Take a Step in the Right Direction: Complete a Worksite Safety Analysis

National Safety Month

Frequency and severity are the two main factors that drive up the costs of workers’ compensation.  Frequency means how often claims occur.  Severity means how much claims cost.

In the not too distant past, underwriters have given employers a “get out of jail free” card when it came to frequency.  They didn’t give frequency as much weight as they did to severity.  But, times are a changin’.  In the future, underwriters will give both factors equal footing.  And that’s something to consider when it comes to safety.

What can I do to help ensure I am keeping my place of business as safe as possible for my employees?

One simple thing to you can do:  Periodically review potential hazards through the use of a self-inspection checklist (click here to download checklist) before an injury or incident occurs.  This list is a scaled-down version of what a safety inspector from the state may use to conduct an inspection.  While no form is all-inclusive and some items may not apply to your operation as no form is all inclusive, the checklist helps to identify unsafe or potentially unsafe conditions and practices which are likely to result in injury or illness to an employee.

Take the time to ask questions like:

  • Are materials stored so they do not stick out or fall?
  • Are emergency exits clearly marked?
  • Are your tools and equipment in good condition?

If completing this checklist raises further questions in your mind about safety at your place of business, all the better.  BCN Services can help with that!

So, take the “checklist challenge”.  It’s a form that can be completed in less than one hour.

And while completing the checklist, here’s a simple goal to accomplish:  identify three areas or topics you feel your employees would benefit from regarding safety training and to further advance a safe work environment.

Then call BCN Services and let us set up those training sessions for you and your employees.  Most sessions take about 15 minutes.  We’ll also handle the related record-keeping and provide a  “certificate of completion” to each employee showing your commitment to their safety.

Whether you need to start or continue conversation about safety at your place of business, each of these suggestions will help ensure your employees feel comfortable in alerting you or another member of management when they see things that look hazardous or out of place.  That promotes shared responsibility.

Safety experts tell us that every accident or injury is preventable.  Each of these suggestions will help you in improving frequency and severity regarding workers’ compensation claims.

Whether or not you’ve experienced claims in the past, a proactive safety program is an effective way to create and sustain a positive work environment and a successful business for you, your family and your employees.

And that’s definitely a step in the right direction!

Do you have questions about safety in your workplace?  BCN Services can help you assess your situation and create a safety oriented environment.  Contact us at 1-800-891-9911 or click here to be directed to our contact us page.

 

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Patrick Boeheim, Risk Manager

Employee complaints relating to wage-and-hour claims rise 126% over 10 years

Employee-initiated Wage and Hour claims are on the rise in the U.S. In the past year the number of claims for wages has increased by 700 and over the past 10 years the number of cases has grown by 126 percent.

The U.S. Department of Labor Wage and Hour Division enforces Federal minimum wage, overtime pay, recordkeeping, and child labor requirements of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). WHD also enforces the Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Worker Protection Act, the Employee Polygraph Protection Act, the Family and Medical Leave Act, wage garnishment provisions of the Consumer Credit Protection Act, and a number of employment standards and worker protections as provided in several immigration related statutes.

There are three major categories of investigations falling under the FLSA that have been increasing:

  • Employees classified as exempt who believe they should be entitled to overtime pay.
  • Non-exempt or “hourly” workers who believe they are not being paid for all of the hours they worked.
  • Restaurant and hospitality workers who receive tips and feel that they are not making the state or federal minimum wage when their tip income is factored in.

Do you have questions about business practices relating to exempt employee status?  BCN Services can help you determine whether or not an employee should be classified as exempt as well as what time is compensable to employees.  If you have questions, please contact us at 1-800-891-9911 or click here to be directed to our contact us page.

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Alicia Jester, Manager-Benefits and Payroll

JUNE IS NATIONAL SAFETY MONTH

BCN Services can train employees and keep you forklift safety compliant

Did you know that the fifth most cited OSHA/MIOSHA violation involves forklifts?    A serious case can cost up to $7,000 per violation a repeated violation up to $70,000 per violation.  A willful violation can cost an employer between $5,000-$70,000 per violation.

