How to Avoid Collisions with Deer

ThinkstockPhotos-177328201.jpgTwo-thirds of all deer-vehicle collisions occur during the months of October, November and December. This is also the time when deer breed when they travel the most. Daily deer activity is highest at dawn and dusk, which often is the highest time of travel for motor vehicle commuters. Deer travel in groups – if you see one, expect more.  Areas where there are many deer-vehicle collisions often are marked with deer crossing signs. The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation recommends these precautions motorists can take to reduce the chance of a deer hit:

  • Be careful when you drive at dawn and dusk; this is when driver visibility is bad and the deer are most active.
  • The risk of deer-vehicle collisions increases when deer movements increase during their breeding season in October, November and December.
  • Decrease speed when you approach deer near roadsides. Deer can “bolt” or change direction at the last minute.
  • If you see a deer go across the road, decrease speed and be careful. Deer travel in groups, expect other deer to follow.
  • Use emergency lights or a headlight signal to warn other drivers when deer are seen on or near the road.
  • Use caution on roadways marked with deer crossing signs. These signs are put in areas that have had a large number of deer-vehicle collisions.

The above is an excerpt from, “Special Driving Conditions.” For more information, please visit, “dmv.ny.gov.”

Why Invest Time in Road Safety Education in the Workplace?

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TRAFFIC CRASHES ARE COSTLY TO EMPLOYERS Ahead of this year’s 20th anniversary of Drive Safely Work Week, NETS released a new study: The Cost of Motor Vehicle Crashes to Employers–2015. You may already have policies in place to reduce the human and economic toll of crashes involving company-car drivers. But did you know that the cost of off-the job crashes is nearly as high? Off-the job crashes are much more frequent. And, they involve employees and their dependents.

2Lost work days due to motor vehicle crashes totaled more than 1.6 million in 2013. You might be surprised at how those days break down between on-the-job and off-the-job crashes. An off-the-job crash is any crash experienced by: Nearly 90% of those work days are the result of off-the-job crashes. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), driver behavior is a factor in 94% of all motor vehicle crashes, meaning that nearly all of them are preventable. We also know from the recent NETS study that a portion of the overall costs of crashes can be broken down to types of driver behavior.

1In addition to the behaviors cited to the left, drowsy driving is a growing concern given our increasingly-connected 24/7 society. Efforts are needed to educate on the importance of quality sleep and to encourage healthy sleep habits, along with recognizing the signs when we are too drowsy to operate a motor vehicle safely. The encouraging news is employers are in a favorable position to help reduce crashes attributed to driver behavior, including drowsy driving, through education and training. Employers can collectively reach nearly 50% of the U.S. population—even more when information is shared with employee family members—and employers have a captive audience. Take the time to ensure the work hours and expectations of management are such that the workplace is not contributing to unsafe driving behaviors. Keep in mind that road safety education of all employees is time well spent, with the potential to reduce crashes on and off the job.


The above is an excerpt from the article,”Why Invest Time in Road Safety Education in the Workplace?” For more information, please visit nhtsa.gov.

 

Backpack Facts: What’s All the Flap About?

Across the country, backpack events educate parents, students, educators and school administrators, and communities about the serious health effects that backpacks that are too heavy or worn improperly have on children.

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  • More than 79 million students in the United States carry school backpacks.1 • More than 2,000 backpack-related injuries were treated at hospital emergency rooms, doctor’s offices, and clinics in 2007.
  •  It is recommended that a loaded backpack should never weigh more than 10% of the student’s total body weight (for a student weighing 100 pounds, this means that the backpack should weigh no more than 10 pounds).
  • About 55% of students carry a backpack that is heavier than the recommended guideline of 10% of the student’s total body weight.
  • In one study with American students ages 11 to 15 years, 64% reported back pain related to heavy backpacks. Twenty-one percent reported the pain lasting more than 6 months.
  • In a study on the effect of backpack education on student behavior and health, nearly 8 out of 10 middle school students who changed how they loaded and wore their backpacks reported less pain and strain in their backs, necks, and shoulders.
  • According to a study by Boston University, approximately 85% of university students self-report a discomfort and pain associated with backpack usage.
  • The way backpacks are worn affects your health. The height of the backpack should extend from approximately 2 inches below the shoulder blades to waist level or slightly above the waist. It is recommended that individuals always wear the backpack on both shoulders so the weight is evenly distributed.

