Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Sharpen Your Safety Awareness

In almost every industry sharp tools are essential to many kinds of work, but sharp or pointed objects can be hazardous and often cause painful and life changing injuries. Types of injuries include cuts, punctures, nicks, and gashes that can lead to serious infections or diseases. These injuries can be prevented through employee training, protective gloves, machine guards, and proper  equipment maintenance. But the important thing to remember, gloves are just a last line of defense. The best way to avoid injuries is to change the way a process or task is completed which removes the hazard or reduces the chance for an injury to occur. 

Prevent injuries from sharp objects by taking safety precautions:

  • Always stay alert and focused on keeping your hands safe – not just at the start of work or a task.
  • Select the right tool for the job. Use sharp items only as they were designed. Sharpen cutting tools and knives on a regular basis. Dull blades require more force and may be more likely to slip, cutting the handler.
  • Wear gloves resistant to punctures, cuts, or moisture. Choose gloves based on the hazards normally expected for the task.
  • Never cut toward the palm of your hand.  Always in the opposite direction, away from you.
  • Let falling objects fall. Don’t grab for falling cutting tools, sharp instruments or glassware. Its better to clean up a mess or replace the item rather than risk injury or infection
  • Store sharps safety. Take the time to ensure that instruments can be reached easily but pose no threat of injury. Don’t carry loose sharp items in your pocket. Store cutting instruments in       drawers or racks when not in use.
  • Check tools and equipment each day. Ensure they are in proper working order before     beginning a task.
  • Follow clean up precautions at all times. Dispose of defective sharps and chipped or cracked glassware properly. Wear gloves, or use a damp towel to pick up broken glass.
  • Don’t reach into wastebaskets or disposal containers with bare hands, they could contain broken glass or sharps. Sharp material poking through bags can easily cut unprotected hands or legs. Check disposal bags before lifting to see if they are overloaded or likely to break. Lift plastic bags from their tie-off point and paper bags by their edges whenever possible and hold bags away from the body. Never “bear hug” a bag or throw it over your back.
  • Make sure guards are in place on machinery with cutting blades. They are there to protect you and removing them only increases the chance that an injury will occur. While some people think guards slow them down or create extra work, you need to ask yourself “Can I do this job with any missing fingers?”.

Improper handling of sharp objects is one of the leading causes of injuries from them. Don’t rush or take shortcuts when handling sharp equipment or tools. Protect yourself and others by handling sharp objects safely by knowing the risks involved. Follow safe handling and disposal procedures and always Report all injuries and get proper medical treatment

Protecting yourself and your co-workers is an important part of your job. The right combination of attitude and action can prevent most injuries from sharp instruments and tools.

If you have any questions any information found in this posting, please contact the LL Roberts Group or our new Safety Division, Roberts Risk Management (toll free) at 877.878.6463. You can even talk to us on Facebook or Twitter!

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Staying Safe While Working in Hot Temperatures

Now that we are right in the middle of the hot summer months, it’s time to look at how hot conditions put your body under a lot of stress.   Physical activity stresses the body even more. When heat is combined with physical activity, loss of fluids, fatigue, and other conditions can lead to a number of heat-related illnesses and injuries. Death is even possible. This week we discusses ways to prevent heat stress & how to recognize the symptoms of heat-stress conditions.

Warm weather increases the number of heat-stress injuries and illnesses, but Heat stress can occur any time the surrounding temperature is elevated. Even if the weather is cool, you may work in warm areas, indoors or out.

The main factors that are involved in causing heat stress include:
· temperature  &  humidity.
· movement of air & radiant temperature of the surroundings.
· clothing & physical activity.

Adjusting to these factors and/or controlling them may reduce the chance of heat stress.  Your body can adjust to working in a warm environment through a process known as "acclimatization". Check with your company's safety people for the exact way to properly acclimatize yourself.  Keep in mind, though, even if you're already acclimatized, conditions can change which stress your body even more.

Engineering controls implemented to reduce the possibility of heat stress include:
· control the heat source through use of insulation and reflective barriers.
· exhaust hot air or steam away from the work area.
· use of air-conditioning & use of air-conditioned rest areas.
· use of fans to circulate the air.

