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Ready For The 2018 New Employment Laws for CA Employers?

27 Nov
Not to worry, here is a summary …

For 2018, California employers must be watchful of many new laws, and most are very important, including:
  • Changes in minimum wages
  • Changes required for their employment applications as a result of new state laws including questions they can ask job applicants.
  • New ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement).
  • Required Changes including updating with their Employee Handbooks on topics about:
    • Dealing with equal employment policies
    • Their training for sexual harassment
    • Small employers with 20-49 employees – should prepare how to deal with “Baby Bonding” leave for employees with new children.
Below is a summary of some of the significant other topics employers MUST comply to next year.

Minimum Wage:

  • Large businesses with 26 or more employees began complying January 1, 2017. The current minimum wage for large businesses is $10.50 per hour; the rate will increase to $11.00 per hour on January 1, 2018. Large businesses will reach the $15 per hour minimum wage in 2022.
  • Small businesses with 25 or fewer employees had a one-year delay and will see their first minimum wage increase on January 1, 2018; the minimum wage will increase from $10.00 per hour to $10.50 per hour. Do not forget that many cities and some counties have local minimum wage ordinances as well – most of these call for increases on July 1, 2018.
When Hiring:

Salary History do not ask an applicant for employment their salary history, either on an application form or in an interview or otherwise; upon request you must provide the pay scale to an applicant for the position they are applying for.

When Hiring – Criminal History:
If an employer has five or more employees, it is unlawful to inquire about criminal or conviction history of an applicant until after a conditional offer of employment to the applicant; If you obtain or review information (which can only relate to conviction history, not juvenile criminal history or actions related to marijuana offenses more than two years old) and intend to deny an applicant employment based even in part on such conviction history, you must document that you have made an individual assessment whether the conviction history has a direct and adverse relationship with the specific duties of the job justifying denying the applicant the position. Consideration must include:
  • Nature and gravity of the offense
  • Elapsed time that has passed since occurrence
  • Nature of the job; If you have made a preliminary decision not to employ an applicant based on conviction history, the applicant must be notified of the decision in writing, given a copy of the history report, notice of a right to respond, and have five days to respond. If told by the applicant that he/she disputes the accuracy of the report, the applicant has five additional days to respond to the notice. Any final decision by the employer must be in writing.
Handling of Immigration I-9 Forms:

Do not allow any government entity, and specifically DO NOT ALLOW the Customs & Immigration Service, or U.S. Homeland Security to obtain or review your records UNLESS provided a Notice of Inspection. If you receive a Notice of Inspection for I-9 forms, you must post a notice for employees immediately informing them that the process will occur. If the I-9 review raises questions about any particular employee’s status, that employee must be informed and allowed to participate to clarify their status. Also, employers can only “reauthorize” a I-9 form as required by the process.

Employment Policies:
Reproductive Health Rights: Employees have the right to and freedom to make personal decisions regarding reproductive health including the timing of use of birth control drugs and devices, or medical services. These rights are now protected by the Equal Employment provisions of California law and employers may not discriminate on the basis of employee decisions. Employee handbooks must also contain a notice of employee rights and remedies regarding this matter.
New Parent Leave Act:

Employers who have from 20-49 employees as of January 1, 2018 are required to allow qualified employees to take unpaid leave for up to 12 weeks to bond with a new child within one year of a child’s birth, adoption or placement for foster care. There are qualifications defining that the employee must have completed 1,250 hours of work for the company within the past year, and work at a location where there are at least 20 employees within 75 miles of the worksite. NOTE: This leave is in addition to pregnancy leave, which can be for up to four months, and employees are entitled to continuation of health benefits during this leave.

Harassment Training Re: Gender Identity, Expression & Sexual Orientation:  Training which is required regarding prevention of sexual harassment and bullying behavior now must include training inclusive of harassment based on gender identity, gender expression and sexual orientation, in the training all employers with 50 or more employees must provide supervisors and managers for two hours every two years.

