June is National Safety Month

What are you doing during National Safety Month to make sure your Business is as Safe as possible?

Every year National Safety Month is recognized during the month of June and according to the National Safety Council, ‘National Safety Month focuses on reducing leading causes of injury and death at work, on the road and in our homes and communities’. Safety should be at the top of the priority list for any successful business. Not focusing on safety is a very short-sided way to run a business. Businesses with an extra emphasis on safety tend to experience less frequent and less severe injuries to their employees. This leads to less lost time by injured employees, less insurance claims reported by the business, and lower insurance premiums as a result of the safe environment.

June is National Safety Month

Why is safety important?

Having a safety workplace can help your business in many ways. First and foremost it is the right thing to do for your organization, your customers, and your employees. If you operate a safe business it will save your business time and money by not having to deal with injured employees as frequently. It also will save your business when purchasing commercial insurance. Safe workplaces typically have a better experience modification rating than other businesses who do not emphasize safety.

How does a business design a safety program?

The design stage of a safety program will depend upon the location of your business and the industry you operate in. Obviously, if your business operates in Florida there is not much of a need for you to train employees how to operate in the snow. If you are located in Iowa, you may not need to prepare for hurricane season. The same can be said for the industry you operate in. A construction company will not need the same protocols in place as an accounting firm. Because of the uniqueness of each individual business, it is important to consult with your key employees, advisers, and even your insurance agent. All of these people can bring their own experiences to the design of any safety program and make it more complete.

June is National Safety Month and in honor of this celebration of safety this is an infograph about slips trips falls-

What should be included in all safety plans?

Heavy lifting

Any employee who has to lift heavy objects should be prepared to lift with their legs and not with their back. Many employees want to show a can-do attitude, but it is important to let all employees know that safety and their health are more important than impressing anyone with brute strength.

Slips, trips, and falls

Slips, trips, and falls are the most common insurance claim. Especially for retail and restaurant businesses that are open to the public. Even if your business is not open to the public, it is important to prevent employees and any third parties who come on to the property to be prepared for slips, trips, and falls.

Ergonomics of the workplace

Most businesses operate in the technological age. Because of this fact, many employees spend a majority of their time sitting at a desk and typing or staring at a computer. Repetition injuries like carpal tunnel can be severe and so can eyesight damage from long-term  damage from computer usage. Being mindful of the ergonomics of the chair a person is sitting in, the equipment surrounding their computer, and the light that is being emulated from the computers can do a lot to prevent long-term damage due to ergonomics within your staff.

Tips for implementing a safety program.

Once you have designed a safety program, it is equally important to effectively implement it. This must start from the top of your organization. The more involved the owner and key employees are in the implementation of a safety program, the more likely all employees will take it seriously. There should be a schedule for ongoing meetings and they should be documented. These meetings do not have to be extremely time-consuming. Typically 15-30 minutes a week is adequate. It is important to periodically request feedback from all employees and to have some sort of open door policy for employees who may not feel comfortable speaking up in front of their coworkers. No matter what implementation you find is right for your business, it is important to document it and to stick with it. Documentation will come in handy when or if you experience an injured employee. Your insurance agent will be able to use the safety program as a way to show the insurance carrier you are taking the proper steps to prevent this occurrence from becoming a regular part of your business.

 

Portrait of young engineer taking notes for National Safety Month.

Common Types of injuries

Fatigue

Fatigue is an enormous problem in today’s business climate. Especially for businesses that operate in an have employees doing physical work. Adults need seven to nine hours of sleep each day to reach peak performance, but nearly one-third report averaging less than six hours.

Driving

IF you have employees who drive to multiple locations throughout the work day as part of their normal duties, you need to train those employees how to drive when they are on the job. It is a good idea to pull their motor vehicle records on a yearly basis as well. Never assume a responsible employee is also a responsible driver.

Workplace Violence

Unfortunately, workplace violence is more common than most business owners think. Each year more than two million people report being a victim of workplace violence. For this reason, it is extremely important for you as a small business owner to come up with a plan to prevent and how to deal with any and all forms of workplace violence.

Slips, trips, and falls

Slips, trips, and falls are the most common form of insurance claim. Especially for businesses that are open to the public like a restaurant. Fortunately for these types of businesses, these claims are also typically not very severe, just frequent. No matter what type of industry your business operates in, it is worth your while to address slips, trips, and falls that may happen at your facility.