Administrative controls to prevent heat stress injuries include:
· increase  frequency and duration of rest breaks.
· schedule tasks to avoid physical activity during the hottest parts of the day.
· provide cool water or electrolyte-replacement drink & encourage consumption.
· use additional jobsite workers or slow the pace of the work.
· review the signs and symptoms of heat stress with workforce.

There are several types of heat stress injuries. They rank from not very serious to life-threatening    situations. Knowing the different types is important. The serious heat stress conditions can cause the victim to become disoriented and unaware of his/her condition. People who are overweight, physically unfit, suffer from heart conditions, drink too much alcohol or are not acclimated to the temperature are at greater risk of heat stress and should seek and follow medical advice.

Let's look at the major heat stress injuries and illnesses and what they are:
Heat Rash is caused by a hot, humid environment and plugged sweat glands. It is a bumpy red rash which itches severely. It is not life-threatening but is very annoying.

Heat Cramps are painful muscle cramps caused by a loss of body salt through excessive sweating. To help prevent heat cramps, drink plenty of non-alcoholic, caffeine-free fluids while working in a hot environment.

Heat Syncope (pronounced "sin-co-pay") is sudden fainting caused by a reduced blood flow to the head. The victim's skin will be cool and moist and his/her pulse will be weak. Immediate medical attention is needed in the event of syncope.

Heat Exhaustion results from inadequate salt and water intake and is a sign the body's cooling system is not working properly. The victim will sweat heavily, their skin will be cool and moist and their pulse weak. They will seem tired, confused, clumsy, irritable or upset. They may breathe rapidly, even pant, and their vision may be blurred. The victim may strongly argue that they are okay even with these obvious symptoms. If you suspect heat exhaustion, don't let the victim talk you out of seeking immediate medical attention. The heat exhaustion will affect their ability to exercise good judgment. Until medical help arrives, try to cool the victim and offer sips of cool water as long as the victim is conscious. Immediate medical attention is required. Heat exhaustion can quickly lead to heat stroke.

Heat Stroke is the deadliest of all heat stress conditions. It occurs when the body's cooling mechanism has shut down after extreme loss of salt and fluids. Here, the body temperature will rise, the victim's skin will be hot, red, and dry. Their pulse is fast, and they may complain of headache or dizziness. They will probably be weak, confused, and upset. Later stages of heat stroke cause a loss of consciousness and may lead to convulsions. In the event of heat stroke, seek immediate medical attention. Until help arrives, try to cool the victim and offer sips of cool water if the victim is conscious.

Recognizing the symptoms of heat stress is very important, particularly since the victim may not realize what is happening. If you work alone in a hot environment, develop a "buddy system" so someone will check in on you periodically to look for signs of heat stress.

If you have any questions any information found in this posting, please contact the LL Roberts Group or our new Safety Division, Roberts Risk Management (toll free) at 877.878.6463. You can even talk to us on Facebook or Twitter!

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Eye Safety - Eye Protection Is Cheap But Eye Are Priceless!

What do tiny flying particles, contact with chemicals, and swinging objects have in common? They are the most common causes of eye injuries in the workplace, and all put you at risk. Not many people realize that the workplace is a leading source of eye trauma, loss of vision, disability, and blindness. Of the 2,000 employees each day who sustain job-related eye injuries, 10 to 20 percent will be disabled due to  temporary or permanent loss of vision. Many safety experts agree that proper eye protection could  reduce the severity or prevent the injury in about 90 percent of these cases.

Types of Eye Injuries.
Workers experience eye injuries on the job for two major reasons.  They were not wearing eye protection or they were wearing the wrong kind of protection for the job. Eye injuries range from minor burns, cuts, and bruises to total blindness. Welding equipment, power tools and machinery play a big part in causing injuries. Chemicals such as acids and adhesives can splash into the eyes and cause serious damage. Even particles from hammering, grinding and sanding can easily fly into the eyes. The cost of such injuries is enormous, both for the worker and the American public, which covers nearly $4 billion a year in workers compensation claims and lost productivity.

