Monday against the parent company of the XSport Fitness in Libertyville. “Acid- and nonacid-based cleaners were used by the Libertyville employees without the proper safeguards.” This was a result of a field inspection last July and injuries were not involved! Field inspections can be (a) routine check, (b) a result of a serious accident or © an employee complaint.
(JGC: Why are the fine is so steep?) Aside from not providing PPE's and proper training to workers, XSport was found to have failed to develop and implement a written hazard communication program, according to OSHA. Other charges from the federal agency include a lack of material safety data sheets for hazardous chemicals in use at XSport.
Des Plaines-based OSHA area director Diane Turek was critical of XSport in a statement issued Monday. "XSport Fitness has a responsibility to know the hazards that exist in their workplace and to provide employees with appropriate personal protective equipment," Turek said. "Employers who are cited for repeat violations demonstrate a lack of commitment to employee safety and health."
(JGC: The other local story that inspired me to write this newsletter only about safety. Para-phrased from the Northwest Herald newspaper over the past few days.)

Explosion, fire at Cary factory (injuring 3)
Several fire departments were on the scene at an explosion and fire last week (March 6) at Fox Valley Systems, Inc. in Cary, IL. Three workers were hurt and taken to the hospital. According to a witness, one wall of the plant had been blown out and a large part of the factory destroyed by fire and a 2nd blast. The Cary Fire Department, the State Fire Marshal, and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration started their investigation into the causes Thursday (March 7). On March 8th, the Illinois EPA went to court to stop the plant from re-opening due to the potential exposure of hazardous materials on-site.
The newspaper article further reported, “Fox Valley Systems has received several OSHA citations in the past. Most recently, in 2009, the company was cited with two serious violations involving heavy machinery. In 2004, OSHA also issued two serious violations, citing standards for "general requirements" and "hazardous (classified) locations."

ACTION ITEM #2b:

If you don't already, at a minimum, have a written Employee Evacuation Plan (a complete Disaster Plan is better) create one. If you do have one, update it, publish it, communicate to workers, and practice it once a year. (Also, incorporate into your new hire Orientation process.)

ACTION ITEM #3:

If you employ more than 15 people, you must comply with all (17 possible) of the OSHA General Industry Safety Standards that apply to your operations. There are industry specific Standards also. Usually, a written compliance program, record-keeping and employee awareness & training are required. REMINDER: Last edition, had we asked you to post your OSHA 300 Log from Feb.1 to April 30.
(JGC: In case you were wondering, HRbD can provide the written programs, record-keeping assistance and personnel training if you need help with safety compliance.)

ACTION ITEM #4:

Why not remind your workers periodically to work safely? (ie, while driving, using chemicals, closing drawers, tripping hazards (level changes), walking in icy parking lot, using ladders (NEvER chairs!) to reach things, and (fill in your hazard here).
Increase in Workplace Injuries increase because of people adjusting to DST
The National Sleep Foundation states that it will take most people a few days to adjust to the loss of one hour of sleep due to Daylight Savings Time that just occurred over the weekend. Using U.S. Department of Labor and Mine Safety and Health Administration data, the study found that the DST switch resulted in U.S. workers getting 40 minutes less sleep, resulted in “...a 5.7 percent increase in workplace injuries and nearly 68 percent more workdays lost to injuries. Incorporate Safety Awareness into your weekly communications, it may cause employees to exercise extra caution and avoid potentially dangerous accidents and injuries.
Aside from the pain you may save one of your workers, Preventative Safety efforts pay-off (more than they cost)!