Vol. 9, Issue 1 - Summer 2016

In this edition, learn more about:

Small business crime prevention

By Mike Huss, Loss Control Supervisor 

Crime (burglary, robbery, vandalism, shoplifting, employee theft, and fraud) costs businesses billions of dollars each year. Crime can be particularly devastating to small businesses, who lose both customers and employees when crime and fear claim a neighborhood. 

When small businesses are victims of crime, they often react by changing their hours of operation, raising their prices to cover their losses, relocating outside the community, or simply closing. Fear of crime isolates businesses, much like fear isolates individuals—and this isolation increases vulnerability to crime. 

Helping small businesses reduce and prevent crime must be a community effort. Law enforcement can work with business owners to improve security and design their spaces to reduce risk. Businesses can join together in such efforts as “Business Watch” to alert each other to crime patterns and suspicious activities. 

Crime prevention
Take a hard look at your business; its physical layout, employees, hiring practices, and overall security. Assess its vulnerability to crime. Basic prevention principles include:  A gloved hand holding a crowbar

  • Provide security training for all employees—including cleaning staff.
  • Use reliable locks, safes, and alarm systems.
  • Keep detailed, up-to-date records. Store back-up copies off premises.
  • Establish and enforce clear policies regarding employee theft, substance abuse, crime reporting, opening and closing the business, and other security procedures.
  • Identify/mark equipment, (e.g., registers, copiers, computers, printers) with a unique ID.
Crimes against businesses are usually crimes of opportunity. Failure to take good security precautions invites crime into a business.

Cuts and lacerations
By Mike Huss, Loss Control Supervisor

Cuts, lacerations and punctures are common occupational injuries in many industries. Hand, power tools, and various sharp edges are all potential hazards that can be minimized with the use of personal protective equipment (PPE), inspections, and safe work practices. Knowledge of first-aid for cuts and punctures is critical. Keep first-aid kits accessible, well stocked and clean at all worksites, especially at construction sites.


Personal protective equipment to prevent cuts and punctures starts with sturdy work shoes to protect the tops of feet from dropped items, and bottoms from sharp objects. Aprons can protect your upper legs and torso from accidental body cuts and slices while you work. Gauntlets can protect your arms. Wear metal mesh type cut resistant gloves while making cuts. Protective latex or nitrile gloves can be worn over and under mesh gloves to maintain sanitary conditions, and increase grip.

Knife safety begins with choosing the correct blade for the job. Many  knives have specific uses, so training on the correct tool for the job is important. Always:

  • cut away from your body,
  • carry a knife with the blade down and pointed away from you,
  • never try and catch a knife that is falling — let it drop,
  • keep knives sharpened so they can easily slice/cut,
  • inspect, maintain and replace knives and blades as needed,
  • sheath and store knives properly at all times,
  • place knives at the back of your work surface; not near the edge
For powered cutting devices always:

  • get training in safe work practices for the equipment, 
  • conduct periodic inspections and maintenance as needed,
  • ensure all guards and safety devices are in place,
  • use lockout/blockout procedures during maintenance and when clearing jams,
  • use “pusher sticks” near moving parts and blades,
  • never reach across moving machinery,
  • tie back long hair, remove jewelry and avoid loose clothing

Safety News

By Kim Coonrod, Loss Control Manager

OSHA sets 400% fine increase for reporting rule violations
Under 29 CFR §1904.39, employers must report an in-patient hospitalization, amputation, or eye loss to OSHA within 24 hours of the incident. Under previous guidance, the recommended maximum fine for failing to comply was $1,000, not including reductions for small businesses and other allowances. The new recommended unadjusted penalty is $5,000. However, as before, the new guidelines permit area directors to boost the fine to $7,000 to achieve the “necessary deterrent effect” for such reporting violations, which will still be classified as “other than serious.” The penalty for failure to report a fatality or three or more in-patient hospitalizations within eight hours and other work-related events remains unchanged, according to the agency. OSHA issued 627 citations for reporting violations in fiscal year 2015, with fines averaging $1,445.

OSHA reissues hazard alert on scissor lifts
Scissor lifts have the potential to seriously injure or kill workers when not used properly, OSHA warns in a newly updated hazard alert. The hazard alert provides the following recommendations: Scissor lifts should be installed with guardrails. Only trained workers should be allowed to use scissor lifts, and that training should emphasize never standing on the guardrails and keeping work within easy reach to avoid leaning away from the lift. Employers should ensure scissor lifts are stable by following the manufacturer’s instructions and using the device outside only in good weather conditions. Position scissor lifts at least 10 feet away from electrical power sources and implement traffic controls to prevent workers or vehicles from approaching lifts.

Class focus: Retail and grocery

  • Crowd Management Safety Guidelines for Retailers
  • Ergonomic Solutions for Retailers: Prevention of Material Handling
  • Injuries in the Grocery Sector
  • Guidelines for Retail Grocery Stores - Ergonomics for the Prevention of
  • Musculoskeletal DisordersLady at super market
  • Health & Safety for Retail Small Business
  • Health and Safety Guide for New Retail Workers
  • Knife Safety Tips
  • Making Your Store Safe
  • Meat Slicer Training and Safety
  • Preventing Cuts and Amputations from Food Slicers and Meat Grinders
  • Preventing Slips, Trips, and Falls in Wholesale & Retail
  • Preventing Violence, Robbery, and Theft
  • Quick Tips for Lifting
  • Recommendations for Workplace Violence Prevention Programs in
  • Late-Night Retail Establishments
  • The Health & Safety Checklist
  • Use Extreme Caution When Using Meat Slicers

Insurance products and services are offered through Markel Specialty Commercial, a business division of Markel Service Incorporated, policies written by one or more Markel insurance companies. Terms and conditions for coverage may vary by state.

The information provided in this article is intended for general informational purposes only and should not be considered as all encompassing, or suitable for all situations, conditions, and environments. Please contact us or your attorney if you have any questions.

For safety or risk management questions or suggestions, please contact Markel.

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