Saturday, October 11, 2008

HR Vision:- Change Our Vision

There was a millionaire who was bothered by severe eye pain. He consulted so many physicians  and  was  getting  his  treatment done. He did not stop consulting galaxy of medical experts; he consumed heavy loads of drugs and underwent hundreds of injections. 
But the ache persisted with great vigor than before. At last a monk who has supposed to  be  an  expert  in treating  such patients was called for by the millionaire. The monk  understood  his  problem  and said that for some time he should concentrate only on green colors  and  not  to fall his eyes on any other colors. The millionaire got together a group  of  painters  and purchased barrels of green color and directed that every object his eye was likely   to   fall   to   be   painted   in   green   color   just   as  the  monk  had directed. 
When   the   monk  came  to  visit  him  after  few  days,  the  millionaire's  servants ran with buckets of green paints and poured on him since he was in red dress, lest their master not see any other color and his eye ache would come back.  Hearing  this  monk  laughed said "If only you had purchased a pair of green spectacles,  worth  just  a  few  rupees, you could have saved these walls and trees and pots and all other  articles and also could have saved a large share of his fortune.
You cannot paint the  world green." Let us change our vision and the world will appear accordingly. It is  foolish to shape the world, let us shape ourselves first.
Let's change our vision..!!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

HR Safety:- 4 Electrical Safety Problems—and Solutions

Today we look at four problem areas of electrical safety, and at some solutions to help you and your supervisors.

Electricity can kill, and, even when it doesn't, electrical accidents can give a nasty shock, burn skin, or even damage nerves and internal organs. Severe electrical shocks can also cause shoulder joint injuries and break bones in the neck due to muscle contractions.

The OSHA Required Training for Supervisor outlines the main electrical safety problem areas that most supervisors must commonly handle.

Problem Area # 1 — Hazard Awareness
Safety audits should always include an electrical component. Here are some items that should be on everybody's electrical safety inspection checklist:
--Machinery and power tools
--Cords, plugs, outlets, and circuits
--Wiring, switches, and circuit breakers
--Grounding for tools and equipment, including a ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) in wet areas
--Proper PPE

Problem Area # 2 — Maintenance and Repairs
OSHA says that only "qualified" workers can perform electrical maintenance and repairs. OSHA defines qualified workers as those who have been fully trained to identify exposed live electrical parts and their voltage, and who have learned exactly what procedures to follow when they work on exposed live parts or are close enough to be at risk.

Everybody else is "unqualified," and you don't want any of them messing around with electrical wiring or trying to repair electrical equipment. According to statistics compiled by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), you have to be particularly concerned with new hires and young male employees. A NIOSH study identified 41 percent of workplace electrocution victims as people who'd been on the job less than a year, and 64 percent were males under the age of 35.

Problem Area # 3— Lockout / Tagout
Many serious injuries occur each year because machines are not properly de-energized before maintenance and repairs are attempted. To prevent these accidents, OSHA has developed a set of special lockout/tagout procedures:
--Notify workers in the area that equipment will be shutdown and locked out for repairs/maintenance.
--Turn off the machine.
--Deactivate energy isolating devices—the circuit breaker, disconnect switch, or other device that provides energy to the machine.
--Lockout and/or tagout control switches in an "off" or "safe" position to prevent accidental start-up or energy release.
--Release or block stored energy.
--Test operating controls by putting them in the "on" position to make sure the machine does not start up. Then return operating controls to the "off" position.
--Perform necessary repairs or maintenance.
--When work is completed, remove tools and other items, reinstall machine guards, make sure other workers are at a safe distance, remove locks and tags, turn on energy and test to make sure machine is working properly, and notify workers that the machine is back on line.

Problem Area # 4 — Safety Procedures for Unqualified Workers
All those who have a job that might expose them to the risk of electrical shock, need some very basic electrical safety training. Here's a reminder of some "don'ts":

Don't Use ...
--Cords or wires with damaged or worn insulation.
--Electrical equipment that smokes, sparks, shocks, smells, blows a fuse, or trips a circuit.
--Any non-GFCI outlet in a wet area.
--Cords or electrical equipment in areas with explosive or flammable materials that are not approved for this specific use.
--A cord with a bent or missing grounding plug.
--A metal ladder or hard hat when you are working near electricity.
--Metal tools to work on electrical equipment.
--Electrical cords to raise or lower equipment.
--Extension cords unless necessary, and then, only a cord that is rated high enough for the job.

