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August 2014
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October 2014

September 2014

Changing Soon: OSHA Requirements for Reporting Fatalities and Severe Injuries

 John DeRoia 2013 Posted by John DeRoia

OSHA has just updated their criteria for reporting workplace fatalities and severe injuries.  The change will take place on January 1, 2015.

Currently, businesses are required to contact OSHA if there is a fatality or 3 or more individuals are hospitalized.  The new rule will require you to contact OSHA when the following occurs:

  • All work-related fatalities (within 8 hrs)
  • All work-related in-patient hospitalizations of one or more employees (within 24 hrs)
  • All work-related amputations (within 24 hrs)
  • All work-related losses of an eye (within 24 hrs)

Employers can report these events by telephone to the nearest OSHA Area Office during normal business hours or the 24-hour OSHA hotline 1-800-321-OSHA [6742], or electronically through a new tool which will be released soon and accessible at www.osha.gov/report_online.

 So, why the changes?  According to OSHA:

"Today, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that 4,405 workers were killed on the job in 2013. We can and must do more to keep America's workers safe and healthy," said U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez. "Workplace injuries and fatalities are absolutely preventable, and these new requirements will help OSHA focus its resources and hold employers accountable for preventing them." Here is a flow chart that will help with the decision making process:

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The second update was regarding the type of industries that are exempt from completing the OSHA 300 log.  The updated list is now based on NAICS codes and some industries who previously were exempt from OSHA recordkeeping requirements and are no longer exempt.  The new list is based on updated injury and illness data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

For more information, please visit the 2014 OSHA Recordkeeping Page.


Why Should I Invest In My Wellness?

Dr. C Posted by: Larry Catlett, MD, OMC WellnessWorks

Hippocrates, whose oath physicians still hold sacred, once said, “A wise man ought to realize that health is his most valuable possession.”         

At long last, employers appear to be recognizing this truth and are adopting employee wellness programs as a way to support employee health, optimize productivity, and rein in healthcare costs. But why should you care about your wellness? 

Wellness is “primary prevention”. By adopting healthy behaviors such as eating well, maintaining adequate activity levels, and controlling the effect that stress has on us, we can reduce the risk of experiencing acute health effects or developing chronic disease that can significantly affect our quality of life as we age. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (“CDC”), our nation’s leading health authority, estimates that 75% of all healthcare spending and the suffering that accompanies medical illness and spending is spent treating completely “preventable chronic disease.” 

As people age, they have the idea that developing diseases, having decreased mobility, and experiencing aches and pains are all part of the journey. Though some illness and effects of aging will occur in spite of our best efforts, most pain and suffering experienced is NOT AT ALL inevitable. Gradually adopting small changes in behavior and maintaining them over time can sustain good health. Did you know that losing 10% of your weight and staying active 4 days a week for 30 minutes reduces your blood sugar and fats as well as your chance of getting diabetes by over 50%? The path through life does not have to be filled with medicines and visits to the doctor. Practicing healthy behavior in the face of disease can significantly affect disease outcomes. Sustained, small, positive changes over time allow people to age in good health. It really is your choice.

Below are two figures that show the comparison between the “Unhealthy Lifestyle” that has been adopted by the western world and the “Healthy Lifestyle” that represents healthy living.   In Figure 1, the “unhealthy” western lifestyle is impacted by more illness events in an accelerated timeframe, leading to morbidity or “suffering” (all the blue area on the graph) and death at an earlier age. Figure 2 shows how a “healthy” lifestyle minimizes negative illness events and compresses morbidity (the beige color on the graph) thus extending illness free, high quality living. It is all about your choices.  
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So, why should you care about your wellness? Because making positive lifestyle behavior changes now will allow you to longer enjoy the people you love and take part in the things you like to do. With small meaningful changes that add up over time, you have more control over your health.  Following the “80/20 Rule” (eating and acting for good health 80% of the time) can start you on the road to persistent good health and sustained quality of life. Make the investment now. You will be so glad you did.

For more information about wellness and “primary prevention” strategies, visit omcwellness.com, email info@omcwellness, or call (800) 575-6537 x3207.


MRSA, VRE, and C. diff! Oh, My!

You don’t have to wander into a spooky forest to encounter the likes of Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), Vancomycin-resistant enterococci (VRE), and Clostridium difficile (C. diff).  These antibiotic resistant organisms are primarily found in healthcare settings but have also migrated into the community causing mild to severe infection.  In fact, the Centers for Disease Control conservatively estimates that more than 2 million people get antibiotic-resistant infections each year and at least 23,000 die because available drugs no longer arrest their infection.

MEMIC is offering a free webinar titled Superbugs: Antibiotic Resistant Microbes & Disease Control to its policyholders on September 25th from 10:00 to 11:00am.  This hour long webinar will provide a review of the immune system, the CDC's threat levels for drug-resistant microorganisms, and the fundamental principles of infection control and prevention.  While the webinar caters to healthcare organizations, it’s open to all MEMIC customers looking to get “out of the woods” and “step into the light” on this major threat to public health.

To register for this webinar or to find additional information on MEMIC’s upcoming workshops and webinars, please go to MEMIC’s workshops & webinars page.

Superbug


How Will You Respond In An Emergency?

David-Darnley Posted by David Darnley

September is National Preparedness Month and there is no better time to talk to your family, your coworkers, and your community about what protective measures to take before, during, and after an emergency.

MEMIC has prepared itself with a Business Continuity Plan to ensure the safety of our employees and get operations running as quickly as possible in order to continue service to claimants, policyholders, agents, and health care providers.

Materials to help create your own Business Continuity Plan can be found on the Ready.gov website which includes templates to prepare a Risk Assessment, Business Impact Analysis Worksheet, Business Continuity Resource Requirement Worksheet, Business Continuity Plan Worksheet, Emergency Response Resource Requirements Worksheet, and Emergency Response Plan.

You can also find additional information in some of our previous Safety Net posts and MEMIC policyholders can watch the Is Your Business Ready? webinar on our Safety Director.

These disaster preparedness links for families, workplaces, and communities can help you start making plans today:

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Confined Space Training

Tony Soares 2014 Posted by Tony Soares

In the United States approximately 20 workers die per year in confined spaces.  OSHA has very specific definitions, safety controls, and training required for those who work in or around these confined spaces. 

A confined space is any area or environment not designed for continuous occupancy, which has limited means of entry or exit (such as through a hatchway), and is large enough for an employee to enter and perform assigned work.  OSHA uses the term "permit-required confined space" (permit space) to describe a confined space that has one or more of the following characteristics:  contains or has the potential to contain a hazardous atmosphere; contains a material that has the potential to engulf an entrant; has walls that converge inward or floors that slope downward and taper into a smaller area which could trap or asphyxiate an entrant; or contains any other recognized safety or health hazard, such as unguarded machinery, exposed live wires, or heat stress.

Do you have any confined spaces in your facility?  Do you understand and follow the OSHA standards regarding work within these spaces?  Often these areas seem safe to enter; however, conditions such as the decomposition of organic material create the buildup of methane or hydrogen sulfide.  Both gases can be as deadly as cyanide.  In many cases, well meaning rescuers lose their lives trying to save someone in a confined space.

Register here to learn more about confined spaces, permit required confined spaces, how to identify them, how to protect your workers from them, and how to safely service them in the upcoming MEMIC webinar on September 11 at 10:00 AM.