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Accident Prevention Archives - Harbor America

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OSHA: Agricultural Risks and Prevention

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With all the risks involved in agriculture, employees must remain diligent in their efforts to prevent injury. Noise exposure is one of the leading causes of hearing loss in the agriculture industry. As such, the agriculture industry should implement ways to educate the risks associated with the work, as well as provide adequate training to prevent such injuries.

Exposure to high sound levels increases a worker’s likelihood of hearing injury. Because agriculture uses noisy equipment like tractors, chain saws, grain dryers, and other heavy equipment for extended periods of time, OSHA [recommends] hearing protection for sound levels above 90 decibels or exposure to high sound levels of eight hours or longer.

Employers undertake the responsibility to protect their employees. Here are a few tips to help reduce noise exposures:

Equipment

Both providing appropriate and sufficient equipment is imperative to adequate protection. Perform regular maintenance checks on all equipment to ensure there are no machine parts increasing decibels while in use. Replacing outdated, worn, or defective parts can reduce noise levels. Remaining up to date on equipment models and featured tools for such equipment can also reduce noise levels.

Administration

Delegating work on rotation can help reduce exposure to noisy equipment. For example, having a worker or group of workers operating a loud machine rotates to a less noisy task after a set period of time could reduce exposure to such high noise levels and risks. Individuals with already developed hearing problems should not be tasked with high noise tasks or work in high noise work areas.

Proactive

Be proactive in identifying any potential risks and preventative methods to reduce hearing injuries. For example, if an individual displays symptoms or complains of symptoms of potential hearing loss, referring him or her to an audiologist to determine a potential injury can prevent further injury. Being proactive can also include awareness of your surroundings, such as ensuring all employees are following safety protocols and adequate safety equipment is provided to all workers. For more information on safety and health in agriculture, please visit OSHA’s website which provides helpful tools to assist with such concerns. If you’re not sure if you are in compliance with OSHA standards or would like to learn more about risk management, please contact Harbor America. We value the safety and wellbeing of all employees and have a team of safety and risk management experts that are more than happy to help find a solution that best suits your business needs.

 

Source: Agriculture Risk Advisor

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Manufacturing Accident Prevention

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Since 2014 there has been a 14%[1] drop in work-related fatalities in the manufacturing industry. And while a drop in this number is good, there is still work that can be done to help prevent work-related accidents, injuries, and fatalities. As the industry continues to grow, additional precautions may need to be put into place to ensure employee safety.

Here are our top five tips for maintaining a safe and accident-free manufacturing workplace:

  1. Inform management of unsafe or questionable conditions. As an employee of the company, if you see something that is, or could be, a concern or risk, notify a supervisor or manager immediately.
  2. Eye and face protection. While eye and face protection may be a requirement for all employees, the employer is required to provide necessary eye and face protection to employees when they may be exposed to eye or face hazards.
  3. Correct and current protective equipment. Before starting work, the employee should be well trained in how and what equipment to use in regard to the specific job they are doing, and be properly outfitted with the right protective equipment.
  4. Keep all preventive maintenance schedules. Preventive maintenance schedules are put in place to keep the equipment in optimal operation. When service is not completed correctly or on time serious machine complications can occur, including jams, broken gears, or overheating.
  5. Never remove machine guards. Machine guards are put in place by design to prevent operator injury and are critical for maintaining safety. Only trained, authorized personnel should remove guards only in the event of a repair or necessary maintenance.

Employers and employees in the manufacturing industry are responsible for machine operation and safety for themselves and those around them. While these machines are critical to keeping the business running smoothly, the operators of the machines are even more important to the business. From safety development to claims management and online training manuals, Harbor America is your partner in controlling risk in order to continue to invest in the long-term success of your business. Contact us today to learn more.

[1] https://www.bls.gov/iag/tgs/iag31-33.htm

Tractor Safety Tips

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The most common causes of serious injury on a tractor include rollovers, falling when climbing on or off, and being run over by a tractor or towed machinery. The Centers for Disease Control reported that tractor rollovers/overturns were the leading cause of death for farmers or farmworkers.[1] Regular review of tractor operation safety rules and regulations with employees can minimize the risk to employees.

What You Need to Know

  • The greatest dangers when driving a tractor include collisions, rollovers, run-overs, or being caught in moving parts.
  • Reduce your speed when turning to avoid a roll-over accident.
  • Each day, inspect the tractor before beginning work. Use a safety operation checklist in addition to visual inspections.
  • Collision hazards can include hidden obstacles such as rocks or a tree stump, or low hanging branches or power lines.

