Archive for April, 2013

Heat Stress- A HOT Compliance Topic!

  • 18th April 2013
Heat Stress Compliance

Heat Stress Compliance

About 10 million workers a year are affected by heat stress. Due to the growing number of illnesses and deaths, employers are required to fully train and prepare their employees on the dangers of heat stress related illnesses. OSHA requirements for protecting workers from heat stress include OSHA 3154 and CAL/OSHA 3395, which mandate that employers take the necessary preventative training and education measures to ensure preparation and worker safety. These requirements mandate that industries prone to heat exposure such as construction, agriculture, landscaping, refineries etc, meet certain general industry training safeguards.

According to training mandates, effective training on the following topics must be provided to each supervisory and non-supervisory employee before the employee begins work that is reasonably anticipated to result in exposure to the risk of heat illness:

  • The environmental and personal risk factors for heat illness, as well as the added burden of heat load on the body caused by exertion, clothing, and personal protective equipment.
  • The employer’s procedures for complying with the requirements of this standard.
  • The importance of frequent consumption of small quantities of water, up to 4 cups per hour, when the work environment is hot and employees are likely to be sweating more than usual in the performance of their duties.
  • The importance of acclimatization.
  • The different types of heat illness and the common signs and symptoms of heat illness.
  • The importance to employees of immediately reporting to the employer, directly or through the employee’s supervisor, symptoms or signs of heat illness in themselves, or in co-workers.
  • The employer’s procedures for responding to symptoms of possible heat illness, including how emergency medical services will be provided should they become necessary.
  • The employer’s procedures for contacting emergency medical services, and if necessary, for transporting employees to a point where they can be reached by an emergency medical service provider.
  • The employer’s procedures for ensuring that, in the event of an emergency, clear and precise directions to the work site can and will be provided as needed to emergency responders. These procedures shall include designating a person to be available to ensure that emergency procedures are invoked when appropriate.

Prior to supervising employees performing work that will result in exposure to the risk of heat illness, Supervisors must be provided effective training on the above topics as well as:

  • The procedures the supervisor is to follow to implement the applicable provisions in this section.
  • The procedures the supervisor is to follow when an employee exhibits symptoms consistent with possible heat illness, including emergency response procedures.
  • How to monitor weather reports and how to respond to hot weather advisories

In order to meet these heat stress safety training and prevention requirements, employers will need to provide a general training program and then equip the appropriate job sites with the necessary materials.

The heat stress training program must be in compliance with the requirements laid out in Cal-OSHA heat standard, General Industry Safety Order (GISO) 3395.

Training requirements should include:

  • Posting the Heat Stress Posters and hang the Heat Stress Responder First Aid Kit within easy access
  • Providing a trainer’s Guide for supervisors to lead a heat stress safety meeting
  • Providing attendees with Worker Fact Sheets detailing critical information on heat related illness and prevention
  • Supervisors can complete and sign the Daily Checklist, ensuring the correct measures have been taken to prevent heat related illness or injuries

The topics included in the heat stress training must include:

  • The health effects of heat
  • How to stay safe and healthy
  • How to be prepared for an emergency
  • How to prevent heat illness

The Heat Stress Compliance in a Box is the perfect training solution, which includes OSHA’s required Heat Stress Safety and Prevention mandates.

In terms of jobsite training

  • Workers must identify heat illness and the common signs and symptoms of heat illness.
  • Ensures that in the event of an emergency, specific directions to the work site are provided
  • Assists you in meeting OSHA First Aid Guidelines for treating heat related illness

The Heat Stress Job Site Safety Kit Solution Includes:

  • Heat Stress First Aid Posters (1 x English, 1 x Spanish

OSHA and Cal/OSHA require that workers must identify common signs and symptoms of heat illness.

  • Heat Stress Prevention Posters (1 x English, 1 x Spanish)

OSHA and Cal/OSHA require that in the event of an emergency, specific directions to the work site are provided.

  • Heat Stress Responder Kit

Assists you in meeting OSHA First Aid Guidelines for treating heat related illness.

Help your workers stay safe and meet compliance regulations without delay.  Summer is almost here!

