Sustainable Development in Government: 5 Strategies for Implementing EO 13834

sustainable development government
Sustainable development in government is achievable with the right strategies for implementing EO 13834

Is your government agency sustainable?

If not, it should be.

President Trump signed Executive Order (E.O.) 13834 on May 17th, 2018 and it “directs Federal agencies to manage their buildings, vehicles, and overall operations to optimize energy and environmental performance, reduce waste, and cut costs.”

The Federal government is leading the way on this initiative for sustainable development in government and has achieved substantial energy savings (which we’ll review later in this post).

To help you meet the standards outlined in EO 13834, we’ll tell you what outcomes your agency is expected to achieve, when you’re expected to achieve them, and a few easy ways to begin developing a sustainable government agency.

What Are the Goals of Executive Order 13834?

EO 13834 sets forth 8 goals that the head of each federal agency is expected to meet in the most cost-effective way possible.

These are the goals of EO 13834:

  1. Achieve and maintain annual reductions in building energy use and implement energy efficiency measures that reduce costs.
  2. Meet statutory requirements relating to the consumption of renewable energy and electricity.
  3. Reduce potable and non-potable water consumption, and comply with stormwater management requirements.
  4. Utilize performance contracting to achieve energy, water, building modernization, and infrastructure goals.
  5. Ensure that new construction and major renovations conform to applicable building energy efficiency requirements and sustainable design principles; consider building efficiency when renewing or entering into leases; implement space utilization and optimization practices; and annually assess and report on building conformance to sustainability metrics.
  6. Implement waste prevention and recycling measures and comply with all Federal requirements with regard to solid, hazardous, and toxic waste management and disposal.
  7. Acquire, use, and dispose of products and services, including electronics, in accordance with statutory mandates for purchasing preference, Federal Acquisition Regulation requirements, and other applicable Federal procurement policies.
  8. Track and, as required by section 7(b) of this order, report on energy management activities, performance improvements, cost reductions, greenhouse gas emissions, energy and water savings, and other appropriate performance measures.

When Do You Need to Achieve the goals of EO 13834?

Unlike Obama’s sustainable development in government policies, which was supposed to carry through 2025 (but was rescinded to make way for EO 13834), President Trump didn’t set deadlines for his energy-saving executive order.

Without concrete timetables, federal agencies are free to meet the goals of EO 13834 on their own time, in a way that best suits their budget and other needs.

How’s the Federal Government Doing in Sustainable Development?

The Office of Federal Sustainability has compiled a “scorecard” on federal agency performances regarding energy efficiency and sustainability.  

Every agency had their fiscal year 2016 performance assessed according to the goals set forth by Obama’s sustainable development executive order.

The Office of Federal Sustainability will update their metrics to conform to President Trump’s Executive Order 13834 proposals when assessing these agencies for fiscal year 2017.

Even still, these scorecards give a good indication of how well the federal government is doing in regards to sustainable development.

For example, here’s how the U.S. Department of Energy did on their scorecard:

  • For Scope 1&2 GHG Reduction Target of 50.0% by 2025: 42.3% reduction in 2016 and on target
  • For Scope 3 GHG Reduction Target of 25.0% by 2025: 19.3% reduction in 2016 and on track
  • Reduction in energy intensity in goal-subject facilities compared with 2015: 9.4% and on track
  • Use of renewable electricity as a percent of facility electricity use: 24.1% from renewable sources and on track for 30% by 2025
  • Use of clean energy as a percent of facility energy use: 22.6% of federal building electric energy and thermal energy is clean energy and on track
  • Reduction in potable water intensity compared with 2007: 29.3% and on track for 36% in 2025

While not all government agencies have achieved as much progress in sustainable development as the U.S. Department of Energy, they’re all undertaking initiatives to meet their sustainable development goals – which should inspire you to do the same.

Strategies You Can Implement for Sustainable Development in Government

The U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) recently announced their Strategic Plan for Fiscal Years 2018-2022 which emphasizes saving taxpayer money through the more efficient management of federal real estate.

They revealed a few of their strategies for successfully reducing energy and increasing efficiency, such as:

  • Monitoring temperature settings, operating schedules, and routine maintenance.
  • Installation of LED lights and low-flow water fixtures as part of smaller renovations.
  • Disposal and congressionally-funded renovation of older buildings and construction of more-efficient new buildings.

In addition to GSA’s strategies, we’ve compiled a few more below that you can implement today to kickstart (or embolden) your government sustainability development initiatives.

Create a Team

You can’t turn a government agency green on your own. You’re going to need the help of a dedicated team of individuals who share the same goals and vision for an eco-friendly office and organization.

Plus, one of the biggest benefits of creating a “green” team is employees can better inspire fellow employees than a top-down announcement or memo from management can.  

Reduce Consumption of Office Supplies

Once you have a team, you can implement projects for them to oversee, such as the reduction in office supplies consumption.

Tiny changes like this are a great way to begin a sustainable development program and can substantially decrease the amount of waste that would otherwise end up in a landfill.

Use Energy-Efficient Lighting

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, By 2027, widespread use of LEDs could save about 348 TWh (compared to no LED use) of electricity: This is the equivalent annual electrical output of 44 large electric power plants (1000 megawatts each), and a total savings of more than $30 billion at today’s electricity prices.

If you want to cash in on those savings, you can easily swap your incandescent light bulbs for LED, halogen, or compact fluorescent light bulbs.

But before you toss your inefficient light bulbs in the trash, make sure to recycle them at a local Batteries Plus store or other light bulb recycling facility.

Dispose of Electronic Waste

Light bulbs aren’t the only thing in your office you should dispose of properly, almost all of your electronics, inks, and toners should be recycled as well.

The EPA has a handy list of all the places that will accept your electronic waste and Earth 911 allows you to search your area for the nearest ink and toner recycling facility.

Go as Paperless as Possible

According to the EPA and the Clean Air Council, The average office worker in the U.S. uses 10,000 sheets of paper.

While going completely paperless is probably impossible for your government agency, you can take the following steps to get closer to a paperless office:

Sustainable Development in Government Beyond EO 13834

The goals of Executive Order 13834 are admirable, and should absolutely be pursued.

But the sustainable development of government shouldn’t just be about following a mandated set of policies. It should be about striving to use the taxpayer’s money wisely, decreasing your carbon footprint, and actually caring about preserving the environment.

You’ll need more education and information beyond the tips we provided here to meet the expectations of EO 13834 and to pursue sustainability goals beyond them.

We’ve created a number of courses, ebooks, and videos to help you implement an optimal sustainability development plan.

Some of these include:

  • Sustainable Development for Public Administration
  • Sustainable Logistics and Supply Chain Management: Principles and Practices for Sustainable Operations and Management
  • Advanced Sustainable Lighting Design – Reports
  • Sustainable Building Technology
  • Characteristics of a Sustainable Organization

And much, much more.

If you want to get your hands on these resources and many others, then sign up for a free 14-day trial of Enterprise Training below.

Experience the proven, easy-to-use, and cost-effective benefits of online training by scheduling your free online training consultation today!Schedule Free Consultation

7 Revit 2019 New Features That Users Wanted and Revit Delivered

 

Revit 2019 new features diagram
The Revit 2019 new features incorporated user feedback to upgrade and create their industry-standard tools

The Revit 2019 new features have been revealed…

And they’re better than everyone expected.

Revit’s official blog walked through all of the new features, but in today’s post, we’ll summarize some of the top features of Revit 2019, most of which were requested by users and delivered by Revit.

Revit 2019 New Features

“Or” in Filters

”Or” in filters was the #1 most requested new feature for Revit 2019, garnering over 1,000 votes.