Drugs in the workplace

According to the Surgeon General, nearly 21 million Americans live with a substance use problem.  The same study showed three-quarters of these people are employed and as a result of their addiction, they miss 50% more time than employees without a substance abuse disorder. Construction, entertainment, recreation, and food service are four industries that have twice the national average of drug abuse in the workplace. If your business operates in one of these areas, drug abuse in the workplace is something you should address with your staff.

 

Hurricane Season is Upon Us!

Is your home and office prepared for Hurricane Season?

Hurricane season is upon us in the United States. As of June 12th, Hurricane Bud is already the second named storm of the season. Bud is expected to make landfall near the Baja Peninsula of Mexico this coming Thursday through the weekend. Hurricane Aletta, the first named storm of 2018, grew to a category four storm and consisted of sustained winds in excess of 140 miles per hour. This is occurring little more than eight months after Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Maria, category four and category five storms respectively, made landfall over Houston and Puerto Rico. Forcing many to go without power for weeks and months.

These Hurricanes should be a cautionary tale that if you live in an area that has a risk of hurricanes now is the time to plan for how you will deal with these storms when they come your way.  In most places, it is a matter of when and not if you are going to deal with a hurricane. Here are seven ways to prepare your home and small business for hurricane season.

Flooded Las Olas Blvd and Palm trees blowing in the winds, catastrophic hurricane Irma.

Create a communication plan

Communication is difficult in the technological age. It is even more difficult when a natural disaster occurs. For this reason, it is extremely important to have a plan in place for how your are going to get a message to the few people who are most important.  On a day to day basis, we may not realize how much we depend upon our mobile devices, but the second those devices are taken away we all realize how important they are to our ever connected world. Having a plan in place for when they do not work and practicing it from time to time will help your family and small business prepare for a hurricane or other natural disaster.

Restock your emergency preparedness kit

First and foremost, your house and your business should have an emergency preparedness kit. What it has in it may depend upon where you live and what special needs the people who need to use it may have. If someone in your family or at your business are diabetic, there should be some supplies related to these health issues. If you have a young child or an elderly member of your family, you need to prepare for their special needs. Regardless of the circumstances your business and family face, there should be a place where you have some supplies for when a hurricane occurs.

Check insurance coverage

Most Hurricane insurance policies have a time period before they kick in. Most are at least 30 days in length, meaning if you are purchasing coverage now you may be late for a hurricane occurring in late June or early July. If you already have coverage in place it is a good idea to dust off that policy and see what may or may not be covered. Partnering with an experienced independent insurance can help you determine what coverage you have and if there is additional coverage you may benefit from.

Consider flood insurance

In many cases flood insurance is necessary in addition to hurricane coverage. Each policy has limitations to what is and what is not covered. In most cases, flooding that occurs after a hurricane has occurred is not covered unless you have a separate flood insurance policy. Most small businesses can eliminate this gap in coverage by purchasing a business owner’s package. In a state where natural disasters are common, this should be a standard part of most comprehensive packages.

Make copies of important documents

There are many documents that are extremely important after a natural disaster occurs. These documents may include passports, birth certificate, social security card, the title to your car or house, bank account records, copies of your insurance policies, and the phone numbers related to any of these documents.

Back up your electronics

If you own a small business, it is crucially important for you to back up all data that may be important. Depending upon the industry you operate in this may be a small amount of data or it may be an enormous amount. No matter how large or small, it is essential to have a place where this data is safe. Backing up your electronics at your home is equally important. There are more than likely numerous important bits of information saved on all of the devices in your house. Not to mention the many many pictures we share to all of our devices. Without a plan in place, these will all be lost after a natural disaster.

Review Your Supply Chain

If you have ever lived through a natural disaster like a hurricane you more than likely know that the world keeps on moving no matter how bad the situation is in your area. If you own or operate a small business that does business regionally or nationally, it is important to have a plan in place for how to keep the business churning throughout a natural disaster. Customers are still going to expect on time delivery of the goods and services you have contracted in advance. Thinking about these situations in advance can be the difference between a hurricane being a small slow down in business and a situation that your business never recovers from.