Business Continuity

Sun Safety: Fan of the Tan? (Part 2)

Peter Koch 2014 Posted by Peter Koch

When did tans become fashionable?

Centuries ago, tans were looked down upon by the upper classes, and fair, pale skin was considered the most beautiful. Tans were the mark of the working class laborer, while the wealthy stayed indoors, keeping their skin covered and protected.   In the 1920s, style-maker Coco Chanel returned from a vacation to the French Riviera with a deep tan, and suddenly, tans were in vogue.  – Tale of Tanning

Recall from the last Sun Safety blog – Just the Facts, that a tan, rather than being an indication of health, is actually a response to injury, because skin cells signal that they have been hurt by UV rays by producing more pigment.  Not everyone reacts to UV radiation equally.  Some of us are at greater risk.

Your personal risk factor for being harmed by UV overexposure is determined by who you are, what you do, and where you live.


Who you are:

There are certain risk factors that you naturally carry, and while you cannot change them, knowing that you bring them to the tanning table can help you make better decisions about exposure.  General risk factors include:

  • Skin type
  • Eye and hair color
  • Family or personal history of skin cancer

There are 6 types of skin based on how likely it is to tan or burn. - Sun Safety Alliance

  1. Always burns, never tans, sensitive to UV exposure.
  2. Burns easily, tans minimally.
  3. Burns moderately, tans gradually to light brown.
  4. Burns minimally, always tans well to brown.
  5. Rarely burns, tans profusely to dark.
  6. Never burns, deeply pigmented, least sensitive.

Although everyone's skin can be damaged by UV exposure, people with skin types I and II are at the highest risk.

We can be genetically predisposed toward skin damage.  People with red or blond hair, or blue or green eyes have been statistically shown to be a greater risk of skin damage from UV radiation.  They tend to burn more easily and tan less, producing less protective pigment (melanin). - CDC

Family history can be a predictor of skin damage.  If there is a history of skin cancer in your family (parents or grandparents), you may have a greater risk of developing skin cancer than someone who does not have that history.  Unfortunately, this doesn’t work in reverse.  Just because you don’t have a family history doesn’t mean you aren’t vulnerable.  Everyone is at risk, some more so than others.

Where you live:

Where you live, work, or play can play a part in your UV exposure.  People that live at higher altitudes are exposed to greater levels of UV radiation, because there is less air mass to absorb it.  On average your UV exposure will increase 5% for every 1000 ft above sea level you are.  Also, there are some latitudes that have more sunny days than others. 

What you do:

What you do can also put you at greater risk for skin damage.  This, of all of the previous risk factors, is the area we have most control over.  Consider some of these lifestyle questions:  Do you live an outdoor oriented lifestyle or work outside most of the year?  Do you sunbathe or go to a tanning booth regularly?  Are you typically outside without sun protection?  Some subtle changes here can have significant reductions in your overall exposure to UV.

There are exposures both at and outside of work, so regardless of the exposure; take steps to understand your skin cancer risk factors, reduce your risk, and Don’t Be a Fan of the Tan!

Want to know more about Sun Safety, register for MEMIC’s Sun Safety webinar here.

It's That Time Again: Post Your OSHA 300 Log Summary

Koch Peter 1 Posted by Peter Koch

OSHA's  29CFR 1904.1  requires all employers with more than 10 employees to keep a record of workplace injuries and illnesses.  All employers are required to complete this recordkeeping unless they have 10 or fewer employees during all of the last calendar year or the business is classified in a specific low-hazard retail, service, finance, insurance, or real estate industry.  Click on the following link to see a list of Partially Exempt Industries.

Because the OSHA Record Keeping Rule has many facets, this blog will only outline what OSHA requires for forms and posting.  More detail regarding definitions, requirements, timelines, and forms can be found at the OSHA Recordkeeping web page.

As we close the book on 2012 it's time to review the workplace injuries that occurred over the past year, enter recordable injuries on the OSHA 300 Log, and post the summary.  In the Recordkeeping Standard, OSHA outlines:

  • What is considered a recordable injury
  • How injuries are categorized
  • Forms, on which, injuries are recorded
  • How long to post the summary, and
  • How long to keep the forms

Following is a general outline of the steps you have to take to complete the required forms:

  1. Review your OSHA 300 log for 2012 (relevant injuries that occurred January 1, 2012 through December 31, 2012) - 29 CFR 1904.29.
  2. Complete the OSHA 300a Summary form by February 1, 2013 - 29 CFR 1904.32.
  3. Post the OSHA 300a Summary form from February 1, 2013 to April 30, 2013 - 29 CFR 1904.3.
  4. Fill out the OSHA 301, or equivalent form (some state workers' compensation first reports may be acceptable), for each OSHA recordable injury on the OSHA 300 log.