Older versions of Revit limited users to only using the “And” rule when creating filters. In Revit 2019, you can create view filters with multiple rules and nested sets with a combination of the “And” rule and the “Or” rule.

Tabbed Views and Multi-Monitor Support

Tabbed views and multi-monitor support were some of the other top-requested new features of Revit 2019 and deliver a streamlined workflow for maximizing your workspace.

You can organize views exactly how you want, see which views are open at any time, and even draft views out of Revit and onto a second monitor for serious Revit users.

Double-Fill Patterns

Double-fill patterns was another top user-requested feature that allows you to apply foreground and background fill patterns to create more complex graphical renditions.

Double-fill patterns can be used on filled regions, object-level overrides, and cut settings of materials.

It also gives you access to realistic renderings such as metals, woods, carpets, and many more elements.

Complex Piping Networks

Complex piping networks in Revit 2019 improved the hydronic networks, enabling the design of more complicated piping networks.

Older versions of Revit required you to learn a lot about configuring connectors and knowing where to input data for common scenarios.

Not anymore.

You can easily create headered systems, hydronic bridges, and one-pipe primary loops. These improvements allow you to see flow and pressure drop on each pump throughout your network.

You can even analyze pumps in parallel and compute flow from duty and standby pump quantities.

Split Tool on Railings

The split tool simplifies the creation and modification of railings with a single click of the mouse.

Previously, you were forced to copy and paste one railing, then modify both.

Now when you split a railing, you’ll see elements that display the path sketches independent of each other for faster designing.

Uncropped Perspective

Uncropped perspective allows you to deactivate the crop region and navigate in a perspective view on a full window.

Older versions of Revit wouldn’t allow you to deactivate crop region in perspective views.

This new feature lets you work faster in fullscreen mode using the uncropped perspective views which provide an immersive experience when viewing and working with your design model.

You can easily switch between the default 3D views and move around freely with navigation commands such as Zoom, Pan, and Orbit.

Custom Steel Connections

Custom steel connections give you new edit tools to modify structural framing and column elements with ease.

Now you can connect structural members together using plates, bolts, and anchors within the 3D model.

How to Download Revit

You can download a free trial of Revit here or buy Revit 2019 through a monthly or yearly subscription.

Get Revit Training

If you want to take your Revit skills to the next level, you can start with our on-demand Revit training.

Whether you’re a beginner to Revit Architecture or you want to sharpen your skills, we have a variety of educational modules to help you learn Revit quickly and effectively.

Access all of our Revit training materials by signing up for a free trial of Enterprise Training below.

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Top 5 AutoCAD 2019 New Features You Should Be Excited About

 

AutoCAD 2019 new features
The AutoCAD 2019 new features upgrade core functions and add essential new tools

Autodesk officially revealed the AutoCAD 2019 new features…and you’re gonna want to see them.

These changes reveal a new direction for Autodesk and attempt to accomplish a few different goals:

  • Simplify the AutoCAD software package
  • Increase the value they deliver to their subscribers
  • And allow engineers to work and collaborate online seamlessly.

We’ll show you how they accomplished those goals with the new features in AutoCAD 2019.

The Top 5 AutoCAD 2019 New Features

Specialized Toolsets Bundle

This is the most noticeable change in AutoCAD 2019.

Autodesk moved away from offering a variety of software products to bundling their core verticals into a single subscription to AutoCAD 2019 – known as One AutoCAD.

Now you get access to 7 specialized toolsets in addition to AutoCAD 2019:

  • Architecture (previously known as AutoCAD Architecture)
  • Mechanical (previously known as AutoCAD Mechanical)
  • Electrical (previously known as AutoCAD Electrical)
  • Map 3D previously known as AutoCAD Map 3D)
  • MEP (previously known as AutoCAD MEP)
  • Raster Design (previously known as AutoCAD Raster Design)
  • Plant 3D (previously known as AutoCAD Plant 3D)

These toolsets allow you to expand the work you do at no additional cost apart from your initial subscription.

DWG Compare Tool

The new DWG Compare tool is one of the most exciting new features in AutoCAD 2019.

The old Drawing Compare tool from AutoCAD Architecture was good, but it didn’t have the functionality or flexibility that the new DWG Compare tool has.

DWG Compare does the same thing as the old Drawing Compare tool – compare two versions of the same drawing. But DWG Compare offers greater control over this process in the following ways:

  • You can specify which colors are used to identify the differences between the versions you’re comparing.
  • You can control whether text should be included or excluded from the comparison.
  • You can place a revision cloud around a single change or a group of changes.
  • And running DWG won’t alter your existing files. Instead, the comparison will be shown in a third drawing.

These new functions breathe new life into the Compare tool and make it even more useful than it was before.

Shared Views

The traditional way of collaborating on designs required you to convert your DWG file into a PDF to share with your teams.

With the Share View tool, you can share your designs with stakeholders within or outside your company without releasing your original drawing files.

AutoCAD 2019 hosts the design in the cloud, generates a shareable link, and lets project stakeholders view, review, measure, comment, and markup the drawing in their own web browser.

This streamlines the previously clunky process of using different file formats to get feedback on your designs.

And all the feedback you receive is saved in the file you share and can be implemented on your own AutoCAD desktop application.

AutoCAD Web App

This feature of AutoCAD 2019 isn’t an upgrade, it’s a completely new way to use the software.

It’s the first time you’ll be able to access, perform, and share your drawings directly from the web – no installation required.

Just go to the web app and login and you can start working from anywhere.

Here are the key features of the web app:

 

  • DWG file access (Share View)

 

  • Core 2D Drafting and Editing Tools such as Polyline, Arc, Revcloud, Offset, Trim, and Dimension
  • Original AutoCAD Technology that provides the same authenticity and precision as the desktop version of AutoCAD 2019

With so many similar features, the AutoCAD web app could be a replacement for the desktop version in the near future.

AutoCAD Mobile App

Why stop at a web app when you can create a mobile app, too?

With the AutoCAD mobile app, you can view, edit, create, and share CAD across Windows, Android and iOS phones and tablets.

The mobile app was designed for users working on-site and features a few mobile-only tools to enhance the power of AutoCAD in the palm of your hand, such as:

  • DWG File Access which gives you full access to your rich DWG files from the cloud and also allows you to download DWGs onto your device so you can work offline without internet connectivity.
  • Magnifier and Object Snap which lets you make accurate edits and measurements.
  • Quick Trim and Measure which lets you make quick edits with a single tap on the screen.
  • Laser Measurements which lets you take measurements using the Leica DISTO by connecting your mobile device via Bluetooth.
  • Annotations and Photo Attachments which enable you to log quick observations from the field using annotation tools like shapes, arrows, text, highlights, and photos directly on your drawings.

How to Buy AutoCAD 2019 (and How Much it Will Cost)

Since Autodesk is bundling 7 toolsets with AutoCAD 2019, it makes sense to raise the price – which they did by about 7%.

Instead of the $1,470 per year subscription you may be used to, the new AutoCAD subscription price is $1,575 yearly, and $195 monthly, which you can check out here.

How to Download AutoCAD 2019 for Free

If you’re not sure AutoCAD 2019 is right for you, get a free trial here.

What Should You Do after Getting AutoCAD 2019?

Upgrade your AutoCAD skills, of course.

If you want to get better with AutoCAD and any of its included toolsets, we got you covered.

From the beginner basics to the expert secrets, we’ll help you master AutoCAD 2019.

You can check out all of our AutoCAD programs by signing up for a free trial below.

Experience the proven, easy-to-use, and cost-effective benefits of online training by starting your free trial of our Autodesk AutoCAD training today!

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Local Government Cybersecurity: It’s (Really) Bad, but You Can Save It

 

local government cybersecurity
Local government cybersecurity is currently highly insecure, but the situation can be improved

Local government cybersecurity is in bad shape, and many local governments are being attacked at an escalating rate as a consequence.

