COVID-19 has changed the way we are going to remember this Independence day weekend. Governor Newsom has announced stricter restrictions and closures ahead of the July 4th weekend, including a crackdown on mask wearing violations. Public fireworks have been cancelled in most counties.
However, it is a big holiday weekend and Americans will celebrate, here are some safety tips.
Take Precautions While Grilling
Burgers, hot dogs, fruit and pizza taste delicious when they’re grilled. Grab your favorite side dishes and follow a few precautions that ensure you and your guests grill safely.
- – Always supervise the grill when it’s in use.
- – Never grill indoors or in a fully enclosed area such as a garage or tent.
- – Use lighter fluid sparingly and never after the coals are ignited.
- – Keep children and pets away from the hot grill.
- – Remove flammable objects, including trees, from near the grill.
- – Use long-handled tools to handle food.
Use Fireworks Safely (if allowed)
Public fireworks displays are the safest way to enjoy the beautiful colors and terrific booms of this July 4th tradition, especially when you maintain a distance of at least 500 feet between you and the show. Firework displays at home can be fun though too. If you go that route, take these precautions.
- Follow the instructions on the packaging.
- Never allow children to play with the fireworks.
- Stock a fire extinguisher or water supply nearby.
- Wear eye protection when lighting fireworks.
- Remove flammable materials from the area.
- Never point fireworks toward people, animals, vehicles or structures.
- Properly dispose of duds rather than trying to relight them.
Stay Safe on the Beach (if allowed in your area)
Swimming is a fun summer activity, and it’s good exercise. At the beach, lake, public pool or backyard pool, stay safe with these tips.
- – Swim only in designated areas.
- – Obey the lifeguard and all posted signs.
- – Swim sober.
- – Get out of the water during a storm or if you hear thunder or see lightening.
- – Require children to wear life jackets.
- – Don’t dive into shallow water.
Wear Sun Bathing Protection
Picnics are part of many July 4th celebrations. You should also take these protective measures.
- – Wear sunscreen that’s at least 15 SPF.
- – Remember to apply sunscreen to your ears, hair part and the tops of your feet.
- – Avoid direct sunlight between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. when the UV rays are strongest.
- – Reapply sunscreen every two to three hours or more frequently if you’re sweating.
- – Drink plenty of water even if you’re not thirsty.
- – Wear a hat, sunglasses and long sleeves if you have to be in direct sunlight.
- – Watch for signs of heat stroke, including hot, red skin, shallow breathing and rapid, weak pulse.
Please be safe out there, follow the rules and guidelines and have fun.
March 19 was the first day of spring – which makes this a good time to think about some “spring cleaning” around your workplace.
A thorough cleaning can enhance safety by eliminating hazards. Why not welcome in the spring by taking a careful look at some occasional and infrequent housekeeping tasks?
For example, clutter builds up in most work areas, creating such hazards as fire, tripping and blocked exits. Spring cleaning is the perfect time to dispose of:
Trash. Got a pile of broken pallets on the loading dock? Dumped a lot of construction debris on the back lot? Remove anything not in use that has piled up from the site.
Equipment. That frayed sling or wobbly ladder might be out of service, but if it’s not easy to repair, why is it still there?, even if it has a “do not use” tag on it, someone in a hurry or not paying close attention might use it anyway — and regret it afterward.
Chemicals. Old or unused chemicals create unnecessary workplace hazards. They might be flammable or toxic. What’s more, many chemicals that aren’t dangerous when purchased can become so as they deteriorate over time. Dispose of chemicals that are no longer in use, have passed their use-by dates, or have missing or illegible labels.
Clean and Repair. Besides clearing out the clutter, your spring cleaning can address infrequent needs that will boost worker safety and health. For example, maybe it’s time to clean and/or service:
Signs and labels. Signs and labels are important for workplace safety, warning workers of low clearances, identifying machinery controls and power sources, showing workers which direction materials in pipes are flowing, and much, much more. However, they also take a lot of abuse. Replace damaged signs and illegible labels, clean signs that have become too grimy to read, and re-hang signs that have been knocked askew.
Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems. A health hazard evaluation by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health found that properly maintained HVAC systems were associated with a decreased incidence of lower respiratory symptoms, allergies, and asthma among building occupants. Proper maintenance controls mold, bacteria, allergens, and other contaminants within the system.
