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Protect Your Home While You Are Away

Unfortunately, no one is completely immune from theft. Whether you’re looking to protect your home while you are away on vacation or simply away at work, your first line of defense is to thwart burglars.

HOME PROTECTION TIPS

Use these suggestions to help protect your home while you are away:
• Install motion sensor lighting around your home and garage.
• Place automatic timers on your lights and set them for different times for different rooms.
• Do not leave your valuables such as jewelry, art work or electronics sitting out in plain view. Hide these items in inconspicuous places such as old laundry detergent boxes.
• Place “Beware of Dog” and home alarm signs in your yard. Even if you do have a dog or an alarm, this may deter potential thieves from trying to enter.
• • Alert friends and neighbors when you will be away for an extended period of time so that they can look out for suspicious behavior.
• Have a neighbor shovel or mow your grass if you will be away for a few days. This will give the impression that someone is at home.
• Put a hold on your newspaper if you go on vacation.
• Never leave information about how long you will be gone on your answering machine.
• Contact your local police department to request that an officer visits your home to evaluate how secure it is and offer some improvements.

Safety First
Most burglaries do not occur in the dead of night like most people think. Instead, they tend to occur between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. when people are at work. Thieves also strike when homes show obvious signs that no one is there. So, while you are at work, always keep your doors and windows locked. Also, if someone calls you and claims to be seeking information for a survey, do not provide information about your schedule or daily life. They can use this information to decipher when you will be away.

Filed under: Personal Insurance,Safety — Jillian Bender-Cormier @ 9:30 pm March 30, 2016


Workplace Violence Prevention

Workplace violence is a serious safety and health issue. While no federal law specifically addresses violence in the workplace, several laws impose a duty on employers to maintain a safe workplace.
For example, the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSH Act) imposes a general duty on all employers to provide employees with a workplace that is free from hazards. Federal civil rights laws also require employers to keep the workplace free from threats of violence, and state workers’ compensation laws make employers responsible for certain injuries sustained workplace.

In California, the California Occupational Safety and Health Act (COSH Act) also places a duty on employers to provide employees with a safe workplace. In addition, the California Workplace Violence Safety Act (CWVS Act) allows employers to seek a temporary restraining order or injunction against anyone who poses a threat in the workplace.

EMPLOYERS’ OBLIGATION TO PROVIDE A SAFE WORKPLACE
The COSH Act makes employers primarily responsible for the safety and health of their employees. Under this law, employers must:
• Establish, implement and maintain an Injury and Illness Prevention Program, and periodically update it (for help in establishing an Injury and Illness Prevention Program, visit the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health’s website);
• Inspect the workplace to identify and correct unsafe and hazardous conditions;
• Make sure employees have and use safe tools and equipment, and properly maintain the tools and equipment;
• Use color codes, posters, labels or signs to warn employees of potential hazards; and
• Establish or update operating procedures and communicate them so that employees follow safety and health requirements.
California courts impose further obligations by requiring employers to hire and train their employees properly. An employer that does not adequately hire, train or supervise its employees may be sued in court and held liable for damages if it knew or should have known the employee would subject a coworker, customer or third party to an unreasonable risk of harm.

Required Workplace Posting
The COSH Act requires employers to hang a “Safety and Health Protection on the Job” poster in a prominent place where employees can see it in the workplace. The poster informs employees of their rights and responsibilities under the law. Employers must post at least one in each establishment. Employers must also take steps to ensure that the signs are readable and not altered or defaced.

A Spanish version of the Cal/OSHA required poster is also available. In addition, other approved safety posters may be found on the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health’s website.

TEMPORARY RESTRAINING ORDERS OR INJUNCTIONS
The CWVSA allows an employer to seek a temporary restraining order or injunction against anyone who poses a threat to the workplace if an employee suffers unlawful violence or a credible threat of violence. Under the CWVS Act:
• Unlawful Violence is any assault, battery or stalking, but does not include lawful acts of self-defense or defense of others; and
• A Credible Threat of Violence is a knowing and willful statement or course of conduct that would place a reasonable person in fear for his or her safety, or the safety of his or her immediate family, and that serves no legitimate purpose.
A temporary restraining order or injunction obtained under the CWVS Act may include an order prohibiting a person from taking any of the following actions against an employee:

• Harassing;
• Intimidating;
• Molesting;
• Attacking;
• Striking;
• Stalking;
• Threatening;
• Sexually assaulting;
• Battering;
• Abusing;
• Telephoning, including making annoying telephone calls;
• Destroying personal property;
• Contacting, either directly or indirectly, by mail or otherwise;
• Coming within a specified distance;
• Disturbing the peace; or
• Any other specified behavior that the court determines is necessary.

