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

By Workplace Safety

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.

Steps To Take When Your Electricity Goes Out

By Personal Perspective

Power outages can occur during storms or because of accidents or blackouts. The next time you experience a power disruption, take these steps to protect your home, valuables and family.

Call the power company. Report the outage and any downed lines, and sign up to receive alerts when the power returns.

Check the circuit breakers. Be sure they’re turned to the “on” position so the power will automatically turn on when it’s restored.

Never touch downed lines. They’re deadly.

Use battery-operated flashlights or lanterns. Candles or oil lamps can be fire hazards, so rely on battery-operated light sources.

Stay warm during winter power outages. Bundle in layers, gather your family and pets in one room and shut the doors. You can also use your wood stove as a heat source if it’s clean and functions properly.

Stay cool during summer outages.
 Dress in lightweight clothing and hang out in the basement. You’ll also want to stay hydrated. If the power outage lasts for an extended time, drive to a mall, movie theater or other cool location.

Preserve foodIn general, food will stay safe in the refrigerator for up to four hours and in the freezer for up to 48 hours, but try to avoid opening these appliances. Wrapping these appliances with blankets might provide further insulation and food protection during short outages.

Fill your water jugs if possible. Grab your spare containers and fill them with water to sustain you during the outage.

Turn on the water. Let your spigots drip to prevent freezing water pipes during winter outages.

Unplug major appliances. Your appliances could be damaged by the surge that sometimes occurs when the power comes back on, so unplug all your appliances and electronics except your fridge or freezer. Consider keeping a single lamp or other electric device plugged in so you know when the power is restored.

Use your generator with caution. Only turn on your generator if it’s installed outdoors, properly connected to your home and fueled properly.

Don’t grill indoors. The carbon monoxide could kill you.

Check on your neighbors. Verify that your neighbors are safe, especially if they’re elderly or disabled, and share any water or food with them.

Stock an emergency supply. After the power returns, prepare for the next outage. Stock non-perishable food, water, flashlights, batteries, a first aid kit, and pet and baby supplies, if necessary.

Review your homeowners insurance coverage. Your policy may cover food losses, power surge damages, burst pipes, and even hotel expenses that you incur because of a power outage. Contact your insurance agent for more details.

A power outage can occur at any time, so be prepared. These steps help you protect your home and your family.

Ways To Make Money With Your Personal Vehicle

By Personal Perspective

To make extra money, look no further than your vehicle. Your car or truck can become a source of income even if you’re not behind the wheel.

Wrap your Vehicle with Ads

Several companies pay you to wrap your vehicle with their advertisements. You receive payment based on the size of your vehicle and the miles you drive each day.

Become a Personal Driver

In exchange for a fee, give rides to seniors, new parents, college students, and other people who don’t have a vehicle. You can even run your own errands while driving others.

Drive for a Rideshare Service

Uber and Lyft are two rideshare services you can join. You decide where and when to drive, and your passengers pay you for each ride.

Join a Courier Service

Pick up and deliver dry cleaning, coffee, documents, and other items for a fee when you work as a courier. As a bonus, you can choose to accept jobs along your normal commute route and save time, fuel and wear on your vehicle.

Rent your Vehicle to a Peer

While you’re on vacation, at work or home for the weekends, rent your primary or spare car to a peer. Sign up at Turo or make rental arrangements with a friend, neighbor or co-worker.

Join a Carpool

Get paid to drive others to work every day. Alternatively, you can ride daily as a passenger and reduce your vehicle maintenance costs and fuel costs.

Drive Kids to School  

Whether you’re a parent, teacher or friend, offer to drive kids to or from school. Get paid per child per trip.

Deliver Groceries or Pizza

Taxi rides can cost a small fortune, so start a delivery business. Receive payment as you deliver groceries or pizza around town.

Transport Pets

Pet owners who need transportation to the vet or groomer will gladly pay you to provide reliable transportation. You may wish to purchase a sturdy crate to keep your furry passengers safe, and stock treats.

