thanksgiving

Season of Thanksgiving

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Every year, as the holiday season begins, we think about the many things we’re thankful for.

Priority Staffing Group gathered our employees to share with you what we are thankful for most in life.

 

We’re thankful for our families…

“I am thankful for my beautiful, healthy family.” – Leah Tinault

“Thankful for Family, Friends and Work.” – Megan Jones

“I’m thankful for Faith and Family.” – Chris Nichols

“I am thankful for my daughter.” – Brandy Clarida

“I am thankful that God blessed me with my husband and two healthy boys.” – Celesta Bowers

 

 

– Kara Metzger

 

We are thankful for our pets…

“I am thankful for my hard-working husband, my fur-babies, my family’s good health and my awesome job!” – Priscilla Lasswell

“I am thankful for my husband and fur child.” – Julie Simpson

“I am thankful for my family and dog.” – Ally Farlow

“About 3 weeks ago I almost lost my dog, Lilly, to Parvo.  The week she spent in the hospital receiving treatment felt like an eternity.  She pulled through and I am thankful for her and her strong will to survive.” – Robyn Sprowls

 

We are thankful for our jobs…

“I’m thankful we were able to help 1,800 people find jobs this year.” – Heather Goines-Evans

“I am thankful for Priority Staffing Group!” – Angela Tessone

“I’m thankful for all the different personalities on our team that come together to do great work.” – Liz Sawyer

 

And we are thankful for everything else!

“Thankful for all the blessings in my life, great and small.” – Emily Melvin

“I am thankful for my life every day.  For all of the family and friends that stand by me and for all the people I work with. Life has a way of challenging us; we need to count our blessing in the ability to make the right decisions.” – Gail Lannom

“I am thankful for each day that the Lord gives a me and the time that I get to spend with my family and friends.” – Lindzey Barger

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Active Shooter Preparation

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dhsWhile no one wants to think about the possibility that an active shooter could enter your workplace, it is always better to look ahead and be prepared. Kara Metzger, Director of Operations and Business Development at our Vandalia office, attended an active shooter class in Effingham, Illinois on November 7th.

 

The Effingham Chamber of Commerce sponsored this class, taught by Michael Mobley, a retired ISP officer. The tips below were given during the informational session and come directly from Homeland Security. The full guide to have on hand at your office or facility can be seen and downloaded here.

 

TRAINING YOUR STAFF FOR AN ACTIVE SHOOTER SITUATION:

To best prepare your staff for an active shooter situation, create an Emergency Action Plan (EAP), and conduct training exercises. Together, the EAP and training exercises will prepare your staff to effectively respond and help minimize loss of life.

 

Components of an Emergency Action Plan (EAP)

Create the EAP with input from several stakeholders including your human resources department, your training department (if one exists), facility owners/ operators, your property manager, and local law enforcement and/or emergency responders. An effective EAP includes:

  • A preferred method for reporting fires and other emergencies
  • An evacuation policy and procedure
  • Emergency escape procedures and route assignments (i.e., floor plans, safe areas)
  • Contact information for, and responsibilities of, individuals to be contacted under the EAP
  • Information concerning local area hospitals (i.e., name, telephone number, and distance from your location)
  • An emergency notification system to alert various parties of an emergency including:
  • Individuals at remote locations within premises
  • Local law enforcement
  • Local area hospitals

 

Components of Training Exercises

The most effective way to train your staff to respond to an active shooter situation is to conduct mock active shooter training exercises. Local law enforcement is an excellent resource in designing training exercises.

  • Recognizing the sound of gunshots
  • Reacting quickly when gunshots are heard and/or when a shooting is witnessed
  • Calling 911
  • Reacting when law enforcement arrives
  • Adopting the survival mind set during times of crisis

 

Prepare For and Prevent an Active Shooter Situation

 

Preparedness

  • Ensure that your facility has at least two evacuation routes
  • Post evacuation routes in conspicuous locations throughout your facility
  • Include local law enforcement and first responders during training exercises
  • Encourage law enforcement, emergency responders, SWAT teams, and bomb squads to train for an active shooter scenario at your location

Prevention

  • Foster a respectful workplace
  • Be aware of indications of workplace violence and take remedial actions accordingly

 

HOW TO RESPOND WHEN AN ACTIVE SHOOTER IS IN YOUR VICINITY

 

Quickly determine the most reasonable way to protect your own life. Remember that customers and clients are likely to follow the lead of employees and managers during an active shooter situation.

