Source: The Manager’s Intelligence Report

The crazy weather and seismic activity of the last few months (and years) have spurred fresh interest in disaster preparation, especially at the workplace. Hurricanes, earthquakes, and extreme weather can strike pretty much anywhere, or so it seems, so take these steps to ensure your employees’ safety:

  • Plan for the worst. You don’t want to decide what to do as the roof is falling in on your employees. Invest some time in disaster planning: evacuation procedures, communication, safeguarding vital data, and so forth.
  • Protect your data. Though people are your first priority, your organization won’t survive the disaster if all your files are buried or underwater. Identify the information your organization depends on, back it up securely, and check it frequently to be sure it’s accessible and up to date.
  • Get employees involved. Your employees know how your organization works at the ground level, so don’t ignore their knowledge and expertise. Include them in planning for evacuations and safeguarding data—both so you don’t miss anything crucial, and to show that you take their safety seriously.
  • Test your preparations. Conduct a drill every now and then to ensure that your employees know how to react when an emergency strikes, and what gaps in your plan you need to address. Try having a department work remotely for a week to see how they handle the challenge of keeping the organization up and running when your office is inaccessible. The best time to fix problems in your plan is before you really need it to work.

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Does the word “holidays” conjure up images of cookies and pies, gorging yourself on turkey and packing on the pounds?  It doesn’t have to!  Healthy eating CAN be a realistic goal with some planning.  Here are 10 helpful tips to help you plan for a healthy holiday season.

  1. Be Realistic. Most Americans gain 6 pounds between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day. Set a goal to maintain your weight.
  2. Do Not Arrive At A Holiday Party Hungry! Eat a light meal before a party and you’ll actually eat less.
  3. Make Time For Exercise During The Holidays. Go for a walk to see the lights, plan a family skiing/snowboarding day, invest in some equipment or DVDs, go to Gold’s Gym and go for a swim, go ice skating at the Gallivan Center in Salt Lake.
  4. Be A Social Butterfly. The more you talk, the less you will eat.
  5. Leave Your Belt Buckled. Those who wear belts eat 30% less.
  6. Fill Up On Vegetables And Fruits. They are loaded with vitamins and minerals, while low in calories. The fiber in these foods help you feel full and leave less room for high-calorie options.
  7. Donate Food Gifts To A Food Pantry. Giving makes you feel so good and you avoid tempting yourself by bringing holiday favorites home.
  8. Offer To Bring A Dish To Holiday Gatherings. If you can, bring a healthy dish with you.
  9. Serve Meals On Smaller Plates. It helps with portion control. Moderation is the key.
  10. Drink Water. It’s an easy way to feel full and stay hydrated.


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Source: UOSH SafetyLine Newsletter

Typically, Utah OSHA's inspectors will arrive at your location with no advance notice, next they will request the individual who is in charge and present their credentials and begin the inspection process.

The first step is an opening conference at which the inspector will explain the scope of the inspection. If someone has filed a complaint with Utah OSHA, the inspector will share a copy of the complaint. Neither the inspector or the company will be provided the complainants name.

While the inspector is at the inspection site you are allowed to have someone accompany him or her through your facility. That is a good idea for a couple of reasons. First, the inspector will be able to get answers to any questions or concerns that arise. Second, and even more important, you will be able to see what the inspector is looking for and how he or she goes about the process. A union representative may accompany if applicable. You may see the inspector document specific items with video or photographs. While that is allowed, if anything being recorded may be confidential (such as processes that involve trade secrets), you can ask the inspector to note that on the material, so that the information gets put into the private protected section of the file. During the inspection or after, the inspector may interview employees privately. If your employees are union the union steward may be present during the interview.

Once the inspection has been completed, the inspector will hold a closing conference. He or she will identify any violations that were observed. If any citations need to be issued, they may have to be reviewed by the inspector's supervisor, and entered into the computer system that will factor in your company information such as your companies size and safety record to determine the fine.

