Digital Locks In Medical Practices: 4 Key Security Risks – And What To Do About Them

Sep 9, 2014 by

Many medical practices now use digital locks. Conventional locks can lead to problems with lost or stolen keys, particularly in high-volume access points and in clinics with a lot of employees. Digital locks from a commercial locksmith are a convenient way to secure your practice, but this form of security still creates risks. If your clinic or practice uses digital locks, consider the four following security risks, and learn more about the steps you can take to deal with the problem.

Unauthorized disclosure of security codes

Even if you restrict access to your security codes, it’s still relatively easy for somebody to find out the PIN to a digital lock. This is a particular problem where you use digital locks to secure access from public areas or waiting rooms. When a nurse or secretary enters a number into the keypad, a member of the public could easily stand behind your staff member and see the code or PIN. You can tell your staff members to take care, but if they’re in a hurry, they won’t always remember to look over their shoulder.

One way around the problem is to install a screen that obscures the keypad for anybody except the person entering the number. If this isn’t practical, you could alternatively install a small mirror above the lock, so that staff members can at least check if somebody is behind them before they enter the code. In either case, you should also display a sign above the lock reminding staff members to take care.

Over-reliance on digital locks

Under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), medical practices must take steps to protect all confidential electronic patient records. These regulations cover physical access to facilities, as well as workstation and data security. If a patient makes a complaint, your medical practice will need to provide complete records of user access to sensitive data.

A digital lock will not give you the user access information that you need. As such, it’s important to make sure that you use digital locks in the right places, and in the right way. For example, a digital lock can prevent unauthorized access to a room, but you still need to have all the other relevant security measures in place to protect patient data. Make sure all your staff members understand that digital locks are only part of your security controls through relevant training and communication.

Poor security controls

Digital locks may take away the problem of lost or stolen keys, but poor security controls can still cause problems. For example, in medical practices with high employee turnover, it’s important to regularly change your security codes. It’s easy to reprogram a digital lock, but you still need to make sure that somebody is responsible for updating the code as soon as an employee leaves.

Medical practices must set up a written security policy that all staff members must follow. This policy should explain why it’s so important to keep PIN codes secure. You should also avoid using security codes that are too long to remember. Some digital locks allow 10-digit codes, but you shouldn’t need to use more than five characters. Long codes encourage bad security habits (like writing the numbers on a piece of paper) because your people struggle to remember the digits.

Poor maintenance

In high-traffic access points, your team members could enter a digital security code dozens of times a day. Over time, grease and dirt from their fingers will mark the keypad, which makes it quite easy to work out the four or five numbers you need to use to correctly enter the security code. As such, it’s important to make sure that your cleaners regularly clean the keypad as part of their daily routine.

Follow the manufacturer’s maintenance instructions, too. Over time, the keypad may become misaligned with the other parts of the unit, which could stop the lock closing or opening effectively. This occurs commonly where people try to press the keys too quickly, or press two keys at the same time by mistake. 

Digital locks are now a common sight in modern medical practices, but it’s important to make sure that all your employees follow the right security rules. Practice managers must stay alert to the security risks of digital locks and implement all necessary measures to prevent unauthorized access to secure areas of the building.

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3 Ways To Keep Your Frameless Shower Door Looking Great

Sep 5, 2014 by

Frameless shower doors are practical and beautiful. When you have a frameless shower door installed in your home, you no longer need a curtain to keep water from dripping all over the bathroom floor. That means that the condition of your shower door is visible to the entire world — or at least the friends and family members who use your bathroom. Protect your investment by following the simple tips below to keep your shower doors in top-notch shape. 

Keep Sharp, Heavy Items Away

Glass is resilient, but there are some things that it can’t handle. Be careful when you rearrange your bathroom decor, as some pieces of furniture may scratch or dent your glass shower door. If you want to protect the condition of your shower door, you should avoid:

  • Placing furniture with sharp edges near the shower
  • Hanging heavy pictures near the glass door
  • Placing materials on the ground directly beside the shower, such as toilet brush caddies or bulky makeup bins

If you do end up scratching your shower door, don’t immediately panic. You may be able to remove the scratches if they are not very deep. Small, shallow scratches may respond well to a treatment intended for auto glass. You can find a kit for auto glass scratch removal at many hardware stores or automotive supply shops. Instructions and kit contents may vary, but you will probably receive a lotion and spray, as well as some type of buffing agent or microfiber cloth. 

Clean it the Right Way

Every time you finish taking a shower, use a small squeegee to remove soap suds and spots of water from the inside of the door. Make sure to do this as soon as you can, because glass may become stained if substances are left on top of it for too long. If you have a few extra minutes, use a soft cloth or towel to pat — not wipe — the door dry. 

Some sites recommend using fabric softener in lieu of regular cleansers. It’s possible that this could work well on your door, but it’s best to check with a shower specialist before you attempt any home remedies. Stick to the products recommended by the installation company if you are unsure whether your door can handle certain chemicals or techniques.

