Proven Ways to Safeguard your Vision at Work

700,000 workers in the US suffer a job-related eye injury annually. A third of these injuries are treated in hospital emergency departments and more than a hundred of these injuries lead to loss of work and money. The majority of these injuries result from small particles or objects striking or abrading the eye. These injuries are the result of small particles or objects striking the eye.

Eye and face protection is mandatory for the general industry, shipyard employment, long shoring, and the construction industry where most eye-related injuries occur. Luckily for you, these injuries can be avoided with the tips provided in this article.

Causes of On- Job Eye Injuries
Eye hazards are found in all industries. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that more than 40% injuries occur amongst craft workers (Mechanics, Carpenters and Plumbers). Labourers suffer 20% of eye injuries. Half the injured workers were employed in manufacturing as compared to the 20% in construction.

Causes of Eye Injuries
BLS found that 70% of all eye-related accidents were a result of flying particles, most of which were smaller than a pin head. These particles were said to be moving faster than a hand thrown object.
Contact with chemicals during work or chemical industries causes 20% of the eye related injuries. Other causes of eye injury were caused by swinging objects such as chains or ropes.

Protecting Against Eye Hazards
Projectiles
70% of all eye-related accidents are a result of flying particles. These projectiles are made up of dust, concrete, metal, wood and other particles. This may infect the eyes as well as causing abrasion to sensitive areas that are unreachable, and rubbing only makes it worse. Some particles may penetrate the eye ball resulting in a permanent loss of vision.

Chemicals
These largely occur in chemical industries or working with cleaning products. Splashes of chemicals results in chemical burns to the eyes which is extremely painful as well as stressful to the eyeball and the nerves.

Radiation
Thermal burns to the eyes are prominent among welders, their assistants and nearby workers which routinely damages their eyes and surrounding tissues.

Blood borne Pathogens (Hepatitis Or HIV) From Blood And Body Fluids
Lab staff, janitorial workers and animal handlers are at the highest risk of getting infected by diseases through ocular exposure. Direct exposure to blood, bodily fluids and from touching the eyes with contaminated fingers. This leads to minor reddening or soreness in the eyes which may lead to life threatening diseases such as HIV or B Virus.

Defence Against An Eye Injury

The best defence against eye injury is wearing eye protection regularly. 90% of eye injuries can be prevented by using proper protective eyewear.

Non Prescription and Prescription of Safety Glasses
Safety glasses are specially designed for general working conditions to protect the eyes against dust, chips and flying particles. They are made of strengthened glass which must match the standards of the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), be sure to look for the Z87 mark on the lens or frame.

Goggles
Safety goggles are impact resistant and provide protection from dust and chemical splashes. Goggles create a secure shield around your eyes.

Face Shields and Helmets
Full face shield protect workers who are regularly exposed to chemicals, heat and pathogens. Helmets are used for welding and working with molten materials. Face shields and helmets should be used with safety glasses or goggles to get maximum protection.

Special Protection
Helmets or goggles with special filters to protect the eyes from optical radiation exposure should be used for welding or working with lasers.

How to Handle Eye Emergencies

You should seek medical attention at an Eye Care Centre as soon as possible if you are experiencing pain in your eye, blurred or loss of vision.

About the Author: Aaron Barriga aspired to become an Eye Doctor when he was younger, but his fantastic knack for understanding people and his outgoing personality led him into the field of Marketing. Working at Insight Vision Centre as their Online Marketing Manager, he has the best of both worlds. He blogs with a mission of informing readers about the latest eye care technology and topics related to eye care and eye health. He loves collecting coasters from the different bars and restaurants he visits during his travels.

safety glass girl pic

Is Asbestos Eradication Realistic?

At the tail end of last year, the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Occupational Safety and Health called for urgent action to be taken to tackle the legacy of asbestos in Britain’s workplaces. Building occupants may be exposed to asbestos, but those most at risk are persons who purposely disturb materials and they become airborne such as maintenance or construction workers. This often leads to mesothelioma – an incurable disease of the lungs which is fatal.

