11 Steps To Take This October During Fire Prevention Month

October is National Fire Safety Month. No matter what type of business you operate, now’s a good time to evaluate your workplace so you can keep your employees safe. Consider taking 11 steps that help you prevent fires this month and year-round.

Organize your Workplace

Poor housekeeping can mean an increase in clutter and fire fuel. Plus, messy hallways and blocked exits, sprinklers or firefighting equipment can hinder escape and rescue efforts. Walk through every part of your building and perform a thorough cleanup.

Maintain Equipment

Machinery, electronics and other equipment can overheat and cause a fire. Maintain all your equipment to prevent this hazard.

Prevent Electrical Hazards

Faulty wiring and other electrical hazards can spark a fire. Perform regular inspections of the entire electrical system and make any repairs immediately.

Store Chemicals Wisely

Flammable chemicals pose a safety risk. Read the Material Safety Data Sheets and labels on each container, then store and use the chemicals properly.

Allow Control Panel Access

You can turn off the electric and reduce this potential fire hazard at the control panel. Ensure the control panel is easily accessible and that key personnel know where it’s located and how to turn off the electric during an emergency.

Stock Fire Extinguishers

Based on your building’s size and occupancy, you must stock a certain number of fire extinguishers. Follow this requirement and inspect the fire extinguishers at least once a year to ensure they remain in proper working order. Also, train every staff member to use the fire extinguishers confidently.

Install Smoke Detectors and Sprinklers

Smoke detectors provide a warning, and a sprinkler system can save your building, equipment and inventory if a fire does start. Install both of these safety features, and inspect them regularly.

Designate Specific Smoking Areas

Require smoking employees and visitors to smoke only in certain areas that are far from chemicals, papers and other flammable materials. Provide ashtray receptacles and stock working fire extinguishers near the designated smoking areas, too.

Clearly Mark Exits

Post emergency exit diagrams where employees can see them. Also, mark every exit with a neon sign, and place reflective tape on the floor and doors.

Perform Regular Fire Drills

Fire drills prepare your employees for a successful evacuation. Conduct these drills regularly.

Update Contact Information

All of your employees should know who to contact during an emergency. The contact list will include the phone numbers for emergency personnel and key employees.

This October, you can celebrate National Fire Prevention Month. Take these 11 steps as you prepare your commercial property to remain safe.

What To Do When Co-Workers Act In An Unsafe Manner

Safety at work depends on all employees doing their part. Sometimes, though, co-workers decide to cut corners, get in a hurry, feel distracted, or otherwise neglect safety protocols. A 2010 study by the RAD group found that only 40 percent of employees intervened when they noticed safety concerns because they feared that their co-worker would be defensive or angry or that intervening would not make a difference. While you may not want to be a whistleblower, you owe it to yourself, your co-workers, customers and clients, and the company to maintain safety. Here are the steps you can take when you notice co-workers acting in an unsafe manner.

Identify and Solve the Inducing Factors

In general, safety violations occur for four reasons. Understanding why your co-workers violate safety standards can guide you in addressing the underlying issues.

1. Personal Perception – Co-workers may think they don’t need to follow safety precautions because their job is low-risk, the precautions are uncomfortable or they don’t have time. In this case, encourage your co-workers to maintain safety so they avoid injuries and model good behavior.

2. Mental Lapses – Forgetfulness, preoccupation or uncertainty may cause your co-workers to commit safety violations. A gentle reminder can correct the mistake.

3. Abilities – Your co-workers may act unsafely because they have improper tools, unrealistic expectations or other challenges. Offer insights into ways to overcome these safety risks.

4. Social Environment – Pressure to conform or fit in may prompt co-workers to neglect safety precautions. Encourage your co-workers to remain independent and do the right thing regardless of anyone else’s mindset.

Speak to the Offender in Private

When you see a co-worker breaking a safety procedure or otherwise acting unsafely, talk to that person in private. Approach your co-worker with kindness and understanding rather than accusations as you request that he or she maintains a safe work environment for the sake of everyone.

Notify Your Supervisor

If your co-worker refuses to listen to you and the unsafe behavior continues, talk with your supervisor. Share details such as the offender, dates, times, and incidents. The supervisor can then follow-up and schedule more frequent walkabouts, increase safety discussions or take other appropriate actions.

Practice Safety Procedures

Always model safety on the job site and do your part to maintain safe conditions. That means you must wear safety gear, pay attention to your surroundings and operate equipment properly.

You should also participate enthusiastically in safety meetings and encourage your co-workers to do the same. Take the presentation seriously as you promote a workplace culture that emphasizes safety.

Workplace safety protects everyone and reduces injuries and illnesses. Do your part and intervene if you notice safety violations.

False Fears and Legitimate Threats

The main thing to keep in mind when comparing real threats to false flags: The most boring interpretation of the truth is usually the one that’s closest to being correct.

Remember Y2K? Everyone was worried that turning our computer clocks over from 1999 to 2000 was going to crash the whole system and leave the world in chaos. Some companies even made a pretty penny by selling software that would make your system “Y2K compliant.” Then what happened when the clock actually turned over? Absolutely nothing at all.

All that wasted time and energy spent fretting over something as simple as a change of date, and the world just kept on turning.

We need to be able to distinguish between a real threat and an imaginary threat for the simple reason that managing those threats demands that we draw upon finite resources. The team that you have chasing after false alerts are going to be too busy to handle actual threats to your data. Skilled cyber-security professionals are in short supply, which means that even if you have it in the budget to double your current cyber-security staff, the candidates might just not be out there. You might need to make it work with the people you already have on board, and that means spending less time chasing after false alarms.

