Welcome to any GEC conference attendees and presenters visiting our blog!!
Monday, May 9, 2016
We arrived back at my friend’s house at about 2 am on a Monday morning, our normal 6-hour journey had taken almost 8-hours because of the snowy weather. Often we would visit friends in Kansas City in late January because everyone was so busy over the holidays it was easier for our friends to celebrate a late holiday with us. He unpacked and we said goodbye, with a few inches of snow on the ground, I preferred to drive the gravel roads home the highways tended to be more slippery. It was not to cold but it was windy and I was glad I was familiar with the road, because the wind whipped the snow making it harder to see so I just stayed in the middle and watched for the light poles and road markers to keep centered. They were only 3 stop signs on the side roads back to my place, it normally took 20 minutes, tonight it was going to take longer, I was in no hurry and had not come this far to have problems. As I neared the second stop sign, I saw the familiar bus stop on the corner, as I slowly drove past the bus stop I saw what looked like a big box with something sticking out of the end. I slowly drove past and up the hill and watched the object in my rear view mirror, curiosity had got the best of me and when I came to another road I pulled a U turn to go back and check it out.
I parked near the bus stop and walked over to the box, I thought I heard something and told myself it was probably just sounds from the wind. It appeared to be a metal or plastic crate sticking out of the back of the box, it was jammed so I yanked hard on the crate while trying to hold the box, it came loose and needless to say I was lucky not to end up at the bottom of a ditch. It was wrapped in what looked like a plastic sheet with a blanket or rug under the plastic, I removed the ropes that held it in place and heard what I thought were little barks. In the sparse light of the streetlamp I saw at least 4 little faces and more commotion within, I grabbed the handles and pulled it over to my car. Raised my trunk and grabbed a flashlight, 6 puppies in total, kind of looked like little shepherds, but I was not sure. They were shivering a bit but looked no worse for wear, there was some dog food and two empty bowls in the bottom of the crate so I grabbed the blanket and plastic and put it over my backseat and grabbed 2 or 3 pups at a time and put them in the car. Driving back was pretty strange realizing I had 6 puppies with me, the only thing I could think was someone abandoned them there knowing that kids would be coming to the bus stop that morning for school and would find the pups. As a Dog owner and animal lover this left a lasting impression on me, my dog at home was in for quite a surprise. I did keep one male and my friend I traveled with took a puppy and he was able to get rid of one other to friends. I was so touched I would have kept them all if it was possible.
Based on my experience I strongly believe: A free spay/neuter program should be provided to all pet owners, the goal is to decrease the amount of unwanted births and raise the animal’s quality of life and reduce costs for all in the community.
The focus will be in three main areas, controlling and regulating the population, increasing quality of life for the animal, and reducing costs for all. #1 Controlling and regulating the massive numbers of unwanted and abandoned animals and reducing the amount of unplanned births. The sheer amount of animals far exceeds the ability to properly care for them and provide them with a good quality of life. The real problem is supply and demand, it is a numbers game that the animals are sorely losing, The American Humane Association, previously the American Humane Society states: “Animal shelters both public and private, are faced with an incredible burden: What to do with the overpopulation of dogs and cats that they cannot find homes for.” (AHA, 2013). Approximately 3 million animals a year are destroyed because of the lack of proper homes and the space and resources to properly house and care for the animals. ASPCA figures show animal homelessness is a serious issue, “Each year almost 7.6 million animals enter animal shelters nationwide and nearly 3 million don’t make it out”. (ASPCA, 2016). They also state: “Only 10% of animals who enter shelters are spayed or neutered.” (ASPACA, 2016.) This seems like an awfully low number based on the sheer amounts of animals that are abandoned or stuck in the shelter system as a last resort for a good life.
#2 Increasing life quality for animals should be the priority of any health related program, the large amount of suffering that the animals experience could be greatly reduced. There are also many health benefits pets of both sexes can acquire through proper sterilization and also more control for pet owners and less stray pets causing a nuisance in public. Both females and males benefit from being sterilizes, less hormones effect both sexes and make them easier to control, can also reduce marking and spraying and can lessen aggressiveness. It can provide your pets, cats or dogs, a healthier, longer life with reductions in some cancer and other infections. Three main reasons to Spay/Neuter: Reducing the huge overpopulation of dogs and cats, millions of unwanted animals, there just is not enough homes for these animals, Spay/Neuter can increase the quality and length of your pet’s life, Sterilizing your pets will make them easier to control and reduce the problems caused by running free. The goal is to reduce the suffering of dogs and cats by reducing the sheer number of unwanted animals. Many dogs and cats are destroyed yearly because of the lack of good owners and proper homes for them, it is strictly a numbers game and the animals are sadly losing.
