Archive | September, 2015

OSHA Inspections Are Serious Business

23 Sep

Starting this summer, Cal/OSHA has added over 40 new inspectors to its staff and their impact is already being felt.

The primary reasons employers are receiving inspections are being in a high hazard industry, having an experience modification of over 125 making them a high hazard employer, having had a serious injury which resulted in an employee being hospitalized or death, or a complaint being filed.

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National Preparedness Month – Wildfire Safety

17 Sep
As a part of September’s National Preparedness Month, we are highlighting the importance of making an emergency action plan.  And, how to stay safe and communicate during the disasters that can affect your community. In this post, we’re taking a look at something that is affecting California at this very moment – wildfires!

What is a wildfire? Wildfires can occur anywhere and can destroy homes, businesses, infrastructure, natural resources and agriculture. A wildfire is an unplanned, unwanted fire burning in a natural area, such as a forest, grassland, or prairie. As a surge of building development expands into these areas, homes and businesses may be situated in or near areas susceptible to wildfires. This is called the wildland urban interface.

Where do wildfires occur? Wildfires can occur anywhere in the country. They can start in remote wilderness areas, in national parks, or even in your back yard. Wildfires can start from natural causes, such as lightning, but most are caused by humans, either accidentally—from cigarettes, campfires, or outdoor burning—or intentionally.

When do wildfires happen? Wildfires can occur at any time throughout the year, but the potential is always higher during periods with little or no rainfall, which make brush, grass, and trees dry and burn more easily. High winds can also contribute to spreading the fire. California’s drought is playing a huge role in the wildfires we are seeing today and wildfire risks are extremely high.

What to do when a wildfire threatens your area? The best action to protect yourself and your family is to evacuate early to avoid being trapped. If there is smoke, drive carefully because visibility may be reduced. Keep your headlights on and watch for other vehicles and fleeing wildlife or livestock.

How can I protect myself and my property? Your goal before a fire happens, is to make your home or business and the surrounding area more resistant to catching fire and burning. This means reducing the amount of material that can burn easily in and around your home or business by clearing away debris and other flammable materials, and using fire-resistant materials for landscaping and construction. Review your homeowners or renters insurance policy to ensure that you have adequate coverage for your property and personal belongings.

How can I take action today? Protecting yourself today means having sources for information, preparing your home or workplace, developing an emergency communications plan, and knowing what to do when a wildfire is approaching your home or community. Taking action today can save lives and property.

We’ll continue to share important safety tips throughout the month of September. Do you have emergency preparedness questions? Please don’t hesitate to contact us at Don Dressler Consulting and CalWorkSafety.com. We’re here to help!

-Don Dressler

What are the chances you are in compliance with California employment and safety law?

7 Sep

There are over 44 Federal and California laws which apply to employers in our state. What are the chances you are in violation of one or more of these laws? What are the potential costs of such exposure?
We have some idea from the recent report of the Labor Enforcement Task Force, under the direction of the Department of Industrial Relations, which is a coalition of California State government enforcement agencies that work together and in partnership with local agencies to combat the underground economy. In this joint effort, information and resources are shared to ensure employees are paid properly and have safe work conditions and honest, law-abiding businesses have the opportunity for healthy competition.
ETF focuses on high-risk industries known to frequently abuse the rights of low wage workers such as:
• car wash,
• restaurant,
• manufacturing,
• roofing,
• construction,
• agricultural and
• auto repair businesses.

Members of LETF include:
• Division of Occupational Safety & Health (Cal/OSHA)
• Division of Labor Standards Enforcement (DLSE)
• Employment Development Department (EDD)
• Contractors State Licensing Board (CSLB)
• California Department of Insurance (CDI)
• Board of Equalization (BOE)
• State Attorney General (DOJ)
These groups as a task force last year inspected over 3,000 firms, and found violations of Cal/OSHA, improper classification of independent contractors who really were employees, wage and hour violations, improper rest and meal periods, etc.
Over 40 percent of businesses inspected are found to be out of compliance with all inspecting agencies. . Cal/OSHA inspected 2,495 firms and found 89% out of compliance, levying fines of $4.3 million. The Division of Labor Standards Enforcement inspected 2,858 firms and found 57% out of compliance and issued fines of $22.3 million. Employment Development Department inspected 3,019 firms and found 68% out of compliance and issued fines and tax penalties of $25.6 million. The average fine or penalty was $17, 000 per firm.
So, what are your chances of being out of compliance? Probably pretty good. You can improve your chances by working with a good human resources and safety consulting firm such as Don Dressler Consulting and CalWorkSafety.com. Check out our website at http://www.CalWorkSafety.com.