Useful Tips For Overseas Workers and Migrants

Overseas Workers and migrants need to set goals when they leave for work abroad. Usually, their main goal is to provide a comfortable life for their family back home but preparing for it is not easy. It takes a lot of sacrifices to be able to achieve them. The guide below will help overseas workers and migrants to realize their goals and their dreams.

1. Save and invest your hard earned money. It is also good to save some money for your family’s travel to your country of work. Part of your mission is to be able to keep your family intact. This is one way of sustaining the bond of your family. This will certainly lessen your loneliness and adjustment period. Airlines today frequently offer promos for international travel. Keep yourself updated on these promos to give you an idea on how much you will need to save up for their travel and read up on them. Use the internet as your source of free resource.

2. Insure your Health. Purchase a health insurance to safeguard your families future. This will help protect you from high or unexpected healthcare expenses. Today, most comprehensive private health insurance programs cover the cost of routine, preventive and emergency health care procedures and doctor’s bills. Thus, you are assured that money is available to pay for those health care expenses and you can have some peace of mind knowing that your family is insured.

3. Be an Entrepreneur. Explore the possibility of starting your own business. Study entrepreneurship and find expos, trade fairs and seminars that will provide free information about news, trends and practical tips on starting your own business.

4. Put your money in a higher interest bearing investment instruments like treasury bills, bonds and other government securities. A higher interest bearing investment can prove to be a flexible concept capable of working as an investment vehicle for your future. It can earn more interest compared to a regular savings account. This is available in most banks. These banks recognize the growing importance to serve the needs and wants of overseas workers and migrants .

5. Continue to learn about your job. Enroll for skill-enhancement courses and programs applicable to your line of work. There is a need for Overseas Filipino Workers to find a way to improve skills through continuous learning and development. This is would help ensure your job security, increase your value to the company, and earnings.

6. Use the internet to save money on expensive phone calls to your loved ones. You can save a lot of money by using different online applications available today. Don’t forget to plan for your future and invest your hard earned money so that you can live the life that you want for and make your dreams come true.

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Practical Lessons in Lone Worker Protection – Simplicity is the Key

There is significant experience within local authorities as to what steps they can take to enhance the safety of their lone worker staff. Evidence from the field clearly points to the necessity for training to avoid confrontation and risk, and for technology to be very simple to use in the event of a crisis. GPS tracking technology has a major role to play in making crucial information available to those reacting to a crisis, yet requiring minimal intervention from the lone worker themselves.

A typical UK Council serving around 150,000 people employs approximately 7000 people of which nearly 1000 are lone workers. The majority of these can be considered to be mobile workers. Council employees carry out a wide range of jobs and may be required to work alone. They include social workers, personal care staff, housing officers, environmental health officers, building control officers, special school teachers, joiners, plumbers, refuse workers and gardeners.

This article focuses mainly on social workers, personal care employees, and environmental health officers. They do various lone working duties:

- A typical council may have over 200 personal care staff whose main activities include visiting the homes of people to help them wash and dress. Their working hours typically range between 7.30 am and 10.30 pm. – Social workers’ activities include talking to people who feel under stress as well as difficult and challenging tasks such as removing children from their homes where they may be in danger, or where care is deemed to be inadequate. Social workers often carry out these tasks at the person’s home. – Environmental health officers visit restaurants to check out complaints of noise disturbances as well as standards of hygiene. This often means working late in the evening.

The most important risks that have been reported relating to these lone workers include:

- People frequently have to work around the clock, including late into the night. – Environmental health officers often find that they need to close down a restaurant if they find poor standards of hygiene. This may mean that a business loses money and it can lead to aggressive and abusive behaviour. – Social workers may have to take children away from their home. This is often a highly intense and emotional experience for parents, children, and social workers. – Personal care staff are often on foot and have regular patterns of visits. This may make them more vulnerable targets for assault.

In practice, some of the incidents that have been reported include care workers being subjected to verbal abuse, including sexual harassment and personal care staff have been mistaken for health visitors carrying drugs and have been attacked.