For a more detailed review – Click Here.
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Average “Pure Premium” Rates  Will Be Cut by 3% from July 1, 2017

31 Oct
Average “Pure Premium” Rates
Will Be Cut by 3% . . . from July 1, 2017
Rates for January 1, 2018
In October 2017 The California Insurance Commissioner issued a Decision regarding the WCIRB’s January 1, 2018 Pure Premium Rate Filing.
In his Decision, the Insurance Commissioner approved advisory Pure Premium rates that average $1.94 per $100 of payroll. The average approved Pure Premium rate is 3.0% less than the average of the approved July 1, 2017 advisory Pure Premium rates of $2.00 per $100 of payroll.
Pure Premium rates are used as a basis for insurer who then file individual company rates using the “Pure Premium” rates and add operating and other expenses to set their company rates. Insurer rates as of July 1, 2017 industry averaged $2.34 per $100 of payroll, but of course with over 500 classification codes, rates for any individual employer vary widely.
Employers who would like to discuss ways to handle
work injuries and control workers’ compensation
costs should contact CalWorkSafety
for a review of steps to take before an injury,
after an injury occurs, and when an injury is reported late.

Visit our website at www.calworksafety.com for more information

or Call:  949-533-3742

Is Your Company Prepared For A Workplace Emergency?

14 Sep

New & Revised Cal/OSHA Emergency Evacuation Regulations . . . 

  1. Identify procedures for emergency evacuations, including types of evacuations and exit routes
  2. Procedures for any employees who remain to operate critical operations before they exit
  3. How you account for all employees after emergency evacuation.
  4. Preferred means for reporting fires and other emergencies.
  5. Names or titles of persons to contact for more information

Regulatory Requirements:

  • Alarms
  • Hazard evaluation
  • Evacuation procedures
  • Training
  • Exit routes

Natural Disasters:

A natural disaster is a major adverse event resulting from natural processes of the Earth; examples include floods, hurricanes, tornadoes, volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, tsunamis, and other geologic processes. A natural disaster can cause loss of life or property damage, and typically leaves some economic damage in its wake, the severity of which depends on the affected population’s resilience, or ability to recover and also on the infrastructure available.
Although there is often little that can be done to prevent a natural disaster, people can take steps to reduce the effect that it has on themselves and their property. Whether at work or at home, it’s a good idea to be prepared.

Workplace Violence:

Workplace violence has emerged as an important safety and health issue in today’s workplace. Workplace violence is any physical assault, threatening behavior or verbal abuse occurring in the work setting. A workplace may be any location either permanent or temporary where an employee performs any work-related duty. This includes buildings and surrounding perimeters such as parking lots, field locations, clients’ homes and traveling to and from work assignments.
This violence can be verbal threats or bodily harm, striking, pushing and other aggressive physical acts. In addition verbal harassment such as offensive language, gestures, disorderly conduct (shouting, throwing or pushing objects and slamming doors). OSHA has strict guidelines on dealing with workplace violence. Training and education ensures that the company and all staff is aware of potential security hazards and ways of protecting themselves.
Evacuation: Sound the Alarm:
  • Alert others
  • Get out of danger
  • Activate alarm
  • Follow reporting procedure
Emergency Contacts:
  • Emergency coordinator
  • Response teams
  • Fire department
  • Police
  • Ambulance
Evacuation: Assignments:
  • Coordinators
  • Evacuation assistants
  • Shutdown
  • Medical
  • Fire/Hazmat
Evacuation: Preparedness:
  • Evacuation routes
  • Assembly area
  • Drills
  • Fire exits
Evacuation: Procedures:
  • Signal
  • Get to safety
  • Shutdown
  • Emergency duties
  • Evacuation
  • Assembly area
Key Points to Remember:
  • Be prepared for all types of emergencies
  • Prevention is easier and safer than emergency response
  • Know evacuation routes, emergency procedures, and assignments
  • Take fire drills seriously and participate actively
  • If you have questions, ask your supervisor

Reminder: 

Safety & Emergency Prevention Are Vital

Employers must have a written Emergency Action Plan (EAP).
If you have any questions about this topic, please contact us!
We welcome and appreciate your feedback. Send questions on this topic and one of our expert team members will contact you. Cal Work Safety has the background & experience on this issue.
Call:  949-533-3742

Summer Is Here…And It’s Hot!

15 Aug

With the heat of summer in full swing, California employers covered by CA Regulations  Code, (Title 8, Section 3395) who have employees who work outdoors should review their practices to ensure that they are complying with current Cal/OSHA’s Heat Illness Prevention requirements.

