One of the first things hackers do when they attempt to infiltrate computer systems is to try using any common or stolen passwords. And, if your employees aren’t careful to use effective passwords and change them regularly, both they and your business can be exposed to data breaches, phishing schemes and other costly cyber attacks.
Most people don’t manage their passwords effectively because of the misconception that strong passwords need to be long and difficult to remember. However, there are a few simple steps you can relay to your employees in order to ensure that passwords are both hard for hackers to figure out and easy to manage:
Build passwords around familiar phrases. Long passwords are harder for computer programs to guess, so using a long but familiar phrase, like a favorite song lyric or quote, is a great start to making a password.
Use a password management service. Many people write their passwords down on paper or in a word processor, but keeping them anywhere insecure makes it easier for hackers to access them. Instead, encourage your employees to use a reputable password management service to keep all of their login credentials safe. Contact us today for more resources that can help improve your cyber security, including our new “Employee Cyber Training – Passwords” video.
Everyone feels stressed from time to time. But what is stress? How does it affect your health? And what can you do about it?
Stress is how the brain and body respond to any demand. Every type of demand or stressor – such as exercise, work, school, major life changes, or traumatic events – can be stressful.
Stress can affect your health. It is important to pay attention to how you deal with minor and major stress events so that you know when to seek help.
Here are five things you should know about stress:
1 Stress affects everyone.
Everyone feels stressed from time to time. Some people may cope with stress more effectively or recover from stressful events more quickly than others. There are different types of stress – all of which carry physical and mental health risks. A stressor may be a one time or short term occurrence, or it can be an occurrence that keeps happening over a long period of time.
Examples of stress include:
- Routine stress related to the pressures of work, school, family, and other daily responsibilities
- Stress brought about by a sudden negative change, such as losing a job, divorce, or illness
- Traumatic stress experienced in an event like a major accident, war, assault, or a natural disaster where people may be in danger of being seriously hurt or killed. People who experience traumatic stress often experience temporary symptoms of mental illness, but most recover naturally soon after.
2 Not all stress is bad.
Stress can motivate people to prepare or perform, like when they need to take a test or interview for a new job. Stress can even be life-saving in some situations. In response to danger, your body prepares to face a threat or flee to safety. In these situations, your pulse quickens, you breathe faster, your muscles tense, your brain uses more oxygen and increases activity – all functions aimed at survival.
3 Long-term stress can harm your health.
Health problems can occur if the stress response goes on for too long or becomes chronic, such as when the source of stress is constant, or if the response continues after the danger has subsided. With chronic stress, those same life-saving responses in your body can suppress immune, digestive, sleep, and reproductive systems, which may cause them to stop working normally.
Different people may feel stress in different ways. For example, some people experience mainly digestive symptoms, while others may have headaches, sleeplessness, sadness, anger or irritability. People under chronic stress are prone to more frequent and severe viral infections, such as the flu or common cold. Routine stress may be the hardest type of stress to notice at first.
Because the source of stress tends to be more constant than in cases of acute or traumatic stress, the body gets no clear signal to return to normal functioning. Over time, continued strain on
your body from routine stress may contribute to serious health problems, such as heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and other illnesses, as well as mental disorders like depression or anxiety.
4 There are ways to manage stress.
The effects of stress tend to build up over time.Taking practical steps to manage your stress can reduce or prevent these effects.The following are some tips that may help you to cope with stress:
- Recognize the Signs of your body’s response tostress, such as difficulty sleeping, increased alcoholand other substance use, being easily angered,feeling depressed, and having low energy.
- Talk to Your Doctor or Health Care Provider.Get proper health care for existing or newhealth problems.
- Get Regular Exercise. Just 30 minutes perday of walking can help boost your moodand reduce stress.
- Try a Relaxing Activity. Explore stress copingprograms, which may incorporate meditation,yoga, tai chi, or other gentle exercises. For somestress-related conditions, these approaches areused in addition to other forms of treatment.Schedule regular times for these and other healthyand relaxing activities. Learn more about thesetechniques on the National Center forComplementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH)website at (www.nccih.nih.gov/health/stress).
- Set Goals and Priorities. Decide what must getdone and what can wait, and learn to say no tonew tasks if they are putting you into overload.Note what you have accomplished at the end ofthe day, not what you have been unable to do.
- Stay Connected with people who can provideemotional and other support.To reduce stress, askfor help from friends, family, and community orreligious organizations.
Consider a Clinical Trial. Researchers at theNational Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), NCCIH,and other research facilities across the country arestudying the causes and effects of psychologicalstress, and stress management techniques.Youcan learn more about studies that are recruitingby visiting www.nimh.nih.gov/joinastudy orwww.clinicaltrials.gov (keyword: stress).
5 If you’re overwhelmed by stress, ask for help from a health professional.
You should seek help right away if you have suicidal thoughts, are overwhelmed, feel you cannot cope, or are using drugs or alcohol to cope.Your doctor may be able to provide a recommendation.You can find resources to help you find a mental health provider by visiting www.nimh.nih.gov/findhelp.
Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
Anyone experiencing severe or long-term, unrelenting stress can become overwhelmed. If you or a loved one is having thoughts of suicide, call the toll-free National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (http:// suicidepreventionlifeline.org/) at 1-800-273-TALK (8255), available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The service is available to anyone.All calls are confidential.
For More Information
For more information on conditions that affect mental health, resources, and research, visit www.mentalhealth.gov, or the NIMH website at www.nimh.nih.gov. In addition, the National Library of Medicine’s MedlinePlus service has information on a wide variety of health topics, including conditions that affect mental health.
National Institute of Mental Health
Office of Science Policy, Planning and Communications
Science Writing, Press, and Dissemination Branch
6001 Executive Boulevard
Room 6200, MSC 9663
Bethesda, MD 20892-9663
Phone: 301–443–4513 or
Toll-free: 1–866–615–NIMH (6464)
TTY: 301–443–8431 or TTY Toll-free: 1–866–415–8051
NIH Publication No. OM 16-4310
According to OSHA, a Maine-based roofing contractor has ignored numerous safety standards and exposed workers to significant fall risks for a number of years. OSHA cited the contractor – which has operated under the names Lessard Roofing & Siding and Lessard Brothers Construction – for safety violations at 11 different worksites between 2000 and 2011. However, the contractor failed to address the citations or pay any of the issued fines.
In 2011- after Lessard initially failed to address the OSHA citations – the 1st Circuit Court of Appeals ordered the contractor to correct the worksite violations, implement appropriate safety measures and pay accumulated fines with interest. Now, the court has held Lessard’s owner in civil contempt for defying the original 2011 order.
As a part of the recent court ruling, Lessard must do the following:
- Provide financial documentation to demonstrate the contractor’s ability to pay the $389,685 in outstanding OSHA fines.
- Ensure that employees and contractors use required safety equipment and fall protection.
- Conduct worksite safety analyses and meetings.
- Employ a competent person to ensure work proceeds according to OSHA regulations.
- Give OSHA details about each of the contractor’s worksites so the agency can conduct safety inspections.
Falls from ladders and roofs still account for the majority of injuries at work. In fact, fall protection violations are one of OSHA’s most frequent citations every year, with 6,072 issued in 2017 alone. Identifying fall hazards and deciding how to protect workers is the first step in eliminating or reducing fall hazards. Contact us at 831-661-5697 for OSHA programs, presentations and training materials you can use to protect your employees and avoid costly fines.