Each year more than 3,275 people die and 15,575 are injured in home fires in the United States. To protect yourself, it is important to understand the basics about house fires. Fire spreads quickly; there is no time to gather valuables or make a phone call. In just two minutes, a fire can become life-threatening. In five minutes, a residence can be engulfed in flames.
Heat and smoke from fire can be more dangerous than the flames. Inhaling the super-hot air can sear your lungs. Fire produces poisonous gases that make you disoriented and drowsy. Instead of being awakened by a fire, you may fall into a deeper sleep. Asphyxiation is the leading cause of fire deaths, exceeding burns by a 3 to 1 ratio. (more…)
On May 12, 2016, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued a final rule requiring certain employers to electronically submit data from their work-related injury records to OSHA. OSHA also indicated its intention to publish this employer information on a public website. Fearing that the publicity of workplace injury and illnesses would motivate employers to discourage their employees from reporting injuries and illnesses, OSHA included three major anti-retaliation provisions in the final rule.
The anti-retaliation provisions were initially set to become effective on Aug. 10, 2016. After considerable pushback from employers across multiple industries, OSHA delayed enforcement of the anti-retaliation provisions to Nov. 1, 2016. However, on Oct. 12, 2016, OSHA announced it would delay enforcement of the anti-retaliation provisions a second time. The second delay was granted to allow a federal judge sufficient time to review a lawsuit that was filed to challenge the new anti-retaliation provisions. The new enforcement deadline is now set for Dec. 1, 2016.
A study recently published in the Journal of Finance suggests that companies facing money problems were more likely to experience workplace injuries, which, in turn, compounded those companies’ financial struggles.
Specifically, the study examined data gathered from the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ annual Survey of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses and found a number of correlations:
• The workplace injury rate increased when the company received a negative cash flow shock.
• The workplace injury rate decreased when the company received a positive cash flow shock.
• As workplace injuries increased, company value decreased substantially.
Experts suggest that OSHA officials might use this information as they conduct investigations—using a company’s financial condition as a possible indicator of an increased likelihood of workplace injuries.
And, given how costly workplace injuries are to companies—in terms of workers’ compensation costs, safety repairs and upgrades, and fines—companies should remain vigilant about workplace safety, even in the face of a negative cash flow shock.
According to data released at the Substance Abuse Program Administrators Association (SAPAA) conference last month, drug use among U.S. workers rose to 4.0 percent—the highest it’s been since 2005.
The data, pulled from the Quest Diagnostics Drug Testing Index (DTI), shows an increase in positive drug test rates across all types of tests and for all drugs tested. Even though health officials have drawn attention to the rise in opioid use in recent years, these numbers suggest a general, multi-year trend of increased drug use. In fact, the increase in 2015 is the third year-on-year rise in as many years, having steadily climbed from its 25-year low of 3.5 percent in 2012.
Especially worrisome for officials are the post-accident positivity rates. That number was 6.9 percent in 2015, as opposed to 6.5 percent in 2014. Overall, it represents a 30 percent increase since 2011, when only 5.3 percent of those involved in a workplace accident tested positive for drug use.
Employee drug use poses serious safety concerns for employers and their employees. Experts suggest that curbing employee drug use requires a number of actions on the part of the employer. In addition to testing, employers should consider educational efforts to warn of the risks of drug use and to teach employees how to recognize and respond to warning signs. Additionally, offering drug treatment options may encourage employees who are affected by drug addiction to get the help they need. For more resources on workplace drug abuse, contact Warren G. Bender Co. today.