Some businesses receive an Annual OSHA Injury and Illness Survey.  This must be completed as directed in the survey and returned to OSHA or the stated designee [1904.41(a)], in addition to the forms/logs described above.

The forms, instructions, and the OSHA standard can also be found through the following links:

The standard is well written and in a question and answer format. 

Transportation Leads the Way

Klatt Randy Posted by Randy Klatt

In 2010, 4690 U.S. workers died while on the job.  Although this represents a 3% increase from 2009, both years continue an overall downward trend in workplace deaths.  For example, in 1994 there were 6632 workers killed.  This trend is good news for all of us, yet over 13 people still die each day at work.   

Take a look at the pie chart below to see the manner in which fatal work injuries occurred.  With this knowledge you may be able to address specific issues at your workplace in order to mitigate the hazards.  It’s pretty easy to see what is killing most people:  40% of fatalities were transportation incidents.      
Transportation Graph
Source:  U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, 2012

Ask yourself if your employees drive either company cars, vans, trucks, heavy machinery, or their own personal vehicles during the course of their jobs.  If the answer is “yes” then a fleet plan should be developed to ensure the safe operation and condition of all vehicles.  There are many elements to a comprehensive fleet plan and each organization’s would differ slightly.  However, they should all include policies regarding driver’s license checks, vehicle inspections, maintenance programs, traffic law responsibilities, and driver safety training and education. 

Check out the Safety Director Resource Library at for fleet plan tools and resources.  Get started today and ensure all employees Arrive Alive each and every day.       


Does Your Business Have An Effective Injury Management System?

Webb Hartley Posted by Hartley Webb

Operating a business is never easy, but is especially challenging in a difficult economy.  This should lead management to identify cost control methods.  Workplace injuries are extremely expensive when both the direct and indirect costs are considered.  An injury management system can help limit these costs while assisting injured employees return to the workforce.   I’ve worked as a MEMIC safety management consultant since 1993, and I still see businesses that do not have effective injury management systems. 

An effective Injury Management System consists of the following:

  1. Knowledge of loss experience (injury cause, injury type, body part).
  2. Identify and meet with a local preferred medical provider who can treat occupational injuries and illnesses; establish a working relationship with a shared return-to-work philosophy.
  3. Detailed job descriptions (that include physical tasks required) that can be used to communicate job requirements to the medical provider.
  4. A written plan that identifies the employer and employee responsibilities regarding injury reporting, claim filing, preferred medical provider use, return-to-work guidelines, and communication with injured employees during treatment and restricted duty. 
  5. Identify alternate duty job activities available in the event an injury occurs.
  6. Documented injury management system training to include specific employee responsibilities.

OSHA has developed a “$afety Pays Program” that includes an injury cost estimator.  This tool can provide convincing evidence of the importance of an effective Injury Management System. 

Got Occupational Safety and Health Specialists?

Dodge John Posted by John Dodge

Where is the new generation of Occupational Safety and Health Specialists? Employers may be asking this question soon.

A report from the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) informs us that demand for safety, health and environmental professionals is strong.  A recent NIOSH study indicates that employers plan to hire at least 25,000 SH&E professionals over the next 5 years, and only about 12,000 new graduates are expected to be available. Clearly the rest will come from non-traditional students and people seeking a career change.

Let's find and mentor these people!  Please recommend the MEMIC Center for Workplace Safety at Central Maine Community College. CMCC's Occupational Health and Safety credit courses and workshops are waiting for aspiring safety professionals or current safety & health practitioners seeking to improve their skills. Please contact the MEMIC Center for Workplace Safety’s Bryan Wallace at 207.755.5282 or at

Hang Up and Drive

Klatt Randy Posted by Randy Klatt

On Tuesday December 13, 2011, the National Transportation Safety Board recommended a nationwide ban on all portable electronic devices (PED’s) for all motorists.  The NTSB came to its recommendation after investigating a multi-vehicle crash in Gray Summit, MO that involved a driver who was texting. The crash, which occurred on Aug. 5, 2010, killed two people and injured 38 including children in two school buses.  The National Safety Council (NSC) made this recommendation many months ago and was quick to endorse this NTSB vote.