Your company will receive in the mail the citation where you will be given a date by which you will be expected to correct of abate the violation. If you disagree with the violation, the amount of time you have been given, or the amount of the fine, you can schedule an informal conference and /or formally appeal the citation. You may request more time to complete your abatement by writing a letter t the Utah OSHA Compliance Manager. One
example where you may be awarded more time is if you need to order equipment that has a lead time that goes beyond the required abatement date. Once you have corrected all the violations, you complete your abatement certification and return it to the address provided with pictures, receipts, or other documents to verify abatement. If you were assessed a penalty, send your check by the due date. If a payment plan is needed due to financial hardship call the number provided on your citation. You do not need to file for any type of
formal or informal conference unless you desire to do so.

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Choose the right type and size ladder. Except where stairways, ramps, or runways are provided, use a ladder to go from one level to another. Keep these tips in mind:

  1. Be sure straight ladders are long enough so that the side rails extend above the top support point by at least 36 inches.
  2. Don’t set up ladders in areas such as doorways or walkways where others may run into them, unless barriers protect them. Keep the area around the top and base of the ladder clear.
  3. Don’t run hoses, extension cords, or ropes on a ladder that would create a trip or fall hazard.
  4. Don’t try to increase the height of a ladder by standing it on boxes, barrels, or other objects. Never splice two ladders together.
  5. Set the ladder on solid footing against a solid support. Don’t try to use a stepladder as a straight ladder.
  6. Place the base of a straight ladder out away from the wall or the edge of the upper landing one foot for every four feet of vertical height. A quick way to check this is to put your toes against the runners. If the ladder is at the correct angle your outstreched arms should allow your hands to grasp the runners.
  7. Don’t use ladders as a platform, runway, or scaffold.
  8. Tie in, block, or otherwise secure the tops of straight ladders to prevent them from being displaced.
  9. To avoid slipping on a ladder, check it and your shoes for water, oil, grease, or mud and wipe it off before climbing.
  10. Always face the ladder and maintain three points of contact with hands and feet at all times.Don’t try to carry tools or materials with you.
  11. Don’t lean out to the side when you’re on a ladder. If something is out of reach, get down and move the ladder to the work area.
  12. Most ladders are designed to hold only one person at a time. Two may cause the ladder to fail or throw it off balance.
  13. On a step ladder, never stand above the indicated topmost safe step or on the crossbraces.
  14. Store ladders in well-ventilated areas, away from dampness.
  15. Ensure you do not exceed the maximum weight limit allowed for the ladder.

Remember to practice safety. Don’t learn it by accident.

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A recent article in HR Morning listed Utah as one of nine states that are joining forces to help crack down on companies in violation of misclassifying workers as independent contractors.  Historically, state and federal agencies have withheld information from each other about leads regarding said violators.  Now, employers could be facing sanctions from federal and state labor agencies, as well as tax implications from the IRS.  The other eight states involved in the crack-down are Connecticut, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, and Washington.

The move is the latest in a crack down on employers who classify workers as independent contractors to avoid “providing employment protections” rather than truly classifying them correctly.  Employers may want to review their classification procedures to ensure compliance with state and federal law before learning the hard way.

To learn more about how to classify workers correctly, visit our article on How to Appropriately Classify Workers: Independent Contractors v Employees.

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Workplace accidents, no matter how minor, can create big problems. Cuts can turn into hepatitis and staph; slips can turn into broken bones and back surgery; and falls can steal a life.  What can be done to prevent such consequences? Isn’t an accident just an accident?

Workplace accidents can be traced to a lack of training or a lack of attention. An accident can be prevented when you analyze how it happened, determine whether it was a lack of training or a lack of attention, and then move to correct the problem.

Where do you start?
  1. Involve your employees
  2. Review your accident history
  3. Conduct a preliminary job review
These are the first steps of a Job Hazard Analysis (JHA).  To see the full JHA, visit OSHA.  Every employer’s goal should be to ensure that their employees return home after completing their work without having suffered a workplace accident, and every employee should expect that his/her employer is making every effort to keep all employees safe.

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