1. RUN

If there is an accessible escape path, attempt to evacuate the premises.

Be sure to:

  • Have an escape route and plan in mind
  • Evacuate regardless of whether others agree to follow
  • Leave your belongings behind
  • Help others escape, if possible
  • Prevent individuals from entering an area where the active shooter may be
  • Keep your hands visible
  • Follow the instructions of any police officers
  • Do not attempt to move wounded people
  • Call 911 when you are safe

2. HIDE

If evacuation is not possible, find a place to hide where the active shooter is less likely to find you.

Your hiding place should:

  • Be out of the active shooter’s view
  • Provide protection if shots are fired in your direction (i.e., an office with a closed and locked door)
  • Not trap you or restrict your options for movement

To prevent an active shooter from entering your hiding place:

  • Lock the door
  • Blockade the door with heavy furniture

 

If the active shooter is nearby:

  • Lock the door
  • Silence your cell phone and/or pager
  • Turn off any source of noise (i.e., radios, televisions)
  • Hide behind large items (i.e., cabinets, desks)
  • Remain quiet

 

 If evacuation and hiding out are not possible:

  • Remain calm
  • Dial 911, if possible, to alert police to the active shooter’s location
  • If you cannot speak, leave the line open and allow the dispatcher to listen

3. FIGHT

 

As a last resort, and only when your life is in imminent danger, attempt to disrupt and/or incapacitate the active shooter by:

  • Acting as aggressively as possible against him/her
  • Throwing items and improvising weapons
  • Yelling
  • Committing to your actions

 

CALL 911 WHEN IT IS SAFE TO DO SO!

 

HOW TO RESPOND WHEN LAW ENFORCEMENT ARRIVES

Law enforcement’s purpose is to stop the active shooter as soon as possible. Officers will proceed directly to the area in which the last shots were heard.

  • Officers usually arrive in teams of four (4)
  • Officers may wear regular patrol uniforms or external bulletproof vests, Kevlar helmets, and other tactical equipment
  • Officers may be armed with rifles, shotguns, handguns
  • Officers may use pepper spray or tear gas to control the situation
  • Officers may shout commands, and may push individuals to the ground for their safety

How to react when law enforcement arrives:

  • Remain calm, and follow officers’ instructions
  • Put down any items in your hands (i.e., bags, jackets)
  • Immediately raise hands and spread fingers
  • Keep hands visible at all times
  • Avoid making quick movements toward officers such as holding on to them for safety
  • Avoid pointing, screaming and/or yelling

***Do not stop to ask officers for help or direction when evacuating, just proceed in the direction from which officers are entering the premises

 

Information to provide to law enforcement or 911 operator:

  • Location of the active shooter
  • Number of shooters, if more than one
  • Physical description of shooter/s
  • Number and type of weapons held by the shooter/s
  • Number of potential victims at the location

The first officers to arrive to the scene will not stop to help injured persons. Expect rescue teams comprised of additional officers and emergency medical personnel to follow the initial officers. These rescue teams will treat and remove any injured persons. They may also call upon able-bodied individuals to assist in removing the wounded from the premises.

Once you have reached a safe location or an assembly point, you will likely be held in that area by law enforcement until the situation is under control, and all witnesses have been identified and questioned. Do not leave until law enforcement authorities have instructed you to do so.

chili cook off

Chili Cook Off

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The 9th Annual Southern Illinois Chili Cook Off was held at the Marion Elks on November 4th. The outdoor event raised money for several local charities.

 

chili cook off

Gail Lannom, Priority Group CEO, along with Megan Jones, Professional Group COO, and Lindzey Barger, Business Development, were on the planning committee for the event.

 

Nearly 800 people attended and 32 competitors participated in the Chili Cook Off and Bloody Mary competitions, which had a Game Show theme.