With the High Heat conditions we are experiencing now, Cal/OSHA will be Watching and Inspecting employers to ensure that they follow this heat-related regulations:

  • Free, Cool Water
  • Access to Shade
  • High-Heat Procedures (written)
  • Training for Employees (documented)
  • Emergency Response Procedures (written)
  • Acclimatization
  • Heat Illness Prevention Plan (written)

If you have not already done so, every California employer should develop and implement an effective Heat Illness Prevention Plan for their employees, including:

  1. Procedures for providing sufficient water
  2. Procedures for providing access to shade
  3. High-heat procedures
  4. Emergency response procedures
  5. Acclimatization methods and procedures

These regulations are for the employer’s protection and employees.  

Enforcement of these Heat Illness laws is intensifying, which means employers  can’t afford to ignore them!

These regulations are for the employer’s protection as well as the employees. Enforcement of these Cal/OSHA Heat Illness Laws is intensifying, which means that employers cannot afford to ignore them!

Cal Work Safety understands the Title 8, Section 3395CA Regulations Code

Contact our team of experts….
We know the latest regulations and can help you implement internal programs to keep you compliant and safe from huge penalties.:

Call: 949-533-3742 or email:

DonDressler1@hotmail.com  

SB 96 Penalties Compliance Laws Aren’t Optional Anymore

7 Jul

Well, we have talked to you about California’s new regulations and deadlines previously. Now California has published a Budget Trailer Bill called SB 96 that went into effect on July 1, 2017 – and violations are also effective after July 1, 2017.

SB 96 adopts new, far higher penalties for general and regulatory violations of Cal/OSHA as well as repeat and willful violations. These penalties are based on mandates from the 2016-2017 Federal budget.

While Cal/OSHA penalties are the highest in the nation (much higher now than Federal OSHA General violations) they are most often issued for violations for written safety plans, (IIPPs), heat illness regs, and failure to report serious injuries (previously $7,000 are now increasing to $12,471).

SB 96 Penalties Apply to: Cal/OSHA Posting, Recordkeeping & Notice Requirements

This law also increases Minimum/Maximum Penalties For Repeat & Willful Violations:

  • The new Minimum is now $8.908
  • The new Maximum increases from $70,000 to $124,709 – a 78% increase
  • And, in January 1, 2018 the maximum penalties will increase again – caused by indexing with the Consumer Price Index, and annually thereafter.

In addition, this law states that “No person shall discharge or in any way discriminate against an employee for reporting a work-related fatality, injury or illness or request access to occupational injury or illness reports.”

Penalties for serious violations other than repeat or willful violations are not included in this change  which requires issuing notice and a change to the California Code of Regulations (anticipated to occur in the coming months.)

Why Does All This Matter?

Every Employer Must Do These Things:   

1)    Review your Safety Practices – ensure you have:
  1. A current Illness & Injury Prevention Plan
  2. A current Heat Illness Prevention Plan (including employee safety training for outdoor employees)
  3. Regularly performing and keeping records of Hazard Inspections
  4. Written Records of Safety Training
2)    Review other Cal/OSHA Requirements, such as:
  1. Tractor or fork lift rules and training
  2. Hazardous communications plans and training

Additional Budget Trailer SB 96 Bill Provisions:

  • Extends the period from 60 days to one year for the Labor Commissioner to accommodate investigation of retaliation claims
  • Provides for attorney’s fees for the Labor Commissioner in prevailing in enforcement actions related to retaliation claims
  • Prohibits (with certain exceptions) employers from introducing as evidence in an administrative proceeding certain records that were not provided pursuant to a request by the Labor Commissioner
These Cal/OSHA regulations matter to every employer in California. Ignorance of them will not prevent your company receiving heavy fines for non-compliance. That’s why it is very important for employers to understand these laws and begin implementing programs in their company to avoid ALL Compliance problems.
Cal Work Safety understands the SB 96 Bill. Contact our team of experts…. We know the latest regulations and can help you implement internal programs to keep you compliant and safe from huge penalties.
Call: 949-533-3742 or email: DonDressler1@hotmail.com 

Celebrate National Safety Month This June

5 Jun
Join the National Safety Council (NSC) and thousands of organizations across the country as we work to raise awareness of what it takes to Keep Each Other Safe. Observed annually in June, National Safety Month focuses on reducing leading causes of injury and death at work, on the road and in our homes and communities.