HR Motivational:- The 4-D's to Make 2009 a Great Year!

It's that time of year again, time to review 2008's successes and "lessons learned" and make plans for 2009. I know, most people wait until the holidays and make their New Year's Resolutions on December 31st. But not you!

I've always thought year-end review and new-year planning during the holidays is a really dumb idea! The holidays are a time for festivals and parties and travel! The holidays are for celebration and fun. In contrast, goal-setting is probably the most sober, serious and vital work we do all year. It hardly fits with the distractions of the holidays.

Reviewing our achievements and making choices about how we'll invest our time and energy in the coming year is the most important thing we do. The care with which we review the past year and the precision with which we plan the new year ultimately determine the quality of our lives. The "Good Life" is no accident! Achievement and balance, satisfaction and fulfillment don't "just happen" and they are not reserved for the "lucky few."

A great life is the result of accurately assessing what's working, and making precise, thoughtful and detailed plans for the future. Sure, our plans may not work out in every case, but a plan gives us a chance! Without a good plan we're just wandering through life. Don't let that be you!

Here is the "4D" planning tool that Mary and I use, and that I recommend to my personal coaching clients. I think you'll find it helpful.

1. Dream. Some people call this a "vision" or something else, but whatever term you prefer, as Stephen Covey says, you must "start with the end in mind." If you can't dream it, you'll never achieve it. What do you want? Where would you like to go? How much do you want to make? Who will be with you? Dare to dream BIG!

2. Decide. Some dreams will always remain dreams, wishes or fantasies. I think day-dreams are healthy and that's fine. But some dreams deserve the chance to come true! At some point successful people make a clear decision to "go for it." They commit to a result, with no turning back and no excuses. Some dreams are just dreams, but other dreams deserve your best efforts and it's up to you to DECIDE.

3. Desire. When things are tough only a burning passion and an insatiable desire will keep you going. Passion is what makes life worth living! Passion, desire and faith get us up early and keep us working all day long. When the financial markets collapse or friends laugh at our ideas or customers won't buy, DESIRE keeps us going. Desire is the "north star" that guides successful people. Fuel your desire and it will power your dreams.

4. Daily Action. Daily discipline, daily effort, daily action to make your dreams come true is the key to all success. We've all heard that "a journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step." That's true, but we forget that a journey of a thousand miles also requires many additional steps! Each one is easy and simple, but it must be taken. Most dreams are like that. Individually, each step is reasonable and easy, but each one must be done at the right time and in the right way. There is no alternative but daily action.

I am always surprised at the number of people who remain confused or ambivalent about the quality of their life. We have the chance to be or become whatever we choose. We can have or do just about anything we can imagine. Set your sights high! Be clear about your Decisions, your Desire and your Daily Actions. You can have the life you truly want!
By Philip Humbert

HR Motivational:- Too Much of a Good Thing

In the southern United States, many trees, buildings, and fences are covered with a vine called kudzu. This aggressive vine grows at the rate of one foot per day during the summertime and it is extremely hardy. Kudzu is killing many of our trees as it quickly wraps itself around the trunk and branches and suffocates the trees. What was once thought to be a wonderful plant is now considered a nightmare by many.

Kudzu was introduced to the United States in 1876 at the Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Countries were invited to build exhibits to celebrate the 100th birthday of the U.S. The Japanese government constructed a beautiful garden filled with plants from their country. The large leaves and sweet-smelling blooms of kudzu captured the imagination of American gardeners who used the plant for ornamental purposes.

Florida nursery operators, Charles and Lillie Pleas, discovered that animals would eat the plant and promoted its use for forage in the 1920s. During the 1930s, the Soil Conservation Service promoted kudzu for erosion control. Hundreds of young men were given work, planting kudzu through the Civilian Conservation Corps. Farmers were paid as much as eight dollars an acre as an incentive to plant fields of the vines in the 1940s.

The vines were successful food for animals and certainly were victorious in preventing erosion, but they have also killed many trees. Sometimes you can have too much of a good thing. An analogy can be drawn between the kudzu vine and factors in our lives, such as food buffets and fast food restaurants, both of which have led to overeating or poor eating habits resulting in obesity. Or consider the demands that others put on us and that we lay upon ourselves. We sometimes allow these things to take over our lives and, like the kudzu that covers the tree preventing it from getting the needed sunshine, we find ourselves wrapped up in and squeezed by too many demands.