Take control of employee safety by regularly reviewing tractor safety rules and regulations. Contact Harbor America to start improving employee safety today.

[1] https://www.cdc.gov/niosh/topics/aginjury/default.html

 

 

Reducing the Risk of Hand Injury

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On the job, an employee’s hands are involved in almost every task performed. In a typical office situation, workers are at risk of suffering from repeated movements that increase the employee’s risk of carpal tunnel or tendon inflammation. On the farm, however, employees are at risk of far greater injuries to their hands and extremities.

While hand injuries on the job are quite common, there are steps employees can take to avoid these risks:

  • Never operate machinery that does not have an operational guard to protect an operator’s hands. If guards are damaged or need to be replaced, do so immediately once removed to avoid injury.
  • Employees should always protect their hands by wearing gloves suitable for the type of machinery they are using, when handling rough materials, lifting or moving objects.
  • Advise employees to always remove rings prior to beginning work. Rings can easily catch on machinery or other objects resulting in lacerations, broken bones, or other severe injuries.

Harbor America offers a wide range of accident and injury prevention strategies. Contact Harbor America to stay on the right side of risk.

Farm Machinery: Ensuring Employee Safety

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As one of the longest-running professions, agriculture in the United States has a rich history. Agriculture and modern-day farming have turned into one of the most hazardous industries, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). As an example, “every day, about 100 agricultural workers suffer a lost-work-time injury.” – [1]

Here are a few recommendations to reduce an employee’s injury risk:

Remain Alert

Aside from making sure employees are trained and fully able to handle heavy machinery (i.e. not impaired in any way or too tired), it is recommended that employers follow these general awareness safety tips:

  • Allow machinery to shut down fully prior to inspecting or performing repairs.
  • Do not remove or modify safety features.
  • Read and follow manufacturer instructions for operation.
  • Supervise inexperienced workers at all times.

Dress the Part

To avoid injuries, ask employees to wear tight-fitting clothing, tuck shirt into pants, and button long-sleeved shirts at the cuff. In an instance where gloves are necessary, verify they are task appropriate. Jewelry should not be worn. If a medical alert bracelet is necessary, secure it with an adhesive band.

Plan Ahead

Create a farm safety emergency plan, if you don’t have one already. The plan should contain information on the location of the nearest first aid kit, routes to the nearest hospital, and a list of emergency phone numbers and addresses. This plan should be reviewed regularly with family and employees to ensure familiarity with the plan’s location and contents.

Harbor America supports employer safety practices, including those mentioned here. Learn more about safety and risk management solutions including accident prevention, OSHA compliance, and unique safety plans.

 

[1] https://www.cdc.gov/niosh/topics/aginjury/default.html

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Your Construction Business NEEDS a Safety Plan: Here’s Why

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Construction site safety is a hot topic of conversation lately. Everyone seems to have something to say about how to accomplish it if the number of articles and blog posts published online are any indication. From must-implement procedures to DIY safety plan templates, the spectrum seems to be covered – except for one question.

 Why does my business need a safety plan?

If your business is in the construction industry, and you do not already have a safety plan, here are a few of the biggest reasons you truly need one.

 1. Safety plans prevent avoidable accidents.

Not every construction accident is avoidable, but a safety plan helps to lower the overall risk of them occurring on a job site. Start by identifying the most common types of accidents and the steps necessary to stop them from happening. Add procedures for others as necessary. As your workers follow procedures, the number of these accidents will decrease.

 2. Keeping your workers safe helps your bottom line.

This does not just apply to your budget for a specific job you are working on. It applies to your entire business. Workers will not stay long with a business that cuts corners and puts them in danger just to save a few dollars here and there.

Some employees may find it irritating to have to continually sign forms saying they understand and will follow the safety procedures for whichever site you send them to. However, they would rather do that than get hurt because there was no safety procedure to stop it. You, on the other hand, may have to go through the hassle of generating the paperwork your workers need to sign off on, but that is nothing compared to the costs you may incur if an accident happens.  Besides, with a streamlined and efficient safety plan, there should be minimal time or paperwork involved.

 3. Safety plans lower your insurance rates.

Implementing a safety plan will help you save money on insurance down the line. Why? An effective safety plan reduces the potential for accidents on the job. The fewer accidents there are, the more willing your insurance company will be to lower your rates. The lower your insurance rates, the more money you have to expand your business.