Week 1: Stand Up to Falls

Home is the place where we feel most safe, so it may come as a surprise to hear that falls in the home are one of the leading causes of injury-related death in the U.S., second only to poisoning. Falls are the most common cause of traumatic brain injuries, including concussions.

Eliminating tripping hazards
Prevent falls at home—and at work—by removing the sources of tripping:
  • Secure electrical and phone cords away from walking areas, such as hallways or in front of your desk
  • Use non-skid rugs and be sure to tape them down to prevent rolling
  • Keep drawers and cabinets closed when you’re not using them
  • Wear proper footwear, paying special attention to outdoor conditions
  • Clean up any spills immediately and include warning signage if necessary
  • Refrain from walking while distracted – stay focused on your surroundings
  • Ensure there is adequate lighting in your workspace
  • Don’t carry more than you can handle—large loads can obstruct your vision and affect your balance
Preventing falls in your bathroom
Falls can happen anywhere, but in your home, the bathroom is one of the most dangerous places. According to the CDC, about 235,000 people over age 15 visit the emergency room each year due to a bathroom related-injury. Older adults are especially susceptible. According to the National Institute on Aging, 80 percent of senior falls happen in the bathroom due to slippery floors and surfaces.
Keep loved ones of every age safe:
  • Place a non-slip mat both inside and outside of the tub
  • Plug in nightlights in and around the bathroom for increased visibility
  • Clean up any condensation or puddles on the  oor
  • Place non-slip decals on the bottom of your shower or tub
  • Keep shampoo, soap and other bath products higher up to avoid bending
  • Install grab bars by the toilet and in or near the shower and tub to assist older adults
  • Make sure the bathroom door swings outward in case of a fall
Make your home safer by starting at the source. Remove tripping hazards around your home and ensure your bathroom is slip-free to eliminate the risk of falling.

Week 2: Recharge to Be in Charge (Focusing on Fatigue)

Like many Americans, you might feel that you’re not getting enough sleep. The CDC reports that 1 in 3 adults don’t get enough sleep. It is also estimated that 37 percent of the U.S. workforce is sleep deprived. We need proper sleep to recharge our stamina, face the day and avoid injuries at home and at work.

Getting good sleep
To be alert, well-rested and at your best, follow these tips:
  • Get 7-9 hours of sleep every day
  • Create and follow a sleep schedule. Go to bed and wake up at the same time every day—even on weekends.
  • Eliminate unnecessary light
  • Keep your bedroom temperate – neither hot nor cold
  • Make sure your bed and pillows are comfortable and support restful sleep
  • Avoid eating right before bed
  • Remember that bedtime is for sleeping, not reading or watching TV
  • Avoid using electronic devices before bed which can inhibit sleep
Dangers of Sleep Deprivation
We all have busy lives and sleep is often the first thing many of us cut back on to accommodate our schedules. In the long run, this can be dangerous. Sleep deprivation has been shown to raise the risks of depression, obesity and heart disease, and has an adverse effect on reproductive health. Lack of sleep can also lead you to experience short bursts of sleep lasting anywhere from a fraction of a second or up to 30 seconds, known as microsleep. Individuals who experience microsleep lose awareness and consciousness during the episode, which can be dangerous especially on the road.
  • Plan to take regular rest breaks and rotate drivers when travelling long distances
  • Avoid alcohol and medications that may make you drowsy while driving
  • If you feel drowsy, pull over when it is safe to do so
  • To combat drowsiness, have a cup of coffee or caffeinated drink and stretch your legs by taking a short walk
  • If you need more rest, take a quick nap if it is safe to do so
  • If you are too tired to continue driving even a er a break, don’t drive. Stay at a hotel or call someone—a loved one, friend or even a cab or ride-sharing service—to get you to your destination safely
Don’t get sidelined by fatigue. Get plenty of sleep to recharge and stay healthy and avoid dangerous situations like driving when drowsy.

Week 3: Prepare for Active Shooters

Preparing for the worst can be difficult. Nobody wants to think about being involved in a situation with an active shooter – they can be unpredictable and unfold quickly. Because an active shooter behaves erratically, they have no pattern and their victims are random—being prepared can be your best defense.