California Human Trafficking Poster Mandated for Display

  • 18th April 2013

What is the human trafficking posting?ca-human trafficking

Human trafficking is a crime and violates California’s and the nation’s basic principle that everyone has basic human rights. On April 1st, 2013 a new California Senate bill became effective. The law requires businesses in California to post the NEW California Human Trafficking posting in each establishment near public entrances. (Civil Code Section 52.6)

Businesses that are required to post the notice include:

  • Licensees that sell alcoholic beverages for on-site consumption like taverns, saloons, night clubs or similar establishments:
  • Adult or sexually oriented businesses
  • Primary airports
  • Intercity passenger rail or light rail stations
  • Bus stations and truck stops
  • Emergency rooms within general acute care hospitals
  • Urgent care centers
  • Farm labor contractors
  • Privately operated job recruitment centers
  • Roadside rest areas
  • Businesses or establishments that offer massage or bodywork services for compensation

The human trafficking notice must be posted in a conspicuous place near the public entrance(s) of the establishment or in another conspicuous location in clear view of the public and employees. The posting must be posted in English, Spanish and in any other language that is the most widely spoken language in the business or establishment’s location (and for which translation is mandated by the Voting Rights Act, 42 U.S.C. §1973, et seq.). The font size requirement for the posting is 16 points and the posting must be at least 8.5 x 11 in size. Liabilities and penalties include, Civil Code § 52.6 (e), which creates a civil liability for a business or establishment that fails to comply with the posting requirement. The penalty for violating this law is $500 for a first offense and $1,000 for each subsequent offense.

Purchase your Human Trafficking poster today to avoid fines and stay in compliance with State and Federal regulations.

New York State Minimum Wage Changes

  • 16th April 2013
New York Minimum Wage

New York Minimum Wage

New York State passed their 2013-14 budget on Friday, March, 29th. Among other things, the budget significantly increases the state’s minimum wage, over the next two years. On the last day of 2013, December 31, the minimum wage will increase from $7.25 to $8.00 an hour. On December 31, 2014 the minimum wage will increase to $9.00 an hour.

New York employers will need to monitor their payroll practices closely to ensure that they comply with the new minimum wage requirements and properly calculate any overtime pay on nonexempt employees. In addition, an employees eligibility to receive an extra hours pay as per the “spread of hours” rules will be impacted with these new changes.

Meeting Safety Compliance Efficiently

  • 5th April 2013

Among many reasons why it is important to maintain an up-to-date Written Safety Plan, is to meet Federal law obligations and protect yourself from costly fines and law suits. Did you know that failure to maintain a Written Safety Plan (or IIPP) is consistently among the top 10 most cited OSHA standards? OSHA Section 3203 mandates that all businesses maintain a written record of all health and safety hazards in the workplace, along with the appropriate procedures to handle each of these hazards. A well designed Written Safety Plan and strategy will meet and exceed the OSHA Standards for an IIPP.

Employers are advised that in addition to the Injury and Illness Prevention Program for Safety, Health and Workplace Security your business must also have safety plans that address the standards that impact the operation of your business.  A Written Safety Plan must be specific to the company and it’s location, and address the safety standards for the company’s industry classification. Keep in mind, if your safety plan isn’t in written form your company is not compliant! Combined with an effective Written Safety Plan, industry specific employee training and ANSI Certified first aid materials in the workplace, an OSHA Safety Notice Poster is an essential part of the safety culture necessary for employers to provide a safe and healthy work environment as required by OSHA. Employers must inform their employees of pertinent workplace safety and health information in order to be compliant with various OSHA standards. An OSHA Safety Notice Poster assists businesses by communicating employer specific notices, postings and information that are required in general industry.

An OSHA Safety Pack can assist you in complying with State and Federal safety regulations, help lower workers’ compensation claims, and avoid safety-related fines and law suits. A written safety plan or IIPP is the most effective and efficient way for businesses in meeting these requirements. Included is a written safety plan on a CD. Once you have received your safety plan, please print out all the documents provided and make them available to all employees in your workplace.