The above is an excerpt from the article,’Backpack Facts: What’s All the Flap About?”  For more information please visit, www.aota.org.

Tips for Purchasing a Backpack

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Think the books and school supplies that your child is carrying in a backpack slung haphazardly across one shoulder are harmless? Think again. Heavy loads carried by more than 79 million students across the U.S. can cause low back pain that often lasts through adulthood. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, in 2010 nearly 28,000 strains, sprains, dislocations, and fractures from backpacks were treated in hospital emergency rooms, physicians’ offices, and clinics.

“A child wearing a backpack incorrectly or that is too heavy can be contributing risk factors for discomfort, fatigue, muscle soreness, and musculoskeletal pain especially in the lower back,” says Karen Jacobs, EdD, OTR/L, CPE, clinical professor of occupational therapy at Boston University, and an expert on school ergonomics and healthy growth and development of school-age children.

The American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) urges parents and caregivers to consider the following when selecting a backpack this school year:

  • Appropriate size. Make sure the height of the backpack extends from approximately 2 inches below the shoulder blades to waist level, or slightly above the waist.
  • Shoulders. Backpacks should have well-padded shoulder straps that can be worn on both shoulders so when packed with books, the weight can be evenly balanced by the student.
  • Hip belt. Backpacks with a hip or chest belt take some strain off sensitive neck and shoulder muscles and improve the student’s balance.
  • Fit. Just as your child will try on clothes and shoes when back-to-school shopping, experts say it is important to try on backpacks, too. “The right fit should be your top criteria when selecting your child’s backpack,” says Jacobs. “If you order online, be sure that the seller has a return policy just in case the backpack is not quite the best fit for your child and needs to be exchanged.”

When school is back in session, check that the child’s backpack weighs no more than 10% of his or her body weight. If it weighs more, determine what supplies can stay at home or at school each day to lessen the load. If the backpack is still too heavy for the child, consider a book bag on wheels.

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The above is an excerpt from the article,”Tips for Purchasing a Backpack.”  For more information please visit, www.aota.org.

8 Cyber Security Action Items for Mobile Devices

mobilesecurefbthinkstockphotos522791918A few simple steps can to help ensure company information is protected. These include requiring all mobile devices that connect to the business network be equipped with security software and password protection; and providing general security training to make employees aware of the importance of security practices for mobile devices. More specific practices are detailed below.

  1. Use security software on all smartphonesSecurity software specifically designed for smartphones can stop hackers and prevent cyber criminals from stealing your information or spying on you when you use public networks. It can detect and remove viruses and other mobile threats before they cause you problems. It can also eliminate annoying text and multimedia spam messages
  2. Make sure all software is up to dateMobile devices must be treated like personal computers in that all software on the devices should be kept current, especially the security software. This will protect devices from new variants of malware and viruses that threaten your company’s critical information.
  3. . Encrypt the data on mobile devicesBusiness and personal information stored on mobile devices is often sensitive. Encrypting this data is another must. If a device is lost and the SIM card stolen, the thief will not be able to access the data if the proper encryption technology is loaded on the device.
  4. Have users password protect access to mobile devicesIn addition to encryption and security updates, it is important to use strong passwords to protect data stored on mobile devices. This will go a long way toward keeping a thief from accessing sensitive data if the device is lost or hacked.
  5. Urge users to be aware of their surroundings Whether entering passwords or viewing sensitive or confidential data, users should be cautious of who might be looking over their shoulder.
  6. Employ these strategies for email, texting and social networkingAvoid opening unexpected text messages from unknown senders

    – As with email, attackers can use text messages to spread malware, phishing scams and other threats among mobile device users. The same caution should be applied to opening unsolicited text messages that users have become accustomed to with email.Don’t be lured in by spammers and phishers – To shield business networks from cyber criminals, small businesses should deploy appropriate email security solutions, including spam prevention, which protect a company’s reputation and manage risks.

