Ten of the Most Common Safety Violations

Although OSHA releases their top 10 most mentioned workplace safety incidents yearly, they don’t change significantly with each new list. If you take note of the workplace statistics, you may feel a little overwhelmed at the information.

Taking a firm but simple approach to workplace safety is best and recommended by the deputy director of OSHA’s Directorate of Enforcement Programs.

He recommends leveraging the top 10 list as a way to compare against your workplace environment. Would these hazards be present in your work environment? Using this list to get started is a good way to determine if you have hazards in the office.

1. Fall Protection

The total violations for this in 2016 was 6,906. This means that employees who are on surfaces either horizontal or vertical and were not provided with the appropriate protections against falls. Examples of these violations include unprotected sides or edges. steep roofs, holes, and skylights. All of these areas can cause injury if proper precautions are not in place.

2. Hazard Communication

This safety concern deals with chemical hazards. Either chemicals that are produced in the workplace or ones that are brought into the workplace. Citations in this area include not having a hazard program in place and training in the workplace on how to handle chemical materials that could be hazardous to health.

3. Scaffolding

Scaffolding has to be designed by qualified individuals and constructed according to those designs. Employers are required to protect workers from falls and falling objects while working on scaffolding. This means having a guardrail system in place or other protections to keep workers from falling through scaffolding. This caused a total of 3,900 violations in 2016.

4. Respiratory Protection

This violation deals with ensuring employers have a respiratory protection program in place. This means ensuring that the workplace has appropriate respiratory protection standards in place as needed. Fit testing for respirators and medical evaluations for respiratory health are some of the key areas to maintaining adequate protection.

5. Lockout/Tagout

Electricity can be hazardous if not handled properly and lockout/tag out procedures for the servicing and maintenance of equipment are important to have and maintain in the workplace. Having general procedures and a general control program were two of the most common violations in this category.

6. Powered Industrial Trucks

Surprisingly, this standard in the workplace is actually 6th on the list and deals with the maintenance and operation of industrial trucks. Workplaces that have forklifts and hand trucks need to ensure safety standards in this area. This means having safe operation and certification standards for employees. Training is also essential in this area as well as ensuring that trucks are repaired and maintained on a regular basis.

7. Ladders

Just like its name suggests, this standard has to do with any safety concern involving ladders and caused 2,665 violations in 2016. Portable ladder access was one of the top areas cited. Ladders are often not used for the purpose that they were designed for and ladders are frequently used with structural defects. Keeping ladder safety as a priority in the workplace is a key to avoiding this hazard.

8. Machine Guarding

This standard involves guarding of machinery to protect its operators as well as any other employees from hazards including rotating parts, sparks, and any other dangers possible during its operation. Machine guarding should be in place during its operation. Other primary concerns for machine guarding include anchoring any fixed machinery and guarding any blades, especially ones that are close to the ground.

9. Electrical-Wiring Methods

This standard means any violations related to improper electrical or wiring methods including grounding electrical equipment, ensuring appropriate wiring and insulation are in place. Protecting wiring from exposure is a key violation to avoid and can be a fire hazard as well as an employee hazard.

10. Electrical-General Requirements

This area is also designed for electrical hazards but is focused on the general safety requirements involved with designing electrical systems. Installation and use of systems are the top violations in this category. Guarding any live parts and keeping the space around electrical equipment free of potential hazards are also components of this category.

As you evaluate various workplace risks, be sure to reach out to us for suggestions on how to keep your Workmans Comp rates as low as possible… remember we’re here to help!

How Allowing Telecommuting Can Benefit Your Business

Innovation makes it much easier than ever before for your workers to be efficient while working from house or anywhere else in the world. While remote work could initially sound like something that just benefits your workers, there are numerous ways it could help your business.

The typical office is becoming a thing of the past. In previous generations, just a tiny percent of Americans functioned from another location, however the number has been continuously increasing and also got to a new high of 43 percent in 2016.

Innovation makes it much easier compared to ever for your staff members to be effective while functioning from residence or anywhere else on the planet. While remote work may initially seem like something that only benefits your workers, there are several methods it can help your business.

1. Greater Performance

A common fear among employers is that remote staff members won’t work as hard, however various researches have confirmed that not true. Greater than two-thirds of companies discovered that performance was higher with their remote employees for numerous reasons.