Atlanta’s municipal government was crippled by a ransomware attack.

Baltimore’s 911 dispatch system was hacked by an unknown person or group.

The city of Allentown, Pennsylvania was attacked by malware known as Emotet.

And More than 2,000 Windows-based computers at CDOT offices in Colorado were brought down by a virus known as SamSam.

What do all these attacks have in common?

They all involve local governments and they all happened earlier this year.

Your local government could be next.

To help you prevent a potential attack, we’ll show you why local government cybersecurity is in such poor condition, the top threats local governments face, and a few surefire local government IT solutions you can implement immediately.

How Bad is State and Local Government Cybersecurity?

Really, really bad.

At least, according to the Cybersecurity 2016 Survey conducted by the International City/County Management Association (ICMA), in partnership with the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC).

Here’s what they found:

  • 44% of all respondents said they experience cyberattacks on a daily basis
  • 39.9% of local governments DO NOT catalog and count attacks
  • 66.4% of local governments use an informal system of cybersecurity management, as opposed to a formal system
  • 62.4% of local governments have NO IDEA whether they’re being breached or not
  • 51.3% of local governments say they’re not practicing better cybersecurity because they receive no end-user training whatsoever

These are dismal findings and point to a worrying lack of proactive steps being taken to protect vital information and infrastructure in local governments across the nation.

The most disturbing data-point is the non-existence of cybersecurity training for end-users since end-users are most likely to fall prey to a hacker’s traps and tricks.

Without a formal system of cybersecurity, a record of attacks, and proper cybersecurity training, you’re exposing your agency to a variety of serious cyberthreats.

What are the Greatest Cybersecurity Threats to Local Governments?

We recently listed cybersecurity predictions for 2018 that don’t look good, but we didn’t focus specifically on cyberthreats.

So we looked at what others predict as the greatest cyberthreats to local government. Here are a few we found from OneNeck IT Solutions:

Denial of Service Attack (DDoS)

A DDoS attack is a cyberthreat that attempts to shut down a system or make it inoperable by flooding it with traffic from multiple sources.

Hackers build networks of infected computers, called botnets, by spreading malicious software to machines – allowing them to control those infected computers remotely to carry out a DDoS attack.

This is a favorite attack used against governments. Even the NSA website was brought down by a DDoS attack.

Social Engineering

Social engineering is a catch-all term that refers to various methods of manipulation used against end-users to install malicious malware or steal data.

Phishing is one of the most common forms of social engineering. It relies on fake emails embedded with malicious links that install malware when clicked or fake websites that steal your login information after you’ve entered it.

All forms of social engineering attempt to trick you into giving the hackers control over your machine or access to information they can use to extort your agency.

Advanced Persistent Threats (APT)

APT is a set of continuous computer hacking processes that use stealth tactics to infiltrate your network and remain undetected for as long as it takes to gain access to privileged information and steal sensitive data.

APT attacks may initially use phishing or any other social engineering scam to create one or multiple backdoor entry points, allowing other hackers to worm their way into your network, slowly chipping away at the rest of your IT security layer until they’re discovered or achieve their objective.

How to Improve Government IT Security

The sad state of local government cybersecurity combined with the dangerous cyberthreats they face paints a grim picture for the future, but all is not lost.

There are numerous steps local governments can take to improve IT security across their organization.

Here are some of the most important steps you can take today and into the future:

Perform a Security Assessment

How do you know if your local government is secure?

By inspecting and testing your entire IT infrastructure to identify and secure weaknesses externally and internally.

By knowing your vulnerabilities, you can direct your limited resources to fix the weakest links in your cybersecurity chain.

Work Together with Other Governments

Governments from the federal to the state and local level are under attack from cybercriminals. To beat them, governments need to join forces to share knowledge and resources.

Intergovernmental cooperation strengthens your cybersecurity position by learning from the successes and failures of other governments’ IT security policies while gaining access to experts you may not have in your agency.

Outsource IT Security

Speaking of IT security experts, they’re not always kept in-house. And in many cases, IT experts who are trained to handle the looming threats of today (while anticipating the threats of the future) are difficult to find in the public sector.

That’s why many local governments choose to outsource their IT services.

Plus, since the lack of appropriate funding is often pointed to as one of the biggest reasons why robust cybersecurity in local governments is lacking, it makes sense to hire a private company that will cost far less than hiring in-house staff.

Enable User Access Management

User access management, also called privileged access management (PAM) is a method of controlling what information each team member can access.

Since end-users are typically the weakest cybersecurity links in your organization, and hackers rely on tricking them to gain access to more privileged information, it logically follows that you should restrict end-users’ access to sensitive information whenever possible.

Most people in most positions only need a specific set of data to do their jobs.

Therefore, they should be restricted from accessing any information outside of that core data set to protect your agency from infiltration in the case that an end-user falls victim to a phishing attack, for example.

Adopt the NIST Framework

The NIST Framework provides a common language and systematic methodology for managing cybersecurity risks.

The latest version of the NIST framework was released on April 16, 2018.

According to Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross, “The voluntary NIST Cybersecurity Framework should be every company’s first line of defense. Adopting version 1.1 is a must do for all CEO’s.”

But it’s not just made for the private sector. The NIST Framework has been successfully adopted by federal, State, and local governments.

According to NIST Director Walter G. Copan, “The release of the Cybersecurity Framework Version 1.1 is a significant advance that truly reflects the success of the public-private model for addressing cybersecurity challenges.”

Establish a Cybersecurity Culture

Every employee in your agency should be hyper-vigilant against impending cyberthreats.

It’s not just managers, commissioners, and elected executives who have to worry about these threats. In fact, it’s their job to instill a cybersecurity awareness culture from the top-down.

In the same way that you can create a culture of continuous learning in your agency, you should attempt to create a culture of continuous cybersecurity learning and training in your agency.

Train Your Employees

We’ve been harping heavily on the vulnerability of end-users, which is why the most important cybersecurity tip we can offer you is to train your employees.

There’s no high-tech substitute for smart, safe, and knowledgeable employees. They are your last line of defense against threats.

A hacker can send out all the phishing emails he wants, bypassing all your internet and email security systems. But if none of your employees fall for the scam, your data will remain safe.

So what’s the best way to train your employees in cybersecurity?

Find and use high-quality cybersecurity training resources.

But where can you find cybersecurity training made specifically for local governments?

Right here at Enterprise Training. Below are just a few of the many guides we have available for you.

  • Cyber Threat!: How to Manage the Growing Risk of Cyber Attacks reveals the extent of the cybersecurity problem, and provides a plan to change course and better manage and protect critical information.
  • Cyber Security Culture: Counteracting Cyber Threats through Organizational Learning and Training provides in-depth research to assist managers in forming policies that prevent cyber intrusions, put robust security systems and procedures in place, and arrange appropriate training interventions.
  • The Information Systems Security Officers Guide: Establishing and Managing a Cyber Security Program Third Edition provides information on how to combat the ever-changing myriad of threats security professionals face by presenting practical advice on establishing, managing, and evaluating a successful information protection program in a corporation or government agency.

And here’s a sample video from one of our cybersecurity courses:

If you want these guides and even more cybersecurity training, then contact us below to get started with a free 14-day trial of Enterprise Training.

Experience the proven, easy-to-use, and cost-effective benefits of online training by scheduling your free online training consultation today!

Schedule Free Consultation

 

6 Cybersecurity Predictions for 2018 That Don’t Look Good

 

cybersecurity predictions 2018
Our cybersecurity predictions for 2018 see old threats and new threats rising up

Cybercrime is escalating, and no one is safe.

