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.

10 of the Most Common Workplace Accidents and Injuries

You probably already know that health and safety legislation is a favorite punching bag for a certain type of newspaper columnist, but what you might not be aware of is that there are hundreds of thousands of accidents – many of them serious – in workplaces every year. That’s why it’s so important to take the proper precautions at work.

Of course, even the best prepared among us can still fall victim to accidents at work – but to be forewarned is to be forearmed, as the saying goes. Here, in no particular order, are ten of the most common accidents and injuries in the workplace.

1. Fights at work: These aren’t quite as rare as we might like to think. Simmering workplace tensions can bubble under for months or even years before spilling over into physical confrontation, or alternatively one workmate can take another’s opinion on last weekend’s football the wrong way. Fights in the workplace can, unsurprisingly, result in nasty injuries. Effective procedures for dealing with employee grievances can help reduce the risk of them coming to blows, though.

2. Walking into objects: It’s probably safe to say we’ve all done this at some point. Maybe you’re chatting absent-mindedly or maybe you’re feeling a little under the weather, when you suddenly find yourself on the sharp end of a door, table, wall or cabinet. Needless to say, these injuries can sting a bit. Luckily, many such accidents can be avoided by reminding employees to be vigilant and putting unnecessary hazards out of the way where people won’t walk into them.

3. Slips, trips and falls: Whatever your particular work setting is – whether you work in a shop, a factory or an office – you’re likely to encounter slippery surfaces at some point, so it’s not a totally remote possibility that you might come a cropper on one. Another big risk for many is falling while working at height; falls from ladders are most common, but falls from scaffolding and other platforms can also be dangerous.

4. 2. Muscle strains: Strained muscles are another commonplace work-related injury, as anyone who regularly lifts heavy items at work will probably know already. Back and neck strains, in particular, are all too frequently sustained while working. These injuries can be avoided easily – some basic training on proper lifting techniques can make a big difference.

3. Exposure to loud noise: You might think that industrial deafness is a thing of the past and went out with all those old heavy industries, but that’s not the case – not least because many industrial workers continue to be exposed to loud noises while at work. Industrial deafness can also result in major compensation payouts further along the line, so it’s very much in employers’ interest to nip this particular problem in the bud. Safety measures such as ear protection can do much to prevent it.

5. Being hit by falling objects: Plenty of workers find themselves on the receiving end of falling objects – and what’s more, this isn’t just a problem in warehouse-type environments. Objects which fall from shelves or out of cupboards can cause some nasty injuries, particularly if the individual who ends up feeling the full force doesn’t see it coming. Providing adequate storage cages and reminding employees of how to store items safely can go a long way to reducing this risk.

6. Crashes and collisions: Accidents resulting in crash or impact injuries are also quite frequent at work. Whether they involve cars, lorries or even smaller vehicles such as forklift trucks, they can have seriously nasty consequences. It’s therefore up to employers to ensure that seatbelts and other safety precautions are both in place and in use where appropriate.

7. Repetitive strain injury: RSI is another problem that’s become increasingly commonplace at work over the years, though even now some employers don’t seem to take it entirely seriously. It’s not just a problem for those of us who regularly use keyboards in our work, either – in fact, it can result from any repetitive motion of the joints. The cumulative impact of RSI can be severe in some cases, so it makes sense to take precautions. Employers can help prevent RSI by encouraging and reminding workers to take appropriate breaks. Likewise, ergonomic equipment, like hand trucks can help to alleviate the strain.

8. Cuts and lacerations: All sorts of office implements can end up leaving their user nursing a painful cut. From power saws to paper trimmers, it’s easy to do yourself a mischief at work. The most common causes of these lacerations include poor training, inadequate safety procedures and failing to wear the proper protection. Bosses can help prevent such accidents by providing adequate safety equipment and putting the right procedures (including training) in place.

9. Inhaling toxic fumes: While most of us don’t work with hazardous chemicals, those of us who do may be at risk of skin or eye reactions as well as potentially more serious injuries when exposed to them without protection. Protective equipment such as safety goggles is indispensable in these situations, so employers must be sure to provide workers with the gear they need to avoid dangerous exposure.

10. Exposure to loud noise: You might think that industrial deafness is a thing of the past and went out with all those old heavy industries, but that’s not the case – not least because many industrial workers continue to be exposed to loud noises while at work. Industrial deafness can also result in major compensation payouts further along the line, so it’s very much in employers’ interest to nip this particular problem in the bud. Safety measures such as ear protection can do much to prevent it.