Remote workers have less workplace disturbances than workers at the office. They don’t should commute, so they could start their day more loosened up compared to if they ‘d just invested a hr in website traffic, and lots of utilize the moment they save on commuting to function much more.

The standard 9-to-5 day isn’t really optimal from an efficiency viewpoint, either. It typically leads to periods of high efficiency blended with periods where workers are much less concentrated, such as the normal mid-afternoon time-out after lunch. When you provide remote staff members adaptability in regards to their routine, they could structure their days so they’re working when they feel most productive.

2. Much more Pleased Employees

Employees take into consideration working from residence a significant perk, which’s particularly real among millennials, that value their work-life balance greater than any previous generation. People want jobs that allow them to maintain control of their lives and also have lots of opportunities to take a trip.

When your organisation uses the opportunity to work from another location, it will have a less complicated time attracting as well as preserving ability. This makes an adaptable job arrangement an exceptional motivation to offer staff members as well as task prospects instead of a greater salary. You conserve money and your staff members obtain something they value from the plan.

Higher worker contentment additionally results in less turn over. The expense of changing a worker could run more than $10,000, making employee retention vital to the longevity of your business.

3. Lowered Expenses Expenses

Your company invests much less loan on its expenses when you employ remote staff members. One of the most noticeable financial savings is your rent, as you can utilize a smaller sized office when you have less staff members, and also you’ll cut your energies expenses.

Every remote staff member you hire is one much less workstation you require, as well as considering that a computer is a basic piece of equipment in several industries, you could save hundreds or hundreds of bucks each workstation. You will not have to equip as much of those typical office supplies, including paper, printer ink and snacks for the break room.

4. Fewer Lacks

Absences cost your business money, and also there’s an also better impact for small businesses that depend on a restricted variety of staff members. Remote staff members do not call unwell as often, as people are more probable to resolve small health problems when they don’t have to leave the house. You additionally prevent a situation where one unwell staff member comes to work and infects other people at the workplace.

Ailments certainly typically aren’t the only reason staff members take times off, as many do so for duties, family members issues, and also various other commitments that they cannot reschedule. With an adaptable working arrangement, employees could deal with other jobs during the day then function when they obtain house.

5. A Larger Ability Swimming pool

When you have a placement to load, you could increase your search to talent around the nation or even the world if you’re open to remote employees. It’s not always feasible to locate the perfect prospect for a placement in your area, especially if your company isn’t really near a major metro area or the setting requires an employee with an unique skillset.

Thanks to contemporary innovation, the working with process for remote staff members is easy. Task boards as well as professional socials media, such as LinkedIn, could help you locate qualified candidates from throughout. You could perform meetings by phone or utilizing a video calling solution.

Establishing adaptable working arrangements can appear risky when you haven’t done it in the past, yet it shows your workers that you trust them, as well as it will end up being an equally useful arrangement. Bear in mind that you can constantly start little by allowing employees work from another location for 1 or 2 days weekly, or hiring your very first remote staff member to handle a couple of small projects. Assess the result in see if it’s practical for your business.

Top 5 Insurance Products All Startups Must Have

Start-up companies are popping up quickly in today’s fast-paced world and entrepreneurs often find that they’ve forgotten to get essential business insurance to protect their company.

While the owner may tell the board that the business has an insurance policy, this doesn’t mean that the company has the insurance needed. Every company needs insurance that is both adequate and optimized.

To get started, business owners should take these five forms of protection into consideration:

1. Comprehensive General Liability (CGL) Insurance Coverage

This is a type of insurance that protects companies against cases brought against them for the following: Third party bodily injury, building damages, loss of personal effects, and marketing and advertising injury.

What owners should understand about CGL insurance is that it’s designed to pay for your defense when a claim is brought against the company. Ideally, you are allowed to select your own lawyer to avoid any potential conflicts of interest.

The reason why you need this insurance is that many contracts require businesses have at least $1 million in this type of insurance coverage. Even if you don’t think your business needs this level of coverage, you’ll need to purchase it for this reason.

2. Directors and Officers (D&O) Liability Insurance

Although you may have highly influential individuals on your board to help grow your business, these professionals are going to insist on increased insurance coverage.

* Essential to any startup is side A D&O insurance coverage which protects directors and officers from cases of “wrongful acts” or situations where their decisions had a negative effect on the business’s value.
* Side “B” protection protects the company by indemnifying the director or office as well as paying for the defense costs.
* Side “C” coverage protects the firm in the case of a shareholder or class action over securities concerns.