Offices. University of Arizona researchers found that office phones, computer keyboards and mice, and desktops harbor 400 times more infectious bacteria than office toilet seats. Yet in most offices, vacuuming and emptying the trash are the only regular cleaning performed. Encourage workers to take disinfecting wipes to office surfaces — not just once a year, but daily if possible — to reduce infectious illness transmission in the workplace. Also, have your cleaning crew do an extra thorough job from time to time.
Remember, the cleaner your workplace, the safer your workers. Our risk management professionals would be happy to chat further– just give us a call.
With the current COVID-19 pandemic, more people are opting to away from crowds and social situations – and may work from home.
While and employer’s cybersecurity insurance can reduce liability, it makes sense to also implement several security measures in the telecommuting (work-from-home) policy to protect the company.
Use Secure Wi-Fi Networks
Sure, your employees could connect to their neighbor’s wireless network or use public Wi-Fi at a coffee shop. These unsecured networks can open the door for cybersecurity breaches, though. Instruct employees to only connect to secure Wi-Fi networks or provide a safe and secure Virtual Private Network (VPN) for use as they work.
Maintain Security Settings
To protect work-issued devices and confidential data, you may set security settings on the devices you give telecommuters. Remind employees that they should not use a proxy or other method to get around those security settings. Doing so will compromise their device and the company’s data.
From apps to data, everything employees access from their work-issued device should be protected by encryption. This security measure makes it harder for thieves and hackers to steal or access information.
Employees should only have access to essential data and files, not the company’s entire virtual filing cabinet. This limited access protects information and improves security
To get into the device and access various files, employees should use secure passwords. The ideal password contains letters, numbers and symbols, is not easy to guess and is unique to each site. Change passwords at least once a month, too. For additional safety, utilize a two-step authentication process, PIN or token system when logging it.
Prohibit Device Lending
It’s common for telecommuters to let a co-worker or family member use their laptop or phone for a few minutes to check email, play a game or make a call. Discourage this practice since the other person could download questionable content, drop or damage the device, access confidential files, or otherwise compromises the device or security.
Protect Devices from Theft
Leaving a laptop, tablet or phone unattended gives thieves an invitation to steal the device. Remind employees to keep their devices with them at all times and not leave their work devices unattended or in an unlocked vehicle. Likewise, they should take care to secure USB drives and other accessories from theft. You can add tracking capabilities to devices for additional security.
After every work session, employees should log out of the websites they accessed, their Wi-Fi network and their device. This log out procedure protects company data.
Telecommuting is a privilege that benefits your employees and company. Use these security measures to protect everyone.
A rise in temperatures this month can signal spring fever in your office. Your human resources department staff can improve focus and keep everyone on task in several ways.
1. Provide New Challenges
Your employees may feel distracted in part because they’re bored, so provide challenges. Ask them to work in a different department for a day, take on a special project or work with a high school intern. The challenge can provide a welcome distraction and jump-start focus and concentration.
2. Offer a Class
Give employees the opportunity to learn a new skill. You can poll your staff for suggestions or offer foreign language, management or coding classes. While learning something new, your employees will focus on something other than the nice weather.
3. Promote Exercise
Physical activity improves focus, an excellent reason to host a fitness class over lunch, offer discounts to the local gym or encourage employees to bike or walk to work. As your staff members add more exercise into their daily routines, they also focus better on their work-related tasks.
4. Encourage Breaks
Remind employees that breaks can improve their mental health, productivity and focus. Set a timer for hourly stretch breaks, and share the value of regular lunch breaks away from the desk.
5. Change the Scenery
Hang colorful artwork around the office or commission a floral mural in the break room. You can also allow employees to meet at a local coffee shop, play disc golf during lunch or hold walking meetings outdoors. Employees will appreciate the opportunity to enjoy the warm weather, and the change of scenery boosts creativity, productivity and motivation.
6. Stock Healthy Snacks and Beverages
Fill your break room with healthy food and beverage options, including fruit, veggies, whole grains and water. These snack options boost mood and creativity and improve your employees’ overall health.
7. Play a Game
Challenge employees to participate in a March Madness basketball bracket, host a chili cook-off or reward teams who reach productivity goals. Games keep employees entertained and as a bonus, you’ll see a stronger spirit of cooperation.
