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The Changing Face of Health and Safety

by Matthew Elson, CEO of SHE Software

The workforce is changing fast.  Workers are more mobile, dispersed and international.  Millennials, with very different expectations about their work experience and career, already make up over 25% of the workforce.  Organizations increasingly have responsibility for an ever-changing employee roster including contractors, agency workers, part timers and remote workers.

Meanwhile, there is no let-up in the budgetary pressure to do more with less.  As a result, the role of the health and safety professional can sometimes seem overwhelming, focused on firefighting today’s issues and not on what will make a difference tomorrow.

Fortunately, new developments in health and safety technology have the potential to transform the approach to workplace safety, from one that is rules-driven, compliance-led and policed by managers and experts, to one that embeds a proactive and predictive culture where safety is part of the way everyone works.

Anywhere, anytime

Health and safety doesn’t happen behind desks – right?  So why are so many of our health and safety processes still desk based?  In the consumer world, we are used to having simple and intuitive apps on our mobile devices that help us, on the move, to do anything from send a text to book a flight to check the latest blog posts.  Apps can understand our aims, preferences and context (location, time of day, etc.) and present relevant information and functionality to us.

The good news is that this functionality is coming to health and safety, in the form of simple to use mobile apps that present information about the local environment (nearby reported hazards for example) or advise on precautions (icy roads).

Already, organizations are changing safety culture by empowering employees to make a difference.  Every employee can use an app to report an incident or near miss, access a risk assessment or record a safe or unsafe act.  Safety messages can be pushed out and acknowledgement received.  By making the experience interactive and showing that everybody has a role to play, safety becomes part of “the way we do things”.  Upcoming releases will be transformative for health and safety culture, further enhancing existing functionality by mimicking that found in the consumer world.

Speaking your language

A recent study from the Migration Policy Institute states that over 20% of Americans speak a language other than English at home.*  With so many employees viewing English as a secondary language, the chances for workplace miscommunication and thus greater workplace risk are high. The good news is that multilingual functionality closes the gap in communication by providing safety information in an employee’s native language. Through innovative design, data can be collected locally in local language forms, but reported consistently and globally.  Work processes can be seamless, for example, allowing the central team to review and approve locally generated content such as incident investigations or risk assessments.

Providing intelligence

Most organizations are effective in recording and investigating incidents, managing risks and keeping appropriate records.  Some organizations are effective in applying lessons learned from incidents, near misses (less commonly) and audits and subsequently putting preventative measures in place. But all of this activity is in some way reactive and backward looking.  Very few organizations are able to dissect their data and identify trends, allowing them to track leading indicators (such as safe and unsafe observations) and predict where preventative measures will be most effective.

This common weakness is due to multiple factors.  Relevant data is often not captured.  Data that is captured is often not easily accessed (think of the file cabinet with missing paper reports).  Lastly, even if a company is successful at capturing and storing relevant safety data, they rarely have the tools that allow them to turn that raw data into information that can be used to make decisions to improve safety in the workplace.  The missed opportunity to get true insight from this data can prove to be highly damaging to an organization given the financial, reputational and legal repercussions of a health and safety event.

Health and safety Business Intelligence (BI) tools can eliminate much of the burdensome manual reporting processes that health and safety managers are responsible for.  BI tools can provide a real time view of your safety performance rather than just a weekly or monthly snapshot (often using outdated data).  The freed-up time can be put to better use learning from the safety data available, benchmarking, identifying trends and taking preventative action.  Relying on data-driven insights, rather than individual stakeholder opinions, reduces the potential for human error and uncovers the unexpected.

So next time you are stuck behind your desk with mounds of paperwork, manipulating reports and wondering just what you have to do create a stronger and more proactive safety culture, remind yourself that it does not have to be that way.  Change is coming and early adopters amongst your peers may already be taking advantage of it.

*https://www.migrationpolicy.org/article/language-diversity-and-english-proficiency-united-states

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How’s Your 2018 Calendar Looking?

We believe in keeping a strong pulse on what’s going on in the safety industry (it’s one of our not-so-secret ways we are able to find the best content and delivery systems from today’s top safety training vendors) – and by looking at our calendar, we’ve done our research.

Luckily for you, we also believe that sharing is caring, so grab your calendar and a pen… it’s time to fit some safety events into that schedule of yours!

Download our 2018 Calendar of Events here »

But first… a quick announcement: Our first show of 2018 is coming up! We’ll be attending the Michigan Safety Conference on April 17-18 in Lansing, MI. This will mark our 2nd year in attendance and is held right here in our home state, which makes it an especially cool show. Join us as we meet and greet all walks of the safety spectrum at booth #203! We look forward to seeing you!

