Category Archives: Safety

Are You Keeping Your Employees Safe?

ID Theft

Did you know there are approximately 50 million victims of identity theft each year?  Recently in Colorado, a sophisticated ID theft ring broke into various stores and stole employees’ records from safes and filing cabinets including copies of blank checks, driver’s licenses, and social security numbers.  Storing hard copies of your employees’ information, even if locked in a filing cabinet or safe, can be extremely risky.  Safeguarding your employees’ information is important and good business.

Below are 5 key principles that the Federal Trade Commission recommends when securing highly sensitive information.

1. Take Stock – Assess and keep inventory of all sensitive information you have for each employee by type and location.  Ensure it is in a secure area at all times and only a minimum number of people have access to it.  Keep track of who has access to the sensitive data at all times.

2. Scale Down – Keep only the information that you need and only as long as needed.  Dispose of any unnecessary sensitive information.  Also, only use social security numbers as necessary.  It isn’t essential to use social security numbers as an employee identification number.

3. Lock It – If you do have hard copies of sensitive information, ensure to lock them in a secure location, such as locked safe or filing cabinet in a locked up room.  Limit employee access to the locked location, and keep track of who has a key and the number of keys.  Ensure that keys are kept with employee at all times.  Also, make sure not to leave employee information out in a public area unattended.  Please note that even with all these safety precautions, it can be easy for a professional thief to break open a filing cabinet or safe.

Electronic security is probably the most secure way of storing employee information due to the difficulty of trying to break into one’s secured data on a computer.  However, there are still a few precautions you need to take when storing data electronically.  Make sure you keep your login and password information secured.  Don’t give out your password unless necessary.  Also, don’t leave sensitive information on your computer screen unattended.  Most importantly, ensure that all sensitive data is kept on a secured server, and run up-to-date anti-virus and anti-spyware programs on your computers.  Lastly, do not scan and email employee information.  It is best to use a secured online system to complete and store employee’s sensitive information.

4. Pitch It – Shred, shred, shred!  If you have hard copied sensitive information that you want to get rid of, make sure to shred or burn it so that it can’t be read or reconstructed.  If you want to dispose of sensitive information on your computer, use software to securely erase data, usually called wipe utility programs.  This will overwrite the entire hard drive so files cannot be recovered.  Deleting files using your keyboard or mouse does not completely wipeout the files and can potentially be recovered.

5. Plan Ahead – Have a plan in place in case identity theft occurs.  If filing cabinets or safes have been stolen or tempered with, contact the authorities and alert your employees immediately.  If you have sensitive information on a computer and it has been compromised, disconnect the computer immediately from your network.  If an incident does occur, you should consult your attorney.

It is extremely important to protect your employees from identity theft.  GoHire’s onboarding system can help you protect your employees by storing their personal information in a secure, virtual environment.  GoHire provides standard forms with sensitive information such as the I-9, W-4, and Direct Deposit Enrollment for new hires to complete and sign all online so there is no paper trail.

For more information regarding the Federal Trade Commission’s guide to protecting sensitive information for your business, please go to http://business.ftc.gov/documents/bus69-protecting-personal-information-guide-business.

If you would like more information about Red Book Connect’s solution, GoHire, please visit our website at http://redbookconnect.com/hiring-gohire/.

Jodi Sabol | Marketing Consultant | Red Book Connect

Don’t Forget, Safety First

We’re wrapping up National Safety Month (www.nsc.org ), and it’s a good time to evaluate the safety programs and policies at our organizations.  Almost every company has a documented safety policy and provides at least some training on safety expectations, but it’s a good practice to remind employees that everyone is responsible for and contributes to a safe work environment.  One of the ways we do that is to offer all employees the opportunity to attend training classes on safety topics that apply to our workplace.  We also recognize employees who highlight a safety hazard or concern.

workplace-safety

I’m always happy to have help finding ways to reinforce the important safety messages for our company.  We rely on our workers’ compensation insurance provider for specific safety information and training materials.  Our health insurance provider offers good information for general employee wellness.  The organization (www.cintas.com/FirstAidSafety) that stocks our first aid kit and performs regular checks to be sure our AED unit is functioning properly, has a division that offers supplies and training,  and the local safety association offers seminars and other educational classes.

As you are reviewing your safety programs, there are some basic elements to look for.  While we hope never to have to use some of the safety training we provide, other elements are just good business.

  • Proper notifications and postings (www.osha.gov )– these include workers’ comp notices and injury reporting policies
  • Regular maintenance program for equipment – to ensure proper operation of equipment, including fire extinguishers
  • Proper training on equipment usage – even properly maintained equipment can be dangerous if not used correctly
  • PPE – personal protective equipment must be available where appropriate and can include safety glasses, gloves, appropriate footwear, or other kinds of basic supplies
  • Ergonomic recommendations for different jobs (www.osha.gov/SLTC/ergonomics ) – probably  more common than acute injury, repetitive stress injuries, due to improper ergonomics, account for a significant amount of missed work time
  • Emergency procedures – we practice fire drills with the assistance of our local fire department to be sure all employees know our expectations
  • Basic first aid, CPR and AED training – we regularly certify a number of employees in these skills so they can be a resource in the event of a health emergency

One additional item that may not always be seen as part of the company’s safety program is a comprehensive drug and alcohol policy.  Even with all the right safety training, programs and policies in place, an employee who is impaired at work can create significant risk. http://www.dol.gov/elaws/asp/drugfree/benefits.htm  In addition to not being as efficient as a worker who isn’t impaired, an employee under the influence of drugs or alcohol has a reduced attention span, reduced focus, longer reaction time and basic motor skills are affected.  Training managers to spot impaired employees is a sensitive business – nobody wants to be falsely accused.  This is a good place to partner with your network of safety service providers for training.

Although June has been identified as the month dedicated to safety issues, your focus on safety should be a year-long effort.  There are lots of resources to help you. Failure to maintain that focus can result in increased insurance premiums, medical care, diminished employee moral and lost work time.

Thanks to one of our Facebook followers, Chris and his colleague Melissa who writes for St. Jude Retreats (www.soberforever.net ) for the idea for this blog.