Flu Outbreak Could Cost Employers Up To $9 Billion

Does it seem like your workplace is running a little shorter staffed these days? It likely is. The influenza outbreak that has left millions of people across the nation ill, is the most widespread outbreak since public health authorities started tracking this information more than a decade ago.

The Center for Disease Control is reporting infections caused by H1N1 strain with a larger number of infections of the H3N2 strain being predominate this time around. The H3N2 strain is best known for it’s resistance to vaccinations that are typically most effective against other flu strains. The H3N2 strain is also known to cause more severe symptoms than more common flu strains.

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Employers and Staffing Firms Share in Responsibilities to Protect Workers

While agreements between employers and their partnering staff firms often vary, most often the responsibility for Worker’s Compensation claims falls on the staffing firm for contract or temporary placements. However, if you partner with staffing firms to provide you with contract or temporary workers you share in the responsibility for their safety. Not sure what your responsibilities may be? Here’s what OSHA has to say!

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The Most Dangerous Jobs in America

Each job has its own set of inherent hazards however, some are far more dangerous than others. Safety programs, trainings, and strong supervision can play a major factor in the overall safety of a job and workplace environment. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported more than 4,400 deaths were caused by injuries in the workplace in the United States in 2013. Let’s take a look at the deadliest jobs and what their biggest hazards are.

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World Safety Day 2015

We’re excited to recognize World Safety Day 2015! While safety remains at the forefront of our minds each and every day, today is the perfect time to remind our clients and employees of exactly why our dedication and focus to safety is unwavering.

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OSHA's Revised HCS In Effect!

With the first compliance date effective December 1, 2013; the revised HCS is now in enforcement. What does this mean for employers? Employers are required to have their employees trained on the new label elements and the SDS format. This deadline is the first phase in the new compliance set forth when OSHA revised its Hazard Communication Standard to align with the United Nations’ Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals or GHS.

This revision includes two major changes; being the required use of new labeling elements and a standardized format for Safety Data Sheets replacing Material Safety Data Sheets. These changes were set forth to improve worker understanding of the hazards associated with the chemicals present in their workplace. OSHA has phased the new requirements in from December 2013 through June 2016.

The minimum required training topics to be completed by December 1, 2013 according to OSHA’s website include:

Training on label elements including information on:

  • Type of information the employee would expect to see on the new labels, including the
  1. Product identifier: how the hazardous chemical is identified. This can be (but is not limited to) the chemical name, code number or batch number. The manufacturer, importer or distributor can decide the appropriate product identifier. The same product identifier must be both on the label and in Section 1 of the SDS (Identification).
  2. Signal word: used to indicate the relative level of severity of hazard and alert the
    reader to a potential hazard on the label. There are only two signal words, “Danger” and “Warning.” Within a specific hazard class, “Danger” is used for the more severe
    hazards and “Warning” is used for the less severe hazards. There will only be one
    signal word on the label no matter how many hazards a chemical may have. If one
    of the hazards warrants a “Danger” signal word and another warrants the signal word
    “Warning,” then only “Danger” should appear on the label.
  3. Pictogram: OSHA’s required pictograms must be in the shape of a square set at a
    point and include a black hazard symbol on a white background with a red frame
    sufficiently wide enough to be clearly visible. A square red frame set at a point
    without a hazard symbol is not a pictogram and is not permitted on the label. OSHA
    has designated eight pictograms under this standard for application to a hazard
    category.  OSHA3491QuickCardPictogram
  4. Hazard statement(s): describe the nature of the hazard(s) of a chemical, including,
    where appropriate, the degree of hazard. For example: “Causes damage to kidneys
    through prolonged or repeated exposure when absorbed through the skin.” All of the applicable hazard statements must appear on the label. Hazard statements may
    be combined where appropriate to reduce redundancies and improve readability. The
    hazard statements are specific to the hazard classification categories, and chemical users should always see the same statement for the same hazards, no matter what the chemical is or who produces it.
  5. Precautionary statement(s): means a phrase that describes recommended measures that should be taken to minimize or prevent adverse effects resulting from exposure to a hazardous chemical or improper storage or handling.
  6. Name, address and phone number of the chemical manufacturer, distributor, or importer.
  • How an employee might use the labels in the workplace. For example:
  1. Explain how information on the label can be used to ensure proper storage of hazardous chemicals.
  2. Explain how the information on the label might be used to quickly locate information
    on first aid when needed by employees or emergency personnel.
  • General understanding of how the elements work together on a label. For example:
  1. Explain that where a chemical has multiple hazards, different pictograms are used to
    identify the various hazards. The employee should expect to see the appropriate
    pictogram for the corresponding hazard class.
  2. Explain that when there are similar precautionary statements, the one providing
    the most protective information will be included on the label.

Training on the format of the SDS must include information on:

  •  Standardized 16-section format, including the type of information found in the various sections.
  1. For example, the employee should be instructed that with the new format, Section 8 (Exposure Controls/Personal Protection) will always contain information about
    exposure limits, engineering controls and ways to protect yourself, including personal protective equipment.
  • How the information on the label is related to the SDS.
  1. For example, explain that the precautionary statements would be the same on the label and on the SDS.