Pick up Large Objects

Put your SUV or truck to good use as a delivery vehicle. Advertise your service around town or sign up for TaskRabbit, and people will hire you to pick up and deliver large objects like furniture, bicycles and firewood.

Become a Tour Guide

Connect with tourists and other out-of-town visitors in your local area. Visit museums, attractions and historic sites during the travel season and share your expertise while making extra money.

These ideas help you earn extra cash with your personal vehicle. Before you start your endeavor, talk to your insurance agent and ensure you have adequate coverage for your new side business. Then hit the road!

Importance of LTC’s Equipment and Home Modification Benefit

By Life and Health

Long-term care (LTC) insurance ensures people with disabilities, chronic illnesses or other conditions receive the daily help they need. The coverage includes a variety of benefits, including equipment and home modifications. Understand the value of these specific benefits as you determine if LTC insurance is right for you or someone you love.

What is LTC Insurance

While beneficial, your health insurance coverage from an employer or private source usually does not cover daily, extended care. Likewise, Medicare covers only a short nursing home stay or limited in-home care, and local agencies sometimes provide only a small amount of financial assistance to low-income adults.

LTC insurance can cover the expenses of the nursing and practical help you need. Equally important, it can pay for essential home modifications and the equipment you need to remain safe, comfortable and independent in your own home.

Items the LTC Equipment and Home Modification Benefit Covers   

You can use your equipment and home modification benefit to cover a variety of expenses.

  • Wheelchair ramp
  • Grab bars
  • Stair or bed rails
  • Walk-in shower
  • Raised toilet
  • Power recliner or chair
  • Accessible light switches and electric outlets
  • Wider doorways
  • Stair lift
  • Low-pile carpeting or other flooring

Each of these equipment items and home modifications improves your safety and comfort in your home. They also equip you to remain as independent as possible.

Why you need the Equipment and Home Modification Benefit   

The majority of disabled, ill or aging Americans prefer to age at home. However, you may need special equipment, such as a hospital bed, power recliner or shower seat to remain independent. Additionally, you may require home modifications like lever handles, accessible power outlets or low-pile carpeting that improve your home’s functionality and safety.

The costs of renting or purchasing the equipment you need can quickly add up, and home modifications could total tens of thousands of dollars. Conserve your personal funds for other needs like daily living expenses and medical treatment when you use your LTC insurance policy to cover a portion or all of the equipment and home modification costs.

Additionally, realize that your insurance policy funds will reduce caregiver stress. Your loved ones will gain peace of mind and experience less physical and financial challenges since your insurance benefit will pay for the equipment and home modifications you need to remain safe in your home.

How to Purchase LTC Insurance

The future is uncertain, but you can meet your daily living needs with LTC insurance. Discuss your needs, including the equipment and home modification benefit, with your insurance agent. Be sure to choose a policy that covers your expected financial needs, has an affordable premium and meets your long-term care needs.

Effective Ways To Relieve Stress When You Have A Child With Autism

By Life and Health

One in 64 children is diagnosed with autism. Coping with the diagnosis and everyday challenges can be stressful for parents. In honor of Stress Awareness Month and Autism Awareness Month, consider effective ways to reduce stress in April and throughout the year.

Eat a Balanced Diet

Your child may only eat a few foods, but you should eat a balanced diet. Whole, real foods fuel your body, balance your hormones and reduce the effects of stress. If your health insurance covers dietitian services, schedule a helpful consultation.


After running around all day, you may not feel like exercising, but regular movement releases endorphins that clear your brain, calm your body and lower your stress. Try running on the treadmill, dancing to music or doing other doctor-approved exercises as you relax.

Practice Good Sleep Hygiene

A good night’s sleep equips you to handle each day’s challenges. To achieve good sleep hygiene:

  • Avoid caffeine in the afternoon.
  • Practice relaxation techniques before bed.
  • Go to bed and wake up at the same time.

If you’re worried about your child waking up or eloping as you sleep, install a baby monitor or bedroom door alarm.

Go to your Happy Place

When you start to feel overwhelmed, close your eyes, think about your favorite place in the world, and feel the sand between your toes or the sun on your face. This guided imagery technique will instantly lower your blood pressure and your stress.