With an estimated 5000 people dying as a result of asbestosis and mesothelioma every year, and a vast majority of these deaths coming as a result of exposure just decades ago, the All-Party Parliamentary Group argued that it is wrongly seen as an issue of the past as the use of the material has been banned since 1999. However, they believe the time has come to put regulations in place that will lead to the safe removal of all asbestos that is still in use in buildings throughout the UK. This is to ensure that future generations do not suffer the same asbestos-related deaths which have blighted the workforce of the 1950s, 60s, 70s and 80s.

But is this proposed asbestos eradication realistic? While asbestos is still around us and can be found across both domestic and non-domestic premises, people are still knowingly being exposed to asbestos whether they’re working in maintenance, refurbishment or demolition. In their report, the group have called for:

• Commercial, public, and rented domestic premises should have to conduct a survey to indicate whether asbestos is present in the building, registering the results with the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).
• If asbestos is identified, any refurbishment or repair to the building should include its removal.
• The HSE must develop a programme of workplace inspections to ensure asbestos material is identified, marked and managed and that eradication plans are in place with a projected timetable.

Ian Lavery, chair of the all-party group said: “We believe that the Government needs to start now on developing a programme to ensure that asbestos is safely removed from every workplace and public place so that we can end, once and for all this dreadful legacy which has killed so many people, and will continue to kill until asbestos is eradicated.”

Whether asbestos eradication is realistic or not, it always helps to be fully informed on an issue that remains prominent in the public conscience. If you’re unsure of the impact asbestos may have on your property or business, Praxis42 are available to offer eLearning and consultancy to suit your needs. Our Asbestos Condition Surveys are provided as part of an estate and facilities risk management service, whereas our Asbestos Awareness eLearning course aims to help organisations meet their legal obligation to train employees whose work could lead to exposure to asbestos containing materials.

Asbestos

All visitors to a site may require protection, not just the workers.

It goes without saying that construction companies need to look for enough safety gear to cover their workforce. While crews should be provided the proper work vests, boots and helmets, there are other concerns that businesses may overlook. In a recent article for Construction Citizen, Jim Kollaer of Kollaer Advisors describes a possible problem he witnessed in a construction team in Houston, Texas.

Kollaer said that he saw a team heading to a hot mix job. Though the workers were all wearing the right protective gear, the driver—possibly an owner of the company—didn’t have a helmet on and seemed unprepared. When Kollaer told the crew about this, his concerns were dismissed. All the same, it shows the possible safety gaps that can arise on a work site, even if companies are trying to keep everyone wearing the right equipment.

Following OSHA guidelines can help companies keep everyone protected at the same degree. A fact sheet from the organization notes that employers should go beyond simply acquiring the right equipment, and also train workers to wear and maintain this gear correctly.

According to this source, hard hats are useful for protecting against penetration and electrical injuries as well as dangers from falling objects. It’s also the employer’s responsibility to communicate with workers and let them know which equipment is necessary.

This includes not just headwear but other forms of protection, such as hand, foot and face guards. By creating a strong safety culture, companies could also train their workers to respond when they see bad behavior.

Purchasing team hard hats all at once is the first step to a safer workplace, but it’s also a point where some companies make mistakes. Cover everyone who will be on site with the equipment available from Texas America Safety Company

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Will hard hats with new technology appear in the near future?

As more and more devices become “wired,” it seems that every profession is set to accommodate more data access. Google Glass was one example of a data interface with possible worksite applications, and Sourceable recently commented on another way that this could come to the construction industry: “smart” hard hats. This would involve putting sensors inside a worker’s helmet to address potential safety concerns.

One way this could work is by transmitting health information live from a worker to others, encouraging proper treatment and response when something bad threatens a worker. Eventually, this information could help predictive analytics foresee possible trends and work around them as well.