The Osha Safety Pack provides you with compliance by including,

* General Safety & Health Policy (29 USC 654(a)(b))
* OSHA Poster (3165-09R) — “It’s the Law” (29 CFR 1903.2)
* OSHA 300-A Summary (29 CFR 1904.32)
* Right to Access Medical and Exposure Records (29 CFR 1910.1020(g))
* Injury & Illness Reporting Procedures (29 CFR 1904.4)
* Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Notice (1910.132(f)(1)(i)(ii))
* Emergency Contact Numbers — 29 CFR 1910.151(a)

The Basic Written Safety Plan provides a written record of all health and safety hazards in the workplace and the proper procedures to handle these hazards. The just-updated Basic Written Safety Plan includes the basic requirements for an Injury and Illness

Prevention Program as laid down by OSHA*:

* OSHA-Business Disaster Recovery Safety Plan
* OSHA-IIPP-Safety & Health Plan
* OSHA-IIPP-Workplace Security Safety Plan
* OSHA-Incidents & Investigation Safety Plan
* FBI Anthrax Poster
* Suspicious Mail Alert Poster
* Safety Plan Quick Guide

* The Basic Written Safety Plan is not an “OSHA-proof” IIPP. Additional requirements may be applicable depending on industry type. The effectiveness of an IIPP and how well it meets OSHA regulations depends on you addressing all the requirements and putting them into practice in your workplace. An IIPP must be printed, and be available to all employees on request.

Get Clear on the I9 Form Updates

  • 5th April 2013

I9 FormOn March 8, 2013, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) published a revised Employment Eligibility Verification I-9 form.

While employers should begin using the March 8, 2013 dated I-9 form immediately, older forms dated Feb. 2, 2009, and Aug. 7, 2009, will be accepted until May 7, 2013. After May 7, 2013, only the March 8, 2013 form will be accepted.

Individuals hired for employment in the United States are required to complete the I-9 form, regardless if they are or are not a U.S citizen. The I-9 form is used to verify identity as well as employment authorization and requests employees to provide the employer with acceptable documents verifying the identity and work authorization of the employee.

Employees should complete and fill out Section 1 of the I-9 form no later than the very first day of employment. Once the employee has provided the appropriate documentation and signed Section 1 of the I-9 form, thus attesting their citizenship or immigration status, the employee has agreed to be fined and/or imprisoned if false statements are provided on the form. The employer is then required to examine the employment authorization and the validity of the documents within three business days of the employees first day of employment.

The employer must then complete Section 2 of the I-9 form and record the document information including, document title, document number, document expiration date (based on the documents provided by the employee). Next, under Certification of Section 2, the employer must insert the employees first date of employment and complete this section with their name, title and the employer’s business name and address.

Section 3 of the I-9 form may or may not have to be completed depending on whether the employee provides an Employment Authorization Document, noted in Section 1 as Form I-766, or a 2-year permanent resident card. The employer is obligated to complete this section before the expiration date listed in Section 1. Employers will NOT need to reverify U.S. citizens, non-citizen nationals, lawful permanent residents with a Permanent Resident Card (Form I-551) or any List B documents. Reverification requires an unexpired document from either List A or List C. If an employee is rehired within three years of the I-9 form date, the employer may complete a new I-9 form or complete Section 3 of the original I-9 form. In Section 3, if the employees name has changed the change must be recorded in Block A.

Employers are not required to make copies of the documents presented although photocopies should not be made in lieu of completing Section 2 and Section 3 from the I-9 form. If the employer chooses to do so they should make photocopies for all new hires and reverification. The photocopies must then be presented with the I-9 form in the case of an audit from DHS or a Government agency. I-9 forms should be maintained and separated from the employee’s personal file and every employee should have one. The employer is obligated to maintain the I-9 form for three years after the date of employment begins or one year after the employee’s termination.

If you have not yet updated your I9 forms, here is a free updated I-9 form ready for download.

Are You Prepared for an OSHA Safety Audit?

  • 5th April 2013

osha_safety_auditsOSHA mandates that a business maintain a written record of all health and safety hazards in the workplace along with the proper procedures to handle these hazards. An Injury and Illness Prevention Program will help companies to meet these mandated requirements, but how do you properly introduce employees to the training, prepare for an OSHA audit and choose the appropriate Safety Plan product for your business?