Request a Glass Protection Treatment

Sometimes it’s easier to prevent damage from happening in the first place than it is to repair a scratched or dented shower door. When you order a frameless shower door, the contractor may ask if you want a special surface treatment applied to each side of the door. If you’re wondering whether the surface treatment is really necessary, the answer is yes.

Glass is a porous material, which means that it absorbs stains and odors easily. Your glass door may begin to corrode, even if you clean it regularly, if you do not apply a surface treatment. A surface treatment helps repel debris that can damage your door, prolonging the life of your investment. 

Depending on the quality and type of treatment that you buy, you can expect it to last anywhere from a few months to several years. Some companies offer insurance or warranty plans that protect you if the door flakes or peels before a specified period of time. If you did not request a glass protection treatment when you first purchased your shower door, you might still have options. Talk to a shower door export to learn whether you still have time to add a protective layer to your current glass door.

When your frameless door is first installed, the glass will be smooth, clean, and clear. Over time, it may get scratched or become dirty, especially if you fail to take good care of it. Try the ideas above if you already own a frameless door, and don’t hesitate to contact a bathroom renovations specialist if you have any additional questions about how to maintain your shower door. 

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When To Contact An Electrician To Avoid Having An Electrical House Fire

Sep 3, 2014 by

When you have a properly working and safe electrical system in your home, you can avoid the danger of an electrical house fire. The Electrical Safety Foundation International reports that 51,000 homes catch on fire every year due to faulty electrical systems. To make sure that you and your family are safe from a house fire, contact an electrician for any of the following scenarios.

Before You Buy A House

Before signing on the dotted line, call an electrician to inspect the wiring system in the home that you’re planning to buy. An electrician will use a checklist when inspecting the home and below are some of the things that an electrician will do during the inspection.

  • Inspect the circuit breaker box for charred residue, wear, age, and overheating fuses or breakers.
  • Check for ground fault circuit interrupters in the bathroom and kitchen outlets. These will prevent electrical shocks from outlets that are close to a water source.
  • Test all the outlets and light switches to see if they are working properly.
  • Inspect the outlets and switches to check for heat, discoloration, or odors.

If You Live In An Older Home

If your house is older than 50 years, it’s not uncommon to start seeing some signs of electrical problems due to the types of wiring used years ago. Many older homes have knob and tube or aluminum wiring. Both of these types of wiring can overheat and possibly cause a house fire.

Before 1950, the type of wiring installed in homes was knob and tube wiring. This type of wiring has knobs and tubes made of ceramic. The knobs hold the wires in position and the tubes cover the wires that run through the walls.

There is no ground wire and the outlets all have two prongs instead of three. The rubber that insulates the wires can degrade and become a fire hazard.

If your home was built in the late 60s or early 70s, it’s probably wired with aluminum wiring. This type of wiring is susceptible to overheating due to corrosion and loose connections from the wires to the electrical outlets. As these wires and connections get hotter, they can catch on fire.

When You Notice Electrical Problems

Even if you don’t know anything about electrical systems, you’ll be able to spot these electrical issues in your home.

  • Flickering Lights—When the lights in your home constantly flicker off and on, this is generally caused by a loose connection in the circuit. This can lead to an electrical arc, which can result in a house fire.
  • Charred Outlets—A black or grey film on your switch plate or outlet cover signifies that there is a bad connection or bad wiring close to the switch or outlet. The charring occurs because of burning or smoldering wires behind the plate.
  • A Burnt Odor—If you’re smelling a burnt odor and you can’t determine where it’s coming from, it may be an electrical problem. This smell is often from an electrical short inside of the walls and it may accompany a charred outlet as described above.
  • Circuit Breaker Tripping—If your circuit breaker frequently trips and the power shuts off, your electrical system can’t handle the electrical load in your home. Multiple appliances, electronics, and your HVAC unit all running at the same time can be too much for your electrical system. When this occurs, the circuit breaker shuts off automatically to prevent overheating.

To keep you and your family safe, make sure that you have a working smoke alarm on every floor in your home. If you suspect that the wiring in your home is faulty, contact an electrician to inspect, repair, or rewire your electrical system.

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5 Strategies To De-Clutter Before A Move

Sep 2, 2014 by

14 percent of Americans moved in-state, out-of-state or overseas in 2012, Pew Research points out. Moving gives people a chance to declutter, which can be a curse and a blessing. When preparing for your next move, click here for info on moving or try these 5 decluttering tactics to minimize the stress of moving and only move what you will truly use in your new home. 

1. Start with the right supplies – Pick up a paper shredder and stock up on garbage bags and boxes when you plan to de-clutter. Then sit in a room and sort through its contents. If you want to keep an item, box it up. If you don’t need to keep an item, decide whether you can sell it or donate it. When you purchase needed supplies before you declutter a room, you ensure that you maintain the momentum needed to sort through all of the room’s contents and decide what to keep and what to let go of.  You’re less likely to stop decluttering halfway through the room because you have run out of organizing supplies. 