The costs of data breaches will reach $2.1 trillion globally by 2019, according to Juniper Research.

That’s 4x the estimated cost of data breaches in 2015.

Major corporations like Equifax have been breached while major city Governments like Atlanta were shut down and extorted earlier this year.

Unfortunately, things will get worse before they get better.

Below we list our cybersecurity predictions for 2018 and beyond.

Our hope is that this list will help you identify and guard against increasing cyberattacks.

Top Cybersecurity Predictions for 2018

Simple Password Logins Are Increasingly Risky

81% of hacking-related breaches leveraged either stolen and/or weak passwords, according to the 2017 Data Breach Investigations Report from Verizon.

This trend is predicted to continue if companies and governments don’t use stronger logins such as multi-factor authentication or risk-based authentication.

Cyberattackers Will Rely on AI to Hack Your Data

Why do the work yourself when a computer can do it for you?

That’s exactly what many hackers thought as they began implementing AI-powered cyberattacks.

Here are a few ways hackers can execute attacks using AI:

  • Phishing, spam, and fraud using chatbots
  • AI-powered password hacking
  • AI attacks on AI cybersecurity software

Attacks on IoT Devices Will Rise

It’s only getting easier for hackers to infiltrate the Internet of Things. That’s partly driven by the increasing prevalence of IoT devices.

More than half of major new business processes and systems will incorporate some element of the Internet of Things by 2020, according to Gartner, Inc. This applies to government agencies as well.

The most common method used to hack an IoT device is a botnet – a collection of compromised IoT devices, such as cameras, routers, DVRs, wearables and other embedded technologies, infected with malware.

IoT botnets spread fast, attempting to infect as many devices as possible, potentially compromising hundreds of thousands of machines.

The infamous Reaper botnet infected a million networks alone.

Carefully choosing what IoT devices you use and don’t use is one of the few ways to minimize these types of attacks until security for these devices becomes more robust and effective.

Cyber-Hijacking Will Become More Commonplace

As more transportation systems operate automatically (without safeguarding their software), hackers will be able to hijack their systems remotely and demand a ransom before relinquishing control.

Charlie Miller and Chris Valasek demonstrated their “zero-day exploit” on a Jeep Grand Cherokee back in 2015 – software that lets hackers send commands through the Jeep’s system to its dashboard functions, steering, brakes, and transmission, all from a laptop that may be across the country.

The rise of self-driving cars in the next few years will make this issue even more urgent.

GDPR Will Force Companies and Governments Globally to Strengthen Security or Face Stiff Fines

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) will come into effect on May 25, 2018 and will mark a new era of mandatory cybersecurity compliance in the EU and across the world.

The GDPR was “designed to harmonize data privacy laws across Europe, to protect and empower all EU citizens data privacy and to reshape the way organizations across the region approach data privacy.”

While the GDPR can be seen as a big step in the right direction, it does scare many businesses and governments globally who are far away from complying with these new regulations.

Some U.S. based companies will fall under the jurisdiction of GDPR if they operate in other countries or target customers in other countries.

And if companies or governments under the jurisdiction of the GDPR don’t report a breach to a regulator within 72 hours, they could face fines of 2-4 percent of global revenue.

State-Sponsored Cyberattacks Will Increase

As cyberattacks become cheaper and easier than traditional warfare, hostile Governments will naturally use them more and more to exploit their rivals’ vulnerabilities.

According to The Hill, “A suspected North Korean hacking campaign has expanded to targets in 17 different countries, including the U.S., pilfering information on critical infrastructure, telecommunications and entertainment organizations, researchers say.

Cybersecurity firm McAfee released new research on the hacking campaign this week, calling it Operation GhostSecret and describing the attackers as having “significant capabilities” to develop and use multiple cyber tools and rapidly expand operations across the globe.”

That’s just one example in a string of examples of States initiating cyberattacks on other States.

Governments must ensure that their networks are isolated from the internet, their systems are extensively checked regularly, and their employees are trained to identify and prevent cyberattacks.

What Can You Do to Guard Against These Cybersecurity Threats in 2018?

Knowing your enemy is only half the battle.

The second half is knowing how to prevent them from attacking you and knowing what to do if you are attacked.

We’ve compiled a few critical resources to help you train your employees and protect your agency against cybercriminals.

  • Cyber Threat!: How to Manage the Growing Risk of Cyber Attacks reveals the extent of the cybersecurity problem, and provides a plan to change course and better manage and protect critical information.
  • Cyber Security Culture: Counteracting Cyber Threats through Organizational Learning and Training provides in-depth research to assist managers in forming policies that prevent cyber intrusions, put robust security systems and procedures in place, and arrange appropriate training interventions.
  • The Information Systems Security Officers Guide: Establishing and Managing a Cyber Security Program Third Edition provides information on how to combat the ever-changing myriad of threats security professionals face by presenting practical advice on establishing, managing, and evaluating a successful information protection program in a corporation or government agency.

And here’s a sample video from one of our cybersecurity courses:

If you want to discover powerful tools, tactics, and strategies for protecting your organization against cyberattacks, then you need to get these critical guides.

How do you get them?

By contacting us directly and getting a free 14-day trial of Enterprise Training below.

Experience the proven, easy-to-use, and cost-effective benefits of online training by scheduling your free online training consultation today!

Schedule Free Consultation

Top 6 Updates in the PMBOK Guide 6th Edition

 

PMBOK Guide 6th Edition Project Management
The PMBOK Guide 6th Edition has been released with some major changes for project managers

It’s official:

The Project Management Institute (PMI) finally released PMBOK Guide 6th Edition on September 6, 2017.

While the 5th edition of PMBOK was 616 pages, PMBOK 6th edition was capped at 978 pages.

Quite an update.

Plus, it includes the Agile Practice Guide which is 183 pages long.

This large of an update raises many questions, such as:

  • What are the key changes in PMBOK Guide 6th Edition?
  • What are the differences between PMBOK 5th and 6th edition?
  • How can you prepare for the PMP Exam using PMBOK 6th Edition?

In this blog post, we’ll walk you through the answers to these questions so that by the end, you’ll know what makes PMBOK Guide 6th Edition different from the last edition and how to use it to become a better project manager.

But first, for those who are new to project management, let’s quickly review the definition and purpose of PMBOK.

What is the Project Management Body Of Knowledge (PMBOK) Guide?

PMBOK is an acronym for A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge.

It’s the gold standard for the terms, practices, strategies, and methodologies you need to know to be an effective project manager.

Since 1996 – when the first edition of PMBOK was published – the Project Management Institute has updated the PMBOK every 4 or 5 years to help keep all project managers up-to-date on the latest standards and practices in the industry.

To this day, the PMBOK Guide has provided industry-neutral guidelines to project management so that they can be applied across a wide variety of disciplines, industries, experience levels, budgets, and timelines.

What are the Key Changes in the 6th Edition of the PMBOK Guide?

PMBOK Guide 6th Edition has 362 more pages than PMBOK Guide 5th Edition.

That means a lot has changed.

We can’t go over everything here, but we’ll show you the key changes to the current edition you must know.

Let’s dive in.

New Structure of the PMBOK Guide

The PMBOK Guide is divided into 3 major sections:

  1. A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge
  2. The Standard for Project Management
  3. Appendix, Glossary, and Index

At the beginning of each Knowledge Area, you’ll see 4 new sections:

  1. Key Concepts
  2. Trends and Emerging Practices
  3. Tailoring Considerations
  4. Considerations for Agile/Adaptive Environments

Lastly, as far as the structure of the guide is concerned, Processes have been divided into 3 distinct categories:

  1. Processes used once or at predetermined points in the project
  2. Periodically used or as needed processes
  3. Processes that are used throughout the project

The new structure of PMBOK Guide 6th Edition was designed to make it easier for you to both understand the material better and to use the information more efficiently.