 

 

The GLITS girls represented Priority Staffing Group for the 9th year in the competition. They won Best Team Theme with Wheel of Fortune.

chili cook off 

Other activities included a silent auction, raffles, and a bags tournament, all raising money for the selected charities.

chili cook off

Megan Jones, Professional Group COO

Up from last year’s $23,000 raised, the event surpassed the $25,000 goal for 2017. The money benefited The Fowler Bonan Foundation Clothes for KidsThe Night’s Shield Children’s ShelterThe Lighthouse Shelter, and the Williamson County Heartland Rotary iPad project for children with learning disabilities.

Priority Group is excited to have a part in our community’s events. If you have an event you’re interested in partnering with us in, call (618) 969-8800 to speak to one of our office representatives.

 

To view more photos of the event, visit the official Facebook page for the Southern Illinois Chili Cook Off.

 

Interview Attire

Interview Tip: What to Wear

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Inappropriate interview attire can cost you the job. But how do you know what’s appropriate to wear? The answer to that question depends on your line of work and the company you’re interviewing at. Answer the following questions to decide how to dress for your next job interview.

 

What job are you applying for?

If you’re applying for a job in a clerical or customer service field, the standard attire is business casual. For men, this means dress slacks, dress shoes, collared shirt and, in some cases, a tie. For women, this means dress pants or a knee length skirt, a modest blouse, heels or flats and professional accessories.

Business Casual Attire

Manufacturing or labor positions, while casual in nature, might still require nicer choices for the interview. If applying for a management role, I recommend the above business casual. For everyone else, jeans or khaki pants with a button up or polo shirt with casual (but clean!) shoes is acceptable.

 

What company are you applying for?

Do your research! The above guidelines should be used as just that – guidelines. For example, I have a client who needs construction workers and general laborers for his company. What I would normally suggest for a similar company doesn’t work best for his applicants. He would like to know that his applicants can get their hands dirty, and a collared shirt won’t tell him that. For this company, I recommend jeans, a t-shirt and work boots. Some research about the company and their current employees can tell you a lot about what you should wear.

Casual Attire

What job do you want?

Rule of thumb: dress for the job you want, not the job you’ve applied for. Are you applying for an entry-level receptionist position, but truly aspire to be in a management role? Dress business professional. Interviewers sometimes connect your appearance to your aspirations. If you wear jeans to an interview, even if it may be appropriate for the job you’re applying for, it might not send the right message to the hiring team. When in doubt, dress a stress up!

Business Professional Attire

How do you get clothes?

Did you answer the above questions and still don’t know what to wear to your interview? The picture guides above can help you make informed decisions about your interview attire, and many appropriate items can be found in thrift and consignment stores at a reasonable cost.

Amelia's Closet logoFor women interviewing in our Tennessee office who don’t think they can afford appropriate interview clothes, we want to help. Our partnership with Amelia’s Closet in Murfreesboro allows us to help unemployed and low-income women prepare for sustainable employment. This non-profit organization prepares women recovering from hardship by providing an interview outfit and interview tips upon referral from a partner agency like Priority Staffing Group. Upon being hired, they provide returning clients with a week’s wardrobe for work.

Ask us for more information by stopping by Priority Group’s Murfreesboro office or calling (615) 295-2127.

Leadership Conference: Live2Lead

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Live2Lead Leadership Conference

Priority Group attended leadership conference, Live2Lead, on October 6th. Our representatives were Gail Lannom, CEO; Megan Jones, Professional Group COO; and Emily Melvin, Account Manager.

What is Live2Lead?

Live2Lead was a full-day leadership and personal growth event hosted live in Atlanta. The event is an annual leadership gathering developed by The John Maxwell Company. For almost a decade, Live2Lead has shared leadership and personal growth principles to a live audience and over 300 simulcast locations around the world.

Attendees learn from renowned leadership experts from a variety of industries, gain new perspectives on relevant topics and get practical tools to take home with them.

Conference speakers included John Maxwell, Dave Ramsey, Warrick Dunn, and Cheryl Bachelder.

John C. MaxwellDave RamseyWarrick DunnCheryl Bachelder

The Southern Illinois simulcast was hosted by the Marion Chamber of Commerce in the John A Logan College auditorium.  At the end of the conference, an interactive group discussion on the topics led by Russell Williams, the John Maxwell Company leader in Southern Illinois.