#3 Reducing costs for the pet owners and the community, also saving time and resources for families, local pet health centers and city or county shelters and services. I believe by reducing the massive number of animals that it would save money for owners by reducing problems related to health and reproduction cycles and the better control the hormones at work on both sides. The animal would be less likely to wander and be injured or impounded or impregnated, better control means less vet bills, less fines and fewer hours spent searching and desperate to find your pet. It would reduce the need for more shelters and city and county services and the great amount of labor hours spent feeding, housing and caring for all the animals. And all the hours spent by animal control and public and private volunteer agencies that provide some options for these desperate pets. The ASPCA states, “A key to getting funding for spay/neuter programs from sources such as city councils, county general funds, health departments, and other government entities is meeting these agencies' needs and speaking their "language." “By this we mean addressing issues that concern these public organizations, such as: Cost savings to departments and taxpayers, Reducing animal-related complaint calls to police and animal control, increasing Public safety and health” (ASPCA, n.d.).
Certainly all pet owners have rights and no one wants to force more laws and taxes on a public that is already overregulated. It is an ethical choice that we make as humans to help and assist these companion animals who cannot help themselves. Reducing the vast number of animals would reduce cruelty from abandonment, puppy and animal mills and animal hoarding. The author states, "Pet overpopulation is largely due to the infrequency of spaying and neutering done by pet owners. When a cat or dog is not spayed or neutered, the number of offspring it can produce is astonishing. According to ASPCA statistics, a fertile dog produces a litter of 4 to 6 puppies on average, while a fertile cat produces 1 to 2 litters of 4 to 6 kittens per year. (Torbett, 2014). We certainly cannot stop all unwanted dogs and cats from being born or eliminate all cruelty to our companion animals, but we need to be proactive. To persuade people to realize by simply having our animals sterilized we can all do our part, small as it may be, to help reduce the vast numbers of animals and increase both the quality of life for the animals and the people of the community.
ASPCA (2016) http://www.aspca.org/animal-homelessness/shelter-intake-and-surrender/pet-
statistics (Retrieved April 21, 2016)
ASPCA. (n.d.). Cost Savings from Publicly Funded Spay/Neuter Programs. Retrieved April 22,
2016, from http://www.aspcapro.org/resource/spay-neuter-outreach-promotion-public-
Spaying / Neutering. (2013). Retrieved April 22, 2016, from
Torbett, E. (2014). "Spaying, neutering necessary for pets", ProQuest Education Journal.
Kaplan Library, Publication: The Daily Athenaeum, West Virginia University,
Wednesday, May 4, 2016
Reducing the Hazards of Workplace Violence
Reducing the Hazards of Workplace Violence
Each year there are over two million people who fall victim to workplace violence in the United States. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries, of the 4,679 fatal workplace injuries that occurred in the United States in 2014, there were 749 workplace homicides (United States Department of Labor, 2015). Any act or threat of intimidation, physical violence, harassment, or other threatening or disruptive behavior that happens at a place of business is considered to be workplace violence (Occupational Safety and Health Administration, n.d.). Workplace violence can strike anywhere and can happen to anyone. Even the most respectful environment could experience incidents of workplace violence. It is naive to think that it will not happen within our business. What policies and procedures do we have in place to protect ourselves and our employees from workplace violence? What would we do if an instance of workplace violence were to occur at PFC? In my opinion, this is very worrisome especially given the fact that Iowa allows registered gun owners to conceal and carry weapons. The possibility that any one of our employees could be carrying a concealed weapon at work is very unsettling. Without posted signs and a specific policy in place which prohibits carrying a weapon on our property, we are not taking a proactive stance towards reducing the hazards of workplace violence. As a company, it is our responsibility to establish a workplace violence policy and prevention program to ensure the safety of our employees. In addition to establishing a zero tolerance policy for workplace violence, it is also important to assemble an Emergency Management Team to manage annual training, drills, and implementation of the program.
According to Corporal Cory Determan, the type of workplace violence which is responsible for the majority of fatal injuries is violence by strangers, which accounts for 75-90% of all workplace violence occurrences. The stranger enters the business with the intention of robbing it or conducting some other criminal act and something goes wrong, leading him to act even more irrationally (Determan, 2016).
Another type of workplace violence is violence by customers or clients. The assailant may be a current or former customer or client. In this instance, the violence could be due to project delays, reporting issues, or even the disgruntled consumer who is not receiving her rebate because the requirements were not met.
Violence by coworkers is also a type of workplace violence. In this instance, the employee may be experiencing psychological problems or suffering from family stress. She could also be seeking revenge because she feels that she has been treated unfairly, didn’t receive the raise or promotion that she thought that they deserved, or because of criticism that she received regarding her performance (Bruce & Nowlin, 2011).