From the literature, there is evidence that some of the measures taken by councils have been successful whilst others have been found not to work.

Examples of successful and unsuccessful measures include examples in both training and ways of working.

In terms of training, it has been reported that training staff in how to avoid potentially violent situations, how to develop coping methods, encouraging the use of common sense and minimising risk have proved to be beneficial, whereas, for example, self-defence training has shown itself to be less beneficial. Although staff sometimes request this, Councils do not generally encourage it because it conveys the wrong message. This can lead to an escalation in the violence or put both the client and employee at more risk of injury. It also requires regular practice and refresher training.

Adopting technology to help support staff in vulnerable situations has also had mixed results. The key to success here is simplicity. Initiatives that have been well received include a mobile phone lone worker system where employees can programme a number into the phone, and leave a message detailing a visit and the time it will take. The message goes to a central computer. If the employee has not called in to cancel the system after the stated time, the computer alerts someone in reception who tries to contact the employee, then the line manager, and eventually the police, if there is no response.

The phone also has a panic button for emergency use. This links directly to a central reception and allows the operator to listen into a conversation as it happens. The employee uses code words in the conversation to alert reception to organise assistance if needed. Also successful has been the idea of providing staff with personal alarms if their work goes beyond normal office hours. When used correctly and in the ear of an assailant, this gives staff a few vital seconds to remove themselves from a situation should the need arise.

On the other hand, it is evident that although employees were keen to be issued with high-tech phones these had functions which were not necessary for work purposes. More ‘basic’ phones were judged to be more suitable. Even so, in the event of an incident, even with a basic mobile phone, it has been found that these are only rarely useful when someone is being physically attacked.

So from the above it can be concluded that staff and councils alike recognise the benefits of using appropriate technology, provided it is simple to use and requires minimal concentration to use when a member of staff is facing a sudden confrontation. The success of the mobile phone lone worker system can be logically taken a step further by introducing a simple to use device that incorporates both location awareness, ideally through GPS, and communication of that location to a central server.

Equally important, is that the device has a simple one-touch panic alarm for the lone worker that can be activated quickly without a second thought. When the alarm is raised, the location is also already available, and the emergency services can react without even needing to speak directly to the member of staff at risk. A wide range of suitable GPS tracking devices are now commercially available, as part of a secure and reliable GPS tracking service, that can be incorporated into an organisation’s own operational systems.

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Good Techniques to Use When Trying to Get to Know Co-Workers

Most of us spend at least eight hours a day in an office, which is quite a while; that’s why the general atmosphere of the working place is very important and we must do everything we can to make it a positive environment.

Good social skills can make a difference and though nobody is born with such skills the time spent in school and college as well as quality hours in the company of family members and friends significantly contribute to the development of an individual and can make him or her more able to interact appropriately with co-workers.

A good relationship with the people at work ensures good collaboration and results in high performance for our personal benefit and for that of the company alike. It’s a well-known fact that our thoughts, feelings and behavior are influenced by the presence of others, thus being in tune with our colleagues makes things a lot easier.

Co-workers are some kind of ‘extended family'; we either share the office with them and spend time together or interact with them on a regular basis according to the type of our activity. So, the first step towards a proper relationship with our colleagues is trying to know them and form a bond with them. This does not mean we must get under their skin in any way possible – it just means we should be kind and expressive, treat them with respect and consideration and show interest in them.

People are different, we all have positive and negative traits and approaching a group is not the easiest thing on earth. However, knowing what to say and when to say it can do wonders with co-workers especially when words are accompanied by a smile. A friendly and relaxing atmosphere in an office will pave the way to a good relationship and make everyone in there feel at ease.

We cannot make bosom friends with everybody but we will certainly find several things in common with our colleagues; there must be a reason why we were hired to work there in the first place. We can take advantage of the lunch break to get to know each other better by tackling other subjects than what our jobs imply. Company gatherings on different occasions are another opportunity to socialize with our co-workers and they greatly help strengthening relationships.

