Cal/OSHA Conducts COVID-19 Sweeps, Proposes Huge Fines

| posted in Blog, Newsletter

Cal/OSHA COVID-19 inspections and subsequent fines have caught some employers off guard. The agency has been conducting sweeps of employers in California to root out those who are not protecting their workers from COVID-19 exposure. Cal/OSHA has targeted companies in industries that have a heightened risk of exposure to the coronavirus, which resulted in 11 citations being issued. While Cal/OSHA has been inspecting facilities since April for COVID-19-related infractions, the recent sweeps are part of a new targeted and ongoing enforcement effort that California employers should be aware of. Cal/OSHA COVID-19 inspections & fines issued For an example of what’s at…
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Raft of Bills Would Add New Coronavirus Measures

| posted in Blog, Newsletter

The California Legislature is working on a number of new measures to protect workers in the state during the COVID-19 pandemic. The measures take aim at “holes” in the system that may leave employees who contract the coronavirus on the job without workers’ compensation benefits, footing higher utility bills because of working at home and needing sick leave time available to them should they contract the disease. Gov. Gavin Newsom said he would work closely with legislators to help the measures become law. Below we look at the legislative moves that have gained the most traction and are supported by…
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Protect Your Business from Being Hacked by Employees

| posted in Blog, Newsletter

While hacking by outsiders is posing a larger and more significant threat to companies of all sizes, the threat of insider jobs – particularly being hacked by employees or disgruntled former employees – is often a bigger one. These attacks, carried out with malicious intent to hamstring a company’s operations, can cause serious problems. Recent Examples A former employee of Spellman High Voltage Electronics Corp. is facing charges after employees began reporting that they were unable to process routine transactions and were receiving error messages after he resigned, due to allegedly being passed over for a promotion.The mayhem cost his…
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Serious Injury Reporting to Cal/OSHA

| posted in Blog, Newsletter

Failure to report or reporting of a serious workplace injury or illness or death can land an employer a civil penalty of not less than $5,000 under the California Labor Code. If you have employees, you need to understand the procedures for reporting these incidents and what you need to report. What Is A Serious Injury? Cal/OSHA defines an employee’s serious injury or illness as: One that requires inpatient hospitalization for a period in excess of 24 hours for other than medical observation. A loss of a body part. A serious, permanent disfigurement. When Must I Report A Serious Injury?…
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Lockout/Tagout Training Essential in Any Shop with Equipment

| posted in Blog, Newsletter

Every year, hundreds of workers in the United States die because they don’t follow lockout/tagout procedures or their employers did not have them in place – or, if they did, failed to enforce their rules. Failure to train or inadequate training is one of the top-cited lockout/tagout violations by Cal/OSHA. Improper training or failing to train all of your workers can have dire consequences, even for staff that are trained in procedures. In this past year in California, two workers died because of inadequate training. One died on the job at a nut cannery because he had missed lockout/tagout training when…
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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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Cost Containment Biggest Workers’ Comp Concern

| posted in Blog

Cost containment will be the chief workers’ comp insurance concern for U.S. employers over the next 12 months, according to a survey. Zywave, an insurance software company, found that among the 3,500 companies polled, 59% were “very or somewhat concerned” about cost containment this year. Despite the results, there are a number of ways that employers can control those costs, including establishing a solid safety program and helping injured employees return to work. The survey results included the following: Respondents said the most effective workers’ comp cost control method was a safety-minded culture (65%). Although 59% said that a light-duty…
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Reducing Workplace Stress Is Vital for Safety, Retention, Production

| posted in Blog, Newsletter

During our economic recovery one element that has been persistent is that employers are trying to get more out of their workers than ever before. And while most managers and owners try to ensure that their workers are provided a safe workplace and put a premium on reducing the chances of accidents, one often overlooked area is workplace stress. Heaping too much stress or too many responsibilities on a single employee can greatly increase their chances of not only burnout, but also making costly mistakes. A worse-case scenario is that if they are engaged in more labor-intensive occupations, too much…
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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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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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