Read about how to manage and reduce your workplace risk, keeping your employees safe and making your workplace compliant.

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 online training portal on our website at www.www.bcnservices.com and visiting the login section.  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 a BCN Services forklift truck operator evaluation form. Contact us to receive this 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 same 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.  Have the names of your drivers ready to expedite on-line enrollment within one business day.

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Patrick Boeheim, Risk Manager

Health and safety Tips for Baby Boomers in the Workplace

Some basics about Baby Boomers in today’s workplace:

Q:  What’s a Baby Boomer?

A:  A person born between 1946 and 1964.

Q:  What percentage of Boomers make up the American work force?

A:  According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, it will soon be about 25 percent and that will continue to grow through 2020.  Boomers can expect to be working 4-5 years longer than their parents.

Q:  What advantages do Boomers bring to the work environment when it comes to risk?

A:  According to the National Research Council, they:

  • Are safer, having fewer work-related lost-time injuries that younger workers.
  • Have significantly lower incidences of short-term disability claims.

That said, Baby Boomers do bring some risk to the work environment that employers should be aware of.  Knowing what these risks are can help control business costs.  Improving health and safety initiatives will reduce claims.

Older workers (age 35 and above) are more susceptible to rotator cuff and knee injuries than younger workers as a result of lifting, carrying, slipping and falling.  To minimize these risks, common strategies could include: increased lighting, installing skid-resistant matting for floors, rugs and stair treads.  Whenever possible rotating light-duty tasks for manual-labor jobs helps to reduce fatigue, a leading cause of accidents.

The next time you need to “re-arrange the furniture” consider placing popular items and stock on shelves designed to minimize bending and reaching.

Instead of those two 15-minute breaks, what about three 10-minute breaks?  More frequent rest breaks help sustain employees in more physically demanding work, according to studies performed by the National Council on Compensation Insurance (NCCI) Holdings, Inc.

Make sure there’s a good match between each worker’s capabilities and job demands.  Another study by NCCI Holdings shows that job rotation or job accommodation, particularly in more physically demanding work, minimizes accidents and injuries. It is best to do this before a disability has occurred.

As we age, our vision may slip a bit.  Poor vision can also lead to accidents.  What to do?  In addition to providing adequate lighting, promote eye screenings.  And when purchasing sings, consider text size and color contrast.

Certain health risk factors such as smoking, obesity and lack of sleep have a strong correlation with injury rates at work and home, contributing to longer return-to-work times.  Include components in your wellness programs that address these concerns to improve your bottom line.

Whether a Boomer, Millennial, Gen X or the up-and-coming Gen Z, everyone will benefit from health and safety efforts to reduce the frequency and severity of accidents and injuries at work and at home.

If you need help with this topic or other employment matters, call BCN at 1-800-891-9911 or visit us here.  Let BCN handle that!

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Patrick Boeheim, Risk Manager

Michigan’s Workers’ Compensation Law is Changing How Injuries are Handled

The 2011 changes in Michigan’s workers’ compensation law approved by Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder began to take hold in 2012.  These updates to the law were intended to bring clarity to the statute in several areas and attract and keep business in Michigan.  Let’s highlight just four substantial revisions here.

  1. Time extended for directing injured employee’s medical care: One significant change allows employers to direct the medical care of an injured employee during the first 28 days of an injury or disease.  Previously, the employer had 10 days to direct the care.  Directing post-injury care is vital to providing quality treatment and keeping costs reasonable.  Whenever possible, occupational medical facilities are the best choice for care and treatment of employees.  These facilities understand the dynamics of a work-related disability and prompt recovery.The key to putting the treatment on solid footing is ensuring a positive experience for the employee while offering needed treatment after an injury whether your employee receives a couple of stitches or strains a shoulder.  Although they provide vital medical care, emergency rooms, urgent care clinics and family physicians are not as adept in handling worker injuries and should not be a first choice unless the severity of the injury warrants it or no other alternative is available.
  2. Pre-existing medical condition definition clarified: Prior to the 2011 changes, a pre-existing medical condition often extended the duration of a worker’s compensation claim as it was difficult to distinguish between a work-related disability and the pre-existing condition itself.  A second change in the statutory language clarifies that a pre-existing condition is not payable under workers’ compensation unless there has been a change in the pathology of the pre-existing condition caused by a work injury.
  3. Such conditions must “significantly change” or are not covered: A degenerative arthritis located in the back area can be a pre-existing condition.  When a worker having degenerative arthritis sustains a back injury, that condition can complicate and extend treatment and recovery, keeping an employee off the job if not addressed early.  A third change in the statutory language specifies that degenerative arthritis is part of the aging process and would be considered work related if the injury aggravates or accelerates the degenerative arthritis in a significant manner. If the pre-existing condition has not changed in a significant manner, it is not workers’ comp.  Physicians should be asked more often and more proactively to medically distinguish between the “pre existing condition” and the worker’s injury.  This change is expected to limit the duration of many claims, particularly as our population ages.
  4. Mental disability language strengthened:  A fourth change brings further clarity and stability to the overall system regarding mental disabilities.  These are work related if they arise out of actual events of employment, not unfounded perceptions.  The new law states that the “the employee’s perception of actual events” must be “reasonably grounded in fact or reality.”

These are but a few of the statutory changes intended to modernize and provide greater efficiency in the workers’ compensation system in Michigan.  While the Dec.19, 2011 law signed by Gov. Snyder is barely one year old, the system is already experiencing greater discipline and proactive management when it comes to claims handling.

At BCN Services, we manage day-to-day items such as Workers’ Compensation claims and offer employers up-to-date advice about changes in the law.  Call us toll-free at 1-800-891-9911 or in southeast Michigan at 1-734-994-4100 or contact us here.  Let BCN handle that!

PatrickBoeheim_6705

Patrick Boeheim, Risk Manager