    Click with caution – Just like on stationary PCs, social networking on mobile devices and laptops should be conducted with care and caution. Users should not open unidentified links, chat with unknown people or visit unfamiliar sites. It doesn’t take much for a user to be tricked into compromising a device and the information on it.

  7. Set reporting procedures for lost or stolen equipmentIn the case of a loss or theft, employees and management should all know what to do next. Processes to deactivate the device and protect its information from intrusion should be in place. Products are also available for the automation of such processes, allowing small businesses to breathe easier after such incidents.
  8. Ensure all devices are wiped clean prior to disposalMost mobile devices have a reset function that allows all data to be wiped. SIM cards should also be removed and destroyed.

The above excerpt is from the “Cyber Security Planning Guide,” published by www.fcc.gov.

Top Threats Targeting Mobile Devices

target-mobile-ThinkstockPhotos-587799260-[Converted].jpgIf your company uses mobile devices to conduct company business, such as accessing company email or sensitive data, pay close attention to mobile security and the potential threats that can expose and compromise your overall business networks. This section describes the mobile threat environment and the practices that small businesses can use to help secure devices such as smartphones, tablets and Wi-Fi enabled laptops.

Many organizations are finding that employees are most productive when using mobile devices, and the benefits are too great to ignore. But while mobility can increase workplace productivity, allowing employees to bring their own mobile devices into the enterprise can create significant security and management challenges.

Data loss and data breaches caused by lost or stolen phones create big challenges, as mobile devices are now used to store confidential business information and access the corporate network. According to a December 2010 Symantec mobile security survey, 68 percent of respondents ranked loss or theft as their top mobile-device security concern, while 56 percent said mobile malware is their number two concern. It is important to remember that while the individual employee may be liable for a device, the company is still liable for the data.

Top threats targeting mobile devices

Data Loss – An employee or hacker accesses sensitive information from device or network. This can be unintentional or malicious, and is considered the biggest threat to mobile devices

Social Engineering Attacks – A cyber-criminal attempts to trick users to disclose sensitive information or install malware. Methods include phishing and targeted attacks.

Malware – Malicious software that includes traditional computer viruses, computer worms and Trojan horse programs. Specific examples include the Ikee worm, targeting iOS-based devices; and Pjapps malware that can enroll infected Android devices in a collection of hacker-controlled “zombie” devices known as a “botnet.”

 Data Integrity Threats – Attempts to corrupt or modify data in order to disrupt operations of a business for financial gain. These can also occur unintentionally.

Resource Abuse – Attempts to misuse network, device or identity resources. Examples include sending spam from compromised devices or denial of service attacks using computing resources of compromised devices.

Web and Network-based Attacks – Launched by malicious websites or compromised legitimate sites, these target a device’s browser and attempt to install malware or steal confidential data that flows through it.


The above excerpt is from the “Cyber Security Planning Guide,” published by www.fcc.gov.

Are migraine headaches disabilities under the ADA?

-headache-ThinkstockPhotos-100615844.jpgThe ADA does not contain a list of medical conditions that constitute disabilities. Instead, the ADA has a general definition of disability that each person must meet (EEOC Regulations . . ., 2011). Therefore, some people with migraine headaches will have a disability under the ADA and some will not.

A person has a disability if he/she has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities, a record of such an impairment, or is regarded as having an impairment (EEOC Regulations . . . , 2011). For more information about how to determine whether a person has a disability under the ADA, visit http://AskJAN.org/corner/vol05iss04.htm.


The above is an excerpt from the article, “Accommodation and Compliance Series: Employees with Migraine Headaches.” For more information please visitwww.askjan.org.

How Prevalent are Migraines? How are they Treated?

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How prevalent are migraine headaches?

According to the National Headache Foundation, an estimated 28 million Americans have migraine headaches. The World Health Organization considers migraines to be one of the most debilitating diseases in the world. In addition, an estimated 14 million Americans have undiagnosed migraine headaches (Lawrence, 2004).

Migraines are the second most prevalent headache syndrome in the United States. Statistics show that 157 million workdays each year are lost due to the severity of migraine headaches (Fackelmann, 2005).