2. Call a junk removal service for big-ticket items - Moving is the perfect time to get rid of that beat-up rec room sofa and invest in new furniture. Consider calling a junk removal service to haul away large items that you cannot move yourself. Many junk removal services can recycle, dispose or, or donate items depending on their condition. Schedule this one to two weeks before you move to get unwanted large items out of your way for good.

3. Get rid of anything you haven’t used in a year – Donating anything that you have not worn in one year is an oft-touted piece of advice in personal organizing. To cut through clutter, consider recycling, donating, or throwing away anything that you have not used within the last year. Donate that old plastic sled in the basement, recycle those plastic gardening pots gathering dust, or shred old paperwork that you no longer need. 

Be rigorous when it comes to keeping or getting rid of occasional-use items. Something like a grass seeder or a half-gallon of leftover wood stain may be useful on a less regular basis than once a year. If you sincerely believe you could use the item again, keep it. If you’re really just holding onto it “just in case,” lighten your load and donate or toss it. 

4. Put your best self forward – Whether you need to declutter clothes, kitchen gadgets, bathrooms, or bookcases, apply the rule of putting your best self forward. To do this, go through your possessions and think about whether they are truly useful, beautiful, or valuable to you. 

Get rid of clothing that no longer fits or doesn’t flatter your body, old books you won’t reread, old CDs or DVDs you haven’t used in years, art that no longer excites you, any anything that doesn’t represent your lifestyle as you envision it or your best image of yourself. 

5. Work for short bursts of time - If you leave the whole day free for decluttering, you’ll get burned out. Instead, set aside 2-3 hours to declutter one room. You’ll see immediate results and feel good, and can then carry this momentum forward to spend another short chunk of time decluttering another room. 

Leave yourself enough time to apply these strategies by starting your decluttering process at least one month before the move. If you are crunched for time, it’s too easy to put off managing your clutter and bring everything with you to your new home. As it compounds, clutter becomes even more difficult to confront. 

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Fall Protection Equipment: How To Find The Right Full Body Harnesses And Inspect Them

Sep 2, 2014 by

According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, there is an average of 150 to 200 fatalities reported each year due to falls in the construction industry. In addition, more than 100,000 workers are injured each year due to accidents involving falls. Fall protection training is designed for anyone who is working at heights exceeding 3 meters, so that they have the knowledge necessary to protect themselves. Having the right fall protection equipment is crucial in this equation. This article will focus on the use of full body harnesses.

What Are Full Body Harnesses?

Individuals that are at risk of falling wear full body harnesses. Keep in mind that an individual wearing a harness who has fallen may not have the means to get up on his or her own. It is important that the entire team has developed a sound strategy for helping fallen individuals up.

Full body harnesses typically consist of straps that are wrapped around the shoulders, across the chest, and around the legs for maximum protection. In the event that you unfortunately fall, full body harnesses will be able to provide more protection than safety belts as they distribute the force of impact over the entire body.

What Should You Look For In Full Body Harnesses

Full body harnesses that are designed specifically for fall protection differ significantly from harnesses that are designed for other applications, such as ladder climbing, controlled descent, and work positioning. If you are on the market for a full body harness, you should look for one that has:

  • a back-mounted D-ring that is located in between the shoulder blades. This D-ring will be responsible for distributing the impact over the entire body, and also providing you with support.
  • the letter “A” stenciled on each shoulder strap that is below the D-ring with an arrow that points to the D-ring. This arrow and the “A” is to help you identify the only D-ring on the harness that is used to arrest a fall, and will also help you identify whether you are wearing your full body harness correctly. 
  • extra padding for comfort made from breathable material, especially if you are going to be wearing the full body harness for long periods of time.
  • tangle free designs that will prevent you from literally getting tangled.
  • adjustability. You will want to make sure that you can adjust the straps of the full body harness so that it perfectly fits your body. This will reduce the force of impact and ensure greater distribution. In short, it can reduce your risk of getting injured.

How Do You Inspect Your Full Body Harnesses?

Every time before you put the full body harnesses, you need to inspect them to make sure that they are still in good condition and able to offer the protection needed during a fall. If your harness is a damaged or even show sign of wear, you should not wear it and get another one. Signs of wear can show weaknesses in the structural integrity of the harnesses. This may indicate that the harnesses are not capable of offering the protection needed. Steps for inspecting your full body harnesses will include looking at the:

  • friction belts. The friction belts are interlocking. You should check for signs of damage, such as any areas that are bent, cracked, or nicked. You should also test the buckles to make sure that the coupling is secure.
  • webbing. Look for fraying, loose or broken stitching and other signs of wear.
  • D-rings. Since the D-rings are responsible for the arrest during the fall, you will want to make sure that the D-rings are not cracked, nicked or bent. Also, look out for gouged rings.

Conclusion

If you are at risk of falling in your job, you will want to make sure that you have the right full body harnesses on. These harnesses may end up saving your life or reducing your chances of getting seriously injured. There are many different variations and designs on the market. Some professionals in the industry may even get fitted to ensure that the full body harnesses are tailor-made for their bodies.

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