Now’s the fun part… Take a peek at your calendar and see if any of these events strike your fancy. Maybe we’ll even see you there!

Look and book now »

Sexual Harassment is No Joke – Make Sure it doesn’t happen at your workplace

Would you want to go to work everyday if it were a hostile work environment? The collective answer is absolutely not. Unfortunately for tens of thousands of workers, a hostile work environment due to sexual harassment is dealt with on a daily basis. Over 12,000 sexual harassment and 90,000 discrimination complaints are reported every year according to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), with countless cases going unreported.

What’s more, sexual harassment in the workplace is connected to the overall health and safety of harassment victims and their co-workers, which according to the EEOC include:

  • Increased stress for victims, potentially leading to a variety of physical ailments
  • Inability of victims to focus on doing a job correctly and safely
  • Inability of co-workers and managers to effectively respond to or deal with sexual harassment
  • Intimidation that causes victims to be reluctant to raise legitimate safety issues for fear of being ridiculed
  • Workplace violence, if harassment takes the form of actual or threatened physical contact

Even so, workplace safety and health laws administered by the OSHA are limited in their authority and reach concerning workplace harassment. In fact, most companies address incidents internally. As a safety manager, you must recognize harassment and discrimination, protect a victim’s rights, and know how to handle incidents if they occur. So… what are YOU doing to mitigate sexual harassment at your workplace?

Let us help. The right training can help keep you – and your employees – educated and aware of sexual harassment. Evolved Safety works with several vendors that offer training on this subject – and in multiple formats and languages to fit your needs.

Not sure what’s best for you? Head to our website or give us a call today – your workplace depends on it.

Stay Cool, Calm, and Collected on Cold Stress with Us

Get Your Downloadable PDF of How to Keep You and Your Workers Safe While Working in the Cold

With the way this winter is going, even locations that aren’t used to cold weather are getting their fair share of winter woes. Are your workers prepared? Weather aside, cold temperatures are a huge consideration when thinking about safety for your workers regardless of job type.

With that in mind, we wanted to create an awareness for the main types of cold stress in the workplace and to help you know what your options are in keeping you and your workers safe while on the job. According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), there are four main types of workplace Cold Stress:

  • Hypothermia: This is when your body begins to lose heat faster than it can be produced when exposed to cold environments. Prolonged exposure will eventually use up your body’s stored energy and lead to hypothermia. Low body temperatures affects the brain, making the victim unable to think clearly or move well, making hypothermia particularly dangerous.
  • Frostbite: Affecting mostly the nose, ears, cheeks, chin, fingers, or toes, frostbite causes a loss of feeling and color in the affected areas and can permanently damage body tissues or even lead to amputation. Risk of frostbite is increased in workers with reduced blood circulation and among workers who are not dressed properly.
  • Trench Foot: Also known as immersion foot, this is an injury of the feet resulting from prolonged exposure to wet and cold conditions and can occur at temperatures as high as 60 degrees F if the feet are constantly wet. Wet feet lose heat 25-times faster than dry feet, so to prevent heat loss, the body constricts blood vessels to shut down circulation in the feet, causing skin tissue to die from of lack of oxygen and nutrients, as well as buildup of toxic products.
  • Chillbains: Repeated exposure of skin to temperatures just above freezing to as high as 60 degrees F can cause damage to the capillary beds (groups of small blood vessels) in the skin, creating a chillbain. This damage is permanent, and the redness and itching will return with additional exposure, typically occurring on cheeks, ears, fingers, and toes.

How We Can Help

The good news is that proper precautions and training can help prevent all of these illnesses. Let us help you tackle Cold Stress in your workplace today by offering something as simple as a free content download to hang at your workplace to several important cold stress and related training topics today! Evolved Safety has training programs in online, streaming video, and DVD – add these programs to your training line-up:

  • Cold Stress
  • Winter Driving
  • Severe Weather and Outdoor Work
  • Winter Safety for Oil & Gas Personnel
  • Basic First Aid
  • Emergency Response

Additionally, to keep you and your workers in “The Know” of Cold Stress in the workplace, download the flyer to hang in your workplace for worker-related recommendations.

Call us to discuss your options for cold stress training today at (844) 528-4486.

New Year, New LMS Updates, and New Courses… All from SafetySkills!

Starting off 2018 with a bang, SafetySkills has an update to their Learning Management System AND new courses now available!