Migraines are more prevalent in women, affecting women three times more than men. Estrogen levels are a key trigger for increased migraines in women, but how the changes trigger migraines is unknown. Women often report that their migraine occurs during or right before the onset of their menstrual cycle. In addition, some women experience migraines during pregnancy or menopause. Contraceptives and hormone replacement therapies have also been shown to cause more severe migraines (Mayo Clinic, 2005).

How are migraine headaches treated?

As of today, there is no cure for migraines. Often, individuals with migraines look at treating or preventing the migraine. Preventive medications are used to reduce the number of attacks for individuals that have two or more migraines a month. Examples of some of the prescribed medications are Beta-blockers, Anti-depressants, and Divalproex Sodium. Many individuals who take preventive medications also take medication to treat the severity of the migraine (Lawrence, 2004).

Accommodating Employees with Migraine Headaches

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People with migraine headaches may develop some of the limitations discussed below, but seldom develop all of them. Also, the degree of limitation will vary among individuals. Be aware that not all people with migraine headaches will need accommodations to perform their jobs and many others may only need a few accommodations. The following is only a sample of the possibilities available. Numerous other accommodation solutions may exist.

Questions to Consider:

  1. What limitations is the employee with migraines experiencing?
  2. How do these limitations affect the employee and the employee’s job performance?
  3. What specific job tasks are problematic as a result of these limitations?
  4. What accommodations are available to reduce or eliminate these problems? Are all possible resources being used to determine possible accommodations?
  5. Has the employee with migraines been consulted regarding possible accommodations?
  6. Once accommodations are in place, would it be useful to meet with the employee with migraines to evaluate the effectiveness of the accommodations and to determine whether additional accommodations are needed?
  7. Do supervisory personnel and employees need training regarding migraine headaches?

Accommodation Ideas

Lighting Triggers:

  • Add fluorescent light filters to existing fluorescent lights to create a more natural lighting
  • Change lighting completely
  • Provide an anti-glare filter for computer monitor
  • Provide a liquid crystal display monitor that has a better refresh rate
  • Move employee to a private area to allow for personal adjustment to appropriate lighting
  • Allow the employee to wear sunglasses or anti-glare glasses in the work area
  • Allow telework

Noise Triggers:

  • Move employee to a more private area or away from high traffic areas
  • Provide an environmental sound machine to help mask distracting sounds
  • Provide noise canceling headsets
  • Provide sound absorption panels
  • Encourage coworkers to keep non-work related conversation to a minimum

Smell/Fragrance Triggers:

  • Implement a fragrance-free policy
  • Request that employees voluntarily refrain from wearing fragrances
  • Allow telework
  • Move the employee to an area where the fragrances are not as strong
  • Allow a flexible schedule
  • Provide air purification systems

Other:

  • Provide flexible leave when the employee is experiencing a migraine
  • Allow the employee to telework when the employee is experiencing a migraine
  • Do not mandate attendance at after-hours social functions if an employee is affected by a disruption in sleep patterns
  • Provide the employee with a dark, private area to go to when experiencing a migraine

Situations and Solutions:

An employee who works in a cubicle setting was experiencing migraine headaches that were triggered by the noise level; she was located in a high traffic area by the copy machine. The employer accommodated this employee by moving her to an area with less traffic and providing an environmental sound machine.

A computer programmer experienced migraines that were triggered by the noise level in his cubicle and the overhead fluorescent lighting. As an accommodation, his employer provided him with a noise canceling headset, disabled the fluorescent light above his cubicle, and provided natural task lighting.

A human resource representative had migraines several times a month, which prevented her from working. As an accommodation, the employer provided unpaid flexible leave after all of her paid leave was exhausted.

An assembly line worker’s migraines were triggered by various fragrances. The employees around him often wore overwhelming perfumes that caused him to have a migraine. As an accommodation, the employer asked other employees to voluntarily refrain from wearing fragrances. The employee was also moved to a part of the assembly line where the fragrances were not as strong.

An accountant had a migraine headache about twice a week, which prevented him from coming to work. As an accommodation, the employer allowed this employee to work for home when he had a migraine headache. If his migraine was too severe to work from home, the employee was allowed to use comp time.



The above is an excerpt from the article, “Accommodation and Compliance Series:
Employees with Migraine Headaches.” For more information please visitwww.askjan.org.