Although there’s no shortage of ways people can injure themselves at work, as we’ve already noted there are various things employers can do to prevent their employees from coming to any avoidable harm. Good training, clear signage and access to the necessary safety equipment can all be a big help. Regular risk assessments are also a very good idea. You can’t always legislate for sheer absent-mindedness, but you can at least avoid a lot of unnecessary mishaps.

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The Hidden Dangers in the Workplace

Sometimes, the dangers of a work environment are easy to assess. Dangerous factory work, mechanical jobs, and other rough and ready professions are noted for their inherent danger and risk. Where there is the greatest risk, there is also the greatest precautions. However, it’s not just the obviously dangerous workplaces that pose a threat to employees and employers. Seemingly safe environments, such as offices and retail spaces, always pose a risk. The only difference is all too often these environments are not treating with the same risk as others.

In this article, we take a look at some of the workplace threats that can cause trouble but which are often overlooked by less than stellar workplace safety reviewers.

How to Stay Safe

When it comes to keeping your employees safe, communication is key. A business owner could have the very best workplace practices, but there’ll be ineffective if they aren’t conveyed to the employees.

It’s always important not to just boringly walk through the dangers of the workplace with your employees; there’ll be more likely to remember it if it’s livened up through role play and/or other interactive ways.

Finally, one of the most important aspects of keeping safe is making sure you have a plan for what you do if something does go wrong. This, in many cases, is just as important as prevention. Make sure your employees know the procedure for handling workplace injuries and accidents. Similarly, you should also be prepared to handle things going wrong by ensuring your business is properly covered and prepared to deal with whatever happens. As with most things in life, its preparation and prevention that offer the best keys to success. You’re can’t always control what happens, but you can control your reaction.

Next, we move on those less than obvious – but very simple – dangers lurking in your workplace.

Hidden Threats

Clutter

Clutter is actually more of a hazard than you’d think. Apparently, it undermines our mental productivity and can greatly affect the mood of an office. A messy environment equals a messy mind, one in which dangers happen more by blindsiding and inability to focus. And then there’s also the physical danger; the more stuff lying around, the more chance there is that somebody will trip over and fall. The answer? A simple new policy: no mess!

Cabinets

Cabinets are the enemy of HR professionals. These simple objects have a disproportionately high effect on injuries in the workplace. Whether it’s a cabinet draw left open or a cabinet that hasn’t been securely fastened to the wall, the dangers are obvious once you’re aware of them. And the injuries can be very painful, as well as potentially very serious. So what do you do? Let everyone know the dangers of drawers being left open, and also ensure they’re attached to the wall.

Eyestrain

You might be quite amazed just how many people suffer from eyestrain. Roughly 6 out of 10 people will suffer eye problems, just from looking at their screen for long periods of time. Of course, this is part of the modern world; everything is done on computers. Still, that doesn’t allow you to wash your hands of the problem – or you might just end up paying for it later. There are things you can do to reduce the likelihood of it happening.

The first is making sure everyone takes regular breaks from their digital screens. The simple, easily remembered 20-20-20 rule can help here. Every twenty minutes, tell your employees to take twenty seconds to stare twenty feet ahead of them. Doing this might just stop pain from developing in their eyes. You should also remind them to blink while they’re working at the computers.

Air Quality

The quality of the air in an office is another one that is often overlooked. However, poor air can lead to problems such as poor breathing, increased illness, and food sanitation issues. The best solution for this is to make sure the office receives plenty of fresh ventilation, especially if harmful chemicals are used during cleaning.

You can’t always prevent accidents from happening, but you can take steps to ensure the risk if minimal. By taking the appropriate steps, you can protect both your employees and your business from avoidable instances that can cause real issues.

This article was submitted by Helen Sellers

3 Great Reasons to Consider Purchasing Your Industrial Products Online

The days when online shopping was only something people considered when they were in the market for CDs or books are long over with. Now people can turn to the Internet for easy access to absolutely everything from cars, to pets, to houses.

The Internet is a great resource to consider when it comes to purchasing tools, building supplies, and industrial equipment as well. Here we’ll take a closer look at some of the reasons why you might want to consider shopping online for industrial supplies.