Addition of the Agile Practice Guide

Agile project management has quietly gained acceptance and widespread adoption amongst project managers.

This prompted PMI to include an entire guide to agile best practices.

The guide is broken into 5 sections. The following comes directly from PMI’s website:

  1. An Introduction to Agile – which describes the Agile Manifesto mindset, values, and principles and covers the concepts of definable and high-uncertainty work, and the correlation between lean, the Kanban Method and agile approaches.
  2. Life Cycle Selection – which introduces the various life cycles discussed in the practice guide and covers suitability filters, tailoring guidelines and common combinations of approaches.
  3. Implementing Agile: Creating an Agile Environment – which talks about critical factors to consider when creating an agile environment such as servant leadership and team composition.
  4. Implementing Agile: Delivering in an Agile Environment – which discusses how to organize a team and common practices the team can use for delivering value on a regular basis.
  5. Organizational Considerations for Project Agility – which explores organizational factors that impact the use of agile practices, such as culture, readiness, business practices and the role of a project management office (PMO).

The Agile Practice Guide is intended to give project managers an in-depth dive into the agile framework and demonstrate how it can be used to successfully complete projects faster, at a lower cost, and with less waste.

Changed Names of 2 Areas of Knowledge

Sometimes names have to be changed to accurately reflect the meaning of the names.

Such is the case with 2 major areas of knowledge:

  • Project Time Management
  • And Project Human Resource Management

“Project Time Management” was changed to “Project Schedule Management” to make it clear that PM’s don’t manage “time” they manage people’s “schedules.”

“Project Human Resource Management” was changed to “Project Resource Management” which suggests PM’s don’t just manage people, they manage equipment, supplies, materials, machines, etc.

Changed Names of 9 Processes

Old Name

New Name

Control Communication Monitor Communication
Control Risk Monitor Risk
Control Stakeholder Engagement Monitor Stakeholder Engagement
Perform Quality Assurance Manage Quality
Plan Human Resources Plan Resource Management
Plan Stakeholder Management Plan Stakeholder Engagement
Acquire Project Team Acquire Resources
Develop Project Team Develop Team
Manage Project Team Manage Team

3 New Processes Added to PMBOK Guide 6th Edition

PMI consistently adds new processes to each edition of the PMBOK Guide.

The 3rd edition had 39 processes. The 4th had 42 processes. The 5th had 47 processes. And now the 6th edition of PMBOK has 49 processes in total (because in addition to adding 3 processes, PMI got rid of the Close Procurements process).

Here are the 3 new processes:

Manage Project Knowledge

This process was designed to facilitate a logically sound process of collecting, integrating, and converting raw data into useful knowledge for more informed decision-making.

It includes a “lessons learned register” as an output you can use to track your progress during projects and know when to change your tactics or strategies in the midst of a project.

The emphasis of this process is on continual learning throughout the project, and on capturing knowledge and information so that it can be reused and passed on without getting lost.

Control Resources

Project managers have to be able to assess actual vs. planned usage of people and any other resources.

This process separates resources into 2 categories:

  • “Team resources” which means human resources
  • “Physical resources” which means equipment, material, and supplies

Implement Risk Response

Every project carries with it certain risks that have to be weighed alongside the potential rewards.

The addition of this process will help project managers be aware of the risks they’re undertaking with each project.

“Implement Risk Response” also includes a new risk response called Escalation, which will help PM’s identify risks that fall outside the scope of the project so they can be transferred to the right person on the outside.

Expanded Role of the Project Manager

The role of the project manager is constantly changing as projects become more complex and demanding.

To keep up with the changing nature of projects and their managers, PMI included a new section on defining the ever-expanding role of the PM.

The section also addresses PMI’s “Talent Triangle” which covers the leadership, strategic, and technical skills that every modern project manager should possess (or develop).

Let’s take a look at each segment of the triangle.

Strategic and Business Management

The head of the triangle is called Strategic and Business Management.

In addition to managing the triple constraints of a project, you need to understand how it aligns with overall business goals (which equally applies to government agency goals).

Which means you’ll be expected to develop these skills:

  • Benefits management and realization
  • Business and organizational acumen
  • Business and organizational models and structures
  • Competitive analysis
  • Customer relationship and satisfaction
  • Industry knowledge and standards
  • Legal and regulatory compliance
  • Market awareness and conditions
  • Operational functions
  • Strategic planning, analysis, and alignment

Leadership Skills

The bottom right of the triangle is called Leadership Skills.

PMBOK Guide 6th Edition gives much greater emphasis on leadership skills than the 5th edition.

The leadership skills you should possess as a project manager are:

  • Brainstorming
  • Coaching and mentoring
  • Conflict management
  • Emotional intelligence
  • Influencing
  • Interpersonal skills
  • Listening
  • Negotiating
  • Problem-solving
  • Team building

Technical Skills

The bottom left of the triangle is called Technical Skills.

This means you should possess the skills required in your industry along with these skills:

  • Agile practices
  • Data gathering and modeling
  • Earned value management
  • Governance
  • Lifecycle management
  • Performance management
  • Requirements management and traceability
  • Risk management
  • Schedule management
  • Scope management
  • Time, budget, and cost estimation.

Where Can You Buy PMBOK Guide 6th Edition?

By now you’re probably wondering where you can buy PMBOK Guide 6th Edition.

It’s pretty simple. Go here to buy it directly from PMI.

How Can You Download the PDF Version of PMBOK 6th Edition?

If you’re a member of the Project Management Institute you can download the PDF version of PMBOK 6th edition for free.

How Can You Prepare for the PMP Exam Using PMBOK 6th Edition?

The PMP exam was already changed on March 26, 2018 to reflect the updates in the PMBOK Guide 6th Edition.

Since PMBOK Guide 6th Edition has added 3 new processes, put greater emphasis on the dynamic role of project managers, and focuses heavily on agile and adaptive environments (Scrum, Kanban, etc.) the PMP exam will no doubt be more difficult.

Which means you’re going to need a study guide that will help you navigate these complexities with ease.

So what study guide should you use?

Well, we have several that you can start using today.

We offer a complete track of PMI/PMP 6th edition certification prep training including self-paced courses and exam prep materials. That includes 30+ one-hour courses.

In addition to that, we’ll give you access to an essential PMP study guide:

Achieve PMP Exam Success, 6th Edition: A Concise Study Guide for the Busy Project Manager.

Plus, we’ll give you the PMI Institute’s PMBOK Guide 6th Edition.

So how do you get immediate access to these courses and guides?

By signing up for a free 14-day trial of Enterprise Training below.

Experience the proven, easy-to-use, and cost-effective benefits of online training by scheduling your free online training consultation today!

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California SB 396: Here’s Everything You Need to Know (And More)

California SB 396 updated and expanded the anti-harassment training requirements of AB 1825
California SB 396 updated and expanded the anti-harassment training requirements of AB 1825

Do you know what California SB 396 is?

You should if your an employer in California.

Senate Bill 396 (SB 396) updated California’s harassment prevention law on October 15th, 2017 by amending Assembly Bill 1825.

The new amendments went into effect on January 1, 2018.

To help you quickly understand SB 396, we’ll go over exactly what amendments were made to AB 1825, what are the terms you should know, and what specifically you have to do now to comply with the law (or face the consequences).

By the end, we’ll give you a simple checklist for easily implementing these changes.

Let’s dive in.

What Does SB 396 Mean for California Government Agencies?

To answer that question, let’s make sure we understand what AB 1825 is.

AB 1825 mandates agencies with over 50 employees to provide at least 2 hours of training and education regarding sexual harassment to all supervisory employees within 6 months of assuming a supervisory position, and once every 2 years thereafter.

