Benefits of portable fire extinguisher training in the warehouse.

By developing a yearly fire extinguisher training program in your warehouse, your employees will become knowledable in the process and means of extinguishing small fires by choosing the right extinguisher to remove one of the four elements of the fire tetrahedron.

From IFSTA Essentials 4th Edition: Fire is a rapid, self-sustaining oxidation process accompanied by the evolution of heat and light of varying intensities.  The burning process can be interrupted by removing one of the four elements in the fire tetrahedron (Heat, Fuel, Oxygen, or Chemical Chain Reaction).

Employees that know the classification of fires will also be able to choose the correct extinguisher for the four most common types of fire classes:

  • Class A or ordinary combustibles
  • Class B or flammable and combustible liquids and gases
  • Class C or energized electrical equipment
  • Class D or combustible metals

Trained employees understand that a portable fire extinguisher is the first line of defense in an emergency. Employees that are trained yearly in the use of portable fire extinguishers also can make informed and confident decisions on when it is ok to attack a fire and when it is appropriate to leave the area and let firefighters handle the emergency. Those decisions are based on some of the following factors:

  • Knowing what is burning
  • Fire is not spreading rapidly
  • Smoke and heat has not filled the area
  • You have a clear path of escape
  • Following the training the employee has received

Remember that trained and motivated employees will make confident decisions that can save the company from valuable losses and possible injuries or deaths.  This type of safety training can also save your company on valuable insurance costs as well.

Invest In Your Safety Plan and Workers’ Compensation Programs and Save!

If you purchased $1,000 of shares in Delta Airlines one year ago, you would have $49.00 today. If you purchased $1,000 of shares in Lehman Brothers one year ago, you would have $0.00 today. Tough economic times call for aggressive measures. Invest in your company’s safety program and your injured workers return to work program.

Designing a good safety program can help with the rising costs of workers’ compensation insurance premiums. No business is immune to having injuries, they will happen! That is part of the cost of doing business. Having a safety plan is like ground zero; you need to look at your company as a whole and build from your safety plan. Evaluate the environment, the tools, the hazards, and overall safety of your employees. Prevention is the best way to save!

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Workers Compensation Costs Driven By Inappropriate Claims!

Inappropriate claims are one the biggest driving costs of workers compensation increases. Up to 25 percent of all filings may have some form of fraud. There are many possible causes, including misunderstandings, miscommunication, cost shifting from a non-occupational health care plan, employee resentment, non-efficient service providers, and outright fraud. The National Insurance Crime Bureau estimates that workers’ compensation fraud costs alone are in the billions. So in return, this cost is billed back to the employers in the form of billion dollar premiums.

Workers’ compensation laws are working against the employers. The laws are creating insensible incentives. The longer an injured employee is out of work, the more likely they will ride it out for a cash settlement. Even the small injuries that should only have the worker out for two or three days can be stretched into two or three weeks, or even more! Every workers’ compensation guideline has a waiting period. Typically, it runs about three to seven days before an injured employee becomes entitled to indemnification for lost wages. It can often be done on a retroactive basis to day one of the claim. For many low paid workers the “tax free” wage alternative is an acceptable lifestyle.

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Accident Investigations: An Essential Tool in Every Work Comp Management Program

Performing accident investigations when an employee gets injured is an important step in carrying out your company’s work comp management program. The first reason that comes to many people’s minds for conducting an accident investigation is probably to prevent a fraudulent claim from being filed, but there are many other good reasons for conducting these investigations.

Accident investigations help to identify the root cause of the injury. Was an inadequate workstation to blame? Or, maybe a malfunctioning tool or machine? If it is found that one of these scenarios was the cause of the accident, they can be promptly corrected before another employee suffers a similar fate. Maybe the employee had a pre-existing problem with their injured body part. Or, maybe they were doing something that they weren’t supposed to be doing so there is no equipment that needs to be fixed.

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Are Work Comp Costs Really a Big Deal?

The system that was designed to provide medical care and wage replacement for workers who suffer work-related injuries or illness is straining to sustain itself. Rising claim costs and non-regulated reinsurance are contributing factors to the rising costs of work comp.

Today, workers’ comp accounts for one of the fastest growing labor costs. Premiums for workers’ comp have risen 50% nationwide in the last three years – the fastest pace in a decade according to the New York City-based Insurance Information Institute. It really is simple math when every year costs double due to too many claims lasting longer than expected. Some businesses are finding themselves being hit with back-to-back increases of 25% and 40%, even if these businesses are favorable in workplace accident rates. As a business, there is no way to budget for a 20% increase that turns out to be twice that number.