1. Better Selection
Whether you’re looking to outfit an entire construction team with new equipment or just looking for a few great options just right for projects, you absolutely want access to the largest possible number of options. Your local supply warehouses and merchant centers are only going to have so many different items available. They’re going to concentrate mostly on stocking the most popular items in the most popular sizes and styles.
Online outlets, on the other hand, are in a position to offer more different types of merchandise in one place. Instead of having to buy your scaffolding from one vendor and your caulking supplies from another, you can get them all at one time and from the same merchant. It’s easier to locate hard-to-find items this way.

2. Value-Savvy Prices
It’s not unusual for merchandise like safety products to be available at lower prices online. Online outlets don’t generally have to worry about covering the same overhead costs that brick and mortar merchants do. They don’t have to pay an entire staff a full-time salary to wait on customers or cover exorbitant property rental fees.
A large portion of those savings are passed along to the customer. When prices are lower, you’re able to buy more product for your money. You’re also able to consider upgrading to better brand names, higher quality alternatives, and so forth.

3. Complete Shopping Freedom
With the average schedule becoming busier and busier, it’s harder for contractors to find the time to set entire days aside to visit multiple brick and mortar locations or call around looking for a specific item. Plus, who wants to wait in line or spend all afternoon searching a hardware store for an employee to help you decide which ladder is the best fit for a project?

Online shopping gives you a highly convenient alternative. You can shop whenever you want, even if the best time for you is three o’clock in the morning. You can shop at your leisure without the need to fight crowds or find your way around a massive store. The best online industrial products suppliers have ready resources available to help you make your decision, as well as ways to get in touch with experts if you need to ask questions.
All things considered, it’s a wonderful time to be alive, thanks to the Internet. Let your fingers do the walking and lead you to your new favorite industrial supply company today!

Hazardous Waste Disposal: It Matters

Technological advancements, modernization, and urbanized progress. They have undoubtedly made our lives so much easier with all the modern conveniences that we are able to enjoy today. However, in as much as they have made our lives better, there are also disadvantages and negative effects that have come out of it.

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Negative effects of modernization
With the increase of global population follows an increase in the demand for food and daily essentials, and these have in turn increased the amount of waste produced. Households and big industrial companies churn out both hazardous and non-hazardous waste on a daily basis, which, when not regulated, can be potentially harmful or dangerous to our health and the environment.

Why proper disposal matters
The proper disposal of hazardous materials is not just the responsibility of industries and companies that manufacture items that produce a large amount of waste. Professional offices, as well as households, all have to pay attention to how they throw away seemingly harmless waste that could contain hazardous substances. The improper disposal of such waste can harm not only the health of employees and local residents, it can also affect plant and animal life through the contamination of soil and water supplies, and cause air pollution. It can also lead to fines or lawsuits, and the possibility of having property value decrease.

Responsibility on hazardous waste disposal
Household waste should be dealt with by each household through segregation. Hazardous waste should never be lumped together with non-hazardous rubbish, nor should they be poured down into sinks or toilets, as they can corrode pipes and cause problems at water treatment plants. If household hazardous wastes are too much to handle, it’s better to contact the local government to arrange for scheduled waste collection.

On the other hand, big companies that produce hazardous waste on a daily basis should follow proper disposal as standardized by the OSHA. This is not only intended to protect the company from incurring penalties and fines, it also protects worker’s health and safety, as well as the environment. If you work for a company that constantly deals with hazardous waste – whether through clean up, treatment and storage, or emergency response – it is a must to get HAZWOPER training online from a reputable organization like The Asbestos Institute.

While it may not be possible to completely stop using household materials that contain hazardous materials, its impact on the environment and on human and animal health can be minimized. Avoid dumping hazardous waste just about anywhere, and dispose of it responsibly. When dealing with uncontrolled hazardous waste, contact the experts for proper disposal.

Keep Kids Safe Around Worksites

It may seem obvious but here are some tips to keep children safe on worksites.

1. Don’t play near construction site garbage or refuse.
2. Don’t play in water sored near construction sites.
3. Don’t fly kites in construction areas.
4. Don’t play around loud construction areas
5. Don’t climb fences around or near construction.
6. Don’t play around construction sites with air debris.
7. Don’t play around any construction area where demolition is involved.
8. If you see a child breaking any of these rules, let an adult know immediately.