The last type of workplace violence is violence by personal relations. These relationships could include a current or former spouse, lover, friend, relative, or acquaintance. In instances like this the assailant will confront the employee that they have had a personal relationship with, often being motivated by difficulties in the relationship.
As the illustrations have shown, there are many situations that could lead to workplace violence by a coworker. It is imperative to be aware of the warning signs. If any questionable behavior is exhibited, we must respond in an empathetic, caring, and considerate manner while providing the employee with the help required.
Corporal Cory Determan came to PFC on March, 28 2016 to provide an assessment of our facility and conduct a presentation with departmental managers in regards to an Active Shooter situation. Corporal Determan is employed with the Camanche, Iowa police department and provides active shooter training to each school within Clinton County. During the presentation we watched the FBI video called “Run, Hide, Fight” and we also watched excerpts from the Columbine School shooting video. The Columbine video was very disconcerting; however, Corporal Determan stated that he includes this film in the training materials because he feels that it is very important to understand that no matter how much training or preparation a person has gone through, an active shooter situation is unpredictable. Each person will handle the situation differently, often not as planned or as trained.
During the presentation, he explained the A.L.I.C.E. initiative. The acronym A.L.I.C.E. stands for alert, lockdown, inform, counter, and evacuate. A.L.I.C.E. was first implemented after the 2012 shooting that occurred at Sandy Hook Elementary School. A.L.I.C.E. is now used as a training tool to inform and prepare individuals on how to safely and effectively respond to an active shooter situation. The A.L.I.C.E. initiative is an enhanced response to violent intruders and armed aggressors and has been endorsed by the US Department of Education, US Department of Homeland Security, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Secret Service, and many others in the private sector. The A.L.I.C.E. initiative empowers staff to make decisions based upon the information available at their immediate disposal, their personal abilities, and the number of employees in their department. A.L.I.C.E. provides options for staff to think unconventionally while creating a disadvantage for the aggressor and by helping to ensure that the aggressor cannot predict a response. Each of these factors enhance the chances of survival (Determan, 2016).
Once a zero tolerance policy and prevention program against workplace violence has been established, Corporal Determan will return to help provide training for each employee. When employee training has been completed we will begin preparing employees by creating live scenarios while practicing evacuation procedures. Corporal Determan stated that by completing the live training it will help to prepare employees for a variety of situations. After each scenario, he will provide his feedback in regards to how employees handled themselves. This feedback will provide the Emergency Management Team with insight of areas that require improvement.
Developing and implementing a workplace violence policy and prevention program sounds like a rather large undertaking; however, with proper research and training we will be able to create a comprehensive policy which includes all emergency procedures. The top priority in developing and implementing the workplace violence policy and prevention and program should be to establish a procedure for documenting incidents of violence. All employees should be trained in this procedure and feel empowered to report any concerns, incidents, or conduct that violate the policy. Employees who file legitimate reports should not be subject to any adverse action or retaliation under any circumstance. Implementation of the reporting procedure, prevention strategies, and the policy should be provided to all employees throughout the company. Another important factor is to assemble an Emergency Management Team which should include a representative from Human Resources as well as each of the department managers. The goal for the Emergency Management Team will be to train annually in workplace violence strategies and prevention, train PFC staff annually, conduct drills twice a year which include evacuation and lockdown procedures, serve as the go-to team for any staff member experiencing any form of workplace violence, assist staff to safety in case of emergency, and serve as first responders in the event of an emergency.
A common misconception as it relates to disaster situations is that “one size fits all”. This is far from the truth as each situation requires different handling methods. The documented policy should clearly state that we maintain a zero-tolerance for workplace violence of any kind. It should also clearly define the disciplinary action that will be taken if an employee were to engage in any conduct that violates the policy, emergency procedures, evacuation procedures, and lockdown procedures. It should also direct how the Emergency Management Team is to be assembled, who is responsible for immediate care, and employee counseling. After all documentation has been written and shared with employees, training sessions should be scheduled, followed by implementation. By taking a proactive stance towards reducing the hazards of workplace violence it shows that we are committed to maintaining a safe, healthful, and efficient working environment where employees, visitors, contractors, clients, and on-site vendors are free from the threat of workplace violence.
Bruce, M. D., & Nowlin, W. A. (2011). Workplace Violence: Awareness, Prevention, and Response. Public Personnel Management, 293-308.
Determan, C. C. (2016, March 28). Active Shooter Training. (PFC, Interviewer)
Occupational Safety and Health Administration. (n.d.). Safety And Health Topics - workplace violence. Retrieved from Occupational Safety and Health Administration: https://www.osha.gov/SLTC/workplaceviolence/index.html
United States Department of Labor. (2015, September 17). Bureau Of Labor Statistics. Retrieved from United States Department Of Labor Web Site: http://www.bls.gov/iif/oshcfoi1.htm#2014