Dr. Rod Shepard of Laing O’Rourke said that his company’s plan for a more predictive approach to injury prevention “looks more at big data collecting information over a period of time” before working that into future plans. “It may be that we have a couple of alert scenarios over several months, but really the huge advantage can be gained long term in guiding how we do things day to day,” he added.

In an article for City A.M., Alastair Sorbie of IFS examined the ways that “disruptive technology” have already entered into construction. These include digital modeling tools that can help construction efforts avoid problems and ensure a safer work site.

Sorbie does note that implementing more technology in this sector will require workers with the skills to use it, which will be especially important in attracting future employees. In this way, the issue of using tech to encourage safety touches on other important trends impacting construction, at least in the U.K.

For more about hardhats and other necessary construction safety gear, contact Texas America Safety Company. We have supplies for many different work situations and weather conditions.

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Head Protective Gear

The Top 5 Reasons to Talk to Your Employees about Workplace Safety

Workplace safety is constantly on the mind of business leaders and companies. This is because there is no way to guarantee complete safety, but there are a lot of things you can do to prevent major accidents.

While many companies put up signs, give a safety talk when on boarding employees, and review once a year, this is not an effective strategy to maintaining a safe workplace. Consistently talking to your employees about safety is one of the best ways to ensure a safe workplace for everyone.

Why should you consistently talk to your employees about workplace safety?

1. Keeps safety top of mind

When you talk to your employees about safety regularly, it keeps safety top of mind. It shows that workplace safety is a series topic in the organization and one that is not to be joked about. It also ensures that there are no mental lapses of safety procedures. Whether employees are tired, or have other things on their mind (which everyone does), it makes sure that when they walk into the workplace they are paying attention and understand the importance of safety.

2. Holds everyone accountable

Talking to your employees about safety makes sure that everyone is held accountable. Not just the employees, but also the managers, CEO, and company as a whole. Talking about workplace safety shows that everyone is in it together and it’s not just one person taking the lead. It opens the conversation for questions to be asked and clarified. It enables everyone to feel like they have a role in keeping the workplace safe, which they do.

3. Employees take ownership

When we say, “talk to your employees” we really mean have a conversation. It is well known that people take ownership in things when they feel they’ve had a voice in the conversation/been a part of the decision process. So talking to your employees and giving them a voice in the conversation about workplace safety will help them feel valued and truly take ownership of it. It will allow them to become leaders and hold themselves, as well as everyone around them, accountable.

4. Becomes a part of the culture

When you stay consistent with something in a business for an extended period of time, sooner or later, it becomes a part of the culture. This is obviously the end goal with workplace safety. Having a culture of safety ensures that everyone is holding each other accountable from the top down. If you don’t consistently talk to your employees about safety it will quickly become something that is not often thought about. Having conversations often about safety will ensure that it becomes engraved in the culture of your organization.

5. Creates new ideas

Talking with your employees about workplace safety is good for them and also good for the company. By opening up the conversation you open up a platform for new and innovative ideas. Employees are the ones working on the ground floor everyday and seeing the safety procedures in action. They know the good ones, and the not so good. They will be able to bring new and innovative ideas of how to continue to keep the company a safe place to work.

As you can see there are a lot of benefits that come from consistently communicating with your employees about workplace safety. It is the most effective way to prevent major accidents and keep employees safe.

Author Bio:
August works at HUMAN Healthy Vending, a healthier for you vending company, and the owners of the complete guide on how to start a vending machine business.

3 tips for handling power lines after bad weather

Tornadoes have caused damage in multiple states across the country this year. As the Insurance Journal reports, Arkansas saw several possible tornadoes appear on March 13, with thousands of power outages lasting on into the next day. Illinois experienced a possible tornado the same week, and similar storms may have been spotted in Iowa as well. This last storm brought funnel clouds around the Quad Cities, as WQAD8 reported.