Let’s keep our kids safe. Construction sites are a curiosity to our young people and these areas are very dangerous.

HAZWOPER Training Benefits for Workers

The HAZWOPER stands for Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response, and is in essence set of standards that was designed and implemented by the OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) to protect workers and companies that deal with hazardous waste operations. Getting a HAZWOPER training is imperative for workers who work in companies whose operations puts them in contact with or risk for exposure to hazardous waste and environments.

Let’s look at some benefits that can be had when HAZWOPER training is completed.

Situation Preparedness
When your job entails you to deal with hazardous waste, chances are, you’d be facing a big chemical spill sometime in the future. Such an occurrence requires the knowledge to know how to contain it, and the skill to execute the plan of action as quickly and safely as possible. This is where the HAZWOPER training comes in. Being trained means having the background and skill necessary to take care of such problems without being caught off guard and not knowing what to do.

Safety
The HAZWOPER training is not only necessary for people to know how to contain toxic waste, it’s also necessary to ensure the safety of all the workers involved. When everyone in the company knows how to identify risks and keep themselves safe when faced with a hazardous waste problem, then it also protects the safety of those around them. This produces a more comfortable environment that would make workers feel confident about going to work.

Employment and Salary Boost
Having completed the HAZWOPER certification training makes a person more employable. Not only that, PayScale has reported that those who have been HAZWOPER-trained typically earned more than those who haven’t.

Penalty Avoidance
For companies, having their workers trained would mean compliance with OSHA standards, thereby avoiding any penalties that they may incur should they allow workers without HAZWOPER training do jobs that require them to be trained.

It doesn’t matter how long one has been working in a certain area; when safety is concerned, there is and should always be a need for proper instruction and updated training.

Cleaning is Essential Part of Work Safety

Even the safest-looking workplaces have their own dangerous moments. If you think that nothing wrong could possibly come to you in the safety of your own calm office, think again. There are probably bookshelves near you, with books high above you that could fall off and concuss you. How are the power outlets handled? Are there any bare wires? If you are working in a paper-filled office, even the smallest sparks can lead to big fires if not handled immediately. And, believe it or not, all these dangers are doubled when you opt to do some cleaning around the office. Here are some tips on how to protect yourself and the office.

• If you are about to do some office cleaning, use gloves. Hand protection is important even in the smallest of instances. Rubber gloves can save you a nasty shock and spill if you accidentally come in contact with a bare wire. They will also protect your hands from all the toxins in the cleaning product you are using. Avoid gross rashes and itchy spots with ease, simply put on a pair of gloves while rubbing your desk with a cleaner product and all will be fine.

Cleaning is Essential Part of Work Safety

• If might seem laughable, but if you are working in a place with lots of shelves with files or books, and you are trying to dust them, or even just looking for a particular item, you should use some headgear. Imagine you inadvertently shake a bookcase as you are browsing through some volumes, and there are heavy and unchecked books or folders above you. One wrong step (or shake) will collapse a few of those volumes over your head and could easily lead to a bad concussion.

• Be wary of slippery spots on your floor or carpet. If you are one to have lunches in the office, surely you spilled something once or twice, but did not bother to thoroughly clean it. Some stains become slippery over time and you should protect yourself – and the ones coming into your office from them. Get some carpet cleaners to remove it, or even hire a cleaning agency to do regular office cleaning and keep your workplace safe. Yes, cleanliness sometimes is the key to safety. A professional cleaner will do a fine job of recognizing lasting and problematic stains and will remove them to bring the shine to your office.

• If you are working with a lot of office hardware, you should know that it is inevitable that something may eventually breakdown. Unless you are a mechanic or specialize in office appliance repairs, call an actual repairman to see to the problem. Do not be a hero and try to help out a colleague with a quick fix to a problem that you have no clue about. Leave the broken machinery as they are and call somebody who actually can fix them.

Cleaning is Essential Part of Work Safety2

It requires very little to work safely in your office. A small bit of effort put into a clean and organized office will do wonders for the state of your workplace. If you cannot do it yourself, get a cleaning company. The key thing here is to work safe, so expenses should not be an obstacle.
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Texting While Driving is Still One of Today’s Biggest Problems

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We should all know by now that not only is texting and driving a bad idea but is probably also against the law where you live. A federal ban on texting and driving was enacted in 2010 and 46 states have laws in place about using mobile devices while behind the wheel of a vehicle. A new law outlawing the practice in Mississippi will go into effect on July 1, 2015. The dangers of texting while driving should be common knowledge by now but apparently it bears repeating. Despite the laws in place and the number of warnings, texting while driving remains one of the biggest dangers on the road today.