Analyzing our colleagues’ reactions in different situations and their behavior will enable us to detect the broad range of facets of their personality and will give us clues about the best way to approach them. Also, monitoring ourselves within the group of people we work with and mirroring their moods will teach us how to adapt to certain situations rather than try to change them to match our private self.

Another important thing to keep in mind when working in a team is this: co-workers are not our enemies; we must not compete with them bearing in mind the false idea that only one of us can get a promotion. It is natural that we should have our personal goals and try to reach them but this should not turn the office into a battlefield. If every employee of a certain department does his or her best to meet the needs of the company and achieve positive results, the outcome will be beneficial to everyone.

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Keeping Your Skilled Workers Safe on the Job

Did you know that falls are the number one danger on construction sites? Scaffolds, Ladders, un-finished site work all have a great deal of fall potential. Therefore construction workers must be acutely aware of these particular dangers. The safety of a temporary agency’s workers is of utmost importance to both the workers as well as the agency. Workers are an agency’s greatest investment. A loss of a worker is a loss of a resource. That is why reputable temporary staffing agencies providing construction staffing insure that their workers are well-trained in safety, for the betterment of both the agency and the skilled laborer.

OSHA (a “dreaded” to many employers) is an agency dedicated not only to protecting workers but to their employers as well. Workers and employers alike need to understand their rights and responsibilities under OSHA. Reputable staffing agencies train their members in hazard detection and safety. The dangers mentioned below and many others are real on construction job sites.

Safety training can include any or all of the following:

Dress/Uniforms – Workers in construction areas need to adhere to dress codes that are right for the conditions. Loose fitting clothes are hazardous on the job for construction workers. Clothing of this type can easily lead to falls or get caught in equipment. Shoes are another important consideration. To protect against nails and other sharp hazards on the ground, Thick-soled, Steel-toed shoes are a necessity.

Gear – Eye and Head protection are must on construction sites. Flying and falling debris are true hazards and need to be protected against. Depending upon the specific site demands, a colorful vest sis usually also a good idea.

Tools of the Trade – Construction also uses many specialized tools and pieces of machinery. This specialized equipment can have a great deal of hazard potential, from pinched fingers to fatalities. Workers must be aware of proper tool technique and safety precautions.

Companies need to make a strong investment in ongoing safety training. Because this training is provided by responsible staffing agencies, the risk of accidents is reduced and liability is reduced for the construction company. This in itself is a great reason for construction project leads and construction staffing agencies to develop strong partnerships.

Equally important to the success of this partnership is employees knowing their rights in the workplace. Workplaces need to keep a log of injuries, illnesses and a centrally located collection of MSDS (now, SDS) Documents. These documents, along with proper gear and safety training can dramatically cut the frequency lf dangerous accidents in the workplace. After training, a temporary construction worker should also be aware of rules and paperwork necessary to file a complaint, when necessary.

If you are looking for a construction staffing agency, go with one that offers the following traits… Government Compliance, Workers Comp, Health Care, Unemployment Insurance and one who makes the safety of the skilled workers #1.

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HR Managers – Did You Just Hire Your Next Workers’ Comp Claimant?

Let’s evaluate a typical hire for most companies:

There is an open position so you place an advertisement in the newspaper or online. Multiple resumes come in, you narrow your search to ten people, however only three people show up for the actual job interview. Of the three, you decide to hire Jack. After completing the background and reference checks, Jack is told to show up at 8:00 A.M. Monday morning and report to the HR Department to complete his paperwork.

Monday morning, here is the exchange that takes place:

“Hi, Jack. Welcome to the company. Fill out your paperwork, sit in the break room and watch the safety video and I will take you to work with Charlie, our senior employee. You will watch how Charlie does the job for two or three days, then you’re on your own. We are here if you have any questions. At XYZ Company, we have an open door policy.”