WORKPLACE VIOLENCE PLAN IMPLEMENTATION FOR EMPLOYERS
California law requires employers to keep employees free from harm in the workplace. Employers may be liable for incidents of workplace violence under both federal and state law for failure to provide employees with a safe workplace.
Employers can create a workplace violence plan to outline policies and processes that can help prevent workplace violence. If an employer elects to have a workplace violence plan, the plan will be most effective if it is tailored to the individual needs and circumstances of the employer. It should take into account the resources available to the employer to enact and maintain the program.
A workplace violence policy may include the following items:
• A statement of the employer’s workplace violence policy and its relation to other policies the employer has enacted;
• Standard practices to address workplace violence or threats of violence;
• Designation and training of an incident response team;
• Clearly stated disciplinary procedures designed to prevent violent behavior in the workplace;
• Procedures for workplace violence that will handle all levels of violence;
• Reference to sources outside of the workplace that employees may consult to deal with workplace violence; and
• An effective training program to inform employees of the workplace violence policy.
MORE INFORMATION
For more information on workplace violence, contact Warren G. Bender Co. or visit the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s website or the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health’s website.

Filed under: Safety — Jillian Bender-Cormier @ 1:46 pm


Protect Yourself from Slips, Trips and Falls

Wet floors, spills and excess clutter can mean disaster for employees in all kinds of different work settings, causing many every year to suffer lost pay and serious pain. Injuries caused by slips, trips and falls range from sprained or strained muscles and joints, to broken bones and head injury. There are several precautions you should take to ensure your safety and the safety of your co-workers.

Floors
• Keep floors clean and dry at all times. Wet floors present a slip hazard and can promote the growth of infection-causing microbes like mold, fungi and bacteria.
• Remove all objects and clutter from aisles, exits and passageways.
• In the event that grease or oil spills on the kitchen floor, clean the mess immediately and alert your co-workers of the problem before they accidentally fall.
• Use floor or ceiling electrical plugs for power to avoid running a cord down a long hallway.
• Display warning signs to alert others of a wet floor.
• Use floor mats while surfaces are drying after cleaning to provide traction.
• Clean up spills immediately.
• In areas prone to slipping (toilet and shower areas), use a no-skid wax product to clean.
• While washing the floor, wear protective footgear to prevent falling.
• Keep an eye out for uneven floors, and fix them or notify someone who can immediately.

Other Recommendations
• Use strong ladders to reach as opposed to standing on small stools or boxes.
• Stretch out bulging carpets to prevent trips and falls.
• Use handrails while walking down stairs to prevent slipping when walking too fast.
• Repair broken light fixtures and replace bulbs for adequate visibility.

Always Stay Alert
Adopt a see it, sort it mentality. If you notice any situation that you think could present a slipping, tripping or falling hazard for you or a co-worker, act immediately to remedy it or notify your supervisor. You could be saving an unsuspecting victim lost pay and serious pain.

Filed under: Safety — Jillian Bender-Cormier @ 1:38 pm


Do Office Employees Need Training for GHS (Globally Harmonized System of Identification of Hazardous Substances)?

Back in 2013, employers were advised of the requirement to train employees regarding new label elements and safety data sheets but there have been questions about why some employees would need to be trained. For example, an office employee cleans their desk surface weekly with a cleaning product purchased by the employer from a grocery store and is available for employee use. Is GHS training required for that employee?

The Technical Answer
California Code of Regulations 5194(b)(5)(G) excludes incidental use as follows:
(G) Consumer products packaged for distribution to, and use by, the general public, provided that employee exposure to the product is not significantly greater than the consumer exposure occurring during the principal consumer use of the product; GHS training is required for employees working with hazardous substances on a regular basis in the course and scope of their employment.

The Practical Answer
GHS Training is not required for incidental use of a consumer product used in a consumer manner but general awareness training for all employees of the hazardous material identification system would be considered wise and a ‘best practice’ for all employers. Why? Because in the event of an injury to an employee caused by substances in the workplace, it could be deemed negligent that an employer provided a product but not information of its hazardous nature. Free information and GHS training materials are readily available from many sources, see below.

Still unsure of whether to train? Call OSHA Compliance 916-263-0704. I reached a knowledgeable person on my first try and/or call your insurance agent/broker for information.

Resources
California Code of Regulations-Hazard Communication https://www.dir.ca.gov/title8/5194.html
Cal OSHA Safety and Health Fact Sheet on GHS-Globally Harmonized System-DIR http://www.dir.ca.gov/dosh/dosh_publications/ghs_fs.pdf
Guide to the California Hazard Communication Regulation-DIR https://www.dir.ca.gov/dosh/dosh_publications/hazcom.pdf
US Department of Labor –OSHA Hazard Communication https://www.osha.gov/dsg/hazcom/index.html
Free PowerPoint presentation http://www.osha.gov/SLTC/hazardcommunications/ghsoverview.ppt
Free YouTube Training Video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PkGbof7FeZA
Sacramento Safety Center http://safetycenter.org/

If you have any questions or comments, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Jackie Sudia-Reno, AIC, ARM, CRIS
Claims and Risk Management Liaison
Warren G. Bender Co.
License #0406967
jsudia@wgbender.com
(916)380-5333 (Direct Phone & Fax)
(916)960-6957 (Mobile/Text)

Filed under: OSHA,Property & Casualty,Safety — Jillian Bender-Cormier @ 1:29 pm