The hugely anticipated LMS updates is finally here! Depending on your access level, changes will affect Owners, Super Administrators, Administrators, and Learners a little differently, so head on over to SafetySkills’ website to learn more or contact SafetySkills customer care at support@safetyskills.com with any additional questions. But in the meantime, take a look at this quick rundown of what’s new in this LMS Update:

    • Ability to use new “Multi-Select” custom field type
    • Ability to use new multiple selection tool
    • Removal of Legacy Groups
    • Removal of HTML requirements on Welcome email

What’s more? It wouldn’t be a new year without some new titles… and with more coming soon, SafetySkills is setting you up for success! Here’s what’s now available:

    • Food Defense
    • Allergen Control in Food Manufacturing
    • Cleaning and Sanitizing Chemical Safety in Food Manufacturing
    • Food Safety Plans in Food Manufacturing (HACCP)

For more information, shoot us an email at info@evolvedsafety.com and we’d be happy to discuss details!

New Year’s Resolution: Get Better Safety Resources

Is the above your resolution? Everyone’s talking about their personal New Year’s Resolutions for 2018, but what about the ones you make for your workplace? What things can you change about the safety of your workplace? What can you improve upon?

For us at Evolved Safety, this year is all about YOUR workplace resolutions. We want to put even more focus on finding the best and most effective solution for each client, and now’s the perfect time to reevaluate your workplace needs, look into updates for your safety courses, or learn more about new or updated regulations. The good news is that we can help! Take a peek at how:

Custom LMS Content Solutions – Love your LMS but want to add new or additional content? We can make any content in our library work in your LMS – many of our courses are SCORM and AICC compliant. We also select partners that continuously release new or updated content. No stale, old training material here.

Extensive Program Library – Don’t show that same DVD or have your employees take the same online training program for 10th time. It’s a new year, let us help you freshen up your training library. We’ve got over 2,000 programs to choose from available in several formats, including online, streaming video, and DVD… and even multiple languages!

Quality Vendors at your Convenience – In a world of choice, we strive to make sure you get exactly what you need, when you need it. We partner with vendors that not only fill a certification or are compliant with a regulation, but offer quality products and services that will get the job done right the first time – keeping you happy and compliant.

Help us make 2018 the best year yet!  Let us know what you need… if we can’t find it, we’ll work to make it happen. Our goal is to continuously review and select only the best content, technology, delivery systems, vendors, and more that will best suit YOUR needs.

Give us a call today to discuss your New Year’s Resolution!

Happy Holidays from Evolved Safety!

It’s the most wonderful time of the year for a reason… and not just because of paid work holidays or Christmas lights. This time of year gives us all a chance to look around and be thankful for what we’ve got and what we can look forward to, and we are no different here at Evolved Safety. Maybe the holiday season sappiness is rubbing off on us a little bit, but we wanted to let you know that it’s been another incredible year and we couldn’t have done it without you, our wonderful clients.

From creating new services to adding new vendors to researching the best solutions, we are forever grateful to help meet your needs and truly find value in our work. Here’s a warm “Thank You” from all of us at Evolved Safety, and we hope you all have a wonderful Christmas and New Year with your friends and family.

We’re Makin’ a List and Checkin’ It Twice Trying to Find What’s Unsafe and Nice…

Fortunately for all of us, we’re better at our day job than singing Christmas carols, but that got us thinking about how you can stay safe this holiday season. Since holidays don’t change work safety procedures, you know what to do at work (unless you’re Santa in his workshop, maybe), but what about at home? We’ve rounded up a checklist of the top 10 basic precautions you can take at home to help keep you on the “nice” list when it comes to ensuring your whole family remains safe and injury-free throughout the season.

Best of all – it’s downloadable, giving you the option to print and hang next to your stockings with care.

Click here to download »

To Prepare You for 2018!

This year is coming to a close, and we want you to give you a head start as we head into 2018. In the spirit of the holiday season, we’re giving the gift of knowledge in the form of a safety calendar. And – it’s downloadable.

On it you’ll find freshly added dates and events for 2018 to help ensure you’re in “The Know” of all EH&S events happening in the country and around your area. A few dates in there are still in a marked “TBD”, so remember to check back in a few months as these dates become more solidified. As an added bonus, we’ve added the shows we will be attending next year!

So go ahead – download, print, post, and get planning on your safety dates for 2018!

Click here to download »

Cold Weather Means Cold & Flu Season – Know the Difference and How to Prevent Sickness

You know the drill – the Fall season means it’s time to pay closer attention to that sniffly nose or chest congestion, especially at work where the spread of illness is common. What’s more is that many times it can be difficult to decipher which respiratory illness you are experiencing, as the flu and common cold have similar symptoms. Why is that important to know? According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), colds generally do not result in serious health problems, such as pneumonia, bacterial infections, or hospitalizations, but the flu can have very serious associated complications.

So, let’s dive into the issues and preventative care you can do today to avoid getting sick, keeping you – and your workplace – healthy.