A few deep breaths help you slow down, take time to think and calm your body. Breathe in through your nose, hold it and exhale from your mouth whenever necessary.

Get Organized

Juggling doctor appointments and all your parenting and personal duties requires organization. Find an app, calendar or other tool that helps you track and stick to your daily schedule. Getting organized keeps both you and your child calm.

Engage in Self-Care

Every day, drink a cup of hot tea, read a magazine or call a friend. See your doctor for regular physicals, too. Even a five-minute break can remind you of your value and help you feel centered.

Ask for Help

You may not trust many people to care for your child, but try to find one or two trusted family members, friends or professional respite workers who can give you a break. You could also hire someone to clean the house, run errands and ease your burden.

Connect with Other Parents

Find an in-person or online support group and chat with other autism parents. Then share helpful resources, tools and encouragement as you manage everyday life.

Manage stress as you parent your child with autism in these ways. They help you cope successfully with everyday life.

Ways To Improve Focus In The Office When Spring Fever Strikes

By Your Employee Matters

A rise in temperatures this month can signal spring fever in your office. Your human resources department staff can improve focus and keep everyone on task in several ways.

1. Provide New Challenges

Your employees may feel distracted in part because they’re bored, so provide challenges. Ask them to work in a different department for a day, take on a special project or work with a high school intern. The challenge can provide a welcome distraction and jumpstart focus and concentration.

2. Offer a Class

Give employees the opportunity to learn a new skill. You can poll your staff for suggestions or offer foreign language, management or coding classes. While learning something new, your employees will focus on something other than the nice weather.

3. Promote Exercise

Physical activity improves focus, an excellent reason to host a fitness class over lunch, offer discounts to the local gym or encourage employees to bike or walk to work. As your staff members add more exercise into their daily routines, they also focus better on their work-related tasks.

4. Encourage Breaks

Remind employees that breaks can improve their mental health, productivity and focus. Set a timer for hourly stretch breaks, and share the value of regular lunch breaks away from the desk.

5. Change the Scenery

Hang colorful artwork around the office or commission a floral mural in the break room. You can also allow employees to meet at a local coffee shop, play disc golf during lunch or hold walking meetings outdoors. Employees will appreciate the opportunity to enjoy the warm weather, and the change of scenery boosts creativity, productivity and motivation.

6. Stock Healthy Snacks and Beverages

Fill your break room with healthy food and beverage options, including fruit, veggies, whole grains and water. These snack options boost mood and creativity and improve your employees’ overall health.

7. Play a Game

Challenge employees to participate in a March Madness basketball bracket, host a chili cook-off or reward teams who reach productivity goals. Games keep employees entertained and as a bonus, you’ll see a stronger spirit of cooperation.

8. Bring the Outdoors Inside

Plants can purify the air and improve mood. Arrange plants around the office as you bring a bit of the outdoors inside your office.

9. Adjust Work Hours

If your employees can arrive early and leave work early, they get to enjoy the warm, sunny afternoon weather. Adjust work hours, if possible, and allow employees to indulge their spring fever while completing their work.

Spring fever might try to curtail productivity in your office, but you can improve focus with these steps. Everyone will be happier and work smarter thanks to your efforts.

How To Use Your Mental Health Insurance Benefits

By Your Employee Matters

You’re familiar with the physical health benefits your insurance provides, but you may not be familiar with your mental health benefits. These benefits address numerous mental and behavioral health challenges you may face, and you can use them in several ways.

Therapy and Counseling

See a licensed therapist or counselor and discuss any work, family or personal stressors, past or present trauma, and other challenges you face. You can see a therapist for a specific issue for a limited number of sessions or maintain an ongoing relationship as part of your long-term self-care.

Group Support

Join a support group for a specific health or wellness condition. Group sessions can address grief, substance use, anger management, and a variety of other concerns.


If you need prescription medication for anxiety, depression or another condition, see your physician or psychiatrist. Your insurance should include prescription medication coverage.


