OSHA Proposes Changes to Injury, Illness Reporting Rules

| posted in Newsletter

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has revived a regulation that would change which employers have to file their injury and illness logs electronically, in particular increasing reporting requirements for companies in high-hazard industries. The proposed regulations are similar to ones that were implemented during the tail end of the Obama administration, and that were ultimately rescinded after Donald Trump took office in 2017. The proposed regs would require increased reporting for certain employers, but the biggest worry among employers is that injury and illness information would be made public online, which they say could in turn yield public relations…
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Cal/OSHA Extends, Changes Temporary COVID Rules

| posted in Blog

CAL/OSHA’s new COVID-19 workplace safety rules took effect Jan. 14. They extend earlier temporary rules until April 20. Under the new rules, employees must get a test in a health care setting or clinic that is sent to a lab, or take a self-administered test in front of a supervisor or a health care representative. Tests that are self-administered and self-read (like those taken at home) are no longer acceptable under the new rules. Employers can still offer self-read, self-administered COVID-19 tests to workers, but those that need to take a test after an exposure must adhere to the new…
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10 Potential Causes of Employee COVID-19 Lawsuits

| posted in Blog, Newsletter

The novel coronavirus has caused immeasurable suffering, both physical and economic. For employers struggling to stay in business, there are a number of ticking timebombs they must try to avoid to keep employees and customers safe, and keep their business afloat. With so much still unknown, this is a fraught time where mistakes in managing their workforces could lead to employee COVID-19 lawsuits. 10 Potential Causes of Employee COVID-19 Lawsuits Workplace safety Businesses that still have employees working on-site run the risk that a single infected worker may send the virus ripping through the entire workforce. While workers’ compensation laws…
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New Booklet Helps Employers Set Up Safe Driving Programs

| posted in Blog, Newsletter

OSHA has published a set of guidelines to help employers reduce accidents among their driving employees. The document is not a set of new regulations or a new standard. It is only advisory ― the federal agency describes it as “informational in content” ― and is intended to assist employers in providing a safe and healthful workplace.”  Nonetheless, the guidelines are an excellent way to establish a system that can reduce the likelihood of crashes involving your driving workers. What should your safe driving program include? OSHA recommends implementing a safe driving program that includes the following: Management commitment and employee…
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Employee Behavior, Habits Can Thwart Heat Illness Prevention

| posted in Blog, Newsletter

Every summer thousands of American workers suffer from heat illness after working in hot conditions and not taking the necessary precautions to protect themselves. Often employers have not put in place safeguards and have failed to train their workers in heat illness prevention. But even the most well-intentioned employers need to take extra precautions to ensure their employees’ safety. The biggest challenge in implementing a heat illness prevention program is cutting through misconceptions about heat illness and workers not understanding how to identify the initial signs of such illness. You also have to make sure that your supervisors are all…
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OSHA Cracks Down on Errant Electronic Filers

| posted in Blog

Despite the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration pushing back the deadline until Dec. 31, 2017, about a third of workplaces that were required to electronically file their 2016 Form 300A in a timely fashion, failed to do so. Now OSHA has started a crackdown on employers that failed to file their forms after the agency stopped accepting the 2016 forms as of Jan. 1, 2018. In February, compliance officers were instructed to initiate inquiries into whether workplaces had electronically filed their 300A forms for 2016. Failure to file can lead to an other-than-serious citation, with a maximum penalty of…
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OSHA Can Go Back More Than Five Years for Repeat Violations

| posted in Blog, Newsletter

OSHA can look beyond five years to assess “repeat violations” when considering the penalties against an employer for breaching workplace safety regulations, a U.S. appellate court has ruled. Repeat violations can be assessed at 10 times the amount of a safety violation, which makes the ruling a game-changer for companies who have been cited more than once, even if that citation was issued more than five years ago. It increases the stakes for employers who until now chose not to contest more routine violations because of the cost of defending them. Under OSHA regulations, the maximum penalty for a serious…
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Protect Yourself against Liability Exposure from Contractors’ Employees

| posted in Blog

As a business owner, you could be held liable for the actions of other peoples’ employees. U.S. employment law has long recognized that workers may have an employment relationship with multiple entities at the same time. That means your company could get stung with OSHA fines, Title VII discrimination claims and other actions that arise from the actions of an employee that you thought was a subcontractor. Here’s why: In Secretary of Labor vs. Summit Contractors, the 8th Circuit ruled that companies that exercise overall control of a job site can be held liable for workplace infractions – even when…
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Five Ways to Avoid OSHA Penalties

| posted in Blog

Noncompliance with OSHA regulations can cost employers a lot of money. The good news is that complying does not have to be cumbersome or expensive. These procedures and attitudes can help a company keep its name out of an OSHA news release. Regulatory compliance An OSHA inspector’s primary task during an inspection is to find non-compliance issues. If the inspector doesn’t find any, he or she won’t issue a citation. If violations are found, the officer can choose to expand the scope of the inspection. Therefore, it is paramount that employers identify the requirements that apply to their workplaces. Also,…
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Documenting Small Safety Incidents Key to Preventing Major Ones

| posted in Blog, Newsletter

Studies show that for every major workplace injury or fatality, there are nearly 10 minor injuries – and more than 30 accidents that lead to property damage. Capturing data even on minor incidents that may seem trivial in isolation can be critical in informing efforts to prevent much greater dangers in the future. A big part of that effort involves ensuring businesses maintain a complete set of data. Managers at all levels should focus on solid and thorough documentation. Here is where management’s main effort should be concentrated: Don’t ignore minor incidents. Document all of them. Even if you have…
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