 4. You need to protect yourself.

Safety plans do not just protect your employees. In certain situations, they protect you as well. A thoroughly written and effective safety plan puts procedures in place that everyone agrees to perform before starting the work. A written safety plan and signed documents from all the workers on the project takes some of the liability off of you if an accident occurs.

5. Safety plans help your business’s reputation.

People are attracted to businesses that actively work to keep their workers safe – potential customers and employees alike. If you want to be known as a safe and reliable construction business, setting a safety plan into motion is a step in the right direction. Word of mouth is a power machine, and it will build your reputation as a business that values safety. Customers and quality workers are drawn to that, and they will be drawn to you.

6. Your bids stay competitive.

Do you have to include a safety plan when you send in your bid? Not necessarily, but worksite safety is becoming more of a concern all the time. Companies are starting to add safety plans to the list of required documents in a bid package. Creating a safety plan now and including it in future bids will help you stay in the running for more of the jobs you want to get.

Ready to take the next step and create a safety plan for your business? Harbor America can help with this and many other HR and compliance tasks – click here to get started today.

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Watch Out for Common Workplace Hazards

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Construction work comes with some inherent risk. As the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) points out, “The fatal injury rate for the construction industry is higher than the national average in this category for all industries.” However, you can work to keep your company below that average by taking precautions. Workplace safety is essential not only for keeping your employees healthy and injury-free, but also to bolster job satisfaction and trust in the managers and the company, and to protect yourself against the expense of lawsuits and replacing injured workers.

Common Workplace Hazards

These are some common construction workplace hazards that your safety and risk management plan should consider and address:

  • Falls, struck-by, caught-in-between, and electrocution: these are the top four construction risks as outlined by OSHA.
  • Scheduling mistakes that result in overworked employees who haven’t gotten enough sleep when they arrive on the job site.
  • Broken, worn-out, or out-of-date equipment.
  • Improper or ill-fitting protective gear.
  • Overuse injuries (caused by repetitive motions day after day, year after year).
  • Poorly trained or unskilled workers.
  • Failure to comply with safety guidelines.

Preventing Injuries at the Workplace

You can help prevent some of these injuries with the following tactics:

  • Arrange for thorough training and skills assessments for all employees.
  • Give each new employee a complete employee handbook. Update this handbook as necessary.
  • Have periodic reminders about safety guidelines. Sometimes, a failure to comply isn’t because the employee is defiant, but because he or she forgot the rules.
  • Protect against the top four construction zone risks by ensuring equipment is installed properly; checking equipment periodically for wear and tear and replacing worn-out items immediately; using guardrails, harnesses, and safety nets; keeping walkways clear; using tread and handrails on stairs; choosing the right ladder length for each job; not overloading equipment; providing well-fitted protective gear for all employees; knowing where the power lines are and keeping ladders and scaffolding away from them; and more.
  • Educate employees about overuse injuries and offer care plans that might help prevent the injury, like chiropractic care, acupuncture, gym or yoga memberships, and physical therapy. Even learning proper body mechanics can help an employee avoid some joint, back, and muscular pain. Consider the possibility of allowing certain employees to rotate positions to help prevent this type of injury.
  • Schedule employees to ensure adequate rest between each shift.

Your Workplace Safety Plan

One of your main objectives should be to minimize safety hazards for the benefit of your workers and the company as a whole, and that starts with a solid Workplace Safety Plan. Each plan is unique to the company it serves and should be carefully written to address as many potential safety concerns as possible.

A professional employer organization like Harbor America can help your small- or medium-sized business create an appropriate Workplace Safety Plan. It starts with a complete understanding of OSHA standards. From your training manuals to your employee manuals to compliance posters, we can help you ensure your workers are up-to-speed about all safety guidelines and regulations, and we offer a wide range of accident prevention strategies.

Of course, accidents do happen despite precautions. In that case, your thorough workers’ compensation insurance will be able to help your injured employee through his or her recovery. Hiring a PEO to handle the claims also saves you time and ensures the procedure is done correctly to prevent any legal complications.

Minimizing Your Risk

Workplace injuries don’t have to be common or inevitable. Do what you can to limit the risk so your employees can enjoy a healthy, happy work environment that leads to greater job satisfaction and greater productivity. Feel free to contact us if you have any questions about your Workplace Safety Plan, or how Harbor America can help you with your safety and compliance strategy.