Put ‘Em On!
It’s a proven fact that the best thing you can do to protect your vision on the job is to wear safety glasses or goggles. Even if you do have your safety glasses on, keep in mind that there are a variety of ways you can get debris in your eyes.  Some accidents happen by simply taking off your safety glasses or goggles and wiping your face; particles can easily fall out of eyebrows or hair and into your eyes. Safety glasses should rest firmly on top of the nose and close to – but not against – the face. Don’t let uncomfortable, foggy or sight-restrictive safety glasses keep you from wearing your safety glasses or goggles.

Find a Good Fit
You can find many ways to make safety glasses or goggles work for you, such as:
· If you find safety glasses uncomfortable, experiment with different sizes or styles.
· Wear glasses or goggles that are properly ventilated for the work you are performing. Unless you are working near splash hazards, use goggles that have plenty of side ventilation.
· If you wear prescription glasses, wear goggles designed to fit over your glasses or safety glasses made with your prescription.

If your goggles fog up, try a model with more ventilation or coat them with an anti-fog liquid. Wear a sweatband or handkerchief around your head to keep sweat off your goggles. Always keep your safety glasses clean. Scratched and dirty glasses or goggles reduce vision, cause glare and may contribute to accidents.

Safety First
It takes only one accident to cause partial or complete blindness. Take a moment to think about possible eye hazards in your workplace and then take the necessary precautions to help reduce your risk of potential eye injuries

What should be done in an eye emergency?
Seek medical attention as soon as possible following an injury,   particularly if you have pain in the eye, blurred vision or loss of any vision. Several simple first aid steps can and should be taken until medical assistance is obtained.
First aid for chemicals in the eye:
· Immediately flush the eye with water for at least 15 minutes. Place the eye under a faucet or shower, use a garden hose, or pour water into the eye from a clean container.
· If you are wearing contact lenses, immediately remove them before flushing the eye.
· Do not try to neutralize the chemical with other substances.
· Do not bandage the eye.
· Seek immediate medical attention after flushing.
First aid for particles in the eye:
· Do not rub the eye.
· Try to let your tears wash the speck out, or irrigate the eye with an artificial tear solution.
· Try lifting the upper eyelid outward and down over the lower eyelid to remove the particle.
· If the particle does not wash out, keep the eye closed, bandage it lightly and seek medical care. Some particles, particularly metallic ones, can cause rusting spots on the eye if left untreated for several days. If you are unsure if the object is gone, do not delay medical care.
First aid for blows to the eye:
· Gently apply a cold compress without putting pressure on the eye. Crushed ice in a plastic bag can be placed gently on the injured eye to reduce pain and swelling.
· In cases of severe pain or reduced vision, seek immediate medical care. 

If you have any questions any information found in this posting, please contact the LL Roberts Group or our new Safety Division, Roberts Risk Management (toll free) at 877.878.6463. You can even talk to us on Facebook or Twitter!

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Avoid The PEO Broadcaster!

This industry term describes someone who will send your client or prospect information out to "hundreds" of PEO providers for a quote. Do you really want your client's sensitive information in the hands of hundreds of vendors? Even if you get the deal sold what do you think happens with the other 99 PEOs that missed selling that deal? Frankly, it goes right into their permanent database which means that eventually their own internal sales force will continue to pursue the deal. And when they finally win it, do you think they will pay you? Of course they won't.
At the LL Roberts Group...we are NOT Broadcasters ! 

Using a PEO will also ensure that your clients and your revenues are protected over the long term. Why? PEO clients don't change PEOs often.  Plus...Our agents never have to worry about losing the Broker Of Record on their PEO account.

If you would like to find out how The LL Roberts Group can work for you, your clients, and open revenue streams, please contact the LL Roberts Group (toll free) at 877.878.6463. You can even talk to us on Facebook or Twitter!

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Walking Is Working!

At some point for most of us, we've all had that near slip or moment when we trip over something causing us to fall. Just that little momentary lapse of concentrating on what you are doing creates a  problem by distracting you from an activity that results in a slip, trip or fall. It can lead to a number of  injuries from a simple bruised shin to an serious injury. Many people never think about "Walking is Working", but the truth is we are more distracted today then we have ever been. How often do you watch people using their phones with their head down, not watching where they are walking?

