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THAT KNOCK ON THE DOOR IS COMING . . . IS YOUR Cal/OSHA SAFETY INSPECTION PLAN READY?

16 Aug
Almost all California employers are exposed to the risk of inspections and citations for violation of Cal/OSHA regulations.  The most widespread violation relates to companies not having an effective Illness & Injury Prevention plan – referred to as a General Violation.

In the past 12 months Cal/OSHA has implemented many new and broader regulations. And now, the painful result falls on employers because implementation of these new rules is their responsibility. That’s right, the deadline for implementation is on YOU!

Cal/OSHA is now canvassing companies to verify whether companies have implemented the new (CAL/OSHA) California Occupational Safety and Health Regulations. When they arrive at your facility, they want to see evidence that you have fully implemented a Safety Program – see specific details being validated: Violation Fines.

CalWorkSafety helps clients comply with Cal/OSHA regulations every by helping them prevent work accidents and saves on workers’ compensation costs.
The Bottom Line:
The HAZARD you encounter may not be an injury, but a fine for not
having a current inspection plan. Hazard Safety Inspections are
mandatory under your IIPP and Cal/OSHA regulations. If you don’t
know where to begin or haven’t prepared an inspection plan, allow
our team of experts to help you sort out this process with you.
Contact your CalWorkSafety consultant to get started.
  
Visit our website: www.calworksafety.com 

or Call:  949-533-3742
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All Covered CA Janitorial Employers Must Register With the Labor Commissioner

6 Jul

New Janitorial Employer Provision Requires Compliance.

It isn’t optional anymore! Our expert team can answer your questions and help you avoid fines.

July 1, 2018 – Registration Began!
 
Definition:  A covered employer provides janitorial services with at least one employee and one janitor. A janitor includes any employee, independent contract or franchisee predominantly working as a janitor. Janitorial employers must also keep additional detailed records for three years.
The Labor Commissioner’s Office has recently launched an online registration system and urges janitorial employers to register quickly. If an employer fails to register by October 1, 2018, the employer will be subject to a civil fine, as will any person or entity who contracts with a janitorial employer lacking valid registration.
Cal/OSHA is reminding workers to take preventative cool-down breaks in the shade as temperatures rise throughout California.
Employers can register online or by mail.  They are required to pay a $500 nonrefundable application fee. The registration is valid for one year and must be renewed annually by the month and day of the original registration’s issuance. The renewal fee is also $500. See PDF the Labor Commissioner’s FAQ list.
The online registration tool enables janitorial employers to comply with the law. It also provides a tool for property owners to distinguish law-abiding contractors from dishonest businesses while protecting honest businesses from unfair competition.
The Labor Commissioner’s Office has posted a registration search toolthat shows whether employers and contractors are properly registered. Employers or anyone who contracts with a janitorial employer should use the search tool to make sure their contractors are properly registered.
The CA governor signed the Property Service Workers Protection Act in 2016. Looking ahead, beginning on January 1, 2019, Janitorial Employers will also be required to provide employees with sexual harassment prevention training every two years. The Division of Labor Standards Enforcement is required to develop this biennial, in-person sexual violence and harassment prevention training by January 1, 2019.
The Bottom Line:
Companies That Hire Janitorial Service Firms
to Clean or Maintain Their Property Now Must
Ensure Those Firms Are Properly Licensed 
CALL US TODAY – LET’S TALK ABOUT THIS
 AND DEVELOP REAL SOLUTIONS FOR YOU
Visit our website: www.calworksafety.com 

or Call:  949-533-3742

Cal/OSHA Reminds Employers to Protect Workers from Hot Weather

20 Jun

The National Weather Service Has Issued

Heat Warnings for California!