Preventing Workplace Injuries: Our Top Tips

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Safety on job sites is no laughing matter. Preventing workplace injuries by ensuring employees are up to date on protocols in their work zone is of the utmost importance. Worksite accidents are not only scary and dangerous for the affected employees, but they’re bad for business. Accidents can lead to everything from expensive worker’s compensation claims to lawsuits and fines.

Accidents are bound to happen, however with the right rules and preventative measures you can avoid further mayhem. Keep reading for our top tips on avoiding injuries in your workplace. Whether your workplace is a construction zone or manufacturing warehouse, we have you covered.

Safety Training

Before beginning any new job, employers need to educate their employees on all of the safety guidelines or hazards they might encounter while on the job. Health and safety policies should be fully understood before putting a new employee to work. Set up quizzes to ensure they know the safety materials you’re providing them with. Any kind of written safety policy should include the name and location of a first aid responder along with the procedure name. Make sure all employees are knowledgeable about the equipment they will be responsible for handling or operating. If they’re not yet qualified they should not attempt to use it.

Safety Crew Meetings

Daily meetings between the crew and superiors should take place to ensure all employees are on the same page. The use of repetition about safety procedures in high-stress aspects of the job is crucial for employees to stay motivated to follow the rules every day.

Protective Clothing/Gear

All workers need the appropriate safety equipment for their position. This type of gear depends on the job at hand. For example, hard hats, reflective clothing, gloves, steel-toes shoes, goggles, protective suits, heavy jackets, wide-brim hats (sun protection), long sleeve shirts, etc. Ensure that protective clothing or necessary gear is worn at all times during working hours.

Maintain Tools & Equipment

All tools and machinery need a strict inspection schedule. One of the leading causes of workplace injuries is faulty machinery. Workers have gotten stuck or trapped under heavy equipment that wasn’t working properly. Any missing parts, insufficient gear, or broken pieces can also cause death or serious injuries. Each time before a worker is going to use a tool or machinery, they need to make sure it’s in proper working order, as this will aid in preventing workplace injuries.

Give Breaks

Frequent breaks for employees will reduce fatigue, which can lead to fewer accidents. A foggy head may forget an important step for a machine, or lose their footing on a roof. Taking a few 15-30 minute breaks throughout the day will help their heads stay clear and focused on completing the job safely. Be sure to stay up-to-date on break requirements in your state and industry.

Keep Work Environment Clean

Slips, falls, or trips can easily happen if there’s debris lying around. Encourage employees to keep the workspace clean, including storing tools, materials, etc. when finished. Any common hallways or walkways should be swept daily to avoid nails or other random objects to cause potential injuries.

Prevent Falls

A leading cause of death in the construction world is due to falls. It’s very important to take the necessary precautions in place such as installing guard rails, nets, screens, toe boards, or scaffolding. Make sure scaffolding is inspected daily and held together well enough to support workers.

Monitor Vehicle Safety

Job sites often have a lot of commotion happening around them from large trucks, machinery, and other vehicles driving around. Make sure the operators are driving slow and monitoring any workers nearby. Workers are susceptible to being hit from backing up accidents, being crushed, being pinned between an object and vehicle, or other miscommunications between the driver to the worker.

Physical Overexertion

Be keen on the amount of work your employees are putting on their bodies. Repetitive injuries can develop over weeks or months in the back, shoulder, hip, and knee specifically. Ensure your workers are healthy and in peak physical condition before hiring. Take into consideration weather as well, since heatstroke, hypothermia, or frostbite can occur in extreme conditions. Enforce regular breaks to give their bodies a break throughout the day to avoid injuries.

Encourage Healthy Diets

Encourage switching soda or energy drinks with water or a sports drink to provide hydration and electrolytes. Provide plenty of water on the worksite. Increased hydration equals reduced fatigue and better concentration. Grease-free food such as sandwiches, salad, fruits, and veggies will prevent drowsiness and encourage energy. A healthy diet can highly impact the safety and overall functioning of the workplace.

Implementing these 10 tips is a great first step to preventing workplace injuries. Remember to practice a consistent, engaging, and supportive attitude to ensure all of your employees are on board with the safety procedures.

If preventing workplace accidents seems like a lot of work, remember that this one of the many tasks you can outsource to a PEO. For information regarding accident prevention strategies, visit Harbor America today.