Receive an alcohol misuse or depression screening as you improve your overall health. The screening results can help you decide if you need additional treatment.

Alcohol Misuse or Substance Use

Get help for an alcohol misuse or substance use concern. With insurance, you can attend detox or rehab and individual or group therapy sessions and receive other beneficial support.

Inpatient Services

Sometimes, you need the intensive treatment an inpatient behavioral stay can provide. Use your insurance benefits to pay for your stay in an approved inpatient program.

Excluded Mental Health Diagnoses

Some health plans exclude certain physical, mental or behavioral health diagnoses. Review your policy so you understand any exclusions and the out-of-pocket expenses you’ll owe if you decide to pursue treatment.

Understand Parity Protection

You may hesitate to use your mental health benefits because you worry that it will cost more than regular health treatment. Typically, insurance policies provide parity protection for mental health benefits. It ensures you don’t pay more for mental health treatment than you pay for regular health treatment, so use the benefit if you need it.

Check your Policy for Coverage Details

Almost all insurance plans provide mental, behavioral and substance use health benefits. However, your specific coverage and benefit limits depend on your policy and even state laws. Check your policy carefully so you know details like:

  • Covered services
  • In-network providers
  • Counseling session annual or lifetime limits
  • Co-pays for services
  • Deductible
  • Pre-authorization requirements
  • How claims are paid

If you have questions about your coverage, read your policy. You can also talk to your human resources professional or contact the insurance company to clarify anything you don’t understand.

The mental health benefits included in your health insurance coverage can help you manage mental and behavioral challenges. Understand how to use your coverage as you get and stay healthy.

Spring Maintenance Tips For Your Construction Vehicle

By Construction Insurance Bulletin

Your construction business requires a reliable vehicle. This spring, perform several maintenance procedures on your truck. Routine maintenance equips your truck to operate properly all season and prolongs the life of your vehicle.

Inflate Tires

Your vehicle’s tires, including the spare, must be properly inflated and have adequate tread. Check for wear, buckles or bulges, too, since a compromised tire could easily pop as you drive over rough ground on the way to job sites.

Fill Fluids

Change the oil to ensure your vehicle operates at peak performance this year. Replace or refill the transmission, brake, power steering, and windshield washer fluids also, and purchase extra fluids in case you need to top them off during the year.

Tune the Engine

Inspect the engine, including the battery, powertrain control, and ignition. They must be in good working order so that your vehicle operates efficiently.

Replace Belts and Hoses

Your vehicle’s belts and hoses affect various engine parts that are essential for operation. Inspect the belts, hoses and clamps for wear, and replace them if necessary.

Boost the Brakes

Inspect the brake system and replace the linings, rotors or drums if they’re damaged or worn. Remember to also change the brake fluid.

Inspect the Suspension

Your vehicle’s shocks and struts improve your ride, so inspect the suspension. Replace noticeably worn parts.

Improve the Lights

Improve visibility when you buff scratches from the headlights and taillights. Replace any broken lights or fuses also.

Charge the Air Conditioner

Charge the A/C so your vehicle remains cool as you drive to and from job sites. If you notice leaks or damage, schedule a repair.

Replace Wiper Blades

Replace worn, cracked or broken wiper blades. They improve your visibility during all weather conditions.

Detail the Interior and Exterior

Wash the entire exterior of your vehicle, including the undercarriage, to remove winter ice and grime. You can also wax your truck to protect its finish, and touch up any scratches that could turn into rust or affect your brand image. Clean trash out of the interior also and wipe the surfaces as you create a tidy vehicle.

Stock Supplies

Check your tool box and first aid kit, and replace any broken or missing items. Additionally, stock invoices, mileage reports and business cards so you’re prepared to manage and share your business.

Purchase Adequate Insurance

Double check that your commercial auto insurance policy includes adequate coverage. It should include liability, medical, uninsured and underinsured, comprehensive, and collision coverage with adequate limits to protect your assets.

In addition to these spring maintenance tips, schedule regular maintenance throughout the summer season. Proper care protects your truck and your construction business all summer.