8. Bring the Outdoors Inside
Plants can purify the air and improve mood. Arrange plants around the office as you bring a bit of the outdoors inside your office.
9. Adjust Work Hours
If your employees can arrive early and leave work early, they get to enjoy the warm, sunny afternoon weather. Adjust work hours, if possible, and allow employees to indulge their spring fever while completing their work.
Spring fever might try to curtail productivity in your office, but you can improve focus with these steps. Everyone will be happier and work smarter thanks to your efforts.
Spring will be here soon, and bicycling can be a fun activity your entire family enjoys. Plus, it’s heart-healthy and reduces stress. Before heading out for a ride, be sure everyone in your family owns and wears a correctly sized bicycle helmet.
1. Verify Safety
Helmets manufactured since March 1999 must meet Consumer Product Safety Committee (CPSC) standards. Look for the CPSC label or sticker inside the helmet and know that this safety equipment will reduce the effects of any impacts.
2. Select the Right Size
Helmet size varies between brands, so take head circumference measurements before you buy helmets. To find your circumference, wrap a ribbon around your head. It should sit on your forehead, just above your ears and extend to the bottom of your hairline on your neck. Then, stretch the tape on a ruler.
Small: 52-58 centimeters
Medium: 56-62 centimeters
Large: 60-66 centimeters
Ideally, helmets should fit snugly but comfortably. They also should fit level on your head with the “Y” of the strap falling at your ear lobe’s bottom. Helmets should also rest low on your forehead and sit about one to two finger-widths above your eyebrows. With it on, you should be able to hear and see clearly.
3. Look for Padded Inserts
Sometimes, extra padding helps a helmet fit better, especially for kids. Follow manufacturer’s instructions when inserting the padding properly.
4. Choose a Color
Whether you want a helmet in your favorite color or one that matches your bike, the color isn’t as important as the fit. However, you may need to prioritize the helmet’s color as a way to encourage your reluctant children to wear and enjoy their bicycle helmets.
Your family can bicycle together and stay healthy as you bond. Just be sure to wear bicycle helmets. They prevent head injuries and are a must each time you step onto your bike. Choose the right helmet and stay safe.
Closer relationships among co-workers boost collaboration, teamwork, morale, productivity, job satisfaction, and wellness. As you observe Relationship Wellness Month in February, encourage better work relationships with these suggestions.
Do a Good Job
Employees who consistently do a poor job force their co-workers to do more work. Resentment grows, and your company may miss deadlines and lose customers.
Give employees a clear job description and set expectations for performance. Then celebrate employees who do a good job and meet their goals.
While it’s tempting for employees with similar interests to congregate together and avoid others who are different, greater acceptance improves relationships and personal well-being.
For this reason, provide opportunities for diverse employees to work together and find common ground. Plan team-building activities, too, as you celebrate and accept differences.
Share Less Personal Information
Your employees are human and will bring personal problems to work. However, distracted employees can make mistakes or cause accidents. Sharing too much information also causes discomfort and conflict between co-workers.
Remind employees to be professional at work. Also, promote the mental health benefits of your employer-sponsored health insurance or provide counseling services for employees.
Juicy tidbits of information about co-workers may seem entertaining, but gossip breaks down morale and can cause projects to suffer. It also reduces trust and respect.
Spread awareness about the dangers of gossip. You can also remind employees to change the subject or walk away from such conversations.
Disagreements and conflicts are normal, but these situations create tension and inhibit collaboration.
Create a straightforward conflict resolution process, and maintain an open door policy. With these conflict resolution strategies, co-workers address issues, resolve challenges and restore relationships.
Meeting a deadline or managing a big project can strain busy employees and increase stress.
Promote helpfulness and collaboration as you ease strain, stress and pressure. Everyone on the team can and should work together to get the job done right and on time.
Sometimes, bad things happen. Employees may make mistakes, struggle to adapt to change or feel unappreciated. Negative and bad moods are contagious, though, and affect everyone.
Instead of allowing negativity, implement a complaint procedure. Then lead by example as you promote positivity.
In the midst of busy workdays, your employees may not have time to socialize and truly get to know their co-workers.
Schedule an outing, activity or another fun event at least once a month. Give employees time to unwind, relax and get to know each other better.
To observe Relationship Wellness Month, look for ways to improve rapport at work. These tips help you build better relationships among co-workers and increase employee and company success.