Here are some steps we can take towards wasting fewer resources in cyber-security:

  • Let the software do its job

Preventive antivirus software is a good start, but it’s also a good idea to cross-check with regular scans. This is common sense, but you’d be surprised at how many people don’t do this. A prevention-only based approach is going to lead to longer infection dwell time.

  • Follow your security team’s lead

You hire people so that you have less to do, and you’ve likely discovered that you tend to get the best results when you give your staff some breathing room and let them use their own judgment. Unless you’re a cyber-security professional yourself, there’s no reason to micromanage how your security team handles their responsibilities.

  • Don’t stress about far-fetched threats

You probably don’t have members of Anonymous working all day to crack your system. Don’t stress about it.

The truth is that cyber-security is something that a good security team and some professional-grade software can manage. It seems like every few years the business world goes into a panic about Y2K or hackers or some supervirus ravaging systems across the globe. The truth is that leaked passwords and garden-variety malware are your main concerns.

What Is Workers’ Compensation Vocational Rehabilitation?

When you receive Workers’ Compensation, vocational rehabilitation might be part of your benefits package. Learn more about what vocational rehab is and why it’s important as you maximize your Workers’ Compensation benefits.

What is Vocational Rehabilitation?

Because you suffered a serious injury or illness, you may need assistance returning to the workforce. Vocational rehab gives you the tools you need to return to independent, pre-injury employment status. You definitely do want to work, too, because it improves your self-esteem, reduces stress and allows you to provide financially for your family.

Are you Eligible for Vocational Rehab?

You can receive vocational rehab after your doctor clears you to return to light or regular duty.

Where will your Receive Vocational Rehab?

Your former employer may provide vocational rehab services that allow you to perform modified duties or move into a different position. If this move isn’t possible, a job counselor will perform vocational testing, help you update your resume, offer job training, prep you for interviews, and assist you in finding a new job.

What Happens During Vocational Rehab?

Your job counselor will evaluate your eligibility to return to work with your former employer. If you can’t return to the same job with modifications or work in a different department or position in your former company, your job counselor will attempt to leverage your transferable skills and find you a position with a different company. The next step includes training for a new job. You may be able to return to school and learn a new trade or develop other skills that help you land a job.

How Long Does Vocational Rehab Last?

Vocational rehab benefits usually last up to two years. You may need less time to find a job, but take all the time you need to find a job that fits your education, interests, talents, and skills.

What Salary will you Earn After Vocational Rehab?

Ideally, your salary will be close to what you made before your injury or illness unless you previously held a senior position and now choose an entry-level job in a new career path.

What if you don’t Agree with the Vocational Rehab Outcome?

You and your job counselor will work together to find you a job that uses your skills and that you want. If you can’t find a suitable job or feel pressured to take a job with inferior pay or benefits, you may file an appeal with your state’s Workers’ Compensation Commission.

Your Workers’ Compensation benefits include vocational rehabilitation. Use this benefit to find a new job and return to gainful employment. If you have additional questions about the details of your Workers’ Compensation benefits, talk to your human resources manager.

Tips To Raise Sexual Assault Awareness And Prevent Harassment At Work

Define Sexual Harassment 

Sexual harassment includes any unwanted sexual advances such as offering a work benefit in exchange for sexual favors, inappropriate touching, unwelcome or intimidating behavior, offensive jokes, and inappropriate decor. Federal and state laws prohibit any form of sexual harassment.

Know Your Role

As an employer, you have the responsibility to prevent sexual harassment and create a safe work environment for all employees. A harassment-free work environment improves morale and productivity, and it reduces liability.

Write a Clear Anti-Harassment Policy

Your employee handbook should include a comprehensive anti-harassment policy that outlines:

  • The definition of sexual harassment
  • Your zero-tolerance policy
  • Reporting procedures
  • Investigation process
  • Disciplinary action
  • Anti-retaliation details

Consult your attorney to ensure the policy meets or exceeds federal and state requirements and covers all your bases.

Conduct Frequent Training Sessions

Schedule annual or more frequent training sessions to ensure all your employees understand the definition of sexual harassment, your company’s official policy, how to report it, and ways to prevent it. These trainings should be mandatory for all your employees, including supervisors.

Ensure Leadership Complies with the Zero-Tolerance Policy

All supervisors and managers must comply with your zero-tolerance policy as they prevent sexual harassment. Leaders set the bar for everyone else’s behavior and must be trusted to handle cases appropriately.

Monitor Employees

You can monitor email and other electronic communications as well as behavior as you look for and stop inappropriate behavior. Encourage your employees to monitor and report inappropriate behavior, too.

Clarify the Reporting Procedure

Despite your efforts, sexual harassment may occur, and you will need to clarify the reporting procedure and empower victims and onlookers to report improper actions. While employees should tell the perpetrator to stop, they should also know who to report to, what information to share and how to report harassment perpetrated by their direct supervisor.

Define Consequences

Every employee should know the consequences of sexual harassment. They should also be confident that the consequences will be applied consistently to all employees.

Create a Safe Culture

While you need and want to prevent sexual harassment, the company’s culture should also support your stand. No crude or offensive jokes, inappropriate activities during after-work events or other improper actions should be tolerated, encouraged or allowed.

Your company must be safe for everyone. Improve sexual assault awareness and prevent sexual harassment as you follow the law and improve your company and culture.