When you have the choice of coverage, many companies select only A and B. These plans leave out judgments as well as any situations where individuals performed in dishonest actions that broke the law or acted in self-interest.

3. Cyber and Media Insurance

Since there have been several high-profile hacking situations for businesses today, the need for cyber insurance is obvious. However, there is not any basic cyber plan available and each insurance provider policies contain untried provisions, terms, and multiple interpretations.

Like the coverage described, these plans offer protection for defense and indemnity. They also can provide solutions for compliance with government and disclosure needs and also crisis management in the case of a breach or incident.

Because not all policies may have a “basic” option, your startup needs to take extra measure. Governments recommend following best practices and establishing firm policies so insurance firms are withholding claims from businesses that they believe did not follow industry standard programs to protect sensitive information.

4. Property Insurance

This type of coverage is designed to protect against any physical damages to the business property. There are a few options but the best choice for coverage is an “all risk” option which will protect against the building and also material and devices inside the building.

Any startup that has a significant infrastructure is going to need this coverage. Tech companies are certainly in need of this coverage option. The policies will safeguard against any damage to web servers and companies may also include disruption protection for any losses due to downtime needed to replace or repair any devices. Inclusions in these policies may be due to damage or loss that’s caused by equipment malfunction, normal aging, and defects.

5. Employment Liability Insurance (EPLI)

This is an important insurance to have and different from the worker’s settlement insurance policy that all states require. It may be purchased in a bundle with worker’s comp or even D&O coverage.

Because discrimination insurance claims are expensive for companies and difficult to work out, this protection is essential for any startup that employs individuals who are popular as well as highly competent.

It may seem like a lot, but each type of insurance covers specific risks that most small businesses face. If you are unsure of your current protections or need someone to help you understand your current risk profile, please reach out to our team of professionals right away. We’re here to help!

Three Thoughts on Annuities That May Work for You

Annuities are complex and usually poorly understand. Let’s dig deeper into what an annuity is, what it isn’t, and strategies you may want to consider.

Let’s begin with Investopedia.com. If you haven’t heard of this site before, it is worth bookmarking. It offers fantastic information on finance including definitions. In fact, their definition for an annuity is solid.

They describe it as being:

“An annuity is a contractual financial product sold by financial institutions that is designed to accept and grow funds from an individual and then, upon annuitization, pay out a stream of payments to the individual at a later point in time. The period of time when an annuity is being funded and before payouts begin is referred to as the accumulation phase. Once payments commence, the contract is in the annuitization phase.”

If you understood this definition, then you’re probably on board with the idea of raising cash and then developing a stream of revenue to support your retirement.

Put simply: Annuities allow individuals the ability savings that are tax deferred. They can also help to protect what you’ve already saved. And They can generate a steady stream of income in retirement.

If you can do this with a secure method then it’s well worth your time. The challenge is that not all annuities are created equally so it is important that you get good advice from your financial advisor before diving headlong into an annuity.

Which brings up these alternative strategies…

Delay Social Security

Ok, so Social Security isn’t an annuity per se. But postponing the time when you take Social Security is just like purchasing an inflation-adjusted cash flow that you can draw on just a few years later than you’re expecting. To give you an idea of what this is, it’s simply a U.S. federal government annuity. If you delay social security from age 66 to age 70, your month-to-month advantage is going to be an increased payment of up to 32%. That 32% also has a yearly price of living modification so that will also increase with time. In one example, delaying social security for four years would raise a person’s payment by $987 each month. In order to have the extra money, you would have had to pay $126,000 into retirement funds over those four years. However, if you’re interested in getting an inflation-adjusted higher monthly payment, starting in four years would set you back about $235,500 today for a 66-year old person. In short, this means that this government annuity was priced at 46% less than you could get on a competitive market.

Employer Pensions

Many people have a pension plan that they can start receiving at retirement. Many public or government employees have a pension plan option. Some businesses still offer pensions as well. Usually, at retirement age, you’ll have the choice to either take a lump-sum repayment which can be rolled over into an IRA or take a month-to-month repayment. (Typically with survivor benefits.) In most cases, the repayments are insured by the Pension Benefit Assurance Corporation. Contrasting the lump-sum settlement to the monthly repayment, the pension plan annuity payment is usually the best option 75% of the time.