Shoo, Flu

Now’s a great time to be talking about the flu – influenza activity often begins to increase in October and November. Flu symptoms can include fever or feeling feverish/chills, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle or body aches, headaches and fatigue (tiredness). The CDC says that the flu is a serious contagious disease that can lead to hospitalization and even death, but there are 3 things you can do to fight the flu:

  1. Take time to get the flu vaccine.
    • The CDC recommends a yearly flu vaccine as the first and most important step in protecting against flu viruses.
    • While there are many different flu viruses, a flu vaccine protects against the viruses that research suggests will be most common.
    • Flu vaccination can reduce flu illnesses, doctors’ visits, and missed work and school due to flu, as well as prevent flu-related hospitalizations.
    • Everyone 6 months of age and older should get a flu vaccine every year before flu activity begins in their community. CDC recommends getting vaccinated by the end of October, if possible.
    • People at high risk of serious flu complications include young children, pregnant women, people with certain chronic health conditions like asthma, diabetes or heart and lung disease and people 65 years and older.
    • Vaccination also is important for health care workers, and other people who live with or care for high risk people to keep from spreading flu to them.
    • Children younger than 6 months are at high risk of serious flu illness, but are too young to be vaccinated. People who care for infants should be vaccinated instead.
  2. Take preventative measures everyday to help stop the spread of germs.
    • Try to avoid close contact with sick people.
    • While sick, limit contact with others as much as possible to keep from infecting them.
    • If you are sick with flu symptoms, CDC recommends that you stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone except to get medical care or for other necessities.
    • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.
    • Wash your hands often with soap and water. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub.
    • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. Germs spread this way.
    • Clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that may be contaminated with germs like the flu.
  3. Take flu antiviral drugs if your doctor prescribes them.
    • If you get the flu, antiviral drugs can be used to treat your illness.
    • Antiviral drugs are different from antibiotics; they are prescription medicines and are not available over-the-counter.
    • Antiviral drugs can make illness milder and shorten the time you are sick and may also prevent serious flu complications.
    • Studies show that flu antiviral drugs work best for treatment when they are started within 2 days of getting sick, but starting them later can still be helpful, especially if the sick person has a high risk factor or is very sick from the flu.

Hit the Road, Cold

Did you know that common colds are the main reason that children miss school and adults miss work? Each year in the United States, the CDC reports millions of cases of the common cold, with adults having an average of 2-3 colds per year and children even more. Cold symptoms are usually milder than the symptoms of flu and generally do not result in serious health problems. People with colds are more likely to have a runny or stuffy nose with some chest congestion and nothing more. Here’s how to send that cold to the curb:

  1. Take small preventative measures throughout the day.
    • Wash your hands often with soap and water for 20 seconds, or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer; viruses that cause colds can live on your hands, and regular hand-washing can help protect you from getting sick.
    • Disinfect frequently touched surfaces, and objects such as toys and doorknobs
    • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands; viruses that cause colds can enter your body this way and make you sick.
  2. Protect others from catching your cold.
    • Sick people can spread viruses that cause the common cold through close contact with others.
    • Avoid close contact with others, such as hugging, kissing, or shaking hands.Stay at home while you are sick.
    • Practice good cough and sneeze etiquette: always cough and sneeze into a tissue or your upper shirt sleeve, completely covering your mouth and nose.
  3. There is no cure or antibiotic for a cold.
    • To feel better, you should get lots of rest and drink plenty of fluids.
    • Over-the-counter medicines may help ease symptoms but will not make your cold go away any faster.
    • Call your doctor if you have one or more of these conditions:
      • A temperature higher than 100.4° F
      • Symptoms that last more than 10 days
      • Symptoms that are severe or unusual

Prevention and Treatment Video

As a safety consulting company, we are fortunate to work with several companies that understand the need for prevention, care, and awareness of sickness in the workplace, especially during the cold and flu season. One of our trusted partners – Vivid Learning Systems – is just one of those companies. Vivid works to deliver an effective, memorable training experience with training software that’s designed for smart simplicity.

That being said, we’d like to share with you a free 5 minute video presentation on what you can do to prevent contraction of and transmission of cold and influenza viruses, as well as actions to take if they become infected. Take a peek at what this course will cover:

  • Describe the route of exposure for both cold and flu viruses
  • List methods to reduce exposure and the effects of exposure to the common cold and influenza
  • List the benefits of an annual influenza vaccination
  • Describe high-risk people who should make an annual influenza vaccination a priority
  • Identify symptoms of infection
  • Describe the actions one should take if they feel sick
  • Recognize emergency warning signs of influenza-related illness

To watch, visit here:

https://vividlearningsystems.com/courses/5-minute/cold-flu-and-transmissible-illness-prevention

Need training or more info on what to do in your workplace regarding illness? Give us a call to discuss your options… and stay healthy!