Kudzu and fast food restaurants and buffets are in our lives to stay. However, we should control the vines lest they control and smother us. Does the kudzu serve a useful purpose? Certainly, but in moderation. We must be sure that we understand what we are planting and cultivating before we allow undesirable demands and "vines" to take over our lives.

"I am responsibly growing those vines in my life that will help me. I will tend to those vines with a watchful eye, and a pair of scissors for cutting loose that which is preventing me from enjoying the sunlight of life."
By Mary Rau-Foster

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

HR Safety:- 7 Keys to a Successful Fleet Safety Program

Attendees at the American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE) Safety 2008 conference got the inside story on how one company has dramatically reduced its vehicle accident rates - and insurance costs.
It is harder to ensure the safety of workers who drive as part of their job responsibilities than it is for workers under direct supervision. If you doubt that assertion, take a look at Bureau of Labor Statistics numbers, which show that occupational vehicle accidents account for one of every four worker fatalities nationwide.
[This week (October 6-10) is Drive Safely to Work Week. And, while the theme is geared more to the general commuting of your workforce, it is as good a time as any to tackle the sticky subject of fleet safety.]
Despite the fatality statistics, there is progress in addressing this problem. Arthur "Skip" Thomas of the Lockton Companies and Kurt Narron of Rural/Metro Companies told attendees at the ASSE Safety 2008 conference in Las Vegas how they developed a highly effective fleet safety program for emergency response vehicle drivers.
Narron's company reduced its vehicle accident rate from 58 incidents per 100 vehicles in 2002 to 7 incidents per 100 vehicles in 2007. The company also reduced its accident insurance costs from $45 million in 2002 to $22 million in 2007. Rural/Metro makes over 3 million emergency transport trips per year.

Steps to a Successful Fleet Safety Program

Thomas and Narron outlined seven steps they took to create and implement the fleet safety program at Rural/Metro.

Step 1 - Identify the Costs of Current Conditions.
--Determine accident rates per number of vehicles or per number of emergency transports and compare against the industry rates, or over time.
--Determine cumulative costs of accidents within the fleet (lost work time, insurance, legal assistance) per year.

Step 2 - Determine the Criteria for Making Program Implementation Decisions. Evaluate:
--Return on investment (ROI) over a specified time period
--Ability to apply industry or other best practices to their business
--Level of management support

Step 3 - Form An Internal Fleet Safety and Health Advisory Group.
The advisory group identified specific fleet problems, recommended solutions and best practices, and helped communicate the program to drivers. The group included vehicle drivers, dispatchers, field operators, supervisors, and area managers. The membership represented every job position in the company that interacted with or influenced the activities of fleet drivers.

Step 4 - Develop a Standardized Fleet Training Program.
Most states only require that emergency response drivers have a driver's license, so there were no compliance incentives for additional driver training. So Rural/Metro set up the following training program structure to address the accident problems:
--A 12-hour driver program that includes classes, a skills course, and on-road driver observation
--Immediate training for new hires and a phase-in program for existing drivers
--A train-the-trainer program

The program designers used ROI evaluations to monitor the effect of training on accident insurance costs. They were able to put 10,000 drivers through the program over 3 years.

Step 5 - Identify Technology to Monitor Causes Of Accidents, Monitor Trends In Accident Rates Before and After Training, Compile Data For Program ROI Calculations, And Help Assess Liability In Collisions.
Rural/Metro initially installed DriveCam® monitoring systems in several vehicles as a pilot program. They started in an area where drivers were most skeptical of "Big Brother" driver monitoring technology. Within 4 hours of installing one of the devices, a response vehicle driver was involved in an accident and the monitor showed that he had done everything properly to prevent the accident and was exonerated. The experience helped speed the acceptance of the devices within the driver pool. For that and other reasons, the DriveCam is now accepted by the entire driver workforce at Rural/Metro, said Thomas and Narron.

Step 6 - Institute a Refresher Training Program.
Refresher training was added on the basis of DriveCam data, evolving best practices, and situation and behavior data. Training lasts about 1 hour to 1.5 hours, and includes video footage. Program designers found that drivers learn more effectively from video than from text.