TIAA Traditional Annuity

Today, over 3.7 million people who work at non-profit companies have their retirement accounts at TIAA. One of the alternatives to purchase is known as the TIAA Traditional Annuity. Many of these participants have access to a guaranteed 3% annual growth that will provide them with either a lump-sum payment or an income stream on retirement that is actually available with competitive rates. In reality, rates over the past year have been more than the 3% guarantee. With money-market funds and CDs paying so little, it’s actually often a good alternative for folks today.

Regardless of the options you choose, the best place to begin is to have a chat with someone on our team to help you understand your options, put you in touch with the best information and resources available, and help you make certain you are making sound decisions for your future.

Workplace Safety Principles You Can Count On

As a leading manufacturer Boeing offers a great example of putting workplace safety into practice. And Boeing has come a long way from the early days of ergonomics.

Boeing has a security vision that is rooted in their company culture. The company has core beliefs for their product safety and security. Boeing has an office safety initiative, “Go for no– One day at a time”. It has four primary concepts used to structure everything done.

The primary priority is human life and health, taking action to promote these goals. In addition to efforts designed for safety in the workplace, Boeing also puts an emphasis on health beyond preventing workplace injury. Often a workers’ safety and security can be maximized by decreasing stress and improving health through a balanced lifestyle. Boeing was named one of the “Finest Companies for Healthy Lifestyles” and they’ve taken steps to improve the general wellness of their workers.

All injuries in the work environment are preventable. Boeing tries to use its design and processes to lower the security and safety threats for their workers, especially the ones that work in production. One of the best programs that makes use of this principle is the Boeing location in South Carolina. It has the engineers work as manufacturing specialists to help them recognize and make improvements to each job. With this practical experience, engineering groups have been able to develop tailored ergonomic devices and improve job processes by eliminating potential hazards.

Each employee is made responsible for their own personal safety and also in charge of each other’s safety. Boeing encourages each staff member to take charge of their safety and to watch out for their teammates. Some workers model this principle very well, including examination specialist Roger Grenier. He’s become known for his dedication to maintaining safety. In just a single year of work, Roger worked to notice hundreds of safety concerns as well as point out improvements that were used to keep the workplace safe and eliminate any hazards. Because of his excellent work and dedication in this area, Roger was recognized as Boeing’s first “Safety Champion” in 2016.

By making safety a top priority, Boeing also found that it was able to meet goals for producing top quality materials as a normal part of daily activities. Making large planes and jets to fit client’s needs requires a full-time commitment to safety, quality, and performance. On the assembly line used to make 777 jetliners, a team of designers and manufacturing mechanics created a new option for moving the heavy power panels. In the past, moving and installing the panels had been linked to worker injuries. Using a rail system to move heavy loans in a tight space, this change significantly lowered the risk of injury while also boosting productivity at the same time.

Through safety workshops, groups develop lists of reasons why Boeing has not been able to reach its zero-injury goal. They write down the details of why each injury occurred. Then, they establish methods for the company to be free of injuries in the future. Each time the list grows shorter because of the value that’s placed on decreasing injuries.

Worker safety is best considered as a challenge to innovation. Changes that Boeing is implementing today, including automation, will have a significant impact in the coming years.

Remember that Boeing is a for profit corporation. It answers to shareholders. Safety efforts must comply with the law and be implemented in a way that positively impacts the bottom line. Boeing has recognized that safety always results in decreased costs and increased productivity.

So as you contemplate safety for your own organization, take a little time to reflect on what has worked so well for Boeing and see if you can implement some of these principles in your company.

Avoid Buyers Remorse When Shopping for Benefits

HR executives need to pay close attention to 3 essential components before selecting any health-plan.

* Choosing the right broker
* Strong and reliable plan offerings
* Gaining employee input

Indeed, a key component of a Human Resource (HR) manager’s job is involved in benefits management. Key responsibilities include investigation, examination, suggestion as well as integration of health-plan benefits. To avoid health benefit headaches, take a look at these elements in detail.

Choosing The Right Broker:

One of the vital elements in ensuring the smooth adoption of a health benefit plan is getting hold of the right broker. While some organizations are tempted to opt out of a broker’s services, having one can make a huge difference. (Just because you can buy plans directly online doesn’t mean that’s the best way to get the right plan for your organization’s needs.) Brokers can prove to be quite cost-effective for organizations of any size. In fact, they rarely add extra expense to the organization. (It is important to note that the selected benefits provider is responsible for paying compensations to the broker.

