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Preparing your workplace for a possible H1N1 flu pandemic


This spring’s swine flu scare might have been just a warm-up act for a far more serious flu pandemic this fall. If you took steps to prepare your workplace for an outbreak in April, dust off those plans and check them against our list of things to do to make sure your organization keeps running in the coming months.

From reality TV to ‘wellness ambassador’ at medical lab firm


Quest Diagnostics is so serious about employee health that it calls the director of its wellness programs the “wellness ambassador.” Bill Germanakos, the 2007 season winner of NBC’s “The Biggest Loser” reality TV show, oversees HealthyQuest, which helps the firm’s 41,000 eligible employees change unhealthy behaviors.

Report blasts Austin’s construction safety record


According to a critical report surveying the construction industry, 20% of Austin-area construction workers last year reported on-the-job injuries that required a trip to the doctor, and 20% of those employees said employers refused to pay their medical bills.

Update your policies: North Carolina bans texting while driving


Cell phones, BlackBerries, iPods, iPhones and GPS devices—even laptop computers—all offer important travel information and productive work connectivity for employees on the go. But using those devices while operating a vehicle is also dangerous. That’s why North Carolina recently passed a law, effective Dec. 1, making it unlawful for a person operating a motor vehicle to send text or e-mail messages while the vehicle is in motion.

Want healthier staff? Cash incentives work best


First, employers suggested. Then, they encouraged. Then pleaded. Now more U.S. employers are turning to the almighty dollar to get their employees to change their pound-packing, chain-smoking, sedentary ways. Despite the sour economy, more employers are creating and expanding wellness programs in recent years. And they’re increasingly turning to financial rewards and penalties to increase participation.

Tap into the power of e-mail to change employees’ health habits


When employees hunch over keyboards all day, all the motivational posters in all the break rooms of the world won’t improve their health. Solution: Deliver practical, actionable advice directly into employees’ e-mail in-boxes.

New CDC web site helps employers combat obesity


The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) last month unveiled LeanWorks, a web site designed to help U.S. employers address employee obesity and its related costs.

Set clear, fairly enforced rules on behavior to trump ‘my disability made me do it’


Some employees with genuine disabilities think they can use their health conditions as excuses to break workplace rules regulating behavior. They can’t, if managers genuinely believe the employee violated the rules, and those rules are clear and equitably enforced.

Soda machine attacker wins workers’ comp


Employees typically earn workers’ compensation for injuries incurred “in the course of work.” In Illinois, it seems, attacking the company vending machine is all in a day’s work. Vending-machine vigilantes are also covered in Oregon …

DOL pays $500 million to uranium plant victims


The Paducah Gaseous Diffusion Plant in Paducah, Ky., processed more than one million tons of uranium during the Cold War, often without adequate safeguards for employees. Now the U.S. Department of Labor has paid out more than $500 million in benefits to plant employees and their survivors.