 

The presenting sponsor of Live2Lead – Southern Illinois: Heartland Regional Medical Center

Additional sponsors: The Southern Illinoisan, AISIN, Watermark Auto Group, Legence Bank, Priority Staffing Group, Harness Digital Marketing, WSIU Public Broadcasting, Walker’s Bluff and John A. Logan College.

HR TN Conference

TN HR Conference 2017

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HR Tennessee 2017

Priority Group’s Heather Goines-Evans, COO, and Chris Nichols, Business Development, attended the HR Tennessee Conference and Exposition, hosted by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) from October 1 – 4. Being members of the Middle Tennessee chapter, MT|SHRM, Priority Group was happy to participate in this educational conference in Nashville.

 

MT|SHRM is celebrating their 50th anniversary in 2017, and had the opportunity to host this event, which was the largest TN state conference ever. Over 1,500 HR colleagues, exhibitors, guests and sponsors attended this year’s event.

 

With 78 sessions and workshops in six focus tracks (Business Management & Strategy; Talent Management; Compensation; Benefits; Legal; HR Technology), the conference offered many learning opportunities for Priority Group, so that we can continue to develop our organization in a way that helps our clients and communities.

“Attending this conference gave us the knowledge to deliver more practical solutions to our organization and stay on top of the latest HR developments,” Heather said.

 

The conference opened on Monday with a keynote delivered by Peyton Manning titled Business Lessons from the Gridiron. Other speakers included Dr. Michael Burcham, CEO of Narus Health; and John Daniel, Executive Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer for First Horizon National Corp.

“The keynotes were really informative,” Chris said. “Peyton Manning did a great job making the connection between managing a football team versus an organization.  Michael Burcham was outstanding as well in discussing How to Think Like a CEO.”

 

The conference as a whole was a great event for Priority Group. We are excited to attend the conference again next year so we can continually develop our Human Resources knowledge.

For questions concerning our business or to learn how we can help you with HR related issues, please email us or call a representative at any of our offices listed below.

Marion, IL – (618) 969-8800 | Vandalia, IL – (618) 283-9533 | Murfreesboro, TN – (615) 295-2127

 

 

Business Development: How to tell the Difference

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We’ve all been there – the dreaded phone calls from sales professionals at [insert industry here].

It doesn’t matter who they are or where they’re calling from; they’re all the same, right?

Well…no. And we want to tell you why not.

Building Relationships

Chris Nichols, Priority Group’s Director of Business Development makes a point to not be a sales person. The reason is pretty straightforward – a sales professional’s job is to make a deal, sign a contract or get the sale. The job of a business development professional is different, more personal.

More so, in the Staffing and Recruiting industry, developing personal relationships is one of the most important parts of our jobs. “The staffing industry is unique,” Chris says. “Many times companies have been through years of under-performance and retention woes before looking into staffing. They typically make a few phone calls, hope to get pricing and once they get a quote they like, they sign up. The likelihood that the relationship lasts longer than 6 to 12 months isn’t very high. To be successful, it requires a two-way partnership approach. Success will not occur without teamwork.”

Our Partners

Our goal at Priority Group is not to make sales, its to help you grow your business. When your company enters into a relationship with ours, we give 100% to make sure your company is getting our best in terms of communication, transparency, perseverance and whatever else we can do to help you reach your goals, not ours. But by helping your business, it benefits us too. That’s why our partnerships are meaningful.

“Our most successful partnerships over the last seven years have developed when patience and planning prevailed,” Chris explains. “We have found that by sitting down with our clients two to four times prior to kicking off the hiring process, and then following-up often and early in the relationship, our biggest dividends have been earned.”

Chris adds that “the getting-to-know each other phase is the most vital in staffing and recruiting success.” Our job is to bring quality candidates to the client’s office or facility. By getting to know our client, their culture and what they look for in employees, we’re able to satisfy their needs tenfold.

“Relationships require trust. Trust doesn’t happen with one phone call or a lunch. It takes multiple meetings where walls can be torn down and the entities aren’t afraid to share their weaknesses with one another,” Chris tells. “It is also the ability to make a call two months into the partnership and say, “This isn’t working, what can we do to fix it?”

