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

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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

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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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Top 10 Laws, Regulations and Trends for 2018

| posted in Blog, Newsletter

In this article, we focus on the top 10 laws, regulations and trends going into 2018 that employers need to be aware of. New Parent Leave Act Effective Jan. 1, 2018, employers in California with 20 or more workers will be required to provide eligible employees with 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave to bond with a new child. This builds on a 20-year-old law that required only employers with 50 or more staff to provide employees with time off for child bonding. Like the current law, the New Parent Leave Act applies to newborns or a child placed with…
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Pallet Safety Key to Preventing Many Injuries

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If you have a warehouse and store products on pallets, you may not be aware that they present one of the most common workplace hazards. The most common injuries around pallets are when workers trip over them or step or fall on them. Sometimes employees will step on a wooden pallet for support to reach something up high. Also, an empty pallet that has not been put away creates a tripping hazard, and injuries from this cause are the most common. Many workers hurt themselves because they did not see the pallet or were not aware that it could break…
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Fall Protection Training Makes Debut on OSHA’s Top 10 Citations List

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There’s a newcomer to OSHA’s top 10 list of violations that it cites every year: Fall Protection – Training Requirements. While physical fall protection violations, like failing to install guard-rails or provide fall protection equipment, continue to feature at the top of the list, this is the first time that training requirements as a stand-alone category has made it onto OSHA’s preliminary list of most-cited violations has featured. The fact that OSHA has doled out so many citations for such training-requirement violations reflects its increasing commitment to reduce injuries and deaths from trips, slips and falls – the most common…
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Protecting Your Workers in Wildfire Areas

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If you have workers in a wildfire zone, you need to have measures in place to protect them in the event of a catastrophe. Smoke from these wildfires is dangerous as it contains chemicals, gases and fine particles that can lodge deep in people’s lungs. This can make it difficult to breathe, aggravate asthma as well as existing heart and lung conditions – not to mention all the coughing and wheezing that most people would experience. To protect workers exposed to wildfire smoke, Cal/OSHA recommends that employers take the following measures: • Engineering controls like using a filtered ventilation system…
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Eight Tips for Improving Personal Protective Equipment and Safety Compliance

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Having adequate personal protective equipment on hand and available for employees to use is a critical part of your workplace safety and compliance program. OSHA regulations and applicable federal laws make employers responsible for the following: • A thorough and complete survey and assessment of workplace hazards. • Identifying all PPE required and ensuring it is purchased in sufficient quantity. • Training in proper PPE usage and wear. • Enforcing rules requiring PPE usage. • Inspecting and maintaining PPE and replacing it when it gets worn out or becomes unserviceable. • Keeping records of safety incidents and updating your PPE…
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