With all of this activity, companies are likely considering the implications of sending crews to respond to tornado damage. Power outages in particular can add to worker risk, since they could result from fallen lines that need to be carefully restored. Dealing with the cables safely can force crew members to rely on their protective clothing as well as any training or best practices they have.

The storm may have passed, but workers could still be facing some urgent dangers. Here are three tips to help crew stay safe while they do their job. In some cases, these are not only good pieces of advice but recommended by government agencies.

#1: Choose the right footwear
Before arriving at the site, workers can ask themselves whether or not they are ready to step out on potentially dangerous ground. After a tornado, simply walking from one spot to another can leave a crew member exposed to sharp edges. Foot protection should match the guidelines set out by the Occupational Safety & Health Administration, which listed foot and leg protection in its Personal Protective Equipment booklet.

Footwear is also important around the electrical source itself. The same booklet examined two types of shoes that can provide protection against electrical current: conductive shoes and electrical hazard, safety toe shoes. The latter “can protect against open circuits of up to 600 volts in dry conditions and should be used in conjunction with other insulating equipment and additional precautions to reduce the risk of a worker becoming a path for hazardous electrical energy.”

#2: Err on the side of caution
A separate fact sheet from OSHA also specifically addresses the dangers of working around fallen cables. The source noted how difficult it is to determine whether or not a cable is “on.” Instead, it recommended that workers should assume all cables they see are energized, which means avoiding any contact, even from inside a vehicle. Anything touching a downed wire is potentially dangerous.

Wearing sufficient hand protection, such as insulating rubber gloves, may let crews stay consistent with the other protective gear they’re wearing. It also helps to be mindful of overhead lines: the OSHA Contact With Power Lines etool advised staying ten feet away from these lines. Warning signs should clearly alert all crew to wires that aren’t very apparent.

#3: Keep a safe distance
A wire lying on the ground could seem harmless enough while the area around it provides the real trap. The same booklet states that some large objects, including buildings and fences, can carry current. The ground itself may also pose a hazard, as “electricity can spread outward through the ground in a circular shape” starting at the edge of the wire.

As an extra precaution, crews need to make sure none of their additional equipment will conduct a charge. Relying on material that doesn’t conduct electricity at all makes this less of a likelihood: One example could be a ladder that isn’t made of metal. Keeping lines grounded or insulated also gives crews possible protection and reduced danger levels at the worksite.

Contact Texas America Safety Company for more information on protective gear. Stay ready for anything in the stormy season and keep your workers safe.

Do’s and don’ts for winter construction work

Whether they’re doing important repairs in the middle of a blizzard or working on a new construction during dangerously low temperatures, construction workers need to wear the proper protective clothing during the winter.

To be fair, employees should always be able to communicate with each other, use functional equipment and be prepared in the event of an accident, no matter what time of year. There’s also an obvious difference in hazard levels depending on the environment where the project takes place.

Take these steps during the winter for safe construction.Take these steps during the winter for safe construction. At the same time, it may be worth reviewing the following tips no matter what the current weather is, in case conditions take a turn for the worst. Here are some basic do’s and don’ts for construction professionals to follow during the colder months.

Do: Be cautious around downed power lines
The Occupational Safety & Health Administration mentions this in a list of winter weather guidelines, noting that snowy environments could make live wires even more dangerous than they are normally.

“A major hazard is snow, because the moisture can reduce the insulation value of protective equipment, and could cause electrocution,” OSHA explained. “In these conditions de-energized work is safer, but if energized work must be done, qualified workers and supervisors must first do a hazard analysis that includes evaluating the weather conditions and identifying how to safely do the job.”

Don’t: Use equipment unsuitable for the weather
The tools workers employ in winter conditions need to be specifically approved for seasonal use. Assuming that a tool fit for warm weather use is equally viable in cold or snow could lead to a possible hazard, as can using any of this equipment incorrectly.

