Vehicle Emergency Kits Prepare You for Winter’s Worst
The Christmas blizzard of 2012 provided a stark reminder that Mother Nature has little regard for schedules and there is wisdom behind carrying an emergency kit in your vehicle.
While weather forecasters were able to provide ample warning that the Christmas storm was on its way, it is not always possible for motorists to prepare for severe weather conditions. That is why experts recommend an emergency kit remain in the vehicle throughout the winter.
Emergency kits can include items such as:
Blankets or sleeping bags
Windshield scraper and snow brush
Flashlight and extra batteries
Traction aids such as sand or cat litter
Snacks and water
The Cape Girardeau area was under a blizzard warning Christmas night because snow and strong winds combined to produce near-zero visibility conditions, deep drifts and life-threatening wind chills. Other winter weather advisories include:
Winter storm watch – A general alert that a storm is likely
Winter weather advisory – Conditions are likely to generate hazardous conditions, especially for drivers
Frost/freeze warning – Below-freezing temperatures are expected and may cause damage to plants, crops or fruit trees
Winter storm warning – Take action to prepare for a storm about to enter the area
Wind chill warning – Wind chill is an estimation of how cold it feels when combining the effects of temperature and wind speed
To learn more about how Saint Francis Medical Center can help keep your employees safe, call Chad Clippard, referral services manager, at 573-331-3019.
Employers Can Help Injured Workers Return to Work
Helping injured employees return to work in a reduced capacity requires collaboration between healthcare providers and employers. Whether the employee’s restrictions are temporary or permanent, employers may need to provide appropriate training to assist with the transition.
Light duties: The worker’s duties are limited according to the healthcare provider’s recommendations, requiring less physical exertion than their pre-injury job.
Lesser duties: The employer allows the worker to perform reduced duties at a slower pace.
Alternate duties: While the worker may be unable to perform their regular duties, they may be able to perform other duties within their limitations. The employer may need to provide a short-term training program to assist the worker in acquiring the necessary skills to perform alternate duties safely.
Reduced hours: The employer may need to reduce the employee’s work hours to match their tolerance level during recovery.
Temporary accommodation as treatment: The healthcare provider may ask the employer to make additional modifications to the worker’s job duties to accommodate the recovery process. These include work hardening, extended therapy and graduated duties (as described below).
Work hardening: Work duties may be part of the employee’s conditioning and strengthening process. These duties enhance the employee’s physical ability until they are able to perform their regular duties.
Extended therapy: The healthcare provider works with the employer in designing a treatment program that gradually incorporates actual work duties in a work setting. Supervision ensures that the worker performs their duties correctly and within their physical ability.
Graduated duties: Work accommodations enable the employee to return to work as soon as they are medically able, gradually resuming regular duties as their recovery allows.
If the injured employee is unable to return to their previous duties, next steps may include a permanent accommodation in which the employer participates in an appropriate job change effort. This may include a work assessment and on-the-job training.
Work assessment refers to evaluating the employee as to their ability to perform different job duties. An assessment may be necessary prior to enrolling in a formal training program or participating in on-the-job training. On-the-job training features new duties for the employee performed under the supervision of a qualified worker. This option is most effective if a job is available immediately following the training period.
To learn more about how Saint Francis Medical Center can help injured workers return to work, call Chad Clippard, referral services manager, at 573-331-3019.
Health and Safety Are Small Business Issues, Too
Employee health and safety is just as important for small business owners as it is for large employers, and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has programs in place to assist in this regard.
Why is safety and health important for small businesses?
In addition to being the right thing to do, protecting your workforce makes good business sense. Studies show an effective safety and health program can save $4 to $6 for every dollar invested in terms of increased productivity, higher employee morale and lower workers’ compensation costs.
How can you develop a program for your workplace?
The most effective health and safety programs blend with the unique operations and culture of each workplace. The five key elements your program should have include:
Management leadership and employee participation
Hazard prevention and control
Safety and health training and education
What role does communication play?
The level of collaboration between leadership and workforce directly affects the extent to which buy-in occurs for the business’s health and safety program. Effective ways to involve the workforce in this effort can include:
Involve employees in policymaking on safety and health issues
Hold meetings to encourage employee input
Post the company’s safety and health policy for all to see
Create safety and health committees featuring employee participation
What is involved with an OSHA Consultation visit?
This voluntary compliance program helps employers find out about potential hazards and how to improve their occupational safety and health management. This service offers workplace safety and health training, as well as technical assistance. A consultation visit is completely separate from OSHA’s inspection efforts, and there are no citations or penalties imposed as a result of any issues discovered during the visit. An employer’s only obligation is correcting any serious hazards identified by the consultant.
To schedule a Saint Francis Medical Center physician to assess your workplace, call Chad Clippard, referral services manager, at 573-331-3019.