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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


Concussions Shown to Have Long-term Effects on Drivers

According to a new study from the University of Georgia, the effects of a concussion can persist in drivers even after the immediate symptoms have subsided.

The study placed drivers into a simulator 48 hours after they could no longer feel the direct effects of a concussion. Once in the simulator, researchers noted that the participants were likely to drive erratically and have less control. In fact, the researchers also noted that the driving patterns of the participants at times appeared similar to someone driving under the influence of alcohol.

Filed under: Auto,Safety — Jillian Bender-Cormier @ 10:32 pm March 15, 2017


Home Fire Safety

christmas-candle-1419989Because many holiday traditions take place in the home, it’s also the peak time for home fires according to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). Here are some things to consider to keep your home and your family safe this holiday season:

• Never try to fight a fire yourself—instead, call 911 immediately. According to the NFPA, 55 percent of all civilians who are injured in home fires are hurt while attempting to fight the fire themselves.
• Stay in the kitchen when you’re cooking, so you can always keep an eye on your food.
• Check your home’s smoke detectors to ensure they’re working. Your home should have at least one smoke alarm on every level, and preferably one outside every bedroom. Check every smoke alarm once a month to ensure that it’s functional and loud enough to wake you up in the event of a fire.
• Keep all flammable materials and fire starters up high where children won’t be able to reach them.
• Check your home’s electrical systems to ensure that they in working condition, and that no power outlet is overburdened with appliances.
• Make sure that any medications, glasses or other essential materials are easily accessible if you must escape your home quickly.
• Make a fire escape plan with your family, and practice it at least twice a year. You should identify two ways to escape from every room in your home in case flames or smoke block an exit.

It’s important to review your homeowners or renters insurance to ensure that your home and personal belongings are covered for fire damage. Contact Warren G. Bender Co. today to see how you’re covered.

Filed under: Personal Insurance,Safety — Jillian Bender-Cormier @ 11:33 pm November 25, 2016