The Difference

All parts of our Business Development process revolve around people. All parts of the sales process revolve around money. And while there is a time and place for transactions and money, Priority Group doesn’t want the sale to be the focus. Just like our name says, your success is our priority – we stand behind that.

To talk to a Priority Group representative about a future partnership, contact any of our locations listed below.

Marion – (618) 969-8800 | Vandalia – (618) 283-9533 | Murfreesboro – (615) 295-2127

 

 

Temporary employees

Temporary Staffing

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Challenge Accepted!

Priority Staffing Group has a trained staff with over 50 years combined job experience in the staffing industry. We fill your needs, including temporary jobs, direct hires and temp-to-hire positions.

While we are probably known for our temp-to-hire contracts, we also service many temporary placements including event service, security, manual labor, maintenance, clerical and more.

A question we’re asked often is How do you find employees to work temporary jobs?

Brandy, Placement Specialist

Brandy Clarida, Placement Specialist

The answer isn’t as simple as one thing, but it has a lot to do with one person on our staff. Brandy Clarida, Placement Specialist, has worked tirelessly to fill over 100 temporary jobs in the last year at Priority Staffing Group.

She has filled jobs for athletic events, concerts, weddings, company picnics, festivals and general labor like railroad flaggers.

Priority Group’s other Placement Specialists help find employees, but keeping it all organized is a huge task she takes on. “When people back out last minute or venues change the start times the morning of the event, it’s a lot of work to keep track of it all,” says Heather Goines-Evans, Priority Group’s Vice President.

Brandy has faced many challenges in this staffing endeavor. “I think the number one challenge is finding applicants that are dependable,” she says.

Many applicants available to work temporary jobs have other daily obligations and tend to call out or not show up on the day of the event. Brandy adds that “it is very hard to have a 100% success rate; there will always be No Call – No Show’s, but I’ve come to learn that’s just human nature.”

Brandy filling temp jobs

Brandy, working hard to fill temp jobs

Emily Melvin, Placement Specialist, says Brandy is always working to build and maintain a pool of good temp worker employees who she can call at a moment’s notice for weekend, same day or next day jobs.  “She is great at thinking on her feet and being relentless in her pursuit of meeting the client’s needs.”

Priority Group uses a variety of methods to reach our temporary candidates. Brandy has gone to the local community colleges and set up a table to recruit.  “The first time I did this, I gained a lot of employees.  I would say I had 15 temporary employees by doing this job fair that stayed with us for several months.”

Extra advertisement, like advertising on the sign in front of the office and partnering with community businesses, has been helpful as well. “The local news station does a Job Squad segment once a week and we give them a few of our jobs we are recruiting for,” Brandy says. “Word of mouth also; we have found some of our employees by our current employees referring them to us.”

Emily knows this can be a very tough job because you get a lot of people who decline the offer after you’ve scouted and offered positions. “When you have spoken with 25-50 people or more, that amount of rejection can start to weigh on you, but Brandy always takes it in stride and doesn’t get discouraged.”

Heather says Brandy does a great job servicing our clients with those true “temp” needs. “She does a great job communicating with the employees – they work multiple events for her. She’s really built quite the event staff pool for us over the last year.”

Staffing for temp events is something you must stay on top of, Brandy says. “If I interview an applicant that I think would be good, I will mention this type of work to them even if we don’t have an immediate need and place them on back up so I can call them when we do need event staff.”

Brandy has a Master’s degree in Social Work that allows her to really connect with our employees. “I think our customer service and the way we treat our applicants helps. They see how we treat people and how we do business, so they tell their friends and word gets around.”

She gets regular temporary workers because of this and some she can even find permanent jobs for.

“Two years ago, we staffed for a very large local venue where they needed 15 to 20 staff each night to work the concerts.  It was a lot of work and a lot went into setting up the employees, but I did heavy recruiting for this and filled it,” Brandy tells.  “We had good reviews from the client on how our employees did.  I later went on to place some of them in permanent positions elsewhere.”

So, while Priority Group contracts many temp-to-hire positions, we also have a fantastic resource for filling strictly temp work as well. Don’t hesitate to reach out and ask for Brandy or any of our other wonderful recruiters!

Contact us by email or call one of our offices below to find out what services we can provide to you.

