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Health and safety should play an important part in the workplace but often times, it takes the back seat. At the Department, we know safe and healthy employees are more productive employees. This is not only a benefit to the workers and their families, but it also makes a big difference for the employer’s bottom line. This month, we are providing some helpful easy-to-follow safety tips for the workplace as well as recognizing those who made the ultimate sacrifice by putting their lives on the line to protect the safety of others.

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Dept Approves First Line of Duty Claims to Assist Survivors

Workers' Comp Myths

This month, the Missouri Labor Department’s Division of Workers’ Compensation (DWC) mailed the first checks to families of loved ones killed in the line of duty after approving the two claims filed in 2010. These Missouri families each received $25,000 from the Line of Duty fund, for a total of $50,000.

“This is significant as it is the first time for our state to compensate families for their loss through this fund,” says Department Director Larry Rebman. “By no means could this money replace those individuals who put their lives on the line to protect the well being of our neighborhoods and communities, however, we hope this small token can assist with the financial hardships families experience when losing a loved one.”

This money was made possible through the Line of Duty Compensation Fund established by the Missouri Legislature in 2009, to pay tribute to the brave men and women who made great sacrifices by serving in the line of duty every day to ensure the safety of our citizens.

Benefits are available for survivors of firefighters, volunteer firefighters, law enforcement officers, air ambulance pilots, air ambulance registered professional nurses, and emergency medical technicians who are killed in the line of duty when:

  • The individual was on duty at the time of an injury that resulted in death;
  • The individual was engaged in the active performance of the duties of his or her profession; and
  • The injury resulting in death occurred as a result of the individual’s performance of his or her duties.

For more information about the fund or to file a Line of Duty Compensation Claim, visit Survivor Benefits. Claims must be filed with the DWC no later than one year from the date of death.

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Nutrition in the Workplace

Provide Coverage

March is National Nutrition Month, and some workplaces are working hard to make sure their employees eat properly and stay healthy. Healthier eating and active living can lead to reduced risks for heart disease and some types of cancer, elevated mood, energy and self-esteem, and reduced anxiety and stress.

Workplace Nutrition Tips

  • Eat healthy snacks- fruit or nuts can be a simple snack to take to work, and are better for you than chips and candy.
  • Avoid the vending machines- vending machine snacks are generally full of empty calories.
  • Pack your own lunch- a homemade sandwich is better for you than a processed meal from a cafeteria.
  • If possible, take the stairs instead of the elevator.
  • Walk during your breaks, even if it’s just inside the building.
  • Eat breakfast at home- most breakfast foods sold outside the home are fattening and not nutritious.
  • Reduce coffee intake- excessive caffeine is detrimental to your health. Also, coffee can be high in calories when mixed with sugar and cream.
  • Drink more water- besides helping you stay hydrated, water can also help you cut food cravings.
  • Spread out your meals- instead of eating a big lunch at noon, spread out your lunch over the course of the whole day.

What we are doing at the Department:

In order to encourage healthy habits, the Labor Department is running a “Hoops for Health” employee competition. Employees group into teams, and receive “points” for healthy activities- exercising each day, eating a good breakfast, incorporating the food groups into each day’s meal, etc. By running this competition in the month of March, the Department hopes to help employees foster good habits for health and nutrition, for happier, more productive employees. “It’s nice to see people out on their lunch breaks walking around the building to get their exercise in for the day rather than staying inside and reading a book or magazine. Making it a team effort has really spurred competition and I am excited to find out who wins!”, says one Labor employee. Get your workplace on the right track and learn about other great healthy tips!

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The Eyes Have It

Choices

March also happens to be Workplace Eye Health and Safety Month. In 2010, more than 4,000 eye injures were reported by Missouri workers.

These injuries are devastating to both employees and employers. Employees have to deal with the loss of their sight, whether permanent or temporary, and the accidents cost employers and insurance companies millions in workers’ compensation claims, wages, and lost productivity.

These are alarming statistics. But there is good news! 90% of all workplace eye injuries are preventable with the use of safety measures, including proper eyewear and good computer habits.

Here are some tips to keep your eyes safe, no matter what type of workplace you’re in:

  • Have your vision tested regularly.
  • Utilize proper eyewear.
  • Set up first-aid procedures for eye injuries.
  • Properly light your workspace.
  • Don’t use a computer screen for more than 2 hours in a sitting.
  • Blink regularly to keep your eyes from drying out.

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