A new statement released by Cal/OSHA is warning all employers to keep workers safe after the National Weather Service released a forecast indicating triple-digit temperatures for the state as summer begins.
Cal/OSHA is reminding workers to take preventative cool-down breaks in the shade as temperatures rise throughout California.
“During heat waves, employers must closely observe their employees for signs and symptoms of heat illness,” said Cal/OSHA Chief Juliann Sum, in a statement. “As always, workers should be encouraged to drink water frequently and take preventative cool-down rest breaks in the shade when they feel the need to do so.”
California’s Heat Illness Prevention Regulation Requires Employers With Outdoor Workers
to Do The Following:
  • Plan – Develop and implement an effective written heat illness prevention plan that includes emergency response procedures.
  • Training – Train all employees and supervisors on heat illness prevention.
  • Water – Provide drinking water that is fresh, pure, suitably cool and free of charge so that each worker can drink at least 1 quart per hour, and encourage workers to do so.
  • Shade – Provide shade when workers request it and when temperatures exceed 80 degrees.  Encourage workers to take a cool-down rest in the shade for at least five minutes.  They should not wait until they feel sick to cool down.
Cal/OSHA urges workers experiencing possible overheating to take a preventative cool-down rest in the shade until symptoms are gone. Workers who have existing health problems or medical conditions that reduce tolerance to heat, such as diabetes, need to be extra vigilant. Some high blood pressure and anti-inflammatory medications can also increase a worker’s risk for heat illness, according to the agency.
In addition to the other requirements outlined in California’s heat illness prevention regulation, it is crucial that supervisors are effectively trained on emergency procedures in case a worker does get sick. This helps ensure sick employees receive treatment immediately and that the symptoms do not develop into a serious illness or death.

Check Out How The New CA Wage & Hour Independent Contractor Ruling Affects You

14 May
A new wage and hour California State Supreme Court (CSC) ruling – defines persons to be employees and not independent contractors.  The groundbreaking CSC new decision reveals a significant change in independent contractor law that adopts a modified “A-B-C” test for determining whether an individual is an employee under the Wage Orders.  The new independent contractor test is modeled on Massachusetts’ independent contractor statute, which has been considered the strictest in the country.

New Independent Contractor Test

California courts and state agencies have long applied the Borello test for determining whether a worker was an independent contractor under the Industrial Welfare Commission Wage Orders.  This flexible, multi-factor approach determined whether the hiring entity had a “right to control” the manner in which the worker performed the contracted service, along with eight “secondary” factors whether: the worker was engaged in a distinct occupation or business the skill required in the particular occupation, or the worker or the hiring entity supplied the tools used to perform the work and the place where the work was performed.

Despite the Borello test being used for decades for Wage Order cases, the CSC rejected it in favor of a more rigid three-factor approach, called the “A-B-C” test.  Under this new test, a person is considered an independent contractor only if the hiring entity can prove all three of the following:

A.   That the worker is free from the control and direction of the hiring entity in connection with the performance of the work, both under the contract for the performance of the work and in fact;
B.   That the worker performs work that is outside the usual course of the hiring entity’s business; and
C.   That the worker is customarily engaged in an independently established trade, occupation, or business of the same nature as the work performed.
The “A” prong (freedom from control and direction) is similar to the common-law test used in Borello, asking whether the person is free from the “type and degree of control a business typically exercises over employees.”  The “B” prong (outside the usual course of the business) focuses on whether the person is “providing services to the business in a role comparable to that of an employee, rather than in a role comparable to that of a traditional independent contractor.”

But, the “C” prong (independent trade, occupation, or business) asks whether the person “independently has made the decision to go into business for himself or herself,” evidenced by things such as “incorporation, licensure, advertisements, or routine offerings to provide the services of the independent business to the public or to a number of potential customers.”  While presenting limited substantive guidance, the Court made it clear that it intended this new A-B-C test to be stricter than the previous Borello test.

This new independent contractor test only applies to Industrial Welfare Commission Wage Orders.  The CSC did not make any rulings about whether this test would also apply to other wage and hour laws – such as claims for reimbursement for business expenses, but the opinion suggests such laws will remain subject to the Borello standard.

The Narrow ‘B’ Prong

Many states use A-B-C independent contractor tests, often in their unemployment compensation statutes.  The A and C prongs that the CSC announced are comparable to these other tests.  However, the B prong deviates from the norm in an important way.  Most B prongs allow two different ways to prove that a worker is an independent contractor: either by showing that he or she works (1) outside the usual course of the business or (2) outside all the places of business of the hiring entity.  The CSC’s new test purposefully omits this second clause (i.e., “outside all the places of business”), meaning that the only way to satisfy the B prong – and, thus, the only way to be an independent contractor – is for one’s work to fall outside the usual course of the hiring entity’s business, regardless of where the work occurs.