What To Do When A Client Doesn’t Pay An Invoice

By Construction Insurance Bulletin

Unpaid invoices wreak havoc with your construction business. When a client doesn’t pay, you can take these steps.

Remain in Contact

If you don’t receive payment by the due date on the invoice, contact your client and ask if the work was done satisfactorily and when payment will be made. Sometimes, clients face emergencies or other challenges that prevent them from paying the full amount owed. In this case, arrange a payment plan or other alternative. However, if the client does not respond, contact them every day by phone, email or text until you receive payment.

Document your Case

Keep excellent records in case you need to contact collections or take the client to court. Your documentation should include your signed contract, expense receipts, invoices, and verbal and written communications with the client.

Hire a Collections Agency

Instead of calling the client every day, hire a collections agency to do this task for you. They typically charge a 30 percent fee to recover unpaid funds.

Send a Letter from your Lawyer

A simple letter from your lawyer with a threat to send the invoice to collections or take the client to court may prompt immediate payment.

Go to Court

You may be able to file a claim in small-claims court if your client owes between $2,000 and $7,500 and your state’s laws support this option. For higher amounts, consider further legal action. Remember, though, to weigh the legal fees against your unpaid invoice to ensure you don’t lose money going to court.

Remain Civil

Never complain about the client to others or on social media. Maintain a professional attitude as you protect your reputation and business.

Pursue Alternative Recovery Avenues

Even if the client doesn’t pay, you may be able to file an insurance claim to recover the unpaid invoice. Alternatively, ask your accountant if you can write off the bad debt on your next tax return.

Change Future Billing Practices

Use this hard lesson to change your future billing practices.

  1. Write an accurate proposal for each job. It outlines the exact work you will do, project timeline and payment expectations.
  2. Give the client time to examine the proposal and ask questions.
  3. Consider a staggered payment plan where you receive part of the payment upfront with the remainder due in installments.
  4. Require payment of each installment before you start the next part of the project.
  5. Sign a contract that clearly states the specific work you will do and payment due dates, late fees and the steps you will take to recover payment.

An unpaid invoice affects your construction business, so take these steps to get the payment you’re due.

Time to Review Your First Aid Kits and Fire Extinguishers

By Business Protection Bulletin

How many times do you walk by fire extinguishers without checking those tags or past first aid kits without peeking inside to assure the contents are complete?

Most executives do not spot check these life saving tools.  That task is delegated to maintenance.  But these decisions are life and death, not simply profit or loss.  Show your employees you care; that you lead their safety program rather than follow pro forma insurance checklists.

Start your spring cleaning here: walk through your operation and stop occasionally to check if you can easily spot the nearest fire extinguisher.  Read the label.  Is it appropriate for the work area?

Stand at each fire extinguisher station and visualize successful deployment.  Is it easy and natural?  Can you travel unharmed to the nearest fire exit using the fire extinguisher to clear a path?

Observe any long pathways between fire extinguishers and exits.  Would another canister or different fire suppression device or system help?

Take some notes as you walk through the operation.  Review these observations with the person tasked to keep the equipment updated.

Repeat the above exercise with regard to first aid kits.  Are they easy to spot?  Easy to access one-handed?  Do they have instructions for calling emergency help?

These exercises do not require a great deal of time or scheduling.  Simply make a point of checking these items every quarter, something of an internal surprise inspection.

Add ten minutes every three months to your walk-through routine.  It doesn’t need scheduling or ceremony.  Simply observe, become conscious of the emergency response routine.  Are fire exits clogged with storage or debris?  Are aisles kept unobstructed?

Is a specific person charged with de-icing fire escapes?  As you walk through your operations, take notes of these questions.  Think through an emergency evacuation, then review the written plan for your company.  Does it make common sense?  Does it raise questions for your risk manager or safety specialist?

Does your at-hire training include safety orientation and procedures?  How about on-going communications on safety issues?  Both directions?

Corporate officers lead the safety culture.  Make these inspections in view of employees.  They will engage you if they have proper concerns.  They are a great resource.