A broker has the knowledge to construct a health-benefit plan suited for your organization. The broker can help you navigate the laws as well as other variables that may affect the employee benefits and the health care market. Such brokers are well- experienced in looking after innumerable health plan options.

Most importantly, your broker can offer a better understanding of a health plan’s true value and total cost of ownership. This goes way beyond deductibles and expenses.

Strong And Reliable Plan Offerings:

It is also important to make sure that employees can choose the plan that suits them best. For this, one should have a proper understanding of employee finances, lifestyle, and demographics. This understanding can be made better with efficient and trustworthy interaction.

Frequent and early communication with employees is a must. One can also provide tools to help the employees make their decisions of selecting the right health plan. This includes helping employees understand costs, benefits, and plan requirements. (One of the primary reasons buyer’s remorse sets in for companies is a lack of employee understanding regarding the plans benefits.)

Ongoing Employee Input:

This is another way to avert buyer’s remorse. Maintaining interaction with employees in preparation of enrollment can minimize or prevent troubles. This will ensure employees make the best benefits selections at the time of enrollment. It’s also best to repeat messages to strengthen their value and reduce knowledge gaps.

Opting for an open-door policy to improve interaction with employees is a good way to keep a tab on ongoing employee responses. For example, you can establish an email-address where employees can send comments. You can also create secure online forms for collecting anonymous feedback. Alternatively, a company can leverage employee focus groups. These involve teams from various departments of the organization. They work to learn about employees’ perspectives.

In Conclusion:

By taking the above-mentioned elements into consideration, you can ensure successful plan implementation.

And if you have more questions on selecting, implementing, or managing a health benefit plan, reach out to us. We’ll put you in touch with the information and resources you need to ensure success.

Why a Good Driver May Still See Auto Rates Go Up

Many motorists have noted, with justifiable concern, that car insurance costs went up by a significant margin in 2016. A closer look at the market trends gives the indication that auto insurance costs have been steadily rising for the last 5 years across the U.S.

And the reason for this is quite understandable: there are more accidents happening on our roads every year. This is directly because there are more cars on the road combined with an increase in accidents caused by driver inattention.

Insurance underwriters have had to raise the premiums on insurance as a result. Unfortunately, this increase in the cost of insurance has affected all auto owners – even those who have a clean, accident-free history. Many auto insurance policyholders are quite perplexed by this.

Why Has There Been a Rise in Cost of Auto Insurance?

a. Increase in auto accidents

Certainly, everyone understands that insurance firms are for-profit business entities. They need to ensure that they are giving profits to shareholders. But insurance firms primarily exist to protect clients from risk.

Insurance counts on the precise understanding of costs and risk and then creates rates based on that understanding. The goal is to ensure that an Insurance company can always meet its obligations to its insureds.

So a dramatic increase in claims related to auto accidents will translate into massive unexpected payouts. As a result, insurance companies have to raise rates to be sure they will always have the funds available to meet their obligations.

b. Medical Costs

The good news is that cars are getting safer. However, there are still many older vehicles on the road that lack the advanced safety features found in the latest automobiles. Injuries and death arising from motor vehicle accidents have been noted to be some of the biggest contributors to the increased auto insurance premiums.

People often assume that their medical costs are covered by their health insurance but the laws that govern this vary state by state. In many states, health insurance is specifically excluded from being responsible for covering the costs of auto accidents and medical costs are resolved through auto insurance.

c. Expensive Repairs and Replacements

Auto insurance costs are also guided by the cost of repair of the car or truck involved in the accident. As cars have become safer they have also become more expensive. The average cost for a family sedan today is what individuals paid for luxury cars not too many years ago.