BCN Services has a four-part program that can have your employees trained with a forklift permit in hand quickly and efficiently

Only qualified, trained operators who have successfully completed a training program and received a written permit are allowed to operate forklifts.  Drivers need to be properly trained and renew their individual operator permits every 3 years.  As an employer, you are responsible to provide forklift training.

Forklift training must involve four parts:

  1. Formal instruction (e.g. video tapes, interactive computer training or written materials)
  2. Practical training (i.e. demonstrations performed by the trainer and practical exercises performed by the trainee)
  3. The trainee passing an actual driving evaluation before beginning his or her initial job assignment
  4. Obtaining an operator’s permit

Here’s the good news!  BCN Services can help you achieve all four parts:

  1. Your employees receive OSHA-compliant forklift training via our website at www.bcnservices.com.  The first part of the interactive training takes about an hour and can be done in a small group/classroom setting with an internet connection.  Or, if you prefer, training may be done individually, depending on what works best for your operation.
  2. The second part of forklift training can be performed by your most experienced forklift driver at your facility with the assistance of  the attached BCN Services forklift truck operator evaluation form.
  3.  The third part of the training (the driving test) can also be completed on-site with your most experienced forklift driver evaluating and using the attached form.
  4. Upon completion of each step, BCN Services will provide your drivers with an equipment operator permit and a laminated certificate of completion.  (BCN Services will also handle the necessary recordkeeping for each driver).

To get set up with this process, call Patrick Boeheim at 800-891-9911, ext. 108 or Danielle Knuth at ext. 132.  Have the names of your drivers ready to expedite on-line enrollment within one business day.

And, while you’re at it, why not download this free forklift safety poster and post it in the break room?   Click Safety Poster to download poster.

 

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Patrick Boeheim, Risk Manager

EPLI: What is Employment Practice Liability Insurance and why do I need it?

If you are a PEO client of BCN, your company is provided with employment practice liability insurance (EPLI), a benefit that may not be used every day, but is important nonetheless.

This specialized insurance is designed to protect against losses incurred in litigating and settling wrongful employment practices liability claims. It covers such things as discrimination, breach of contract and wrongful discharge suits, which usually are not covered by general business liability insurance.

In today’s business world, the threat of being sued is an everyday reality. The dangers are even more real if your company doesn’t’t have a dedicated human resources department or formal training to deal with myriad laws, rules and regulations that exist to protect employee rights.

Statistics show that in a bad economy employment lawsuits increase dramatically. One disgruntled worker can put your entire business at risk if he brings a lawsuit or discrimination charge against you — whether valid or not. The cost to defend the allegations alone could put your company out of business, not to mention the price you would pay if you lose.

Here are the top 5 reasons your company should have EPLI coverage:

  1. Employee lawsuits and discrimination charges are excluded under standard general liability policies;
  2. Every employer, large or small, can be the target of legal action from past, present, and prospective employees;
  3. Owners’, directors’ and officers’ personal assets can be at risk;
  4. Employees file more than 90,000 complaints each year with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission;
  5. Employees can easily file lawsuits, often with no risk or cost to them.

While you are responsible for deductibles and legal costs not covered by the policy,  BCN Services has made it easier and cost efficient in 2013 to mitigate your expenses of a claim by negotiating an arrangement with our carrier to allow us to provide the initial investigative work to our clients on EPLI claims with our law firm’s oversight, saving significantly on legal expenses.  To minimize claims, BCN’s trained and certified HR professionals will help guide you through employee relations and other compliance issues thereby greatly reducing your risk.

Remember to always report any incident which could give rise to a claim immediately to the BCN Human Resource Department by phone.  For further information about EPLI,  contact us at 800-891-9911 or click here (http:www.bcnservices.com/node/5) to leave us an electronic message.

 

 

Kate Douglass (200x174)

Kate Douglass, Senior HR Generalist