In general, it may be best to exercise caution before work begins and thoroughly check equipment during an assessment. Tools that are verified for outdoor winter work still need to be in good enough condition to function.

Do: Wear insulated gear
From head to toe, workers can look for apparel that retains body heat and keeps them comfortable. Insulated Gloves, scarves, socks, and coveralls with thermal protection can all be useful, as can boots and helmets with the right insulation.

Make sure that all of these articles don’t restrict the worker’s movement, though. Gloves and scarves in particular need to give the wearer enough mobility to do their job. Employers can supply heaters, too, provided they use them correctly.

Don’t: Work too long without breaks
Even with protection, workers shouldn’t spend too much time exposed to the elements. Managers should take precautions to keep workers warm and in good health, such as breaks in a well-heated space to recover.

OSHA also advises that employees have warm (non-alcoholic) beverages on hand and learn to recognize the symptoms of conditions like frostbite. Drinking water is another necessity, especially when employees are wearing a large amount of heavy clothing. Another way to reduce the effects of the cold is to plan ahead and schedule projects during times when the weather will be the warmest.

Do: Keep walkways safe
Move slowly when surfaces are icy, and wear boots with treads to reduce the chance of losing a grip and falling. Sanding or salting slippery patches also helps with traction and get make it easier for crews to make it through high-traffic areas.

Don’t: Let snow pile up too high
Clear walkways of snow and ice as well, especially if it’s still snowing during a construction period. Although workers may have to focus on the job to get things done quickly, it’s a mistake to ignore active snowfall, which can endanger operations on the ground or in heavy vehicles. Keep the windows on these vehicles clean to make sure that operators get a clear look around if necessary.

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Check out our main website at www.tasco-safety.com for all sorts of occupational safety products.

The Importance of Workplace Sobriety

The Importance of Workplace Sobriety

It is essential to maintain sobriety and avoid taking either drugs or alcohol within the workplace.

Whilst that sentence, in and of itself, sounds relatively obvious, maintaining concentration by avoiding the dangers of being under the influence of alcohol is absolutely essential for ensuring a safe work place. Alcohol and substance abuse is the number one health epidemic facing Americans, with statistics from the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence suggesting that alcohol is the most commonly used addictive substance in the country: An incredible 17.6 million people, or one in every 12 adults, suffer from alcohol abuse or dependence, and an additional 12 million individuals abuse alcohol through binge drinking or other risky drinking behaviour that could lead to addiction, an accident, or another form of self-harm. So how does this huge number of American drinkers affect safety within our workplaces? Well, of the 17.6 million alcoholics in the United States, a huge 75% of those individuals hold down a regular job, meaning that they are putting the health of themselves and their colleagues at risk because of their impaired status on a daily basis. It should come as no surprise that these statistics combine to ensure that in approximately 10% of the cases where employees are involved in a fatal accident at work, the deceased individual tested positive for either drug or alcohol use, or both.

How Workplace Alcoholism Affects Performance

In conjunction with the obvious safety issues, there are a myriad of ways in which workplace drug or alcohol use can negatively impact on the performance of your employees and ultimately on the productivity of your company. The use of illicit substances in the workplace can lead to: frequent tardiness or increased absenteeism, which can result in less work being achieved and in colleagues being expected to pick of the slack. Poor decision making within the work place, such as choosing to sleep on the job or even steal from the work place in order to fund their addiction, can also lead to the cost and trauma of disciplinary procedures and, if there is no choice but to let that individual go, to the cost of recruiting and training a new member of staff to fulfil that role. It is also important not to underestimate the effect that working with an alcoholic can have on the morale of the overall workforce, causing the level of satisfaction, particularly amongst close co workers, to diminish considerably.