It seems that every week there are reports of a new tragedy that could have been easily avoided happening on the road. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that nine people are killed each day as a result of distracted drivers and over 1,000 people are seriously injured. Some of the main culprits that contribute to distracted driving are using a mobile phone, texting or eating. The CDC outlines three major types of driving distractions and they include: visual distractions that take your eyes off the road, manual distractions that take your hands off the wheel, and cognitive distractions that take your mind off of driving.

Did you know that someone using their phone while driving is 23 times more likely to have an accident than someone that isn’t? In fact, a study cited by the Huffington Post found that there’s a 1 in 4 probability that any given car crash involved a cell phone in some way. There were 3,328 people killed in crashes involving a distracted driver in 2012 and another 421,000 people were injured. That’s almost half a million people injured as a result of something that might not have happened if people stopped texting while driving.

In the year 2000, Verizon Wireless became the first wireless carrier to support state legislation for the banning of all hand-held cellphone use while driving. That’s 15 years of supporting safe driving initiatives like the Responsible Driver Action Plan while continuing to be one of the industry’s leaders when it comes to safety outreach. The company developed its Responsible Driver Action Plan as part of its efforts which included the incorporation of responsible driving messages in customer communications and company advertising.

There are even apps now specifically to help drivers resist the temptation of their phones on the road. One of them is SafelyGo, which will automatically receive and respond to your calls while you’re on the road. This way you can keep your eyes on the highway while your phone makes sure you stay connected during your trip. With these kinds of advances in technology, there’s no excuse to be using your mobile device in the car. It’s not just about your own safety; it’s about everyone around you.

Lab Safety Guidelines

There is a great need to examine and reevaluate the safety procedures in a lab, especially if you happen to be more than just a simple lab assistant. Lab managers will need to consider this task carefully if they want safety to be a primary concern, especially when handling hazardous materials. There are plenty of cleaning companies that have certification as professional cleaners, going far beyond the usual house cleaning, office cleaning, carpet cleaning and the like and well into the area of laboratory cleanup, biohazard cleanup and more. Proper routines and rules must be observed if you want to succeed at keep the lab safe. The following tips will give you a few ideas you can use in your daily work:

Lab Safety Guidelines

• No drinks and food in the lab
This is pretty commonplace in most areas, but it also happens to be one of the things people find hardest to deal with. Everyone happens to enjoy a refreshing drink of cold water or coffee at work, but removing food and drinks from the lab will have multiple great benefits. First of all it will reduce the available distractions, so fewer things will go wrong. When performing really important and sensitive tasks, every distraction is a serious problem, especially when handling hazardous materials and substances. The risk of contamination in such areas jumps exponentially since such items can bring bacteria from the outside or may become carriers of contaminants from within the lab environment itself.

• Partnering up
A lot of times experiments can only be done right by sharing duties with a partner. Working in teams has a great advantage over working alone, obviously – you will have another set of eyes looking out for you when something goes wrong. Human error is not something that can be avoided – people get tired, mistakes are made and so forth, but in certain conditions mistakes cost lives, so working as part of a team requires people looking out for each other.

• Warning sign usage
Anything that you know for sure is dangerous should be labeled as such, whether with the appropriate sign or by using the NFPA 704 “fire diamond” to denote the type of danger faced by handling the materials or substance in question. You should also consider the OSHA guidelines or similar ones in your country. Trip hazards, high decibel noises, circuit breakers and more will need to be clearly marked so lab members will be fully aware of what they’re dealing with.

• Proper Safety Equipment
Maintaining your budget is very important for any laboratory out there, but you will also need to setup a good budget for safety and a safety plan. When you need to draft a new budget or you plan on revisiting your current one, you would do well to consider extra funds for safety equipment, such as eye wash stations, goggles, safety glasses, ear plugs, lab coats, protective gloves, fire safety and a whole lot more. You should also consider setting up a budget for proper safety training for all experienced and new lab members as well to drill in procedures in case of emergencies and accidents.
Read more helpful tips on: this cleaning website

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