SB 396 makes multiple amendments to AB 1825 and further requires agencies with over 50 employees to include training inclusive of harassment based on gender identity, gender expression, and sexual orientation.

Let’s take a look at the SB 396 amendments to get crystal clear on the specific changes to the law.

What Amendments Did California SB 396 Make to AB 1825?

California SB 396 made 5 amendments to AB 1825.

We summarized those amendments for you below:

Section 1

Section 1 of SB 396 states that employers must “amend its current poster on discrimination in employment to include information relating to the illegality of sexual harassment.”

This means your new sexual harassment and discrimination posters must affirm the rights of transgender and gender-nonconforming employees.

You can obtain amended signage from the Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH).

Section 2

Section 2(c) of SB 396 is what requires employers with 50 or more employees to include training that covers harassment based on gender identity, gender expression, and sexual orientation as part of the required 2 hours of training for supervisors.

Section 2 expands on this mandate and states that your sexual harassment training and education curriculum must include practical examples of harassment based on gender identity, gender expression, and sexual orientation.

You must also include “prevention of abusive conduct” as part of your training and education curriculum.

Abusive conduct is defined as “conduct of an employer or employee in the workplace, with malice, that a reasonable person would find hostile, offensive, and unrelated to an employer’s legitimate business interests.”

The section goes on to say that any “repeated infliction” of verbal abuse, physical misconduct, or sabotage of a person’s work environment can be construed as “abusive conduct.”

Section 3

Section 3 of SB 396 amends and expands section 14005 of the California Unemployment Insurance Code.

Section 3 also adds transgender and gender nonconforming individuals to the list of “individuals with employment barriers” which guarantees them access to employment “programs of rigorous and high-quality education, training, and other services” that do all of the following:

  • Align with the skills and needs of industries in the economy of the state or regional economy involved.
  • Prepare an individual to be successful in any of a full range of secondary or postsecondary education options, including apprenticeships.
  • Include counseling to support an individual in achieving the individual’s education and career goals.
  • Include, as appropriate, education offered concurrently with and in the same context as workforce preparation activities and training for a specific occupation or occupational cluster.
  • Organize education, training, and other services to meet the particular needs of an individual in a manner that accelerates the educational and career advancement of the individual to the extent practicable.
  • Enable an individual to attain a secondary school diploma or its recognized equivalent, and at least one recognized postsecondary credential.
  • Help an individual enter or advance within a specific occupation or occupational cluster.

Section 4

Section 4 and 4.5 of SB 396 authorizes the appointment of “community-based organizations that serve transgender and gender nonconforming individuals” to the California Workforce Development Board.

Section 5

Section 5 of SB 396 affirms that section 4.5 of Sb 396 will go into effect if AB 957 is approved by the Governor on or before January 1st, 2018 (which it was).

What are the Terms and Definitions You Should Know Regarding Transgender and Gender Nonconforming Individuals?

As you update your training manuals and courses, it’s important to understand the terminology of topics related to transgender and gender nonconforming individuals.

Here are some of the key definitions you’ll need to know to comply with SB 396 that come from the Fair Employment & Housing Council Regulations Regarding Transgender Identity and Expression:

  • “Gender expression” means a person’s gender-related appearance or behavior, or the perception of such appearance or behavior, whether or not stereotypically associated with the person’s sex assigned at birth.
  • “Gender identity” means each person’s internal understanding of their gender, or the perception of a person’s gender identity, which may include male, female, a combination of male and female, neither male nor female, a gender different from the person’s sex assigned at birth, or transgender.
  • “Sex” has the same definition as provided in Government Code section 12926, which includes, but is not limited to, pregnancy; childbirth; medical conditions related to pregnancy, childbirth, or breastfeeding; gender; gender identity; and gender expression, or perception by a third party of any of the aforementioned.
  • “Sex Stereotype” includes, but is not limited to, an assumption about a person’s appearance or behavior, gender roles, gender expression, or gender identity, or about an individual’s ability or inability to perform certain kinds of work based on a myth, social expectation, or generalization about the individual’s sex.
  • “Transgender” is a general term that refers to a person whose gender identity differs from the person’s sex assigned at birth. A transgender person may or may not have a gender expression that is different from the social expectations of the sex assigned at birth. A transgender person may or may not identify as “transsexual.”
  • “Transitioning” is a process some transgender people go through to begin living as the gender with which they identify, rather than the sex assigned to them at birth. This process may include, but is not limited to, changes in name and pronoun usage, facility usage, participation in 2 employer-sponsored activities (e.g. sports teams, team-building projects, or volunteering), or undergoing hormone therapy, surgeries, or other medical procedures.

What Rights Do Transgender Individuals Have in the Workplace?

DFEH issued guidelines for transgender rights in the workplace in 2017 – meaning, you need to include them on your posters and in your training.

Here are the highlights:

  • Employers and interviewers should not ask questions designed to detect a person’s gender identity
  • Employers should not ask questions about a person’s body or whether they plan to have surgery.
  • An employer who requires a dress code must enforce it in a non-discriminatory manner.
  • Transgender or gender non-conforming employees may not be held to any different standard of dress or grooming than any other employee.
  • All employees have a right to safe and appropriate restroom and locker room facilities. This includes the right to use a restroom or locker room that corresponds to the employee’s gender identity, regardless of the employee’s assigned sex at birth.
  • Where possible, an employer should provide an easily accessible unisex single stall bathroom for use by any employee who desires increased privacy, regardless of the underlying reason.
  • All single-user toilet facilities in any business establishment, place of public accommodation, or state or local government agency must be identified as all-gender toilet facilities.

In addition to the above guidelines, employers are required to address a transgender or gender nonconforming individual by their preferred name and pronoun, as detailed in the Fair Employment & Housing Council Regulations:

“If an employee requests to be identified with a preferred gender, name, and/or pronoun, including gender-neutral pronouns, an employer or other covered entity who fails to abide by the employee’s stated preference may be liable under the Act.

An employer is permitted to use an employee’s gender or legal name as indicated in a government-issued identification document only if it is necessary to meet a legally mandated obligation, but otherwise must identify the employee in accordance with the employee’s gender identity and preferred name.”

Quick Checklist of What You Need to Do to Comply with SB 396

To make sure you don’t get bogged down by the details and can simply enact the changes set forth by California SB 396, here’s a checklist of the changes you have to make to your training courses and manuals:

  • Update posters regarding harassment and discrimination policies
  • Update dress codes and standards
  • Train employees to use the proper terminology when discussing gender identity, gender expression, and sexual orientation
  • Train employees to use a coworker’s preferred name and pronoun
  • Train supervisors to identify and prevent harassment related to gender identity, gender expression, and sexual orientation

That about covers it for SB 396, but here’s something you should think about…

How comprehensive and up-to-date is your current harassment and discrimination training program?

An outdated program could teach your employees, supervisors, and managers information that is no longer relevant, or is even frowned upon or illegal.

The last thing you want to do is make it easier to incur a lawsuit or liability.

That’s why we created “Smart Workplaces: Sexual Harassment Prevention for Office Managers & Supervisors California AB 1825 and all 50 States.”

It’s a full-fledged sexual harassment program that covers everything you need to know about identifying and preventing sexual harassment in your office or agency.

You can check out that program and thousands more for free today.

How?

By signing up for a 14-day trial of Enterprise Training below.

Experience the proven, easy-to-use, and cost-effective benefits of online training by scheduling your free online training consultation today!

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Everything You Need to Know About Near Miss Reporting

Near miss reporting could be the difference between a serious accident and a safer workplace
Near miss reporting could be the difference between a serious accident and a safer workplace

 

Imagine you’re walking around a corner in your warehouse and a forklift speeds past you, almost taking your head off. You wheel backward jumping over cables and extension cords littering the ground.