There are a variety of situations that may cause  you and your employee to encounter a slip, trip or fall. Here are the most common factors that can cause an injury:
• Wet or greasy floors
• Uneven walking surfaces
• Polished or freshly waxed floors
• Loose flooring, carpeting or mats
• Transition from one floor type to another
• Damaged or irregular steps; no handrails
• Sloped walking surfaces
• Clutter
• Electrical cords or cables
• Open desk or file cabinet drawers
• Weather hazards – rain, sleet, ice, snow, hail, frost

Here are some guidelines to help you create a safer working environment for you and your employees.

Create and Maintain Good Housekeeping Practices
Good housekeeping is a critical component of a good safety program. If your facility’s housekeeping is poor, you may see an increase of employee injuries, increasing insurance costs and regulatory citations.  If your  facilities or jobsites are clean and organized, it's a good sign that your safety program is working. Good housekeeping is an ongoing part of each worker’s daily functions. To create an effective housekeeping program, try starting with these:
• Plan ahead– Know what needs to be done, who’s going to do it.
• Assign responsibilities– It may be necessary to assign a specific person or group of workers to clean up.

Traction on outdoor surfaces can change considerably when weather conditions change. Those conditions can then affect indoor surfaces as moisture is tracked in by pedestrian traffic.
• Keep parking lots and sidewalks clean and in good repair condition.
• Use adhesive striping material or anti-skid paint whenever possible.

Indoor control measures can help reduce the incidence of slips and falls. 
• Use moisture-absorbent mats with beveled edges in entrance areas. Make sure they have backing material that will not slide on the floor.
• Display “Wet Floor” signs as needed.
• Use anti-skid adhesive tape in troublesome areas.
· Clean up spills immediately.

Avoid Creating Obstacles in Aisles and Walkways - Injuries can also result in from trips caused by obstacles, clutter, materials and equipment in aisles, corridors, entrance ways and stairwells.
• Keep all work areas, passageways, storerooms and service areas clean and orderly.
• Avoid stringing cords, cables or air hoses across hallways or in any designated aisle.
• In office areas, avoid leaving boxes, files or briefcases, or purses in the aisles.
• Promote practices such as closing file cabinet drawers after use and picking up loose items from the floor.
• Conduct weekly or daily inspections for slip and trip hazards.

Create and Maintain Proper Lighting -  Poor lighting in the workplace is associated with an increase in accidents.
• Illuminate walkways, staircases, ramps, hallways, basements, construction and dock areas.
• Keep work areas well lit and clean.
• Keep poorly lit walkways clear of clutter and obstructions.
• Keep areas around light switches clear and accessible.
• Repair fixtures, switches and cords immediately if they malfunction.

Wear Proper Shoes - The shoes we wear can play a big part in preventing falls. The slickness of the soles and the type of heels worn need to be evaluated to avoid slips, trips and falls.  Employees must wear footwear appropriate for the duties of their work task.

Control Individual Behavior -  This condition is the toughest to control. It is human nature to let our guard down for two seconds and be distracted by random thoughts or doing multiple activities. Being in a hurry will result in walking too fast or running which increases the chances of a slip, trip or fall. Taking shortcuts, not watching where one is going, using a cell phone, carrying materials which obstructs the vision, wearing sunglasses in low-light areas, not using designated walkways and speed are common elements in many on-the-job injuries. It’s ultimately up to each individual to plan, stay alert and pay attention.

If you have any questions any information found in this posting, please contact the LL Roberts Group or our new Safety Division, Roberts Risk Management (toll free) at 877.878.6463. You can even talk to us on Facebook or Twitter!

Friday, April 15, 2016

Scammers Stepping It Up This Tax Season

Now that tax season is in full swing and we get closer to the tax deadline, experts predict that these types of scams will only increase. The sad thing about this is people still get tricked by these unscrupulous individuals and becomes victims. Here are just some of the new scams going around. The more info people know about these scams and what the IRS won't ever do, the better off everyone will be when they come across one of these. 

