Noise Induced Hearing Loss is serious. Some 30 million people are at risk in the workplace, in recreational settings, and at home. In fact, it is the second most self reported work-related illness or injury. Already, 22 million American adults ages 20 to 69 have permanently damaged their hearing from exposure to loud sounds.
Seven U.S. anesthesiologists have reported that drug shortages resulted in deaths of their patients, according to a new survey from the American Society of Anesthesiologists. Are these deaths the canary in the mine?
One of the issues relative to controlling costs in medical expenses is the lack of transparency in health care organizations. When you shop for any other product outside of this category, you can compare prices, whether it is for buying car insurance, homeowners coverage or tires. Why doesn’t health care provide the same opportunity?
To keep employees safe at work takes a plan and commitment to follow it. The National Safety Council model safety management system includes the following nine elements organized into three key performance areas.
- Management leadership and commitment
- System management and communications
- Assessments, audits and performance measurements
Technical – Operational
- Hazard identification and risk reduction
- Workplace design and engineering
- Operational processes and procedures
Cultural – Behavioral
- Worker and management involvement
- Motivation, behavior and attitudes
- Training and orientation
- Reduce the risk of premature death
- Reduce the risk of developing and/or dying from heart disease
- Reduce high blood pressure or the risk of developing high blood pressure
- Reduce high cholesterol or the risk of developing high cholesterol
- Reduce the risk of developing colon cancer and breast cancer
- Reduce the risk of developing diabetes
- Reduce or maintain body weight or body fat
- Build and maintain healthy muscles, bones, and joints
- Reduce depression and anxiety
- Improve psychological well-being
- Enhanced work, recreation, and sport performance
Our bodies are designed to move. We need to build exercise into our busy schedules to stay healthy.
Move More – Eat Less – Don’t Smoke
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce estimates that 75% of all employees steal at least once, and that half of these steal again …and again. The Chamber also reports that one of every three business failures are the direct result of employee theft. Loss Prevention executives responding to the University of Florida National Retail Security Survey attribute 42.7% of their annual shrinkage losses to employee theft. So how can a company prevent this type of unwanted activity? Each industry is different but here are some good overall pointers.
- Pre-screen employees. For as little as $20 you can check criminal records, credit history or other information. Employers can identify theft patterns, workplace violence issues or previous sexual harassment problems and react accordingly. Addressing these issues before employment begins is much easier than attempting to correct a problem uncovered after the start of employment.
- Conduct frequent physical inventories. Pilferage is one of the most common forms of internal loss. Reconcile sales to inventory on a quarterly basis, or at least annually, with the help of a third party. Conduct surprise inventories.
- Separate bookkeeping functions. Misapplication of payments can lead to embezzlement. Do not let the same person who processes checks also manage the accounts receivable records.
- Personally approve bookkeeping adjustments. Approve any adjustments to the books no matter how slight – even adjustments to correct an error.
- Control check signers. Limit the number of signatories to yourself and one or two highly trusted assistants. Keep blank checks under lock and key.
- Review monthly bank statements. Instruct your bank to send the monthly statement directly to you. Review the statement before passing it on to your bookkeeper. This review allows you to spot any improperly executed checks.
- Tighten up on petty cash. Allow only one or two trusted employees to disburse petty cash. Require that a receipt and a signed voucher be submitted for all petty cash disbursements.
- Separate buying and bookkeeping. To maintain a system of checks and balances, assign ordering and payment responsibilities to different employees.
- Watch company credit cards. Require all credit cards be signed out and all credit card expenses be authorized by a purchase order.
- Document all expense reports. Require strict documentation for all reimbursable expenses incurred by employees. Subject every expense account voucher to a pre-audit review procedure before payment.
- Have a third party refund policy. Issue refunds only upon the approval of a third party, preferably a trusted assistant.By taking a look at these policies and procedures and making adjustments, companies can avoid a myriad of problems and therefore increase productivity and profitability.
Following these pointers will go a long way in preventing employee theft.
- Working slowly
- Missing deadlines
- Calling in sick frequently
- Increasing absenteeism
- Expressing irritability and anger
- Difficulty concentrating and making decisions
- Appearing numb or emotionless
- Withdrawing from work activity
- Forgetting directives, procedures and requests
- Having difficulty with work transitions or changes in routines
These symptoms could also result when an employee has a family member suffering from a mental health problem or other serious health issue. Such situations can sometimes disrupt the employee’s working hours, lead to absences, affect concentration and decrease morale as much as it would if the employee had the mental health problem.
Total Worker Health™ is a strategy integrating occupational safety and health protection with health promotion to prevent worker injury and illness and to advance health and well-being.
The protection, preservation, and improvement of the health and well-being of all people who work are goals shared by workers, their families, and employers. Today, more than ever, there is increasing evidence that the work environment and the overall health, safety and well-being of the workers within it are strongly connected. Diminished health and injury, whether caused by work or resulting from non-work activities, reduces quality of life, opportunity, and income for workers and those dependent upon them. Conversely, workplaces with low risk of injury and enhanced opportunities for the total health of workers can lead to a vibrant, engaged and highly performing workforce.
Whether you have a strong back or have hurt your back before, it is well worth it to:
- Stop yourself before casually picking up a light or heavy load.
- Plan in your mind for the best way to lift whats in front of you. This could include enlisting help from one or more people.
- Lift and move slowly and carefully.
The time you take to use the right lifting mechanics is far less than the days, weeks, or months it can take to heal from a back injury.
In 1895, Joseph Malins wrote a poem entitled “Ambulance Down in the Valley”, and the following is an excerpt from his poetic case for prevention:
For the voice of true wisdom is calling.
“To rescue the fallen is good, but ’tis best
To prevent other people from falling.”
Better close up the source of temptation and crime
Than deliver from dungeon or galley;
Better put a strong fence ’round the top of the cliff
Than an ambulance down in the valley.
Our current medical system is very much like that “ambulance down in the valley”. The current onslaught of people suffering from chronic disease, illnesses and injuries is disturbing. However, even more disheartening is that many, if not most, of those medical conditions could be avoided or significantly delayed – if only those people could turn back the hands of time and alter the millions of small but significant daily choices that led to those unintended consequences. The harsh reality is that largely, how we live dictates how we die. We would be better served to consider the full value of health rather than the inexorable cost of dying. Let’s continue to build a strong fence ’round the top of the cliff.