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New Recommended Practices for Anti-retaliation Programs

In the wake of OSHA’s new electronic injury and illness reporting and anti-retaliation rules, the Department of Labor (DOL) recently released new recommended practices for anti-retaliation programs.

OSHA currently maintains 22 whistleblower protection laws that are designed to protect employees from retaliation. According to the DOL, its recommendations should help employers to comply with these laws and create workplaces in which employees feel comfortable voicing concerns and reporting injuries and illnesses. The DOL also outlined the five most important traits of any anti-retaliation program:

1. Anti-retaliation training for employees and managers
2. Management leadership, commitment and accountability
3. A system for listening to and resolving employees’ safety and compliance concerns
4. A system for receiving and responding to reports of retaliation
5. Program oversight

The DOL stated that the new recommended practices are only advisory in nature, and don’t create or alter any obligations created by OSHA standards and regulations.

For more information on OSHA’s new rules and anti-retaliation programs, contact us at (916) 380-5300 today.

Filed under: Recent Headlines,Uncategorized — Jillian Bender-Cormier @ 2:49 pm February 1, 2017


25 Most Commonly Stolen Passwords

How clever is your password? If it’s on the list below, your password is just as easily stolen as it is remembered. Protect yourself by making sure you’re not using one of the top 25 most commonly stolen passwords of 2014, as determined by IT security firm SplashData.

To create a more secure password, make sure you are not relying only on numbers, and try to avoid simple keyboard patterns. You may also want to avoid easy-to-find information such as birthdays, favorite sports teams and addresses. Attempt to create a password that is eight or more letters long, and avoid using the same password for multiple access points.

1. 123456
2. password
3. 12345
4. 12345678
5. qwerty
6. 1234567890
7. 1234
8. baseball
9. dragon
10. football
11. 1234567
12. Monkey
13. letmein
14. access
15. abc123
16. 111111
17. mustang
18. shadow
19. master
20. michael
21. superman
22. 696969
23. 123123
24. batman
25. trustno1

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jillian Bender-Cormier @ 6:21 pm February 23, 2015


Auto Insurance Premiums 101

Understanding what insurers look at when they calculate auto insurance premiums can help drivers find ways to save on their insurance costs. Here are the most common factors affecting premiums:

Age, sex and marital status – People under 25 years old are more likely to get into an accident, so rates will be higher for young adults. Males and single individuals have higher premiums, as well.
The car you drive – A Porsche isn’t going to be cheap to insure since fixing it after an accident would cost much more than a typical sedan like the Ford Focus or Honda Civic. Cars that are commonly stolen (such as the Civic or Toyota Camry) might also come with a higher premium.
Your driving record – Expect to see a premium increase for every violation or accident you have had. Luckily, these only affect premiums for three to five years after they occur.
Your driving habits – Driving more miles or using the vehicle for business can increase your rates.
Your coverage limits – Higher limits are often advisable (accidents can be extremely expensive), but they result in higher premiums. A low deductible also raises your premium.

Want to explore more ways to save on auto insurance premiums? Contact Warren G. Bender Co today for information!

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jillian Bender-Cormier @ 7:07 pm December 23, 2014


EEOC Targets Wellness Programs

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) recently filed suit against three employers alleging that their wellness programs violated the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA). Flambeau Inc., Honeywell and Orion Energy Systems are facing litigation from the EEOC because the companies imposed penalties and fines against employees who did not participate in company wellness programs.

According to the EEOC, one of the companies, Flambeau, Inc., a Baraboo, Wisconsin-based plastics manufacturing company, violated federal law by requiring employees to undergo biometric testing and a health risk assessment as part of their wellness program. When an employee did not complete the testing and risk assessment, the company cancelled his medical insurance and made him responsible for the entire cost of his premium in order to stay covered. The EEOC argued that the testing and assessment were not job-related and qualified as making disability-related inquiries of the employee therefore, they were in violation of Title I of the ADA.

From a workers’ compensation standpoint, wellness programs can help you reduce certain risk factors, such as obesity and depression, which can help you potentially shorten the duration of claims and minimize claim costs. However, you need to be careful when implementing a wellness program and be sure that participation is completely voluntary and employee information is provided voluntarily and with written consent. The information must also be kept confidential and separate from personnel records.

The AMA’s recent reclassification of obesity as a treatable disease can be a motivator for you to implement a wellness program at your company and to help employees live healthier lifestyles. However, give serious thought to the programs and activities that you introduce to ensure every employee is included if they want to be.

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jillian Bender-Cormier @ 7:01 pm


Predictive Analytics & Workplace Risk

Predictive analytics (PA), or using data and other analytics to predict future events, is gaining popularity among employers because the information can be used to reduce the risk of on-the-job death, injury and disease.

If injuries can be accurately predicted, they can be successfully prevented. If PA for your industry shows a higher occurrence of employee injuries during second shift work, you may want to check in with your employees working those hours, ensure that they understand all safety procedures and retrain them if necessary.

PA can be helpful in improving safety and health, but there are some barriers that can weaken its effectiveness. Some barriers include:

  • Limited knowledge or skills of employer or employees
  • Negative attitude of employer or employees towards the use of PA or changes in operations
  • Inability to interpret the data
  • Lack of motivation to apply data to make improvements
  • Limited or no access to data relevant to your industry or specific worksite

If you are interested in using analytics to help improve your safety efforts, let us provide you with a personalized copy of the 2014 OSHA Benchmarking Report, which uses data analytics to identify the top risk factors affecting your industry segment.

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jillian Bender-Cormier @ 6:30 pm November 20, 2014