Tax Refund Scam Artists Posing as Taxpayer Advocacy Panel
A new email scam targeting taxpayers has emerged. According to the Taxpayer Advocacy Panel (TAP), taxpayers are receiving emails that appear to be from TAP about a tax refund. These emails are a phishing scam, where unsolicited emails which seem to come from legitimate organizations — but are really from scammers — try to trick unsuspecting victims into providing personal and financial information. Do not respond or click the links in them. If you receive an email that appears to be from TAP regarding your personal tax information, please forward it to phishing@irs.gov and note that it seems to be a scam email phishing for your information.  
TAP is a volunteer board that advises the IRS on systemic issues affecting taxpayers. It never requests, and does not have access to, any taxpayer’s personal and financial information such as Social Security and PIN numbers or passwords and similar information for credit cards, banks or other financial institutions.
Scammers Change Tactics
Aggressive and threatening phone calls by criminals impersonating IRS agents remain a major threat to taxpayers, but now the IRS is receiving new reports of scammers calling under the guise of verifying tax return information over the phone.
The latest variation being seen in the last few weeks tries to play off the current tax season. Scam artists call saying they have your tax return, and they just need to verify a few details to process your return. The scam tries to get you to give up personal information such as a Social Security number or personal financial information, such as bank numbers or credit cards.
For more information, see IR-2016-40, Consumer Alert: Scammers Change Tactics, Once Again
W-2 Scam Targeting Payroll and Human Resources Professionals
Payroll and human resources professionals should be aware of an emerging phishing email scheme that purports to be from company executives and requests personal information on employees. The email contains the actual name of the company chief executive officer. In this scam, the “CEO” sends an email to a company payroll office employee and requests a list of employees and financial and personal information including SSNs.
For more details, see: IR-2016-34, IRS Alerts Payroll and HR Professionals to Phishing Scheme Involving W-2s

E-mail, Phishing and Malware Schemes

The IRS has seen an approximate 400 percent surge in phishing and malware incidents so far in the 2016 tax season.
The emails are designed to trick taxpayers into thinking these are official communications from the IRS or others in the tax industry, including tax software companies. The phishing schemes can ask taxpayers about a wide range of topics. E-mails can seek information related to refunds, filing status, confirming personal information, ordering transcripts and verifying PIN information.
Variations of these scams can be seen via text messages, and the communications are being reported in every section of the country.
When people click on these email links, they are taken to sites designed to imitate an official-looking website, such as IRS.gov. The sites ask for Social Security numbers and other personal information, which could be used to help file false tax returns. The sites also may carry malware, which can infect people's computers and allow criminals to access your files or track your keystrokes to gain information.
For more details, see:
  • IR-2016-28, Consumers Warned of New Surge in IRS E-mail Schemes during 2016 Tax Season; Tax Industry Also Targeted
  • IR-2016-15, Phishing Remains on the IRS “Dirty Dozen” List of Tax Scams for the 2016 Filing Season
IRS-Impersonation Telephone Scam
An aggressive and sophisticated phone scam targeting taxpayers, including recent immigrants, has been making the rounds throughout the country. Callers claim to be employees of the IRS, but are not. These con artists can sound convincing when they call. They use fake names and bogus IRS identification badge numbers. They may know a lot about their targets, and they usually alter the caller ID to make it look like the IRS is calling.

Victims are told they owe money to the IRS and it must be paid promptly through a pre-loaded debit card or wire transfer. If the victim refuses to cooperate, they are then threatened with arrest, deportation or suspension of a business or driver’s license. In many cases, the caller becomes hostile and insulting. Or, victims may be told they have a refund due to try to trick them into sharing private information. If the phone isn't answered, the scammers often leave an “urgent” callback request.

Note that the IRS will never: 1) call to demand immediate payment, nor will the agency call about taxes owed without first having mailed you a bill; 2) demand that you pay taxes without giving you the opportunity to question or appeal the amount they say you owe; 3) require you to use a specific payment method for your taxes, such as a prepaid debit card; 4) ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone; or 5) threaten to bring in local police or other law-enforcement groups to have you arrested for not paying.

For more information on these and other types of scams, please visit the IRS website at https://www.irs.gov/uac/Tax-Scams-Consumer-Alerts. 