Additionally, the “crumple zones” that are necessitated by safe car design mean more cars will likely end up being totaled. While this saves lives and reduces injuries, it also results in more vehicles that are unable to be repaired after an accident.

d. Government Policy

The government requires that every auto insurance company must have adequate reserves of funds to cover claims in case of unprecedented level of accidents resulting from disasters. Government agencies are always on the look-out to enforce this rule, and where they find the funds are too low they will advise the company to look for ways to raise it. Often, auto insurance companies realize the dangerously low level of their reserves when they conduct their own internal audits. Under such circumstances, the insurer has no alternative but to raise the level of reserves by adjusting the cost of auto insurance.

e. Unusual Weather

Nature can also negatively impact on the cost of insurance. In states that are prone to catastrophic climatic conditions and other freaks of nature, the cost of auto insurance is bound to be high. For example, American states that are to the South and South-East of the country are prone to tornadoes, hurricanes, and hailstorms. Customers in the states that are disadvantaged by nature will pay more auto insurance premiums… and will see rates climb in their markets if insurance carriers have had to make a significant number of payments resulting from recent, unanticipated bad weather.

f. Poor Credit Rating

Insurers have found that poor credit is a leading indicator of people making claims. In fact, 77% of individuals with poor or low credit will invariably make claims. If a carrier discovers your credit rating is low or has declined your rates may go up regardless of your driving history. Some states such as Massachusetts, Hawaii, and California restrict auto insurance providers from using the credit rating to profile customers.

What’s The Best Way to Handle to A Rise in Auto Insurance Premiums?

Even though insurance firms have every legal right to increase auto insurance premiums, there are two things you can do to ease the situation:

a. Seek an Explanation

If you see an unrealistic rise in your cost of auto insurance, call and talk with your independent insurance agent to review your specific situation. Sometimes insurance companies make computing errors as they factor in credit histories. Sometimes there are other computer glitches that fail to give you credit for the discounts you deserve.

Also, remember that not all insurance carriers are the same. What really matters is how you are treated during a claim process. Switching to a “cheaper” carrier to save 15% off the cost of your auto insurance isn’t helpful if they are notorious for bad claims processes.

b. Hunt for the Best Deal

Remember that your independent insurance agency is able to shop around to compare the auto insurance costs offered by different insurance carriers for packages that are similar. They may be able to help you find a better deal for your particular situation.

c. Adjust Your Policy

You may have coverages on your vehicle that you are paying extra for that may no longer be needed. For example, some policies have added riders in case you are underwater in your vehicle. (In case it is worth less than you paid for it.) But if your car isn’t underwater, you needn’t pay for that protection. Likewise, if your finances can afford a larger deductible, this can reduce your costs. Finally, if you are driving your car less than before, or if the car is no longer being used for a long commute into the city, all of these elements can be taken into consideration by your carrier when determining your rates.

d. Always Talk With Us

We’re here for you to serve your auto insurance needs. Our team of highly skilled insurance professionals is here to help you get the right insurance for your needs and budget. If you ever have questions about your policy or need money saving tips, let us know. We love helping our clients!

How to Keep Fit While Traveling

Summertime is a great time to move around and see the world. As a result, many people try keeping fit in readiness for summer. They exercise and “eat clean” for that perfect Summer body. And while many embark on their trip in tip-top shape, failure to remain vigilant while traveling can cause weight gain. So here are some tips to keep fit while on the road.

1. Regular Exercise

Exercise is one of the best ways to keep a check on your weight while traveling. The good news is that this exercise does not need to be overly ambitious or vigorous. All you need is about 20 to 30 minutes, at least 4 times a week. Use this time to work out in the gym or outdoors. You can do some light weights, cardio, yoga or just jog outdoors. The benefits of doing this are immense. Regular exercise will not only help you maintain a trim figure but also it will help release the ’feel good’’ hormones that will buoy you for the remainder of the day. Indeed early morning exercising can increase your enjoyment of your vacation. And if you can’t find a gym or go outside? Bodyweight exercises in your hotel room can still help.

2. Keep Hydrated

Keeping fit in hot weather can be tricky as dehydration takes place pretty fast. It is even harder if you are traveling through a country or area that does not have a good supply of clean drinking water. Dehydration is usually accompanied by the swelling and stiffening of fingers, and often a feeling of thirst. To combat dehydration, ensure that you carry small containers of water whenever you go outdoors. A bottle of clean water would come in handy as you take your stroll – regularly sip from it to hydrate your body and ensure that you remain fit.

3. Choose to Walk

Walk as much as you can in the course of your travels. Instead of taking a cab to move from point A to point B, choose to walk if the distance is manageable. It is healthier to sight-see around a city on foot than using motorized means. It provides you with the opportunity to absorb more of what the city has to offer – from discovering hidden alleyways, visiting places of worship, or to simply admire some captivating landmarks. If the distance is a bit long, you may choose to rent a bicycle. The bike will help you travel faster; while at the same time help you in keeping fit.