Responding to an active shooter situation
Active shooters can appear in public places such as movie theaters and shopping malls or in private workplaces. No matter where you are, remain as calm as possible and remember:
  • Be aware of any possible danger in your environment
  • Identify the two nearest exits
  • If you can flee, do so immediately—leave belongings behind
  • If you cannot flee, hide in an area where the shooter can’t see you
  • If you are behind a door, try to lock or block entry to it
  • Silence electronic devices
  • As a last resort, try to incapacitate the shooter. Keep moving and be distracting. In close range situations,  fighting increases your chance of survival.
  • Call 911 as soon as you can do so safely
Wait for law enforcement to arrive
Law enforcement will usually be required to end the situation. Comply with law enforcement and allow them to resolve the situation as quickly as possible.
There are several ways you can assist:
  • To the best of your ability, be prepared to provide 911 and law enforcement with your location, the number of shooters, physical description of the shooter(s), the number and type of weapons used by the shooter(s) and the number of potential victims
  • When law enforcement arrives, remain calm and follow all instructions
  • Don’t scream or yell
  • Keep your hands raised, visible and free of any objects
  • Evacuate the area quickly—do not stop law enforcement to ask questions or for help
Facing an active shooter can be unimaginable, but being prepared might save your life. Remember to stay alert and as calm as possible. Try to run first, hide if you cannot flee safely and fight only when you have no other choice.

Week 4: Don’t Just Sit There (Focusing on Ergonomics)

If you have back pain, you’re not alone. About 80% of the U.S. population will experience back pain issues at some point in their lives, and 31 million will experience low-back pain at any given time. Most of these cases are not caused by serious underlying conditions, but from actions like improper lifting technique.

Lift safely
Prevent strains, dislocations and muscle tears. When lifting, make sure you:
  • Stretch and warm up before you perform any lifting
  • Keep your back straight and bend your knees – remember to never twist or bend your back
  • Are on solid ground with your feet shoulder-width apart
  • Keep the box or object close to your body
  • Lift with your legs, not your back
  • Limit the amount of weight you carry – separate boxes or make two trips instead of carrying more than you can handle
  • Ask for help to carry heavy, bulky or large loads
  • Keep pathways clear of tripping hazards
Ergonomics for the home office worker
Telecommuting is an increasingly popular option to help employees maintain a better work-life balance. Convenience and flexibility are great, but don’t leave ergonomics at the office.
Make sure:
  • Chairs have proper lumbar and arm support, and can be adjusted for height
  • Feet are flat on the ground or a footrest
  • The viewing distance from your eyes to the monitor is at least 18 inches
  • Your keyboard and mouse are at approximately elbow height
  • Lighting is sufficient enough that you don’t have to strain, but not too bright where glare is an issue
  • To take short breaks. Look away from your screen every 15 minutes, take microbreaks in between bursts of heavy typing and don’t forget to take a rest break every 30 or 60 minutes. Get out of your chair, stretch and move around.
By making ergonomics part of your routine at work and at home, you can keep your body free of strain and pain.

The mission of the National Safety Council is to eliminate preventable deaths at work, in homes and communities, and on the road through leadership, research, education and advocacy. Join us as we help #KeepEachOtherSafe this June and throughout the year. For any questions regarding workplace safety, contact us at Don Dressler Consulting and CalWorkSafety.com today!

Improve Employee Safety Habits With These 3 Tips

22 May
This year’s theme for North American Occupational Safety and Health week was Make Safety a Habit. Check out these ideas from the workers’ compensation provider Texas Mutual Insurance Company to help improve employee safety habits.
  1. See something, say something. Empower your employees to speak up and review the methods in place to report concerns or hazards. Building an environment of open communication supports a safe workplace. You want reporting to become a habit. Recognize reporting and encourage employees to speak directly with their supervisor or safety representative.
  2. Be consistent. To keep safety top of mind, hold regular meetings and provide consistent training. Habits won’t become fully formed in a quarterly meeting, however. Provide resources and enforce the safety practices employees are learning.
  3. Encourage wellness. Safety and wellness go hand-in-hand. When employees hydrate, eat well, and stay active, they feel better, are happier, and likely will stay alert about safety on the job. If an injury does occur, a fit employee stands a better chance of recovering more quickly.

Do you have questions on how your business can improve Employee Safety Habits? Please don’t hesitate to contact us at Don Dressler Consulting and CalWorkSafety.com. We’re here to help!