With this scenario, you are hoping that Charlie, your superstar employee, will pass down all of the requirements for the job. In reality, Charlie is frustrated because he has to train all of the new employees without any recognition, pay increase or bonus of any kind, and he passes down his bad habits, his frustrations and what I like to call his accumulated employee baggage to Jack. Before Jack has a chance to get his feet wet, he is already forming a negative opinion of your company. Before long, you are totally surprised because Jack is injured and out on workers’ compensation.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 13 percent of all injuries occur within ninety days of hire, 23 percent occur within the first four hours on the job! These statistics highlight the one ingredient that is often missing for most employers – effective workplace training programs. Employers fail to understand that passing the torch is not training.

Employers often hire based on an unrealistic idea that all they need is a warm body in a position because “anyone” can be trained to do the job. This is the first mistake on the road to a workers’ compensation claim. It is essential that each job fit the worker and that each worker fit his or her job. What does this mean?

Employees must understand the specifics of each task you are asking them to do. Along with the specifics, they should be provided with appropriate safety training and the safety rules that apply to their job and their work areas. Employers, who have successful injury prevention programs, create a training matrix that outline the minimum safety training required for all positions. They use the matrix to implement training programs that are uniform, consistent and job specific. New employees immediately understand the importance of working safely and they understand the safety exposures within their work areas.

In addition, employers with effective injury prevention programs spend the time to write detailed job descriptions, after they evaluate the essential and marginal functions for each job within their organization. They also take this process one step further and present the job description to the employee during the interview process.

Remember you are evaluating the candidate to determine if they meet the requirements for the job. During the interview you should ask specific questions based on the job description to make sure the candidate understands the job requirements. This process also allows the candidate to evaluate your company just as you are evaluating the potential employee. In today’s labor market, candidates want to know what you are expecting from them so they can make an educated decision before they accept your job offer.

After presenting the job duties and selecting the candidate, it is your job to use the probationary, or introductory, period to train and evaluate the employee. This period is called the “introductory” period for a reason. Introduce the new employee to your work environment, job concepts and evaluate their performance, then determine if they are the right fit for the position.

During my years as an adjuster, I received countless phone calls from employers saying, “I should have fired him or her,” or, “He or she was a lousy employee,” or, “I’m not sure why I let him or her get away with that,” or, “If I had only let him or her go yesterday, I wouldn’t have this claim on my hands today.” This brings me full circle to why I feel, every workers’ compensation claim starts with an employment decision. As the employer, either you did not provide enough training and oversight to the employee or you hired the wrong employee to do the job or you kept the wrong employee too long. Most workers’ compensation claims can be traced to one of these HR decisions.

Employers must recognize that bad hiring decisions and improper training programs can increase the likelihood that an employee will be injured. Spend the money to train your employees correctly-from the beginning. If you evaluate the overall cost of one workers’ compensation claim-including: the loss of manpower, the administrative cost to manage an injured employee, the workers’ compensation premium cost and the overtime to cover jobs that would have been done by the injured worker-you will see the cost benefits of integrating an effective safety training program into your workplace.

Understanding the specifics of each task you are asking your employees to do is essential to preventing injuries. Training your employees, mandating that they follow appropriate safety procedures and providing ongoing educational opportunities is the key components of an effective injury prevention program.

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A Drug-Free Workplace Can Lower Your Workers Compensation Premiums

The Bureau of Workers’ Compensation in Ohio (BWC) offers discounts on premiums, if a qualifying company establishes a Drug-Free Workplace. The BWC determines if a company is qualified to receive the discounts. The rules changed in 2009 with much tighter restrictions on who can receive them, but discounts (as well as grants) are available to pay for drug awareness training for employees and supervisors. In 2010 there will be more changes with looser restrictions but lower discount percentages. A good company that is listed as a provider in the DFSP Vendor Directory on the “ohio.bwc” website can help a business apply for grants and discounts. A company can apply on their own on the website also.