The CSC explicitly copied the Massachusetts statute in crafting this new test.  To satisfy the B prong, the hiring entity must show that the person works in an “independent, separate, and distinct business from that of the employer.”  Said differently, the question is then “whether the service the individual is performing is necessary to the business of the employing unit or merely incidental.”  As a practical matter, for most companies, this narrow B prong works as a “de facto ban,” and prevents the use of independent contractors except where the person’s work has no tangible connection to the hiring entity’s business.

Exceptions

For some transportation companies, courts have held that the Massachusetts B prong is preempted by the Federal Aviation Administration Authorization Act (FAAAA) and is therefore unenforceable. Some Massachusetts courts have also held that “legitimate business-to-business” relationships can qualify for independent contractor status, even if the other “business” is a sole proprietor or one-person corporation.

Conclusion

It remains undecided how California courts will apply this new independent contractor test, or if the standard or its application will be limited by federal law when applied to certain arrangements involving motor carriers of property.  Companies should now expect more difficulty in proving that an individual is classified as an independent contractor under California wage and hour laws.

Although technically this ruling only applies to Industrial Welfare orders – including minimum wage, rest breaks, meal periods and overtime – the impact
is really much broader.  Many CalWorkSafety clients will find it difficult to
sustain the idea of independent contractors as fulfilling their business operations.  We can and will assist in evaluating each instance for you. 
The Bottom Line:
From Now on It’s Going to Be More Limited & Dangerous to Try
to Claim Independent Contractor Status in California

CALL US TODAY – LET’S TALK ABOUT THIS
 AND DEVELOP REAL SOLUTIONS FOR YOU
Visit our website: www.calworksafety.com 

or Call:  949-533-3742

US Department of Labor Publishes Two Opinion Letters This Month

16 Apr

On April 12, 2018, the United States Department of Labor issued opinion letters that provide guidance on how employees without “normal working hours” should be compensated for travel time involving an overnight stay and whether rest breaks provided as a reasonable accommodation are compensable.

Interpretations Under the Federal FLSA …
CA Companies Frequently Follow These Federal Policies

When Travel Time Is Compensable:

The first opinion letter, FLSA2018-18, confirms long-standing DOL positions regarding when travel time is compensable under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) (e.g., hotel to worksite travel is a normal non-compensable commute).

Handling Irregular Schedules:
The Dilemma: For employees with irregular schedules, how do you determine “normal work hours” during which they must be paid when travel requires an overnight stay?

Suggested Approach: Employers have two different methods to reasonably ascertain an employee’s normal work hours and determine whether travel time is compensable.

  1. The employer may review the employee’s time records during the most recent month of regular employment and use the average start/end times during that time.
  2. Employers may also negotiate with the employee or employee’s representative and agree to what constitutes the employee’s normal work hours.
  3. If employers use either of these methods, the DOL will not find FLSA violations when employees are not paid for travel time occurring outside these normal working hours on work or non-work days.

Rest Breaks:
A second DOL letter, FLSA2018-19, clarifies when:

  1. Rest breaks given by an employer to accommodate an “employee’s serious health condition” predominantly benefit the employee and are not compensable as a result.

This ruling provides an exception to the current FLSA regulations that allow that employees must be paid during rest breaks of 20 minutes or less.

  1. The DOL states that a 15-minute rest break each hour (certified by a health care provider) due to the employee’s serious health condition is and therefore covered by the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) would not be compensable time under the FLSA.
  2. Notably, employees that take FMLA-protected breaks as an accommodation must still receive as many paid rest breaks as their coworkers

While these are only interpretations under the Federal FLSA, California usually follows these federal policies. These letters signal that the DOL will soon be issuing employers much-needed assistance and guidance for complying with the FLSA and other new regulations and laws.

The Bottom Line:

Even though the regulation is not effective these opinions apply to all California employers and their employees. CalWorkSafety welcomes the opportunity to assist all employers in preparing for the implementation
of these ‘opinions’ once they become law … which is likely.

CALL US TODAY – LET’S TALK ABOUT THIS AND DEVELOP REAL SOLUTIONS FOR YOU

Visit our website: http://www.calworksafety.com or Call: 949-533-3742

New Workplace Safety Rules for Hotel Housekeepers Effective July 1

23 Mar

This is the first ergonomic standard in the nation written specifically to protect hotel housekeepers from musculoskeletal injuries.