Friday, April 1, 2016

Stay Safe In Spring Weather

Spring Weather can be very unpredictable, and just as unstable. Severe weather affects everyone with the  potential for tornadoes, thunderstorms, lightning, flooding, and even hurricanes. Especially in the spring, violent weather threatens countless adults, children, homes, schools, business, and your personal belongings.  But the truth is, the majority of people and businesses are not prepared. Early preparation can save lives and property when disastrous weather occurs.

Spring is a prime time spawning ground for tornadoes. If a tornado is spotted in your area, would you know what to do? Here are some tips to follow:
  1. Go low and get low. - Go to the lowest level of the structure you are in. If you are at home when a tornado strikes, go to the innermost part of the home on the lowest floor such as a bathroom or closet, preferably an enclosure  with no windows.
  2. Crouch or lie down, cover and protect your head. If you live in a mobile home, go outside, and lie flat in a ditch or ravine.
  3. If you are in an office building, go to the designated safe area for tornadoes. If you can’t get there in time, stay in an interior hallway or basement.

Do not take cover in your car. If you are driving down the road and see a tornado, leave your car immediately. If you have time, get inside a building. If not, lie flat in a ditch or ravine and cover your head with your arms.  A “Tornado Watch” watch means “watch” the sky. Weather conditions are right for tornadoes to form. A “Tornado Warning” means a tornado has been sighted or identified on radar. Take cover immediately. 

On the average, 90 people die each year in the United States from lightning strikes. If you are caught outside in a thunderstorm, there are some things you can do to protect yourself from lightning:
  1. Get inside a building immediately. If you have to stay outside, keep away from metal objects and stay below ground level. Avoid hilltops, open beaches, or fields; most importantly, stay away from open water and tall trees.
  2. Seek shelter inside your car. If you feel your hair standing on end, squat with your head between your knees. Do not lie flat.
  3. Avoid using the telephone or other electrical devices. Do not take a bath, shower or stand near  plumbing.  

Lightning often strikes outside of heavy rain and may occur as far as 10 miles away from any rainfall. “Heat Lightning” is actually from a thunderstorm too far away for thunder to be heard. Lightning kills more Americans than tornadoes and hurricanes each year. 

We have all seen the news about vehicles which  tried to cross a flooded street, often with tragic results. Even a four-wheel drive vehicle isn’t safe in high water areas. Flash floods have surprising lifting power.   Water displaces 1,500 pounds of weight for every foot it rises. If a car weighs 3,000 pounds, it takes only two feet of water to send it downstream.  It only takes 6 inches of water to sweep a person off his/her feet. One foot of water can cause a compact vehicle to lose control and floataway. Once the car is swept away, the vehicle may become a death trap because the electric windows and door locks can short out when water reaches them, trapping the occupants inside. Do not drive through high water or flooded areas. Observe all warning signs and don’t take any chances with your life.

All thunderstorms are very dangerous. There are several associated dangers of thunderstorms including tornadoes, strong winds, hail, lightning, and flash flooding. The most dangerous situation arises when a single thunderstorm affects one location for an extended period of time. Thunderstorms typically produce rain for a brief period, anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour. About 10 % of thunderstorms are classified as severe. A severe storm produces hail at least three quarters of an inch in diameter, has winds of 58 miles per hour or higher, or produces a tornado.  A “severe thunderstorm watch” tells you when and where severe thunderstorms are likely to occur. Watch the sky and stay tuned to a radio or television for additional information. A “severe thunderstorm warning”  is issued when severe weather has been reported by spotters or indicated by radar. A warning indicates imminent danger to life and property to those in the path of the storm. You should take cover immediately.
Remember the 30/30 lightning safety rule: Go indoors if, after seeing lightning, you can’t count to 30 before hearing thunder. If possible, stay indoors for 30 minutes after hearing the last clap of thunder. Stay alert to your surrounding and always use good judgment when making decisions that could have lasting effects on friends, families, and co-workers.

If you have any questions or need more information found in this posting, please contact the LL Roberts Group or our new Safety Division, Roberts Risk Management (toll free) at    You can even talk to us on Facebook or Twitter!