BLOG

Older Employees at Greater Risk of Fatal Accidents

An analysis released by the Associated Press (AP) has shown that U.S. employees who are 55 years old or older are more likely to be involved in fatal workplace accidents than their younger counterparts. Additionally, as the average age of retirement continues to increase, older employees are becoming a larger portion of the overall workforce. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) estimates that by 2024, these employees will account for 25 percent of the entire labor market.

The AP used data from the BLS and the American Community Survey to conduct its analysis, and ignored fatalities that were determined to be the result of a natural cause, such as a heart attack or stroke. Despite this, the analysis found that the natural deterioration of vision, hearing and joint strength were the main contributors to the higher number of fatalities involving older employees.

The number of workplace fatalities for employees of all ages dropped from 5,480 in 2005 to 4,836 in 2015. However, fatalities for older employees over that same period increased from 1,562 to 1,681. As older employees continue to stay in the workforce, employers need to take extra care to protect them from hazards.

Filed under: Safety — Jillian Bender-Cormier @ 5:08 pm September 13, 2017


NHTSA Announces Additional Air Bag Recalls

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has announced that the results of new safety tests have prompted the recall of an additional 2.7 million vehicles in relation to defects in air bag inflators manufactured by Takata Corporation. The agency said that the most recent recall applies to driver-side air bags built from 2005-2012 that are included in certain vehicle models manufactured by the Nissan, Mazda and Ford motor companies.

Defects in air bag inflators manufactured by Takata have been linked to 17 deaths and over 180 injuries worldwide, and the total number of recalled vehicles as a result of these issues is now over 100 million. Takata recently pleaded guilty to a felony charge as part of a $1 billion agreement with the Justice Department that also includes financial compensation for automakers and victims of the malfunctions. The company also filed for bankruptcy as a result of the ongoing recalls, but stated that it was prepared to continue shipping replacement parts for affected vehicles.

To learn more about recalls related to Takata’s air bag inflators, visit the NHTSA’s website.

Filed under: Personal Insurance,Safety — Jillian Bender-Cormier @ 5:56 pm August 16, 2017


Preventing Workplace Violence

As reports of shootings and other violent incidents become more common, workplace violence is a topic than no business can ignore. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, workplace homicides rose 2 percent in 2015, the latest year for which data is available. Additionally, the number of workplace shootings increased by 15 percent.

The best way to address potential acts of violence at your business is to be prepared to act before, during and after an act of violence occurs. Here are some programs you can use to ensure the safety of your employees and customers:

• Pre-employment screenings—Background checks can help identify candidates who have violent histories.
• Security—Security systems can ensure that only employees have access to certain areas.
• Alternative dispute resolutions—Techniques like facilitation and mediation can help solve a conflict before it escalates.
• Threat assessment teams—A designated team can work with management to assess the potential for violence and develop an action plan.

Stay tuned for ALICE (Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter, Evacuate) Training available through WGBCO. Classes and training will be announced in August, 2017!

Filed under: Recent Headlines,Safety — Jillian Bender-Cormier @ 6:26 pm July 12, 2017


New Study Demonstrates the Dangers of Talking While Driving

It’s commonly known that smartphones, entertainment systems and other electronics can be a dangerous distraction to drivers. However, a new study from the University of Iowa found that simple conversations can also cause unsafe driving conditions.

The study used eye tracking equipment to analyze where subjects were looking and how long it took them to focus on a new object. Some subjects were also asked true or false questions at the same time in order to simulate a simple conversation. Data collected from the study found that subjects who answered questions took twice as long to focus on a new object than those who were asked no questions.

Although engaging in conversation seems simple, it involves a number of complex tasks that the brain must handle simultaneously. Even if the topic of conversation is straightforward, the brain has to absorb information, overlay what a person already knows and prepare to a construct a reply. And, although this process is done extremely quickly, it can also slow down reaction times and lead to a dangerous accident on the road.

The best way to keep your employees safe while driving is to encourage them to eliminate or turn off all potential distractions, including their cellphones and any hands-free accessories they may use to make a call. You can also consider including language about safe driving practices in your workplace safety policies.

Filed under: Safety — Jillian Bender-Cormier @ 6:12 pm July 5, 2017


Employee Drug Use Reaches 12-year High

The positive drug test rate for the U.S. workforce was 4.2 percent in 2016, according to the Drug Testing Index (DTI) released by Quest Diagnostics. This represents a 5 percent increase over the positive rate in 2015, and the largest single-year positive rate since 2004.

The DTI analyzed over 10 million workforce drug test results from 2016 and categorized employees into three categories, including employees with federally mandated drug tests, the general workforce and the combined U.S. workforce. Here are additional details about the DTI’s findings for specific drug types:

Marijuana—The positive test rate for marijuana increased nearly 75 percent in oral fluid testing, which is used in the general workforce. Federally mandated marijuana tests only utilize urine tests, and the positive test rate increased 10 percent in 2016.
Cocaine—Positive test rates for cocaine in post-accident drug tests were more than twice as high as pre-employment screenings.
Amphetamines—Positive test rates for amphetamines have risen 64 percent between 2012 and 2016 for the general workforce. Quest Diagnostics attributes this increase to the prevalence of prescription drugs, including Adderall.

In order to create a safe, productive workplace, you need to watch out for potential drug use at your business. Call us today at (916) 380-5300, and ask to see our Drug-free Workplace Policy.

Filed under: Safety,Workers' Compensation — Jillian Bender-Cormier @ 4:27 pm June 7, 2017