Marion – 618-969-8800 | Vandalia – 618-283-9533 | Murfreesboro – 615-295-2127

Priority Group Bocce Event

Endure Athletics logo

Endure Athletics Partnership

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Priority Staffing Group is now partnering with one of Murfreesboro’s well-known non-profits, Endure AthleticsChris Nichols, Tennessee’s Director of Business Development & Operations, was recently added to the non-profit’s Board of Directors.

Endure Athletics Non-Profit Logo

Chris decided to join the Board of Directors because of the mission of this non-profit organization. “Sports made me who I am.  It gave me lifelong friends and taught me the value of hard work.  Partnering with Endure Athletics to help make an impact in the lives of Murfreesboro youth is an incredible opportunity.”

 

He also adds that “Joel and Jeannie started Endure Athletics with the mindset that they were looking to break the cycle of poverty.  I can’t think of a better purpose than using sports to give these great kids a hand up in their life journey.”

 

Endure Athletics was formed in 2015 by Joel Bigelow and his wife Jeannie to serve the homeless youth of Murfreesboro.  The organization provides a fee-free, safe, structured and encouraging environment to participate in fitness, athletics, literacy and Christ-Centered mentorship.  Using sports as a catalyst, Endure Athletics is able to connect with the children and begin a relationship. These relationships have a powerful positive effect on each child’s personal, academic and spiritual well-being, which includes prayer & devotional time.

 

Each week, Endure Athletics utilizes their Saturday Fitness & Fun program to provide homemade breakfast to their youth while using the positive benefits such as team-building, conflict resolution and physical activity to increase each child’s confidence and feeling of acceptance.

Throughout the year, Endure Athletics takes the youth on trips to Nashville Sounds games at First Tennessee Park, Middle Tennessee State athletic events, Nashville Predators practices and to visit the Tennessee Titans training camp.

 

Additionally, Endure provides an after-school program aided by MTSU graduate students and retired Rutherford County teachers to assist the youth with school work and class projects. “We personally believe that changing generational poverty can end at the university,” Joel said.

 

Chris Nichols, Non-profit board of directors

To learn more about the mission and vision of Endure Athletics, visit their website.

 

If you are interested in learning how to sponsor a child or making a capital gift to Endure Athletics, contact Chris Nichols at Chris@PriorityStaffingGroup.com.

Risk Management Tips

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How to Manage Risk

Priority Staffing Group sent two representatives to the Risk Control Workshop in Denver, Colorado this month.

Kara Metzger and Ally Farlow spent three  days studying up on risk management procedures and workers’ compensation laws. They learned new tips on how to help both our business and our clients’ businesses.

So, does your company have a plan for when work-related accidents happens?

There are some simple steps that your company can take to create a safe work environment. And when an accident does occur, you should know your employees will have the best care possible.

StethoscopePre-Employment Physicals

  • Pre-employment physicals are a risk management tool used to screen individuals for risk factors that may limit their ability to perform a job safely and effectively.
  • Functional testing before starting work can prove essential function capability, limiting the risk of injuries associated with certain jobs.

Pre-Employment TrainingSafety Training

  • Try to stop the accident from happening in the beginning! You can do this by implementing training videos to make sure that your employees know what kind of work hazards they will be around and how to deal with them properly.
  • Make sure that you hold regular training sessions to keep employees up to date on new rules and regulations and remind them of the correct safety procedures.

Safety Sign

Visual Warnings

  • Have all the appropriate signs posted regarding workplace rules and safety.
  • Make sure all signs are up-to-date and in a heavily trafficked area so all employees can see.

Emergency Plan

Employment Physical

  • Make sure your company has a plan of action when an employee is hurt on the job. Find out what level of care is needed and get the employee taken care of as quickly as possible.
  • Have a designated urgent care set up to send employees so that the process is simple for everyone.
  • Make sure to document all the details of the accident by taking notes and photographs. You should have a standard accident report and witnesses to back everything up. There should always be a signature from the supervisor that was on duty when the accident occurred.

Check mark

An additional tip to help improve safety in the workplace:

  • Have a safety committee. Get together once a month and go over ways to improve workplace safety.

 

Priority Group wants to help our clients establish a safe and prepared work environment. For additional information on our services and how we can help you as a client, email us or call any of our office locations.