Step 7 - Enhance the Motor Vehicle Record (MVR) Program.
The driving records of all drivers were evaluated. When the fleet safety program was started, drivers with poor records were put into a "probation" program where they were given training and 3 years of continuous improvement to clear their records. Union management did not object, corporate management supported the effort, and many drivers improved and kept their jobs. The MVR program included an appeal process.

Thanks to BLR

Sunday, October 5, 2008

HR Safety:- Drive Safely to Work Week: Avoid the 'Big 5'

October 6-10 is Drive Safely to Work Week. The event is sponsored by the Network of Employers for Traffic Safety (NETS), which says the week is "devoted to improving the safety and health of the nation's workforce by promoting safe driving practices at their place of business." Our Safety Training Tips editor says that means next week is the perfect time to provide your employees with some safe driving training.

Five High-Risk Mistakes Are Behind the Majority Of Accidents.

NETS says that when you talk to employees about safe driving, you should emphasize key high-risk driving mistakes. Avoiding these five mistakes could prevent most motor vehicle accidents, injuries, and deaths:

-- Not Paying enough Attention to Driving
-- Following Too Closely
-- Driving Too Fast
-- Failing to Obey Traffic Signs and Signals
-- Backing Up Unsafely

Ten Simple Steps Can Prevent Most Traffic Accidents.

NETS also urges you to promote these 10 positive steps for responsible driving:

-- Plan Your Route. Try to avoid congested roads, roads under repair, dangerous intersections, and other spots where accidents often occur.

-- Maintain Your Vehicle. Safe vehicles are routinely maintained and repaired, and visually inspected before each trip.

-- Pay Attention to Your Driving. Eyes should be on the road, hands on the wheel, and mind on the driving-not drinking,
eating, applying cosmetics, reading the paper, etc.

-- Minimize Distractions. That means phones, the radio, conversations with passengers, and so on.

-- Know Your Surroundings. Know where you're going and what the hazards might be along your route.

-- Share Your Space. Respect the right of way of other vehicles and pedestrians. Be a careful, defensive driver.

-- Watch Your Speed. Keep within the speed limit, and adjust your speed to traffic and weather conditions.

-- Keep Your Distance. Under normal conditions, maintain a distance of 2 seconds behind the car in front on the highway
and 4 seconds at night, in bad weather, or when road conditions are bad.

-- Signal Your Intentions. Use your flashers to let other drivers know when you're going to turn. Use hand signals or pump your brakes to let other drivers know when you're slowing down or preparing to stop.

-- Always Wear a Seat Belt. Seat belts save lives and prevent or minimize injuries. Everyone in the vehicle, including passengers in the back seat, should wear a seat belt-even for short trips and local driving.

Distracted or drowsy driving takes a deadly toll on the nation's roads. NETS points to a study by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Virginia Transportation Research Council which concludes that in nearly 80 percent of crashes or near-crashes drivers are distracted or drowsy just before the accident. According to the study, distracted driving contributes to many more accidents than previously thought.

The study also finds that 20 percent of crashes are caused by drowsiness and that drowsiness often occurs in the morning or during the day when you'd think drivers would be wide awake. The study concludes that drowsy driving increases an employee's risk of having an accident or near-crash on the road by four to six times.

Here Are Some Tips to Help Employees Deal With Drowsy Driving:

-- Have something to eat before you leave the house. Food in your stomach will give you energy and help keep you alert.
-- Have a healthy energy snack like a yogurt or piece of fruit before you leave work.
-- Pull over, get out, walk around a little, and have a cup of coffee if you feel drowsy while driving.
-- Stop and take a short 10-15 minute nap if you can't keep your eyes open.
-- Ask a passenger to take over driving if you're too tired to drive.
-- Leave your car and take public transportation, ride with co-worker, or call family member or friend to come pick you up from work if you feel like you're too tired to drive safely.

Why It Matters...

According to NETS:

-- Traffic accidents are the leading cause of death and injury in the nation's workforce.
-- A traffic crash occurs every 5 minutes in the United States and many of those who are involved are employees commuting to or from work.
-- While most employees think they're good, safe drivers, national traffic accident statistics indicate otherwise (6 million crashes that resulted in 42,642 fatalities and just under 2.6 million people injured in one recent year).
-- Most traffic accidents are preventable if employees know and follow some simple, common-sense rules of the road.