Safely Accommodating Employees with Disabilities at Your Nonprofit

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One goal any organization should have in place is to provide a safe working environment for its employees. However, if your organization employs a person with a disability of any kind, there may be risks or exposures you haven’t considered yet that may cause the working environment to be less safe for them. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires, “accommodations for both current and prospective disabled employees to perform the ‘essential functions’ of a job.” This is important to consider to make the workplace equally safe for these individuals and reduce risk.

The most important step to creating a safer working environment is to conduct an in-depth risk assessment with disabled employees in mind. Points the risk assessment should cover include the individual’s work-related tasks and activities; work equipment they will use, as well as other physical hazards; whether or not further information and/or training on the individual’s needs are necessary; and other general risk assessments.

Once your risk assessment is completed, you’re ready to start making accommodations that will make the disabled individual’s work environment safer. Some of these changes are simple and low cost, while others may be a bit more costly, but necessary. Examples include:

– Keeping pathways free of obstruction for those requiring the use of a wheelchair or assistive devices for walking.
– Installing hand rails in stairways, inside of bathroom stalls and in other locations deemed necessary.
– Widening doorways to accommodate employees in wheelchairs.
– Replacing stairs with ramps.

Everyone deserves a safe work environment, and Lamb Financial Group can help you achieve one. Site safety evaluations are a part of our risk management services. We can arrange for an inspection to ensure a safe place for all of your employees to work in, as well as help you achieve a work site in compliances with OSHA standards. Contact us today at 1-866-481-5262 for more information.

 

Survey Shows Many Organizations Still Aren’t Prepared for Sandy-Like Storms

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It’s been well over a year since Hurricane Sandy unleashed its wrath on the New England area, causing many organizations to halt operations for months, and in some cases, to shut down completely. While one would think the effects of Sandy would cause those in leadership to amp up their disaster recovery plans, the results of a recent survey prove otherwise.

A New York-based agency polled business owners and managers in New York City, New Jersey, and Connecticut whose organizations were affected by Sandy last year. An astonishing 52 percent answered that their organization was not “financially prepared for another disaster,” which experts feel is a strong indicator that other organizations within the area are also not prepared to handle an event of that magnitude, either due to lack of appropriate finances and/or the means to deal with such a disaster.

Only 3 percent of those polled answered that they had taken the steps necessary to protect their organization by accessing more financing. Fifteen percent had taken steps to invest in and protect their organization’s technology, and 10 percent said they invested in infrastructure.

With natural disasters seeming to occur more often and more intensely, the time to prepare is now. Those in leadership should review business insurance policies regularly to ensure that the organization’s property and assets are covered, as well as make sure the organization is adequately covered by business interruption insurance. It’s also advisable that organizations back up their data so that critical information isn’t lost, should the organization’s building be destroyed.

No matter where your organization is located, Lamb Financial Group can help you find the right insurance policies to help keep your organization afloat, should a natural disaster drastically affect your property or operations. Visit our website today to learn more about our insurance options, or contact us to schedule an appointment with a representative by calling 1-866-481-5262.

 

Risks Hospice Employees Face & How to Reduce Them

Hospice care providers offer families of individuals with terminal illnesses an invaluable service and many families have turned to this care option over the past 20 years. However, as with any vocation in the medical field, hospice employees face a number of on-the-job risks.

On-the-job risks hospice employees face can be broken down into several categories, which include biological hazards, chemical hazards, physical hazards, and psychological hazards. Below is a brief look at some of the risks by category, as well as ways to minimize the risks.

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Biological risks hospice employees face include exposure to blood borne pathogens and infectious diseases. In many cases, exposure to biological risks are a result of needle stick injuries, coming into contact with a patient’s family member that has a contagious virus, or the employee’s failure to properly wash their hands after caring for the patient. To reduce these risks, only use needles when necessary and dispose of them properly, and make sure to use good hygiene at all times and avoid contact with those who may have a contagious illness.

Chemical hazards can include exposure to certain drugs, as well as chemicals used for cleaning and sterilization. In order to reduce the risk of exposure to harmful chemicals, employees should be properly trained on how to administer or use the chemical agent. This should include using protective face masks to avoid chemicals coming into contact with the eyes and respiratory system, which are often irritated by the fumes released by chemical agents.

The most common physical risk to healthcare providers like hospice employees are back injuries received while lifting or moving a patient. However, other physical risks include strained muscles and overexertion. Employees should be trained to use ergonomic approaches to transfer or provide aid to patients to prevent injury or use assistive devices, such as a lift or hoist, to support and balance patients when necessary.

Psychological hazards range from verbal and physical abuse to occupational stress caused by factors such as work overload, lack of support, or issues with co-workers, among others. As the CDC once shared, home healthcare providers like hospice employees often face more occupational stress than others due to the nature of their work. In order to reduce psychological risks like these, employees should be trained to recognize risks and implement an acceptable intervention for situations of violence or abuse. In the case of occupational stress, employers should provide employees the chance to discuss concerns openly and provide counseling support as needed.

Of course, hospice organizations should also minimize risk by having a strong insurance plan in place. Hospice organizations in need of insurance coverage can contact Lamb Financial Group to speak with a representative about your needs.