July-August 2016

Incentive Programs


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“On May 12, 2016  the Occupational Safety and Health Administration  published new final rules on discrimination and injury and illness reporting.

In its Preamble on the Final Rule, OSHA  … condemns employer safety “incentive programs” as form of retaliation.  This position is consistent with OSHA’s past rulings and guidance on employer incentive programs, but goes further in widening its prohibition on incentive programs even when they are part of a broader compliance program.  The new rules explain that “it is a violation of paragraph (b)(1)(iv) for an employer to take adverse action against an employee for reporting a work-related injury or illness, whether or not such adverse action was part of an incentive program.”  OSHA’s interpretation prohibits all programs in which employees are denied a benefit on the basis of any injury or illness report.  For example, if an entire shift loses a safety bonus due to a single employee being injured.

However, an incentive program may make a reward contingent upon, for example, whether employees correctly follow legitimate safety rules, rather than whether they reported any injuries or illnesses.  OSHA further encourages incentive programs that promote worker participation in safety-related activities, such as identifying hazards or participating in investigations of injuries, incidents, or ‘‘near misses.’’  Accordingly, employers should consider OSHA’s new interpretation when reassessing their incentive programs to ensure they are offering a benefit or reward based on the reporting of injuries or illnesses.  These types of programs could be adjusted to provide benefits on the basis of compliance with safety rules, or for attending safety trainings or persevering on safety quizzes.

The new rules will take effect on August 10, 2016 as part of the required anti-retaliation policy.”


As you can see, OSHA does not support “Incentive Programs” as they are traditionally implemented. OSHA understands that if you incentivize being “injury free” or “no recordables” that you will encourage employees to keep their symptoms under the radar in hopes of gaining the incentives. This is a dangerous mindset to have. CIS onsite also understands this, and as a result has developed programs that incentivize “The Process.” We incentivize good behaviors such as early injury reporting, safe working techniques, good posture, identifying ergonomic issues, etc. The results that accompany incentivizing those types of behavior are stellar. You will have employees jumping at the opportunity to do things the right way, rather than doing things the wrong way and just hiding the repercussions. Our incentive programs are tailored to each company’s specific needs and goals.

Here is another link about OSHA’s stance on Incentive Programs, http://www.businessinsurance.com/article/20160327/NEWS08/303279982/osha-puts-workplace-safey-incentive-plans-under-scrutiny?tags=%7C80%7C304.

If you are interested in developing an incentives program for your company, contact CIS onsite at 866-298-1312.

Workplace Ergonomic Injuries: A Multibillion-Dollar Problem


Part of the National Safety Council’s focus during National Safety Month 2015 is ergonomics, or how people can function most safely and effectively in their work environments. While employers are responsible for providing a safe workplace for their employees, work-related musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) remain a significant cause of time off the job in numerous industries. MSDs (not to be confused with chemical material safety data sheets, known commonly as MSDSs) include common injuries such as carpal tunnel syndrome, tendinitis, and other sprains and strains.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ most recent data, in 2013 these types of injuries accounted for 380,600, or one-third, of days-away-from-work cases. Industries with the highest incidence rates included: transportation and warehousing, healthcare, entertainment/recreation, agriculture, construction, and manufacturing.

The BLS data also shows that workers suffering from ergonomics-related injuries required more time off the job than those with other types of workplace injuries and illnesses (a median of 11 days versus eight days). Statistics from OSHA reveal that related workers’ compensation expenses cost businesses $15 to $20 billion each year. What’s more, the Institute of Medicine estimates that the total annual economic burden resulting from workplace MSDs adds up to $45 to $54 billion.

Clearly, ergonomic injuries at work are a widespread, costly problem.

By putting an increased emphasis on ergonomics, employers can help ensure their workers stay safe, and in turn, avoid incurring the costs associated with employee productivity issues and time away from work due to injury. With the right training, management support and processes in place, employers can proactively identify and tackle ergonomic issues before they result in injuries.


Ergonomic Gardening Tips


Just because summer is at a close, don’t put away your shovel and rake quite yet.  Harvest has just begun and there is still a lot of work to do outside.  We’ve got the tips to make your gardening projects and yard work hurt a whole lot less.

Ergonomic Gardening Tips

  • To avoid lifting, rake leaves onto a canvas tarp.  When full, pull the tarp and unload the debris to the desired location.
  • Always use gloves (knee pads can be used to) to provide padding and to prevent cuts and scrapes.  Gloves should be form-fitting.  Thin gloves are preferred; too much padding will decrease hand strength, coordination and power grip.
  • Use ergonomic tools.  Just because the tool says “ergonomic” does not mean it is.
  • Pay attention to handle diameter, size and weight.  Telescopic and pistol-grip handles require less energy to perform work; a curved handle, like ones similar to Radius Garden’s hand trowel, provides more leverage with less wrist stress since it is designed to fit the natural curve of the hand.
  • Maintain tools by keeping them sharp and oiled.  A dull blade will require more effort and force and could lead to injury.
  • Elbows should be kept below heart level as much as possible.  The use of long-handled tools or taking periodic breaks to minimize such movements will keep your body in a comfortable position.
  • Avoid working with your thumbs pointing toward the floor.  This arm position “wings” your elbow out and reduces your applied strength while adding stress to the body.
  • Work with wrists in a neutral position – straight, in line with forearm, and with thumbs up.  Remember to hold objects with a light grasp or grip.
  • Avoid fine-motor repetitive movements such as pinching and pulling, these movements are often used with the finger and the thumb
  • Try to minimize your continuous extended reaches to fewer than 10 to 15 seconds. Take short breaks between segments to prevent injury and overexertion.
  • Minimize the time spent working with your head and neck in an extended position (looking up).  Take periodic breaks to avoid fatigue.

Now, go outside and get to work!

Source: http://www.humantech.com/the-ergonomic-gardener/


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