Protecting Both the Alcoholic and Their Co-Workers

Much is made of ensuring that the individual impaired by alcohol is protected as much as possible and that they are supported in changing their habits (ie freeing themselves of their addiction) whilst simultaneously maintaining their role within the company, where that is feasibly possible. However it is just as important to ensure that their co-workers are protected from any potential harm as a result of working alongside an alcohol or drug-impaired individual. This is a huge problem regardless of what industry you are working within, with approximately 20% of workers and managers who were questioned across a wide range of industries and company sizes reporting that they felt a co-worker’s drinking (either on or off the job) was jeopardizing their own productivity and safety. This can be avoided by making use of workplace referral programmes within your company, so that those individuals abusing substances (either drugs or alcohol) in the workplace have immediate access to a referral to the resources and services that they need, improving their overall health, reducing their absenteeism, and ultimately improving their workplace productivity, making seeking support for your employees a more cost effective and economically sensible decision when compared to the alternative of pursuing a disciplinary procedure, letting that member of staff go, and recruiting and training their replacement.

Safety at the workplace, of every member within the workplace, is and should always be of the utmost importance to every employer within every industry. Workplace substance abuse is a very real threat to businesses and one that should be taken and managed very seriously.

Preventing Traumatic Head Injuries at Work

If you work in the construction or transportation industry, in agriculture or forestry or any business that requires the use of machinery and working from a height, preventing head injuries in your employees will be one of your top priorities.

Traumatic brain injuries (TBI’s) can occur when there is an impact to the head, a jolt – such as a whiplash injury – or by penetrative damage by an object such as falling masonry. The outcome for TBI victims varies. Some injuries are mild and the body can self-heal with the right care. A mild concussion causes confusion and nausea and vomiting. A more severe injury may cause symptoms like memory loss, changes in personality, mood swings or the development of long-term health disorders like epilepsy in previously healthy people. At the most severe end of the spectrum, TBI’s can result in unconsciousness, mental retardation or death.

Every year in the USA, there are 275,000 hospitalizations for TBI’s of all causes and of these, 52,000 people lose their lives.

Work Related Traumatic Brain Injury

Researchers for The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health in the Division of Safety Research in Morgantown, West Virginia, studied the trends of fatal occupational TBI’s in the U.S between 2003-2008 and determined that the fatality rate for workers from TBI was 0.8 per 100,000 workers each year. 15 times more men were affected than women, possibly due to the fact that men are more commonly occupied in industries where there is the most risk of a TBI. The construction industry, agriculture, forestry and fishing businesses accounted for nearly half of all TBI fatalities. The leading cause of death has now shifted from motor vehicle accidents to falls and one of the reasons for this may be the rise in employment of people over the age of 65.

Older workers are more susceptible to falling due to the effects of aging so special attention needs to be given to ensure the safety of older workers.

How to Protect Your Workers

Ensure that all your workers attend regular health and safety briefings and that they remember safety procedures set out by your business and any regulatory authorities.

For those in construction and other high risk industries, ensure that your workers wear protective headgear when working at height or when at risk of falling objects.

Make sure you check all protective helmets for signs of damage. A damaged helmet may not protect your worker in the event of a fall.
Make sure your workers wear protective headgear that fits them correctly. Poorly fitting helmets may not protect in the event of an accident, just like incorrectly fitted baby car seats won’t. The helmet has to be secure.

Cheap headgear can be inferior. Make sure you purchase quality headgear that has been subject to safety and durability testing so that you can have peace of mind that you are doing everything you can to ensure the safety of your workers. You can make sure your headgear complies with ANSI/ASSE Z89.1-2009 or The American National Standard for Industrial Head Protection. Complying with these standards will establish the requirements for penetration protection and impact protection as well as electrical insulation protection.

If your workers are at risk of flying debris, chemicals or inhalants, make sure they all wear high quality eye protection glasses or visors, as required by law in OSHA’s 29 CFR 1910 Subpart I, Personal Protective Equipment legislation.
If your worker wears glasses make sure any eye protection you buy for him or her has the prescription lenses included so that they don’t have to wear their regular glasses while on the job. Glasses can present a risk of penetrative injury in an accident but a worker who cannot see properly presents an even greater risk.