Before crashing into a shelving unit and knocking down expensive packages, you steady yourself.

You’ve just experienced a near miss.

Instead of writing this incident off as a “close call” or a “fluke,” you should file a near miss report.

But many managers and employees don’t practice near miss reporting. Or they don’t quite know why it’s important.

We’ll tell you why it’s important, how to write one, and how you can develop a culture and program of near miss reporting.

But first, let’s define near miss reporting.

What is Near Miss Reporting?

Near miss reporting goes by many names – near miss incident report, near miss accident report, or near hit – but they all mean the same thing:

An unplanned event that could’ve caused human, environmental, or equipment damage but didn’t cause harm because of a fortunate “break” in the chain of events.

So if no one is hurt and the business doesn’t suffer an interruption in operations, why does a near miss report matter?

The Importance of Near Miss Reporting

A near miss is a warning sign of potential future accidents.

Near miss reports give managers and employees information about their current work conditions, processes, and systems and hints at possible solutions to dangers in the workplace.

Without near miss reports, workplaces may simply rely on “days without an accident” to track their progress and level of workplace safety.

But “days without an accident” don’t tell you anything about how to improve workplace safety – it merely tells you that the workplace is presumably safe.

Near miss reporting, on the other hand, is a useful tool for driving continuous safety improvements across your organization – which is one of many advantages near miss reports provide.

Benefits of Near Miss Reporting

The benefits of near miss reporting are varied and far-reaching. Apart from helping managers identify unsafe workplace conditions, here are a few additional benefits:

  • Promotes a workplace culture of safety by encouraging others to report near misses
  • Prevents future accidents by educating employees on how accidents almost occurred so they don’t make the same mistakes
  • Proactively reduces near misses and accidents by encouraging employee participation and looking for any and all things that contribute to unsafe conditions and eliminating or reducing them
  • Provides data for statistical analysis to identify unsafe workplace trends and track performance of individuals (after all, some near misses can be attributed to people, not just machines or systems)

So you can see why near miss reporting is important, but how do you actually create a near miss report?

How to Write a near Miss Report

If you or your employees experience a near miss, here’s what to include in your near miss incident report:

  • Date of near miss
  • Time of near miss
  • Location of near miss
  • Names of people involved, including employees, supervisors, and managers
  • Departments involved
  • Sequence of events leading to the near miss
  • Mode of action of the employees involved (walking, running, climbing, lifting, operating machinery, etc.)
  • Environmental conditions surrounding the near miss
  • Equipment used or present during near miss
  • Analysis of the primary and secondary causes of the near miss
  • Recommendations for corrective actions, policy changes, environmental changes, etc.

Now, one near miss report could go a long way. But if you want to engage your employees in contributing to a culture of safety reporting, then you have to design a strong near miss reporting program.

How to Design a Near Miss Reporting Program

To design a near miss reporting program, follow the steps below:

  • Choose KPIs for near miss reporting and define the goals of your program such as “reduce near misses by 50%.”
  • Make reporting near misses as easy as possible to increase the likelihood that most employees will take the time to create a report (and know that it won’t take much time to do so).
  • Get every leader in your organization involved and excited about the near miss reporting program – if they’re not onboard, your employees won’t be either.
  • Educate your employees on the benefits of near miss reporting to ensure buy-in from them.
  • Define near misses for your employees and give them concrete examples of near miss accidents.
  • Monitor and track every near miss reported.
  • Never punish your employees for reporting a near miss (even if it seems it was their fault). Near miss reports should be used for preventative measures only, not punitive actions.
  • Always seriously investigate near miss incidents.
  • Use near miss reports to drive organizational improvements in workplace safety.

One Essential Tool to Prevent Near Misses

We’ve given you plenty of ideas and actions for using near miss reporting to improve the safety conditions of your workplace.

But there’s one tool we didn’t mention:

Safety training.

If you don’t have updated safety policies, or aren’t continuously training yourselves and your employees in safety best practices and safety hazards (such as the top OSHA violations), then near miss reporting won’t be as effective as it could be.

To get the full benefits of near miss reports, you need to implement regular safety training.

That doesn’t mean you have to hire expensive speakers, or disrupt entire work days, or ruin your employees’ weekends with long training seminars.

On the contrary, you can easily provide quick safety lessons that stick in your employees’ minds long-term at a low cost.

How?

Through eLearning.

The low cost of eLearning combined with the effectiveness of microlearning makes it easy for you to quickly implement and deliver safety training to your employees in the comfort of their cubicles or homes.

Enterprise training provides a host of safety courses, covering topics from creating a safety program to laser safety training, for example.

We also offer a near miss reporting system ideal for capturing and preventing these events – to learn more, schedule your free consultation today!

Experience the proven, easy-to-use, and cost-effective benefits of online training by scheduling your free online training consultation today!

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How to Use the Swiss Cheese Accident Causation Model

 

The swiss cheese accident causation model can help you understand and prevent future accidents
The swiss cheese accident causation model can help you understand and prevent future accidents

No matter how robust your safety procedures are, accidents inevitably happen.

But why do accidents occur? Where do they originate? And what can we do to stop them from happening?

These are the types of questions the swiss cheese accident causation model attempts to answer.

The video below walks through its definition and an example of the model in practice.

After watching the video, continue reading because we’ll expand the definition, discuss its origins and key concepts, and show you how to apply its insights to your organization.

What is the Swiss Cheese Accident Causation Model?

The swiss cheese accident causation model is a theoretical model used in risk analysis, risk management, and risk prevention.

As the video above points out, “any components of an organization is considered a slice [of cheese] in this model. Management is a slice. Allocation of resources is a slice. An effective safety program is a slice. Operational support is a slice.”

But if there are any deficiencies or flaws in any of these “slices” of your organization or agency, then you will have a hole in that slice. Hence, swiss cheese.

If holes within each slice of your organization line up, meaning one weakness carries over into another weakness and so on, it creates a single hole throughout your organization – causing an accident.

Who Invented the Swiss Cheese Accident Causation Model?

The swiss cheese accident causation model was invented by James T. Reason and was first described in his well-known book Human Error.

In this book, he describes several famous disasters including the Challenger space shuttle accident and instead of simply discussing various causes for the accidents, he proposes an integrated theory of accident causation now known as the swiss cheese model.

What are the Key Concepts of the Swiss Cheese Model?

Reason was able to construct his integrated theory of accident causation through in-depth research into the nature of accidents, leading him to the following insights:

  • Accidents are often caused by the confluence of multiple factors.
  • Factors can range from unsafe individual acts to organizational errors.
  • Many contributing factors to an accident are latent errors – they’re lying dormant waiting to be triggered by any number of active errors.
  • Humans are prone to operational errors which require properly designed systems to mitigate the errors humans inevitably commit.

These insights form the key concepts behind the swiss cheese accident causation model.

What are Active and Latent Errors in the Swiss Cheese Model?

According to the US National Library of Medicine, Nearly all adverse events involve a combination of these two sets of factors:

Active Failures

Active failures or active errors are the unsafe acts committed by people.

An example of an active failure would be an employee who chooses not to follow safety procedures like cleaning flammable debris from a machine.

But according to the swiss cheese model, their active failure was not the ultimate cause of the accident. There are other factors at play.

Latent Conditions

Latent conditions or latent errors are the failures built into procedures, systems, buildings, or machines by the designers, builders, writers, or management.

Latent conditions are failures waiting to be triggered by an active error.

An example of a latent condition would be faulty fire alarm systems that are inoperable.

If you combine this latent condition with our example of an active failure – failing to clean flammable debris from a machine – you get a serious fire accident.

