Why would human resource professionals want to obtain a workers’ compensation certification? Very often they are the ones the employer turns to for advice regarding workers’ compensation. While larger companies often have a safety or risk manager assigned to oversee all insurance programs, small and medium sized companies often rely on the office manager or human resource director for answers.
The Registered Workers’ Compensation Specialist (RWCS) designation is a national certification that can help anyone who deals with workers’ compensation to have a better overview of the workers’ compensation insurance policy, how premiums are calculated, experience modifiers, claims processing, and cost control.
Human Resource professionals will find the RWCS program beneficial to their career development and a great complement to other continuing education programs offered through such organizations as the Society for Human Resource Management.
We invite you to enroll today and discover how the Registered Worker’s Compensation Specialist (RWCS) program can benefit you, your employer, and your clients.
Workers’ compensation certifications, like the Registered Workers’ Compensation Specialist (RWCS) designation, often come in two forms. Some are state specific courses and others are universal in nature. There are advantages to both.
Workers’ compensation is of course, a state program. Each state has their own set of laws and regulations governing the employers who do business there. However there many common policy definitions and coverages that apply to most of the United States. Additionally some laws, like the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act, impact all 50 states.
The National Registry of Workers’ Compensation Specialists chose to create a designation that would provide comprehensive training and continuing education for everyone who deals with workers’ compensation- from safety and risk managers to insurance professionals and human resource personnel.
We invite you to enroll today and discover how the Registered Workers’ Compensation Specialist (RWCS) program can benefit you, your employer, and your clients.
When you work with hydraulic, electric, pneumatic or gasoline powered hand tools, it is imperative to stay up-to-date on your knowledge about Hand-Arm Vibration Syndrome, also known as HAVS. The constant vibration your hands handle while using these tools will lead to chronic pain or something as severe and finger amputation.
HAVS is qualified as a repetitive trauma disorder. The first signs of HAVS are the fingers tingling or going numb. The longer one persists in using these high vibration tools the damage in their hands worsen and the disorder continually gets worse. Eventually the damage will show in a fingertip or two, looking as if they are frostbitten. These initial episodes will be infrequent and short in duration. The more the vibration aggravates one’s hands the frequency, pain, and duration of that pain will increase. Soon enough these episodes or attacks will happen even without the tool’s vibrations.
It is the damage to the nerve pathways to your brain and the arteries supplying blood to your fingers that causes HAVS. The white fingertips are caused by a lack of blood flow. Those affected with HAVS need to be more careful with more intricate work because dexterity decreases the further the disorder progresses.
There have been some cases where the decrease of blood flow causes gangrene, where the soft tissue of the finger actually starts to die and decay. Gangrene is the reason amputation becomes the typical result of advanced and severe HAVS. Since HAVS is considered irreversible if you experience any symptoms stop immediately and consult a physician.
There are several factors that increase the risk of HAVS in some workers. Existing medical conditions, medications, tobacco use or anything else that thins your blood flow falls under the category of increased risk. Guidelines have been designed to prevent this increasingly frequent problem. OSHA recommends these the following measures be taken to prevent HAVS and decrease budgeting requirements for workers’ compensation through safety measures.
- Keep hands warm and dry.
- Do not grip tools that may cause HAVS too tightly. Let the tool do the work.
- Decrease vibration by maintaining equipment.
- Be sure every worker in trained in vibration sources, HAVS symptoms, and proper workplace practices.
- Try to schedule work tasks to alternate between using vibrating and non-vibrating tools.
- Keep track of how long each worker is exposed to vibration tools. Implement 10 to 15 minute breaks every hour.
- Use vibration isolation mounts for protection. These reduce the effects of vibrations on the workers.
- Control vibrating guards and machine housings with a damping material such as liquid mastics, elastomeric damping sheets or felt. Get a professional to install the damping material in order to have the correct quantity and type.
As a company it is important to have employees educated in the potential risks that may result in HAVS. It is better to prevent an incident where Hand-Arm Vibration Syndrome becomes severe enough to involve workers’ compensation.