For more information on the revisions visit OSHA’s website here.

Want to learn more about how you can gain access to Trillium’s national network of top level talent? Contact us today!  If you are a stand out in your profession and seeking contingent or long term career opportunities, visit our job seekers section for more information!

Trillium, a national leader in staffing and recruitment is a valued staffing partner to over 5,000 companies nationwide. Trillium is privately owned by Oskar René Poch.

 

 

 

The Costs of Delayed Reporting of Workers' Compensation Claims!

Does your organization make timely reporting of workers’ compensation claims a priority? Studies have demonstrated the costly effects of delayed reporting for organizations in the United States. The costs of delayed reporting will vary by employer based on the fact that each claim is different, each employee is different, and each injury may involve different circumstances. However, regardless of the nature of your business there is a direct correlation between the reporting time and the cost of the claim.

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The faster a workers’ compensation claim is received by the adjuster, the faster and more controlled the process is. The adjuster is able to conduct a thorough investigation while the facts of the claim are still readily available, before the employee and any witnesses may forget key details that are critical to the claim. Prompt reporting can also help to eliminate any delays in providing appropriate medical care and wage benefits to the injured employee.

Recent data released by Sedgwick Claims Management Services Inc. found:

  • Claims that close within 30 days of occurrence cost an average of $287 and about 90% of those claims will remain medical-only cases.
  • Claims that remain open 31-90 days jump to an average cost of $722.
  • Claims that remain open 181-365 days jump to an average cost of $6,875

A recent study completed by NCCI on lag time also found:

  • Week two after the date of the incident cost an average of 18% more than claims reported during the first week.
  • Weeks three and four following the date of the incident averaged a 30% increase in claims cost.
  • After four weeks the costs increased an average of 45% higher.

Making sure your staff is familiar with the importance of quickly reporting any incidents and injuries is key to controlling your costs. Any injury regardless of it’s initial significance should follow the same reporting process that should be clearly outlined in the employee handbook and regularly posted in break rooms and other common areas.

Computer Ergonomics And The Workplace

Have you ever considered the effects of your workstation on your health or your organization’s bottom line? If not, you should. According to the U.S. Department of Labor repetitive stress injuries have cost employers over $20 billion in workers’ compensation claims; factor in the pain, loss time, and loss of productivity and the numbers become astounding. While many work stations are built and assembled to a standard size, employee height, comfort, and position vary greatly. Here are some great tips on computer ergonomics that may decrease potential for injuries, increase physical energy, and increase productivity in the workplace!

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  • Keep the top of the computer screen at or just below eye level and approximately 20 inches away from you.
  • Make sure your chair is adjusted for you. Your back should remain supported, your feet should rest flat on the floor or foot rest, and your knees should be at approximately a 90 degree angle when seated.
  • Position your keyboard so that your wrists are straight and your elbows rest at a 90 degree angle. Consider a keyboard tray or wrist rest to provide additional support if needed.
  • To avoid strains on your neck and eyes, place a document holder at screen level.
  • Change positions frequently to release tension on your body. Consider standing and stretching every hour briefly.
  • Keep your most frequently used items within easy reach.

Some simple adjustments can quickly make your workplace more comfortable, safe, and productive. Speak with your employees about additional available equipment such as foot rests, wrist rests, and document holders to reduce strain and pain in the workplace.

Are you a stand out professional, technical professional, driver, or skilled worker seeking contingent, temporary, or long term career opportunities?  Visit our job board  for more information!  Want to learn more about how you can gain access to Trillium’s national network of professionals and skilled workers? Contact us today!

Trillium, a national leader in staffing and recruitment is a valued staffing partner to over 5,000 companies nationwide. Trillium is privately owned by Oskar René Poch.

 

Bottom Line Benefits to Safety Programs!

While building, enforcing, and maintaining a strong safety program can be time consuming and expensive, the repercussions of not doing so can be detrimental to your business. In addition to the safety of your staff and organization, here are some bottom line benefits to a strong safety program:

  • Reduced attendance issues
  • Decreased employee turnover rates
  • Higher employee productivity
  • Greater efficiency as a company
  • Increased quality of work
  • Decreased scrap and waste products
  • Increased employee morale
  • Positive brand image
  • Decreased health care costs
  • Decreased workers’ compensation costs

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The time, resources, and planning for a safety program will vary greatly based on your line of business, company size, and exposures. Consider partnering with a third party safety organization or your legal counsel for best practices.

Are you a stand out professional, technical professional, driver, or skilled worker seeking contingent, temporary, or long term career opportunities?  Visit our job board  for more information!  Want to learn more about how you can gain access to Trillium’s national network of professionals and skilled workers? Contact us today!

Trillium, a national leader in staffing and recruitment is a valued staffing partner to over 5,000 companies nationwide. Trillium is privately owned by Oskar René Poch.