Archive | May, 2013

Steps for Before, During, and After a Tornado From FEMA’s Ready Campaign

22 May

As the recovery effort continues in states devastated by the recent storms and tornadoes, it is important to review what should be done to prepare for a tornado, how to act during the disaster, and what steps can be done afterwards for both those affected by the storm and those looking to volunteer, donate, or assist their neighbors in need.

FEMA’s Ready Campaign issued the following important reminder:

PREPARING BEFORE FOR A TORNADO

Every state is at some risk of tornadoes and the damage that they leave behind. Some tornadoes are clearly visible, while rain or nearby low-hanging clouds obscure others. Occasionally, tornadoes develop so rapidly that little, if any, advance warning is possible. To begin preparing for any disaster, you should build an emergency kit and make a family communications plan.

When your area is under a Tornado Watch, be alert to changing weather conditions and listening to NOAA Weather Radio or to commercial radio or television newscasts for the latest information. Ready.gov has Planning Tools for whether you are a business, school and workplace, Indian country, or anything in between.

Through the use of everyday technology, individuals, families, responders and organizations can successfully prepare for, adapt to and recover from disruptions brought on by emergencies and/or disasters. With effective planning, it is possible to take advantage of technology before, during and after a crisis to communicate with loved ones and manage your financial affairs. Continue reading

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Time to Plan and Train for Heat Illness

11 May

Depending on where you live and work, you may already have experienced warm weather, and even heat alerts. Now is the time to plan for and train your employees about heat illness.
This is a legal requirement in California, Washington and a few other states, and was the 2nd leading cause for Cal/OSHA citations in 2012.
So what do you need to know and do?
#1- have a written plan to deal with heat illness for all employees who work outside, even if they only work outside a portion of their time. #2- train employees about the risks of heat illness, how to prevent heat illness and what to do about it; #3- ensure that employees know the importance of drinking adequate amounts of water and have access to water; #4- make sure employees recognize the signs of heat illness and have shade to rest to cover from the symptoms. Encourage them to respond to any signs of heat illness; #5- have plans for how you will respond with emergency medical help for employees who suffer heat distress; and #6- make sure your managers and supervisors receive training on heat illness, the importance of water, shade, and how to respond to signs of distress.
The early days on the job, and the first days of warm weather, particularly if the humidity is high, are the most critical. Employees need to “acclimate” to the heat conditions. Almost all heat illnesses occur on the first few days of hot weather or first days on the job.
For more specific training or information, email me at DonDressler1@hotmail.com for a free copy of a power point Heat Illness training program or visit the California Department of Industrial Relations website at: http://www.dir.ca.gov/dosh/heatillnessinfo.html

Texting While Driving is An Epidemic-A Higher Cause of Deaths Than Even Drinking While Driving

5 May

Most American teenagers are told not to text and drive, but the evidence is millions are not listening.
In an analysis of a 2011 survey done by the Centers for Disease Control, 46 percent of drivers at age 17 admitted they texted while driving, a number that rose to 52 percent for drivers over 18.
The survey alarmed the research team because of evidence that distracted driving – including texting – is now the leading single cause of teenage fatalities.
Dr. Andrew Adesman co-authored the study.
“Texting while driving is just becoming sort of epidemic, and it’s a higher cause of deaths than even drinking while driving,” said Adesman. “The impairment that comes with texting is worse than drinking while driving.”
Forty-six states have responded by banning most or all texting while driving, but the laws don’t seem to work with teenagers.
When researchers compared states with and without prohibitions, the level of teen texting was almost the same.
It is up to all of us to set an example, and hold all of us and our children, our friends and each other accountable. There should be no reason to rely on law enforcement to do this job for us.
See the CBS news story at: tp://www.cbsnews.com/8301-18563_162-57582911/study-shows-disturbing-reality-of-texting-while-driving

Don’t Let FMLA Leave Cause You Problems

5 May

Employers with 50 or more employees, (for 20 workweeks in the current calendar year or the preceding calendar year) are covered by the Federal Family Medical Leave Act – and in California are also regulated by the state’s California Family Rights Act. Both laws require eligible employees to be given time off under certain circumstances without pay for their own illness, caring for family members, and certain other situations. While the leave generally is for up to 12 weeks maximum within a one year period, the employer is obligated to continue the employee’s participation in group health insurance on the same basis as if work had continued..
Recently employers have experienced problems when they felt employees were out on leave for too long a period of time, or the employee was absent without notification to the employer.
An employer can protect themselves from many of these difficulties, but only if:
1. The required FMLA poster is displayed, and the poster was recently updated by the US Department of Labor effective March 8, 2013.
2. Notice about FMLA and requirements of the employer are provided to employees, most effectively done by a well written section in an Employee Handbook
3. When an employee requests time off – notification of approval or denial of FMLA leave and FMLA rights must be provided. This is an area many employers fail to observe.
4. You also should have a “no call/no show = voluntary quit” policy so employees who do not follow procedures and call in on time when they are going to be absent from work are treated as having quit their job. Courts have upheld this rule,
A copy of the latest FMLA poster, as well as model forms for the required notices are available at the US Department of Labor’s website: http://www.dol.gov/whd/fmla