Complacency in the workplace has become a leading contributor to many injuries or illnesses acquired while at work. Routines develop and safety standards are slowly forgotten or replaced by shortcuts. This complacency is gradual enough that overseers and supervisors fail to notice the change and begin to accept lower work quality. As complacency takes a firmer hold, more shortcuts are found, resulting in more accidents and hazards. There are even times when employees fail to report an accident of “almost-accident” because they do not see sufficient reason or just don’t bother. This can start both employees and employers blaming the other. In order to minimize, and hopefully eliminate workplace complacency, implement one or all of these five workplace safety strategies. Continue reading
There are always those employees who regard safety as a place to save time or cut down on their work load. These needless and oftentimes selfish risks are in reality major hazards that could cause serious injury to a number of employees, not just themselves.
Repetition forms habit and when employees repeatedly take risks and disregard safety a serious potentially life-threatening habits. Most of these “bad habits” or risks can be categorized in one of the following:
What should be the top priority of both workers and employers and most often mentioned part of the workplace? Safety! One of those potential dangers is confined or tight spaces.
Confined Space is defined, by the Occupational Safety and Health Agency (OSHA), as “any space with an open top and a depth possible of restricting the natural way air moves”. An enclosed space is when there is only a limited amount of space to get in.
You can find confined spaces in almost all workplaces in the form of: vaults, sewers, truck tanks, silos, culverts, walk-in freezers, vats, access shafts, ship holds, tunnels, wells and more.
Dangers of a Confined Space
Every workplace has its own risks and dangers and confined space are no exception. On top of that confined spaces introduce a whole new set of larger factors, risks, and dangers for the workers. Some mechanical equipment that is used in confined spaces have potentially fatal moving parts. Other spatial risks include: the location, design, construction, and atmosphere of the space, as well as the type of work that is done in that space. Continue reading
Actions speak louder than words, right? Not when it comes to OSHA. While the agency wants to see that your employees practice safety on a daily basis, they also insist that you put in place all of the written programs required under OSHA standards. It is also imperative that you create and maintain the many types of records required by OSHA, to avoid misreporting incidents, or even lawsuits.
To ensure that you meet OSHA’s mandates for documentation, there are four main areas to examine. The first is your safety program. Standards that pertain to your work site include: Continue reading
If employees don’t feel involved and represented in their company’s safety program, it is unlikely the program will be successful. A workplace safety committee is a tool that, if created and conducted properly, can increase the effectiveness of a safety program by:
- Providing structure and assigning responsibility for carrying out a workplace safety program;
- Enhancing a cooperative attitude and bringing together strong interaction among various areas of an organization;
- Serving as a communication vehicle for employees to voice safety concerns;
- Serving as a tool for employers to promote safety to employees; and
- Spreading the responsibility of the safety program among employees.
In 1903, a Russian scientist, Ivan Pavlov, proved you could teach a dog to react in a certain way if it was rewarded appropriately after demonstrating the desired response. This simple beginning laid the foundation for the behaviorist school of psychology, which became the basis for a frequently used management style.
Training your employees with “rewards” or “incentives” for attaining high levels of job safety can go a long way in setting your safety program on the road to success. Knowing there is a prize at the end of the road keeps employees focused on safety, which is exactly what makes incentive programs successful. An intense focus on safety will eventually make it routine in your workplace. Continue reading
OSHA inspections are all too common in the construction industry. Employers should certainly expect these visits, but should never become too passive. It’s much more effective to stop reacting to inspections, and become more proactive by learning how to control them. This is extremely important because the nature of construction work makes your company highly vulnerable to the possibility of being cited. A construction project requires a large number of direct employees as well as indirect employees, such as sub-contractors and their staffs; and as the number of workers increases the number of possibilities for error increases, proportionately. That’s why your best defense is a good offense. Knowing how to manage an OSHA inspection is critical. Continue reading