4. Go Slow on Alcohol Intake

Taking too much alcohol is detrimental to your keeping fit effort. Alcohol will only help you build up on calories – something that you would want to avoid. Teetotalers need not worry about this, but those who regularly take a glass or two of wine before or after meals may want to consider re-evaluating their priorities. Apart from building up on calories, alcohol is a diuretic. This means that it makes the body dehydrated very fast. This is counterproductive to remaining hydrated.

One way of avoiding alcohol is to allocate ’off’ days. These are the days that you decide to totally abstain from alcohol consumption. On these days you may decide to choose a healthier indulgence like getting a massage.

5. Visit the Spa

Visiting the spa for a massage therapy is one of the greatest ways to decompress while traveling at home or abroad. The effects of jet lag from the long trans-Atlantic flights can easily be reversed by a well-timed visit to a spa for well-deserved massage therapy. Indeed, a variety of spas targeting travelers exist across the globe.

6. Get Adequate Rest

There is nothing that will help you in your keeping fit effort like having adequate rest. Ensure that you get enough sleep every night in an environment that is comfortable and kind on your body. Avoid late night traveling whenever possible. Should it happen that you do not get enough sleep at night, make plans to compensate during the daytime. Schedule your travel itinerary in a manner that allows you to have time to relax and get some rest.

7. Go Slow on Treats

Treats like candy and cake should remain as treats. Avoid the attitude that “it’s OK because I’m on vacation.” Splitting deserts and limiting your intake of sweets will help you avoid unwanted calories that are counterproductive to your goal of keeping fit while traveling. Save the treats for special occasions when you are likely to appreciate them even more, as opposed to having them routinely with every meal.

8. Eat Healthy Breakfasts

Many believe breakfast is the most important meal of the day. As such, what comprises this meal should be chosen with a lot of care. Eat a well-balanced diet, which has the foods necessary to provide you with the energy necessary to fuel you for the better part of the morning. Resist the temptation to pile up on fatty or sugary foods as these will reverse any gains made in your keeping fit program.

9. Try Meditation

Meditation is one of the better-known stress busters. In addition, it works very well If you become agitated or irritated by the seemingly unnecessary delays that you are likely to experience in some airports. Meditation is also highly recommended if you are unable to sleep. To fully grasp the art of meditation, some measure of practice is required. The good news, however, is that there are apps in the market that can be downloaded to help a newbie with the practice of meditation. The apps offer 5-20 minutes of simple step by step instructions that anyone can follow to apply meditation for peace and tranquility.

10. Use Sunscreen

Protect your skin against the harmful effects of the sun’s ultra-violet rays. The tan from the sun may look good in the short time, but it creates a long term problem by making the skin prone to sagging and cancers. Get sun blocks that offer both UVB and UVA protection. Most of the European countries have provided a rating for these products in order to protect the consumer against marketing gimmicks. Most countries have set the SPF rating at 50+ and anything beyond this should not be taken seriously. Even though similar measures have not been taken in the US, it is advisable that you choose a rating of at least SPF 30+. It is even better if you can get a product that is multi-spectrum – one that has incorporated both UVA and UVB defense to help you in keeping fit.

11. Enjoy Yourself

Don’t let “keeping fit” prevent you from trying new foods. Don’t let workout obsessions keep you from spur of the moment activities that could build memories for a lifetime. Be flexible and enjoy each moment as it comes for what it is.

Does Shopping At a Warehouse Save Money?

It is a very common misconception that making a purchase at a wholesale club warehouse like BJ’s, Sam’s Club, or Costco will help you to save plenty of money. It is easy to get excited when you hear that making purchases in bulk will help you save. But the truth is sometimes savings fail to materialize.

It’s certainly true that you’ll find much lower prices on certain items at a warehouse club when comparison shopping at a grocery store. In fact, the United States Department of Agriculture · Economic Research Service has recorded prices are truly lower in such warehouse stores for specific items. Club prices are lower by 12% for meat, 11% for milk & milk based products, and 6% for grains. This is based on analyzing 40,000 data points collected from 52 regional markets.

So yes, shopping at warehouses can offer true savings. But there is a “buyer beware” aspect that can diminish or eliminate those savings altogether.