How to Apply the Swiss Cheese Model

While the swiss cheese model isn’t prescriptive, you can use its insights to improve the overall safety of your organization.

One way to prevent active errors is to know the top OSHA violations in 2017 to ensure your safety procedures match OSHA’s standards so your employees don’t make these common mistakes.

One way to prevent latent errors is to know the Government facilities management trends of 2018 and keep up-to-date with the latest technologies and practices to ensure the safest environments for your employees.

Beyond those two suggestions, you’ll need to regularly provide in-depth safety training to your employees. That’s difficult to do on a tight budget and little time to set aside for a week or a weekend’s worth of training.

But instead of in-person training, you can use the effectiveness of eLearning to train your employees quickly and easily using nothing more than their computers and an internet connection.

But to get the right training, you need an eLearning platform that specializes in producing courses on Government safety training.

Lucky for you, Enterprise Training specializes in all forms of Government training, and we have plenty of programs to satisfy your safety training requirements.

Experience the proven, easy-to-use, and cost-effective benefits of online training by scheduling your free online training consultation today!

Schedule Free Consultation

Do These 9 Things to Resolve an Employee Harassment Complaint

 

An employee harassment complaint can be resolved quickly if you take the right actions.
An employee harassment complaint can be resolved quickly if you take the right actions.

An employee harassment complaint is one of the most difficult issues you as a manager must know how to resolve.

One of your primary duties as a manager is to provide a safe work environment for your employees, which means reducing and eliminating all forms of harassment.

As the video below points out, “It’s your job as a manager to know what to do when an employee reports a harassment claim.”

In this post, we’ll help you understand exactly what you need to do to resolve an employee harassment complaint.

First, go ahead and watch the video below for a few quick tips.

Then, continue reading because we’ll give you the precise legal definition for harassment and show you how to handle an employee harassment complaint tactfully and effectively and how to prevent it altogether.

What is a Legally Legitimate Employee Harassment Complaint?

When it comes to harassment at work, you should know the precise legal definition for harassment so that you know what it is when it happens.

According to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), Harassment is:

“Unwelcome conduct that is based on race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy), national origin, age (40 or older), disability or genetic information.”

But that’s not what makes harassment illegal. Petty slights, annoyances, or mild isolated incidents aren’t illegal. What makes harassment illegal or unlawful is when:

“Enduring the offensive conduct becomes a condition of continued employment, or the conduct is severe or pervasive enough to create a work environment that a reasonable person would consider intimidating, hostile, or abusive.”

Here’s a list of offensive conduct that could create an intimidating, hostile, or abusive workplace:

  • Offensive jokes
  • Slurs
  • Epithets or name calling
  • Physical assaults or threats
  • Intimidation
  • Ridicule or mockery
  • Insults or put-downs
  • Offensive objects or pictures
  • Interference with work performance

If you receive an employee harassment complaint that meets these requirements, there are specific actions you should take immediately that we outline below.

How Should Managers Handle Employee Harassment Complaints?

When dealing with employee harassment complaints, you should aim to be methodical and detailed to avoid any legal repercussions and so you can effectively resolve the conflict and achieve justice for the potential victim(s).

With that in mind, here some of the things you need to do after receiving an employee harassment complaint:

Take the Complaint Seriously but Impartially

You should accept an employee harassment complaint as potentially true without passing judgment on whether it is true or not.

Your job is to assist in finding the truth, which means you have to remain objective until the investigation into the complaint has been concluded and sufficient evidence has been collected that proves or disproves the harassment complaint.

Treat the Person Who Reported the Complaint with Respect

As the video in our intro pointed out, “It’s not easy for an employee to come forward about harassment. It’s embarrassing and demeaning.”

Your job as a manager in this situation is to treat the complainant with respect and kindness. You should exhibit honest empathy and offer genuine comfort.

Delivering a harassment complaint and enduring the ensuing investigation into the complaint can leave an employee feeling vulnerable and afraid, which can lead to poor performance at work.

Ensure that the complainant feels comfortable with you, and do whatever you can to make them feel as comfortable as possible while at work.

Always Investigate the Complaint

If an employee harassment complaint matches the guidelines set forth by the EEOC then it must be investigated – even if the complainant insists on not pursuing an investigation, or the complaint was delivered to you informally.

If you don’t investigate the complaint, you could face legal repercussions if more complaints are filed later and law enforcement discovers you didn’t investigate the situation after the first complaint.

Even worse, you could allow a bully or predator to continue harassing more employees when you had a chance to stop him or her.

Keep The Harassment Complaint as Confidential as Possible

An employee harassment complaint can quickly polarize your office. Some workers will side with the complainant while others will side with the accused – creating unnecessary tension, conflict, and gossip.

Worse yet, if details regarding the complaint are leaked, damaging the reputation of the complainant or accused, you could be sued for defamation and liable for damages.

Follow Established Procedures

If your office has a handbook, it likely has procedures for handling a harassment complaint. It’s best to follow those procedures exactly as they’re laid out to avoid mistreating the complainant and to avoid taking illegal or negligent actions during an investigation.

If you don’t have a handbook that deals specifically with employee harassment, then consider creating one.

Never Investigate a Harassment Complaint on Your Own

You should never investigate an employee harassment complaint on your own. The first thing you should do after listening to an employee harassment complaint is to contact HR.

All investigations and proceedings should be led by an HR professional, an internal affairs officer, an outside manager trained in conducting internal investigations, or a law enforcement official.

Write Everything Down

It’s critical that you record every interaction with the complainant and accused harasser, along with anyone else you interview or interact with as part of the harassment investigation. Include dates, names, and documents in your notes.

Keeping a meticulous journal of the proceedings will protect you in case a complainant accuses you of malfeasance in an investigation, retaliation after an investigation, or that you ignored a complaint and never conducted an investigation at all.

Take Appropriate Action Against the Harasser

After you conclude the investigation with the help of HR and anyone else, decide if the accused harasser is guilty. If he is guilty, then discipline him accordingly.

You may need to terminate him if his actions were especially dangerous or egregious, such as stalking or threatening the complainant.

If the harasser wasn’t violent, but was mean or ignorant, as in the case of excessive office pranks or insensitive jokes, then counseling or a leave of absence may be appropriate.

Whatever you decide to do with the harasser do it quickly, document it, and encourage the rest of your employees to speak out when they see harassment.

Don’t Retaliate Against the Complainant

This should be obvious to you, but it is illegal to punish someone for complaining about harassment, even if the claim is unfounded and dismissed after a proper investigation.

This means you can’t do any of the following as a result of an employee harassment complaint:

  • Terminate a complainant
  • Discipline them
  • Cut their pay
  • Demote them
  • Change their shift or work hours
  • Change their job responsibilities
  • Isolate them
  • Exclude them from meetings or other office functions
  • Or threaten any of the above

Now, if you’re a sensible manager you wouldn’t do any of these things anyway.

However, to legally protect yourself, you should take extra precaution against performing any actions that would imply retaliation against a complainant – because again, they can sue you even if their complaint was unfounded.

How Can You Prevent Employee Harassment Complaints?

If you want to prevent employee harassment complaints you have to learn how to prevent employee harassment.

To do that, you’ll need high-quality training that can teach your employees how to spot and prevent harassment in the workplace as well as training that teaches you and the rest of management how to prevent and mitigate harassment in the workplace.

But you probably don’t have the time nor the budget to afford a lengthy seminar or speaker.

What you need is on-demand training you can watch from any device, anywhere for quick and easy learning.

Where can you find high-quality employee harassment training that you can access immediately with nothing more than an internet connection?

Right here at Enterprise Training.

Experience the proven, easy-to-use, and cost-effective benefits of online training by scheduling your free online training consultation today!

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