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New Study Links Money Problems to Workplace Injuries and Illnesses

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.

Filed under: Health,Health & Wellness,Property & Casualty — Jillian Bender-Cormier @ 1:09 pm October 12, 2016

Combining Wellness & Risk Management

Combine your workplace wellness program with your risk management and safety program and you could see big savings on your workers’ compensation costs.

Workers’ compensation is one of a business’ largest operational expenses—and costs are on the rise. According to the Insurance Information Institute, medical costs will account for up to 67 percent of total costs of workers’ compensation claims by 2019. (more…)

Filed under: Health,Workers' Compensation — Jillian Bender-Cormier @ 5:16 pm July 28, 2016

Workplace Germs

When the season changes from winter to spring, many people find themselves battling illness. Some health experts speculate that a lack of vitamin D during winter months may weaken immune systems, but regardless of the exact cause, doctors tend to see an uptick in respiratory illness around this time of year. At the workplace, this can spell trouble for a sick person’s co-workers, unless office hygiene is kept top of mind.

The typical employee’s workspace has more bacteria per square inch than an office toilet seat. Door handles, shared kitchen appliances, desks, phones and other private surfaces are also prime habitats for the viruses and bacteria that cause colds, the flu, strep throat, pneumonia and other illnesses.

Even if you keep your personal workspace tidy, it may not be clean. Unlike toilets—which tend to be cleaned and disinfected regularly—keyboards, phone receivers, desks, and even office and kitchen countertops often go overlooked. Consider this: Crumbs and coffee spills are capable of supporting mini eco-systems. Without a cleaning, your desk or phone can sustain millions of bacteria that could potentially cause illness.

The good news: Heightened awareness and hygiene efforts can go a long way in keeping your workplace clean. Keep the following points in mind and share them with your co-workers:
• Germ-busting at the workplace is a team effort. It only takes one person to infect healthy co-workers.
• Regular cleaning of personal workspaces kills bacteria and stops the spread of germs.
• Frequent cleaning of shared workspaces (door handles, coffee pots, light switches, work equipment, etc.) is essential in maintaining sanitary safety. Disinfection is the goal, so be sure to use a true disinfectant, not just an anti-bacterial product. Daily disinfection reduces bacteria levels by 99 percent, drastically lowering the risk of illness.
• Be considerate of others and cough or sneeze into tissues, your sleeve or the crook of your arm. Wash your hands often and sanitize using alcohol-based disposable hand wipes or gel. Consider having these in any common areas, including kitchens and washrooms.

Filed under: Health — Jillian Bender-Cormier @ 9:12 pm April 29, 2015

Anthem’s Costly Data Breach

In February, Anthem, the second-largest U.S. health insurance provider, confirmed that it had suffered a data breach that resulted in the exposure and theft of the personal information of up to 80 million current and former customers and employees. Hackers accessed the database that held this information by using a stolen password. (more…)

Filed under: Cyber Liability,Health — Jillian Bender-Cormier @ 4:59 pm March 25, 2015

Handling Holiday Stress

The holiday season can be one of the best times of the year, but it can also be the most stressful. Shopping for gifts, holiday parties and time with family can take a toll on your mental and emotional health and leave you with little time to relax and enjoy the festivities.

Follow these tips to help you avoid stress during the holidays:
Plan ahead—Waiting until the last minute to purchase gifts, plan a party or send out greeting cards is bound to make you feel stressed. Give yourself plenty of time to complete your to-do list in case the crowds are large and the lines are long.
Watch your finances—It can be tempting to overspend on the perfect gift for someone. But if that means your finances will suffer, it is not worth it. Set spending limits for yourself and stick to them.
Adjust your expectations—You will not be able to make it to every party or purchase the perfect gift for everyone. Holding yourself to impossibly high standards is the best way to generate stress. Remind yourself to manage expectations and let go of any guilt.

An important part of the season is allowing yourself time to relax and really enjoy it. Here are some easy ways to take a breather and help you keep everything in perspective.
Exercise—Keeping up your regular exercise routine during the festive season will help you relieve stress in a healthy way.
Eat well—Overindulgence is often expected this time of year, whether it is too many sweets or too much alcohol. Maintain a good balance of fruits and vegetables and drink plenty of water.
Avoid sugar and caffeine—Both may give you energy, but that energy will be short-lived and may make you more irritable or tired.
Get plenty of sleep—Sleep is often the first thing people sacrifice during busy times. Allow yourself plenty of time to sleep every night.
Staying positive during a potentially stressful time will help you carry the warmth of the holidays into the new year.

Filed under: Health,Safety — Jillian Bender-Cormier @ 7:16 pm December 23, 2014