Location of the store

Warehouse clubs often have lower costs in large metropolitan areas or in more isolated areas when compared with supermarkets. However, the savings are typically lower in areas where grocery stores have lots of regular competition.

For example, clubs have lower prices in the Baltimore-Washington area for about 90 percent of their products. But outside of San Antonio, clubs offered savings on just 55% of the products they sold.

Subscription costs

Almost all storage warehouses have a fixed subscription charge for allowing you to shop or even visit the club. The usual subscription charges are around $45-$50. Hence, you may have to make a lot of purchases to justify the subscription charges through the savings you are able to make in the stores.

NOTE: Some clubs like Costco have “Executive” memberships that cost a little more but that offer rebates on purchases. Many Costco Executive members claim to have earned enough rebates to cover their Costco membership costs.

Impulsive shopping results in bigger costs

Although the prices at clubs can be great, shopping often requires discipline. Clubs are designed to get you to make unplanned purchases that range from new food items they are sampling to new appliances, home electronics, and furniture.

Grocery stores don’t sell such items and rarely offer samples. As a result, it is much easier to remain on target with a shopping list in a grocery store vs. a club.

Buying in bulk may not offer savings

Let’s say you buy a giant bag of baby carrots at the warehouse and let’s say they are about 15% less than at the grocery store. But then time marches on and you only consume half of the bag before it spoils. How much have you really saved?

Food spoilage is one of the biggest problems with shopping for meats, dairy items, fresh fruit, and fresh vegetables at a warehouse. While these are the areas that offer the largest savings, many smaller households fail to consume the food before it goes bad.

So, how do you go about trying to save money through such clubs? Here are a few suggestions.

Pay attention to sales at grocery stores for items you purchase at a warehouse club. You may find sale items at the grocery store give you much better value than regular priced items at the warehouse.

Always comparison shop. You may find that the grocery store offers the same or lower “everyday” price on items than the warehouse… without the need to buy in bulk.

A freezer is your friend. To help avoid spoilage be sure to put meats, cheeses, and breads in the freezer until you are ready to consume them. Refrigerating bread can also help it last longer.

Don’t throw things away just because the date on the package has passed. The use by dates are notoriously inaccurate. (Link to this study: http://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-foodsafety-dates-idUSBRE98H15F20130918) Per researchers, printed dates have little to do with actual shelf life. Just because the food has expired doesn’t mean you’ll get sick if you eat it. A common-sense rule is better… if the food smells bad, looks rotten, or tastes off, you should throw it away. Otherwise, you are safe to consume it even if the date has passed.

The bottom line: being a smart consumer is the best way to save, regardless of where you shop.

(Be sure to reach out to us for other money saving tips. Our team of advisors is here to help you get the most out of each dollar you earn.

Diesel Exhaust Dangers

Equipment that runs on diesel is quite common in a number of industries. This includes construction sites, mining, farming, maritime and several other such sectors.

Workers in these areas are exposed to a great deal of carcinogen exhausts from such machinery. This is typically in the case where machines are not properly handled and maintained.

Emissions from such equipment are made of “Diesel Particulate Matter”. ,This is a substance that “is made of soot and is comprised majorly of metallic particles, ash, carbon, silicates and sulfates” according to OSHA.

The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), classified exhausts from diesel machinery under “Well-known Hazards for the Human Health” in 2012.

Even temporary exposure to exhausts and emissions from diesel equipment can lead to issues. These include constant headaches, dizziness, and irritation in the eyes, nose & throat. Long-term exposure could cause the development of more serious issues. These include breathing conditions, cardiopulmonary and cardio conditions, and even lung cancer.

Given the health threat, managing the exposure to such emissions is highly necessary.

First, make sure there is adequate supervision in place to limit the exposure of any workers. OSHA further suggests that equipment receive regular maintenance. It also suggests aging equipment be swapped out for cleaner burning engines. These should be equipped with better air filtration systems.

Second, be sure adequate safety controls are in place. For example, creating “Off-limit” areas is a great way to limit the pool of people at risk for exposure. Likewise, limit the times when machines are running so the fewest workers are around when the machinery is operational.

Smart preventive measures like these can reduce the exposure to diesel exhausts to a great extent. Plus, they can be implemented in a way that still allows a team to work at maximum efficiency.

A side benefit: By limiting diesel exposure you can help reduce workmans’ comp claims. You’ll maximize worker availability. You’ll also have a positive impact on your overall operational costs.

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