But there’s more to it than just displaying a “This is a Drug-Free Workplace” sign in your office. A true Drug-Free workplace includes a properly written policy which includes guidelines created by the BWC. It also would have agreements signed by your employees, acknowledging these guidelines and the ramifications of a positive test. Drug awareness training, another requirement, teaches the employees and supervisors about the dangers of substance abuse and must be performed by a qualified individual. And then of course, employees must be tested for drugs before being hired and are subject to random drug testing.

There are two different levels of discounts. The higher discount requires more involvement. You can do much of it yourself, if you want to spend the time learning the rules and finding the right people that are required for each aspect of the policy. However, hiring an experienced, trustworthy company is the best and easiest way to go about it. You’ll be surprised at how little it can cost, depending on whom you hire. Typically, large companies charge larger fees; small companies charge smaller fees. Companies listed as Providers on the “ohio.bwc” website can help a company with all of the requirements.

The Workers’ Compensation discount isn’t the only reason to make your workplace drug free. There are many other reasons, including payroll cost savings. According to the Department of Labor, if you have a substance abuser on your payroll, you could be losing thousands of dollars each year off the bottom line. In fact, the loss estimate is $7,000 to $15,000 per year! How can that number be so high? Substance abusers are said to have lower productivity, take more sick days, report more health insurance claims and have more accidents. In fact, 47% of serious workplace accidents and 40% of fatal workplace accidents have drug and/or alcohol involvement (Occupational Medicine).

So whether you’re looking to lower your Workers Compensation premiums or you just want to improve your workplace, a Drug-Free Policy is a good idea. When a workplace is drug free, there is higher productivity and fewer accidents, which leads to a better bottom line. You’ll be surprised at how little it can cost and how much you can potentially save!

Ken Burdzinski
TrueTest Screening

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Inexpensive Gift Ideas For Co-Workers

Whether it is a birthday, anniversary or a promotion there is always an occasion at your work place which makes you think about suitable but inexpensive gift ideas for co-workers. One of the best ways to make a present for your co-workers is by personalizing gifts which makes the items priceless without putting a dent in your pockets.

Some of the ideas for handing over inexpensive but distinct gifts to your loved ones are listed below:

1. Handcrafted cards – Nowadays you can find a beautiful range of handcrafted cards which are made out of handmade paper. These cards are decorated with flower petals and beads and make for very thoughtful but inexpensive gifts for co-workers.

2. Picture Frames – By picking up simple wooden frames and decorating them with colored glass pieces or acrylic paints you can make a beautiful as well as cost friendly gift for a friend at your workplace.

3. Personalized Mugs – If your co-worker has been recently promoted you can pick up a mug which says something to that effect and congratulates him or her. This personalized gift will touch your colleague and will remain a cherished token of love.

4. Miniature planters – You can also pick up miniature bamboo planters as well as other potted plants which can be used by your co-workers to brighten up their office space. This present will make for a great gift idea if you have a co-worker who has a green thumb.

5. Engraved key chains – On occasion such as Christmas and New Year’s when you have to gift all your co-workers, it is a great idea to get key chains with their names engraved on one side and a beautiful personalized quote on the other to make your gift a very special and memorable present.

6. Teddy bear delivery – You can also opt for a teddy bear delivery service for a co- worker on the event of his birthday or a promotion. One can make a booking for a teddy bear delivery by visiting a gifting site and choosing a suitable teddy bear at highly a reasonable cost. Most sites also offer accessories such as flowers and chocolates as well as a customized teddy bear which would make your present even more special. Your colleague will cherish the wonderful memory of receiving a personalized teddy bear in the work place for years to come.

7. Hand painted sun-catchers – Another gift idea that makes for a very exclusive but inexpensive present is a sun-catcher. There are a large range of DIY sun-catchers in the market which can be picked up at a handicraft store. You can paint these items in vibrant colors and your co-workers would love to hang them in their cabins or at home.

When it comes to gifting your co-workers it is always possible to give them thoughtful and special presents without overshooting your budget. So go ahead and pick any of the above items and make your colleagues feel special with your unique and personalized gift.

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