Workers’ Compensation costs have had an enormous impact on several businesses’ bottom line. Accidents simply cost money – not only through direct costs, such as medical and compensation expenses, but in employee morale and client respect as well. Indirect costs are hard to calculate, but if lost, these items can cost your business several times more than direct expenses.

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What Can a Health and Wellness Room Do For You?

Maybe you have not heard of the term Health and Wellness Room and are not familiar with what its function is. You’re not alone! Surprisingly a lot of people have not heard of this service. Maybe reading some testaments from a few people who have been to a Health and Wellness Room can help clear up the mystery.

A 38 year old warehouse worker experienced his first Health and Wellness Room after hurting his back at work.

“I had been out on disability for about 4 months before hearing about the Health and Wellness Room. My adjuster called me and told me they had a job offer for me. I was surprised because my restrictions had not changed. I was told that I would be getting my 40 hours a week and my regular wages. I was only getting roughly 60 % of my wages on disability. My back was very sore from just laying on the couch but I decided to accept the offer. It was the best thing I could have done! While in the Health and Wellness Room I was given a bunch of information about my injury and how to treat and prevent it in the future. My doctor did not even give me this much info. The room had times allotted for stretch therapy, walking, exercise and ice and heat therapy and I was inspired to get back to work. This structure was perfect for me to get my back injury better. After just two weeks of being in the Health and Wellness Room my back already felt better because I was getting up and going to work and exercising within my restrictions. The Coordinator was an EMT and was able to help motivate me through knowledge and understanding of the body and helped me work within my restrictions to recover.”

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Decorating the Workplace – Keep Safety in Mind!

Decorating the workplace is always a great way to boost spirits during the holidays. But, it is important to be aware of potential hazards. The same principles that go into decorating your home in a safe manner should apply to your workplace.

Make sure you are checking for fire hazards when selecting your decorations. Be careful not to punch your staples through the cords on lights and extension cords, and know how many strands of lights can go together. If using decorations outdoors, check to see if they are rated for outdoor use. Putting your lighted decorations on timers is a great way to protect the office.

Checking your fire safety equipment is a practice that is often overlooked during the holiday decorating festivities. Make sure your smoke detectors are working. Have your fire extinguisher inspected and serviced if needed. When deciding on which decorations to use make sure they will not compromise your exits and or sprinkler system.

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Reduce Employee Stress During the Holidays

It is a pretty well known fact that the time period between Thanksgiving and New Year’s can be crazy and hectic, especially in this time of a failing economy. People are often not thinking about work and their surroundings as they normally do. Many are thinking of the holidays to come and what to do. There could even be some that show up to work in an altered state due to drugs or alcohol because of all the holiday parties and/or the stress that the holidays bring.

During the holidays, more accidents and mishaps seem to occur. We are all anxious to have fun over the holidays and sometimes that takes our minds off our work. Also, there tends to be more ‘accidents’ during this time for people who want to have time off during the holidays while still being paid. Injured employees add to the stress of a company trying to function during the holidays. Deadlines need to be met, money needs to be saved, and maintaining a full staff may be hard during the holidays.

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A Stressed Employee Can Be An Expensive Employee

Studies show that Americans today are more stressed than ever. Experiencing and coping with high levels of stress for an extended period of time can factor into many different negative health-related outcomes such as; depression, anxiety, coronary heart disease, high blood pressure, and increased risk of injury.

High levels of stress are also related to workplace violence and absenteeism. The United States has the highest violent crime rate of any industrialized nation with 18,000 non-fatal violent crimes and 20 people murdered while on the job every week. The number of employees calling in sick because of stress increases every year and in very large companies, this could add up to costs of millions of dollars annually.

Stress also differs between men and women. Studies have shown that women reported a higher level of overall job stress than men. Stress had the highest level of association with migraines and psychological distress in men and with work-related injuries in women. Also, blue-collar workers experienced the highest amount of stress induced work injuries.

You may be asking how you can protect your employees from the dangers associated with stress. A few examples of things that employers can do to help reduce the stress levels of their employees are:

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Economy Down…Workers’ Compensation Claims Down…Time to Catch Up

A large staffing firm has watched workers’ compensation claims plummet in lock-step with the stock market. Has your claim frequency decreased? Maybe the decrease in claims has occurred because production has slowed. Or, maybe folks with minor strains are afraid to rock the boat by filing a claim. This particular staffing firm has seen a much greater decrease in the number of minor claims, which might support the latter hypothesis.

Whatever the cause, employers have a good opportunity to review their safety programs. Instead of running down information for a claim adjuster, we can add value by making sure the programs are up-to-date with current regulations and current operations.

Safety programs are more than binders. They must be living documents that continuously support production activities in a proactive organization.

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