Monthly Archives

April 2019


Considering the Employee Assistance Program (EAP)

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Aside from ensuring employee safety, employee happiness and morale is one of the most important elements of any business. It may seem like helping manage your employees’ personal happiness is outside of your realm of responsibility as an employer, however, personal issues may impact an employee’s performance, productivity, and focus.

Employee assistance programs (EAP) are delivered as a no-cost workplace wellness program that offers services to help employees deal with any personal problems they may be facing. This includes substance abuse, stress management, financial problems, and more.

Most EAPs offer 24/7 phone access to trained counselors. The counselors are trained to discuss sensitive issues while maintaining employee confidentiality. The EAP offers direct counseling and treatment rather than just referrals to other practitioners.

Employers will also find benefit from the EAP as they have provided employees access to a resource that can help to remedy personal issues that could cause a decrease in productivity, absenteeism, or eventually abandoning their position.

Harbor America’s EAP includes access to highly-trained and experienced clinical providers, financial consultants, and elder care or child care specialists. With the goal of assisting employees to resolve issues before they get worse, Harbor America has the best interest in mind for you and your business. Contact us today to add EAP to your employee benefits program.

The SPCC Rule: What you Need to Know

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The Spill Prevention, Control, and Countermeasure (SPCC) rule helps organizations create, maintain, and implement an SPCC plan to prevent or control spills should one occur. Information on how to create your own SPCC plan can be found on the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) site, along with plan templates and examples. While risks are a natural part of any business, Harbor America aims to control risks, including environmental oil spills, in order to establish the long-term success of your business. Contact us for additional information.

What You Need to Know:

  • SPCC stands for Spills Prevention, Control, and Countermeasure
  • The SPCC Task Force was formed in 1988 after the Floreffe, Pennsylvania oil spill.
  • The rule clarifies provisions in the Oil Pollution Prevention regulation, regulates facilities, and requires facility-specific response plans.
  • The goal of SPCC is to prevent oil spills from reaching waters or shorelines.
  • In the event of an oil spill, contact the National Response Center, the EPA regional office, or the US Coast Guard Marine Safety Office.

Learn more about where your organization stands in terms of the SPCC rule by visiting the EPA website. Contact Harbor America to learn more.

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Hazard Communication Program Plans

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Each employer who has employees working with or around hazardous chemicals is required to implement a formal hazard communication program to help manage and maintain employee safety. These five steps are crucial to keeping employees safe from hazardous chemicals.

  1. Develop a written program plan to document the business policy for hazardous chemicals. Details of the plan should include how to communicate a chemical hazard, employee training, and an inspection schedule. The plan can and should contain additional details specific to your business that may be pertinent to a successful hazard communication program plan.
  2. Create a complete inventory of all hazardous chemicals. Inventory should be taken regularly with any deviations reported immediately.
  3. Employees should be able to access chemical safety data sheets (SDS), which include a full library of the chemicals housed on-site. Find the full 16 sections required for a complete SDS here.
  4. Hazardous chemicals should be clearly labeled with highly visible permanent labels.
  5. Employees should receive regular training and communication regarding hazardous chemicals. Reinforcing the hazard communication program plan and details about how to handle and report issues when dealing with hazardous chemicals is the key to the success of your program.

OSHA’s sample hazard communication plan can be found here.

Employee safety is one of the most important investments you will routinely make as an employer. It helps to reestablish a strong sense of culture and workplace safety for employees and managers. Contact us today to learn about the different compliance resources offered by Harbor America.

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Improving Cyber Security at Your Business

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With smaller amounts of data, assumed minimal levels of security, and a smaller sample of employees from which to target, small businesses are an appealing group to hackers and cyber criminals. Cyber criminals are interested in everything from client data and financial information to employee login credentials and personal details.

Employers can help defend their small business security by implementing these improvements:

Employee Education

Encourage employees to actively participate in cybersecurity training. The selected training should contain details as to cybersecurity best practices and how to identify red flags.

Back-Up Data Regularly

No security protocol will protect your business data 100%. For this reason, backing up data is one of the best ways to safeguard your documents, spreadsheets, financial information, human resources files, payroll information, etc. It is always recommended to back up all data to a storage system kept off-site to maintain data security in the event of a natural disaster, including a fire or flood.

Computer Updates

Consider keeping all computers updated regularly, including desktops, laptops, and any mobile devices used to access the company network or Wi-Fi. Updates to devices typically include improved security and new versions of the operating system software.

Multi-factor Authentication

One of the key ways to ensure strong security is to implement multi-factor authentication (MFA). This means identifying a user by validating two or more factors, including password, mobile device verification, or fingerprint matching, among others. MFA is typically recognized in single sign-on portals.

Check out these cybersecurity resources from the U.S. Small Business Administration.

Investing in cybersecurity improvements means you’re making a commitment to the digital safety of clients and the education of your employees. Harbor America is proud to support your efforts to improve cybersecurity. Contact us today to learn more.

Going Paperless with HR

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It’s no surprise that companies around the world are doing their part to become eco-friendly and reduce their footprint. For organizations looking for a more tangible list of reasons as to why a paperless HR is a better HR, here are our top three.

The first benefit of going paperless is reducing physical paper storage. Paper files can cause offices and teams of people to inadvertently become disorganized and induce a false sense of chaos. Switching to a digital system not only offers additional physical office space, but the information is easily organized in a digital filing system. It automatically makes more sense.

Paperless On-boarding
When a new employee joins your team, instead of handing them a packet or booklet full of physical paper documents to fill out, sign, and return, what if you had emailed all the digital onboarding documents prior to their start date? This would not only alleviate more paperwork, but it would further streamline the hiring and onboarding process.

Digital Payroll
Digital files ensure that all information is kept in one place and the files are free from damage or loss. But when it comes to payroll administration, a streamlined, digital process can save hours of work for your payroll and finance teams. Digital payroll removes the risk of printed check fraud or theft and ensures employees are paid on-time or sooner.

The future of business, and HR, is paperless. While the act of fully implementing a paperless office can be quite cumbersome, the idea of creating a paperless HR is more manageable. Digital filing and organization have taken the place of reams of printed materials and physical filing cabinets. Let Harbor America help your HR team transition to an electronic document management system. Contact us today to learn more.