It is important that employers takes the appropriate measures to develop good safety attitudes at all times. Not doing so can result in employee lawsuits or serious injuries. In addition to encouraging employees to think about safety, it should be a workplace topic that is continually addressed, discussed and improved upon. It is the employer’s responsibility to ensure that employees work safely, so manager and supervisor training is critical for checkups, monitoring performance and visibility. By encouraging employee participation in an active safety discussion such as inciting questions, addressing complaints about unsafe or uncomfortable conditions ensures positive feedback for safety performance and attitude. Don’t forget to set an example for your workers. When workers see that the staff are wearing PPE, following rules, eliminating hazards and investigating incidents they will be more likely to comply with regulations. When a safety hazard is brought to your attention, whether you are a supervisor or employee, you should take the necessary steps to report or improve the condition right away.

OSHA inspections can take place at anytime. In order to effectively prepare for one of these surprise visits managers will want to cover all bases and be prepared for a range of possible scenarios. If your company is subject to an inspection, it is important to consider simple key points in your plan such as, where the opening conference will take place, who will meet and lead the OSHA inspector through the walk about, whether you have the necessary items (cameras, video) to document and record the inspectors observations and whether you can quickly locate the company’s OSHA logs, illness and injury prevention pan, hazard communication plans and other pertinent records that an inspector might request. If an inspector requests documents which are not made available, it is likely to be interpreted as an admission that the documents do not exist, thus becoming viable grounds for a citation or penalty. Some documents an OSHA inspector might request include,

  • OSHA log 300 for the past 5 years
  • OSHA 5020 (Employer’s First Report of Injury)
  • DWC Form 1 (Workers’ Compensation Claim)
  • Proof of workers’ compensation insurance, workers’ compensation experience modification
  • Injury and Illness Prevention Program (written safety program 8 CCR 3203)
  • Safety Inspection Records, Employee Training Records
  • Heat Illness Prevention Program (8 CCR 3395)

In order to demonstrate compliance with your company’s safety plan there are a couple of key steps that will give you the opportunity to prepare effectively.

  • Ensure that you have a key employee who is responsible for safety.
  • Prepare a plan and any necessary steps, and be able to communicate and train employees about safety.
  • Be aware of when your last hazard assessment was conducted and what the results were.
  • Ensure that your hazard assessment covers hazardous areas where you have had work injuries.
  • Ensure you have the proper accident investigations to determine the true cause of the injury.
  • Train all employees in safety and have documentation that includes information on who was trained, on what, when, and by whom.
  • Keep written records of any hazard assessments an information on when they were done, by who, and what corrective action was taken.

Other prepatory measures your company should consider is conducting your own workplace accident investigations. If there has been a fatality, serious injury or overnight hospitalization of an employee an OSHA inspection is imminent. By conducting your own accident investigation and site inspection you will be able to plan the logistics and take the preventative measures necessary to cope with the situation and to be better prepared before an inspection. Lastly, there are many resources to help you prepare for an inspection-take advantage of them! OSHA Consultation Services will come out and do their own inspection without citing you, but rather informing you what you need to do and how you need to get ready. They’re a very helpful preventative service, available to help companies to get their act together. Another great resource is your workers’ compensation insurer loss and safety team. This team can give good advice on what is being done correctly and what isn’t. Lastly, by training your own staff to do hazard inspections (which are part of your written safety plan) you will be able to take note of any hazards and keep relevant documentation. A simple solution is having employees from a different department conduct the process using a checklist.

Employers are advised that in addition to the Injury and Illness Prevention Program for Safety, Health and Workplace Security your business must also have safety plans that address the standards that impact the operation of your business. OSHA’s requirements can be daunting and complex. In fact, many employers fail to present and update the documents accordingly with changing mandates and often times forget to include key health and safety points as they pertain to the company and it’s location as well as the safety standards for the company’s industry classification. So, how can you ensure you meet all OSHA requirements? According to OSHA, if your safety plan isn’t in written form your company is not compliant!  A well designed Written Safety Plan will meet and exceed the OSHA Standards, meet your obligations under OSHA, and protect your business from costly fines and lawsuits. Our OSHA Safety Pack meets all the basic OSHA safety and health regulations and includes your All-in-One Safety Poster and IIPP. Our All-In-One Safety Poster Solution and Injury and Illness Prevention Program (IIPP) help safety professionals, business owners and managers comply with State and Federal safety regulations, keep workers safe, lower workers compensation costs and avoid safety-related fines and law suits.