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WORKPLACE SAFETY

7 tips for a safe winter commute

In the best of winters, driving to and from the office can be challenging. This winter continues to be downright dreadful in many parts of the country. Snow, ice, and cold weather can all create hazardous conditions on the road, and it is important to take extra precautions to ensure the safety of yourself and others. Here are tips for winter driving safety for you and your staff. Plan ahead: Before you set out on your commute, be sure to check the weather forecast and road conditions. If there is a storm or bad weather expected, consider leaving early or finding an alternative mode of transportation. Prepare your vehicle: Make sure your vehicle is in good working order before embarking on a winter commute. Check your brakes, tires, and fluid… . . . read more.

WORKPLACE SAFETY

10 tips for winter safety in your office parking lot

As extreme winter conditions continue in many parts of the country, remember to have your office parking lot maintained for the safety of your employees and patients. Here are some tips for promoting safety in your office parking lot this winter and being better prepared for future winters: Clear the parking lot of snow and ice regularly to improve traction and reduce the risk of slips and falls. This may involve hiring a contractor or having staff members take turns clearing the lot. Mark slippery areas with caution signs or cones to warn drivers and pedestrians of potential hazards. Install snow fences or berms around the perimeter of the parking lot to help prevent snow drifts from blocking entrances and exits. Stock up on supplies such as sand, salt, and… . . . read more.

CYBERSECURITY

Treat passwords like underwear: Change often and don’t share

Did you know that most confirmed data breaches involve the leveraging of weak, stolen, or default passwords? One of your practice’s frontline defenses for avoiding the phishing  attacks and other cybercriminal schemes is effective password management. How well are you managing yours? Take this quiz from Michael J. Sacopulos, JD, founder and CEO of the Medical Risk Institute, to find out.  Strong passwords are too complicated to remember. It’s fine to use passwords that are short and easy.            True or False?  Answer: False Easy passwords are easy to crack. Popular passwords in the United States continue to be “password” and “12345.” These weak passwords offer little security and are simply dangerous. Instruct your team to create strong passwords that contain a mix of letters, cases, and… . . . read more.

WORKPLACE SAFETY

Are there guns in your workplace?

By Lynne Curry If you think the national division over guns hasn’t hit your workplace, you haven’t been listening. Not only are the employees who advocate for increased gun control, including a ban on assault-style rifles like the AR-15, engaged in an active argument with those who argue for fewer restrictions on gun owners’ ability to carry concealed firearms—but some of your coworkers or employees may be packing. Does your employee handbook address whether your employer allows employees or non-employees to bring guns onto worksites? What about whether employees can keep guns in their cars or trucks? The concealed handgun permit statues in many states don’t address whether those legally permitted to own guns can bring them to work or carry them into others’ workplaces. Instead, it’s up to employers… . . . read more.

WORKPLACE SAFETY

Signs of potential disaster were present at Walmart—Are they at your workplace?

By Lynne Curry There were signs of potential disaster that later erupted in six deaths when Walmart supervisor Andre Bing shot and killed six coworkers in November. There always are. Four decades of investigating violent workplace incidents have convinced me of this. “I didn’t want to say anything,” someone always says, “but….” “That was just ‘Jon,’ but we all sort of knew it, and didn’t poke the bear.” “I didn’t want to get anyone in trouble, so I didn’t tell anyone.” “I was too scared to say anything.” The Walmart investigation uncovered significant information detailing the genesis of the November disaster. Bing had written a note on his phone filled with complaints about coworkers, saying they mocked and harassed him. He named the coworkers he felt had antagonized or betrayed… . . . read more.

ENFORCEMENT

Physician and medical office to pay over $2.6M for false claims and kickback allegations

Allegations of improper billing and kickbacks have led to a penalty of more than $2.6 million for a Connecticut medical practice and physician. United States Attorney Vanessa Roberts Avery and Connecticut Attorney General William Tong announced that Feel Well Health Center of Southington, PC,  (formerly doing business as “Feel Well Health Center”) and Kevin P. Greene, M.D. (“Greene”) have entered into a civil settlement agreement with the federal and state governments and agreed to pay more than $2.6 million to resolve allegations that they violated the federal and state False Claims Acts by improperly billing federal and state healthcare programs, and that they received illegal kickbacks. Greene is a physician and the principal member and owner of Feel Well Health Center (now doing business as “Confidia Health Institute”), a primary… . . . read more.

COMPLIANCE

What to do when an employee uses FMLA to cover drinking

By Lynne Curry Question: We suspect one of our employees of using intermittent FMLA leave to cover her abuse of alcohol. We see a clear pattern. She takes leave two to three Mondays a month. Prior to her requesting FMLA leave, she claimed occasional sick days on Mondays. Other employees have noticed her leaving early on Fridays as well. With this fact pattern and given the rumors now circulating, may we start asking her to bring doctor’s notes each week to justify her need for Monday leave? Answer: While a Monday absence pattern may indicate alcoholism, you can wind up in legal hot water if you ask for weekly doctor’s notes from an employee using intermittent Family Medical Leave. In a landmark case, Oak Harbor Freight Lines v. Antti, the… . . . read more.

TOOL

Office safety inspection checklist

The examples outlined below do not list all the possible items for office inspections. The best checklist for your workplace is one that has been developed for your specific needs. Whatever the format of the checklist, provide space for the inspectors’ signatures and the date. Inspectors: Date: (O) Satisfactory (X) Requires Action Location Condition Comments Bulletin Boards and Signs Are they clean and readable? Is the material changed frequently? Do items interfere with people walking by? Floors Is there loose material, debris, worn carpeting? Are the floors slippery, oily or wet? Stairways and Aisles Are they clear and unblocked? Are stairways well lighted? Are handrails, handholds in place? Are the aisles marked and visible? Equipment Are guards, screens and sound-dampening devices in place and effective? Is the furniture in good… . . . read more.

TERMINATION

7 strategies for firing without backfiring

By Lynne Curry The final revenge of the difficult, fired employee. You’ve hesitated to fire him, you’ve given him chance after chance, but he’s not getting better. In fact, he’s getting worse, and so is the situation. You owe it to your other employees, who consider this employee toxic or carry his shirked workload burden, to bless this employee out the door. Unfortunately, you then make a critical mistake that results in a painful payout to this employee. If you want to fire without backfiring, you need to pay attention to: The doctrine of good faith and fair dealing; The guardrails of just cause, and Ask yourself 22 questions. If you’d like to fire an employee without backfire, you need to consider good faith and just cause, then ask yourself… . . . read more.

HIRING & FIRING

The dreaded “you’re fired” interview

By Lynne Curry You dread what you’re about to do. Even though your employee deserves to be fired, you hate firing anyone. You also fear the damage a fired employee can create with false wrongful termination allegations. If you’d to fire without backfiring and in a way that leaves the fired employee with dignity, here’s what you need to know. Do your job right Have you done your job? Have you clearly let your employee know your expectations; and given your employee the resources, training and support needed to do their job, along with corrective feedback, and chances to improve? If you’re not sure you have, check out the suggestions in “Pressing Reset” (chapter 7 of Managing for Accountability, https://bit.ly/3T3vww8/. If you’ve done your job, you’ve minimized the risk of… . . . read more.


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