Frequently check in with your older workers to ensure that they can still do the tasks you employed them to do at the start of their contract, especially if they have been having problems with illness. Offer workplace medical benefits such as an annual physical examination.
Organize shifts in a way that may minimize the risk of falls for older workers. Allow more frequent breaks for the worker over 65.
Make sure you service and update your machinery and make sure it is the latest kind. Newer machinery has been safety tested to the latest standards and will have the latest safety features to help prevent accidents.

The Importance Of A Compassionate Sickness Policy

The Importance Of A Compassionate Sickness Policy

Employee sickness is a major burden upon the economy, costing businesses cumulatively billions of dollars each year. Worse, as many frustrated bosses and managers suspect, a lot of us have been known to sneak the occasional day off work by claiming sickness when we’re not actually ill – just tired, or bored with our jobs, or in need of time in which to do something fun. That kind of thing can cause those who have to shoulder the burden of work while the absentee lives it up to see red. In fairness, “pulling a sickie” as it’s known over the Pond is more common in the UK than here, where employment laws safeguard employee’s rights to take time off when ill without undue fear for their job security. Here in the US, we don’t even use the time off offered to us because we’re so scared about losing our jobs, or being seen as ‘lazy’ and ‘unproductive’. This is a good thing, right? Wrong. In fact, evidence is increasingly demonstrating that optimum productivity and company loyalty is only achieved if employees not only take the vacation they are offered, but work with a compassionate and non-judgemental sickness policy.

The Spread Of Illness

Let’s start with the obvious: contagious sicknesses. If your company does not have a decent healthcare and sickness policy, it’s likely that many employees live in a state of fear that they will lose standing within the workforce if they take a sick day. As such, they are likely to come in to work when they’re suffering from contagious illnesses. Had they taken a day or even a few days off in order to get over the illness, it’s likely that the problem would have been contained within that one employee. However, they’ve gathered their ailing strength and come in to grimly power through their work – where they swiftly go on to infect a vast swathe of their colleagues. Viruses like seasonal influenza spread incredibly swiftly, and with unbelievable ease. End result? Your productivity takes a huge hit as people take time off or struggle to work properly beneath the weight of their sickness. For this reason alone, it’s a very good idea to reassure employees that taking a day off when ill is a fine and sensible thing to do.

Stress

There are no laws in the USA which oblige you to offer sick leave. Indeed, our policies regarding time off for staff are extremely weighted towards the employer in comparison to most other Western nations. However, sensible and successful companies go out of their way to give staff benefits like paid vacation and sick leave. Why? Because they know that this kind of thing not only makes staff feel kindly (and thus loyally) towards the company for which they work, but because they know that vacations and sick leave reduce employee stress. If you don’t think that stress is a big deal, then it’s time to do a little research into the subject. It’s thought that workplace related stress costs American businesses in excess of $300 billion a year through lost productivity, employee meltdowns, no-notice resignations etc. While the line between ‘motivational’ and ‘stressful’ is different for every person, and some employees work well under a degree of pressure, others will suffer enormously from being put under strain. This strain is increased if employees feel that they are working in the kind of harsh, judgemental, and uncaring environment which will penalize people for being sick. So be nice to your employees. One of the best ways you can demonstrate your compassion and perhaps reduce their stress is to be understanding when it comes to sick leave.

Faking It

But what about those who fake sickness in order to get a day off? Well, if you know your workforce well enough, you should be able to spot reasonably easily when an employee is taking advantage of your kindness. If so, try talking it out with them. There may be a good reason behind their need to absent themselves – stress (as mentioned above), or bullying in the workplace for example. These you can try and sort without resorting to drastic measures. If they’re simply trying it on, then the decision as to what to do is in your hands. However, if this is not a persistent problem, it’s likely that the advantages of a happy, non-contagious workforce outweigh the disadvantages of the odd illegitimate absence.

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