It is clear that drivers are frequently distracted by electronic devices.  Naturally this creates a safety concern not just for the distracted driver, but for everyone else on the road, in cross walks, and in construction work zones.  The NSC estimates 1.3 million crashes, or 23 percent of all crashes, involve distracted drivers using cell phones. “Quantifying crashes and fatalities involving cell phone use while driving is challenging due to several factors such as a driver’s unwillingness to admit the behavior and lack of witnesses. Additionally, cell phone use currently is not consistently captured on police reports. We are able to develop an estimate of crashes based on risk and exposure, but the problem could be much larger than we estimate,” says Janet Froetscher, NSC President and CEO. 

The links below offer the latest information concerning this topic.  If your employees drive as part of their work routine, then it is time to review your fleet plan and consider eliminating this risk.   

National Safety Council

National Transportation Safety Board Fact Sheet

Cellphone Driving Ban: Good Idea?

Riding Out the Storm

Eric Grant  Posted by Eric Grant

As I lay in bed last night, listening to 50 mile-per-hour wind gusts shake and rattle my home as though it was nestled in close proximity to Grand Cental Station, I wondered if my family was truly prepared to deal with the potential of sleeping on top of an oak tree, or having a portion of our roof available for sledding.  Seriously, here it is late February and, having lived in New England a major portion of my life, you would think a winter ritual of emergency preparedness would be in place by now. Yet there I was, 12:30 a.m., no power, punishing winds, two feet of snow, walking around my house in a dark daze looking for a flashlight, that once located, was barely bright enough to illuminate the inside of a shoebox.

So, this fresh experience made me think, What a great topic for a safety blog!  What steps could people take to get ready the next time your local forecaster states:  "Big storm on horizon, tune in at 11:00."?

  • Have home evacuation plan in place. Review the plan and conduct a drill on an annual basis.
  • Determine how you will escape from the second story of your home. There are several emergency ladders for sale today that are meant for one-time usage.
  • Gather Emergency supplies at home (radio, flashlights, batteries, blankets, warm clothing, first-aid kit)
  • Consider temporary heating sources (fire places, wood stoves, portable heaters) and the fire dangers associated with their usage (fire extinguishers, chimney fires, carbon monoxide exposure)
  • Provisions are an important consideration. Have plenty of high calorie, nonperishable food and water on hand.
  • Toilet usage can be continued by filling your washing machine or bath-tub and using the water to flush toilets.
  • Ensure communication with the outside world by having one phone that does not require power for operation.

For more information on tips and checklists on "riding out a storm", simply conduct an internet search using the keywords "storm preparedness" or go to At that website, you can also find good information about how to make sure your business is ready in the event of an emergency.

National Preparedness Month

Did you know September is National Preparedness Month? The timing couldn't be better considering the recent weather events like Hurricane Ike. Here in the Northeast we don't get many hurricanes and very few tornadoes. If you live somewhere that does, you’re likely more in tune with having emergency plans made and supplies ready.

But I bet there's a number of New Englanders reading this who’ve been through an ice storm, a three-day snowstorm or a microburst that disrupts everyday life. Then add other troubles—man-made ones—that could shut down your business for a long while or for good: a computer virus, a fire or a terrorist attack.

I was just talking with a MEMIC coworker, Schelene Shevchenko, who is our resident expert in what’s called business continuity, about how everyone can relate to a disaster in some way and yet, relating to a disaster and being prepared for one are two different things.

Here’s some advice Schelene shares on how you can prepare to stay in business if disaster strikes:

  • Prioritize functions. Figure out how long you could go without each of your business’s functions, then prioritize processes in the order they must be up and running after a shutdown.
  • Get numbers and names. Gather address, telephone and emergency contact information for each employee. Also get contact information for your customers, vendors, regulators, board members and other stakeholders with whom you may need or want to communicate during an outage.
  • Create chains of command. If one of your leaders is unavailable in an emergency, who will fill their shoes?  
  • Create emergency teams. You may need several teams that exist only during a particular crisis. For example, do you need a team to restore your facility? One to order replacement equipment?
  • Establish communication strategies. During an emergency and recovery effort, determine ways to keep in touch with employees, customers, vendors and other stakeholders, keeping in mind that you might not have all of your everyday business tools at your disposal.  
  • Document how to carry out important functions and cross train. Are there functions that only one or two people perform at your organization? Document those processes so others know how to step in if that person is unavailable during a disaster.
  • Protect documents. Keep copies of vital documents (paper, electronic or both) stored off-site. 
  • Protect data. Your data is among your most important assets. Make sure your data is backed up regularly and stored off-site. Also have a recovery plan for telecommunications and computer systems.
  • Click here to download full version of “Continuity Plan Basics”

Other resources: