I wish that time permitted us to write more often about the good work done by various groups to improve workplace safety and management. Notable examples include AGC –National and numerous state AGC-Chapters, the National Safety Council, State safety summits or “Governors Safety Conferences,” such as those in Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee, Mississippi, Kentucky and Indiana; TAUC, NBWA, American Foundry Society, American Poultry Association, and many others. We could also talk about the work of insurers and affiliated businesses, such as Willis, ACIG and Zurich. Today, while flying, I’ll do just that ….
BevCap Management Best Practices Conference. I’ve spoken at BevCap Management LLC’s Best Practices Conferences for many years, on topics such as Drugs in the Workplace, Common Workplace Safety Problems, Ergonomic challenges, OSHA enforcement, FMLA, effective HR, and avoiding Harassment and Discrimination claims. I try to attend other sessions as possible to learn the current concerns on these beer wholesalers’ minds and solutions being developed.
This year’s subjects illustrate concerns on almost all employers’ lists:
Vehicle Safety – the legal exposure generated by fleets and even individual auto usage dwarfs that of most other workplace safety concerns. About 40% of OSHA’s annual workplace fatalities involve vehicles. Workers Comp claims by drivers, especially those involved in loading or unloading product are high. And of course, a single accident killing a member of the public can in a single stroke destroy a company’s hard-won reputation. Therefore, it’s not surprising that topics included:
- A sobering presentation by attorney Gregory Gowan on a Plaintiff Attorney’s Perspective of the Liabilities Associated with Distracted Driving.
- A soup to nuts discussion by attorney Mark Downey on Updating Your Company Driver and Vehicle Policies and the legal issues associated with employee vehicle usage.
- Rear End Collisions.
- Strategies Used to Curb Distracted Driving.
I also spoke some on state law challenges posed by recent new state recreational and medical marijuana laws being interpreted as requiring employers to accommodate employees using Marijuana use – still a small minority. However, Dr. Urschel addressed the more crucial root issue of the rise in addiction problems, especially with regard to heroin and abused prescription meds. There are few more serious and expensive future challenges looming over employers. See our frequent writing about opiates and NYT Author Sam Quinones.
Articles by Dr. Urschel:
- Practical Guidance in What is Alcohol Awareness and Why is it Important?
- Myths about Marijuana: How Marijuana Causes Addiction and is Not Harmless.
- Healing the Addictive Family: What is Family Addiction Therapy?
The thrust of the Presentation was the need for employers to seriously review their EAPs, Insurance and approaches to working with employees wrestling with drug and alcohol issues. Don't wait for actions triggering discipline or accidents and events that could even destroy the value of a company. Look for ways to effectively reach employees and their families about resources and support as well as a new generation of Employee Education beyond the old "Drugs Don't Work" Campaigns. When did you last update your employee education and training about the risks associated with drugs and alcohol - assuming that's even part of your regular employee training and education efforts?
END OF PART I