The Office of Administrative Law approved the new workplace safety and health regulation specific to housekeepers in the hotel and hospitality industry, which will become effective July 1, 2018. Cal/OSHA will enforce the new standard — the first ergonomic standard in the nation written specifically to protect hotel housekeepers from musculoskeletal injuries.

Musculoskeletal injuries are injuries of a muscle, tendon, ligament, bursa, peripheral nerve, joint, bone or spinal disc that can limit or prevent someone from working. According to Cal/OSHA, hotel housekeepers frequently suffer musculoskeletal injuries, lifting mattresses, pulling linens, pushing heavy carts, and slipping, tripping or falling while cleaning bathrooms — at a rate higher than workers in other industries.

This regulation requires employers in the hotel and lodging industry to identify, evaluate and correct housekeeping-related hazards with the involvement of housekeepers and their union representative.

Under the new rule, covered employers will be required to have a specific written Musculoskeletal Injury Prevention Program (MIPP).

The MIPP must include:

  • Procedures to identify and evaluate housekeeping hazards through worksite evaluations;
  • Include employees in the evaluation process;
  • Procedures to investigate musculoskeletal injuries to housekeepers;
  • Methods to correct identified hazards; and
  • Training of employees and supervisors on safe practices and controls, and a process for early reporting of injuries to the employer.
  • The initial evaluations, written plan and training all must be completed by September 29, 2018.

When evaluating worksite hazards, investigating injuries and identifying corrective measures, input from the housekeepers and their union representatives is required.

CalWorkSafety, LLC already has a draft MIPP and welcomes the opportunity to assist all hotel, motel and bed and breakfast employers in complying with this new regulation. While the rule does not take effect until July 1, 2018, at that time, employers will have only 90 days to take all the steps to comply and there is no reason to delay preparations and assessing how this will effect your operation. CalWorkSafety works with our clients to develop effective plans which meet your compliance obligations, and will assist you if Cal/OSHA conducts an inspection or issues citations.

The standard will be added to Title 8 of the California Code of Regulations as section 3345, Hotel Housekeeping Musculoskeletal Injury Prevention.

More information on the standard can also be found on Cal/OSHA’s website.

Changes in CA Immigrant Worker Protection Act

16 Feb

California’s Immigrant Worker Protection Act (AB 450) provides California workers with protection from immigration enforcement while on the job. This law applies to all California employers and was effective January 1, 2018.

One of the requirements of this new law is that employers must provide notice to all current employees when a federal immigration agency intends to inspect the employer’s Forms I-9 or other employment records.

Law Mandates Employee Notice Forms When ICE Plans I-9 Audits

Required Notice to Employees
If an employer receives a Notice of Inspection from a federal immigration agency, the employer must post a required notice to employees in the workplace within 72 hours of receiving the Notice of Inspection.

The Labor Commissioner released an official notice for employers to use. The Notice to Employee (Labor Code section 90.2) is available in English and Spanish.

  1. The notice must be posted in the language normally used to communicate with employees. A copy of the Notice of Inspection and any accompanying documents must be posted along with the required notice.
  2. In addition to posting the notice in the workplace, employers must give the notice to the employees’ collective bargaining representative(s), if any.

Additional Notice Requirements
Employers also have notice obligations once the inspection is over. Within 72 hours of receiving the inspection results, employers must give each “affected employee” a copy of the results and a written notice of the employer’s and employee’s obligations arising from the inspection.

An “affected employee” is one identified by the inspection results as potentially lacking work authorization or having document deficiencies. There is not a template for this notice; it must be specific to the affected employee.

Preparation Is Essential
Employers only have 72 hours from the time they receive a Notice of Inspection to generate and post the required notice to employees, and only 72 hours from receipt of the inspection results to notify affected employees. Employers who violate the notice requirements can face penalties of up to $10,000 per violation, depending on whether it’s a first or subsequent offense.
The Bottom Line:
Because the timing is so short, preparation is key to meeting the notice requirements. Employers should have a process in place to respond to Notices of Inspection. Employers should identify who in their organization would likely receive a Notice of Inspection and confirm that person knows how to respond.

CALL US TODAY – LET’S TALK ABOUT THIS
AND DEVELOP REAL SOLUTIONS FOR YOU
We’re Here To Help!

Visit our website: http://www.calworksafety.com
or Call: 949-533-3742