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Top Work Injury Causes & What Companies Must Do

25 Sep

The annual Workplace Safety Index ranks the top 10 causes of disabling work-related injuries and we tell you how you can ensure you aren’t part of these statistics.  Liberty Mutual’s 2020 Workplace Safety Index finds that serious, nonfatal workplace injuries amounted to nearly $60 billion in direct U.S. workers compensation costs. This translates into more than a billion dollars per week spent by businesses on these injuries. In fact, the top 10 causes of workplace injuries account for more than $50 billion or 89% of the total cost.

  • OVEREXERTION INVOLVING OUTSIDE SOURCES Injuries from lifting, pushing, pulling, holding, carrying, or throwing objects accounts for 23% of the national burden when it comes to workplace injuries. TAKE ACTION: Train employees on the proper way to perform the physical tasks required on the job. Utilize equipment, instead of manual labor, when available. Ensure employees are provided breaks and rest when needed to prevent overexertion. 
  • FALLS ON SAME LEVEL Slips, trips and falls are one of the most common causes of workplace injuries indoors and outdoors. Employees are at risk for sprains, strains, lacerations or worse especially if they fall into surrounding debris that could cause further injury. TAKE ACTION: Ensure non-slip mats and rugs are in use, make good housekeeping a priority in the workplace, repair or clearly mark uneven walking surfaces and train employees on proper clean-up requirements.
  • STRUCK BY OBJECT OR EQUIPMENT When work is done at heights, large equipment is in use, or materials are stored vertically there can be a great risk for employees to be struck by falling objects or moving equipment. TAKE ACTION: All overhead materials should be stored in a secure manner. Caution signs should be used and proper PPE, like hard hats, should be in used when needed.
  • FALLS TO LOWER LEVEL Falls from heights can be from ladders, through floor holes or sky lights, from scaffolding, on stairways, from roofs or from large equipment. TAKE ACTION: Ensure all employees that work at heights have proper fall protection provided and they are trained on the use of the fall protection equipment including PFAS, guardrails or other engineered devices.
  • OTHER EXERTIONS OR BODILY REACTIONS These injuries are typically non-impact but occur when a body reacts or responds to something unexpected or has an injury due to a vigorous or strenuous effort. These injuries don’t fit into one of the other common categories. TAKE ACTION: Workplace risk assessments can help evaluate common hazards that employees may be exposed to and assist management with prevention and training opportunities.
  • ROADWAY INCIDENTS INVOLVING MOTOR VEHICLE Employees who drive for business purposes may have more opportunity to be injured in auto crashes and are also susceptible to distracted and drowsy driving. TAKE ACTION: Define safe driving policies with an emphasis on distracted, drowsy, and defensive driving. Provide employees with safe-driver training.
  • SLIP OR TRIP WITHOUT FALL Reaction injuries occur when an employee slips or trips but doesn’t fall down. The stress of the reaction to correct the body to upright can cause muscle strain, twisted ankles, or other trauma. TAKE ACTION: Place no-slip rugs near entrances/exits, make sure any uneven areas are labeled clearly (or repaired), keep all work spaces tidy and potential slippery areas around the building outside should be cleared.
  • REPETITIVE MOTIONS INVOLVING MICRO-TASKS Working on the computer or performing the same task on the assembly line day after day can strain muscles and tendons which may cause back pain, vision problems and carpal tunnel syndrome. TAKE ACTION: Employers should provide, and employees should advocate for proper ergonomic equipment and training. Employees should be encouraged to take breaks and a job rotation schedule along with cross-training could be considered.
  • TRUCK AGAINST OBJECT OR EQUIPMENT When employees unintentionally walk into equipment, walls, debris, or furniture in the workplace it is common to have head, knee, neck and foot bruising, sprains, and injuries. TAKE ACTION: Ensure good housekeeping is a priority in the workplace, walkways are designated, and potential hazards are clearly marked.
  • CAUGHT IN/COMPRESSED BY EQUIPMENT OR OBJECTS Caught-in injuries are one of the top 4 serious incidents that occur in construction and machine entanglement caught-in injuries occur most often in factory settings. TAKE ACTION: Provide protective barriers and train employees on how to recognize caught-in hazards.

CalWorkSafety & HR Is Here To Help:

NEED A FRESH IDEA FOR A SAFETY MEETING TOPIC? This Top 10 List is a great place to start. Review the entire list if you have more time and encourage discussion about the potential hazards found in your own workplace that might fall into each category.

SHORT ON TIME? Pick any one from the top 10 list that applies to your current work environment and focus on ways management and employees can prevent injuries and keep workers safe.

HERE’S THE SOLUTION: CalWorkSafety & HR greatly appreciates that our clients consistently take a “#Safety-First” approach.  

Contact your consultant or email: dondressler@calworksafetyhr.com

Achieve Business Profitability … Reduce Costs … Mitigate Risks Discover the extensive training courses we offer our clients.Contact us today – we are here to help!  

New Study Finds Dining Out Increases Chances of Catching Coronavirus

21 Sep

The report shows adults infected with the virus were more than twice as likely to report dining out in the 14 days before getting sick.

Author: David Gonzalez (KHOU)  Published: September 12, 2020

HOUSTON — Restaurants in Texas are still operating at a limited capacity under Gov. Greg Abbott’s executive order.

The restrictions are place to stop the spread of COVID-19.

However, a new study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows eating at restaurants may increase your risk of catching the virus.

For instance, restaurants have adjusted to being in business during the pandemic as best they can.

Take-out and delivery options have grown very popular but many people still enjoy dining out.

“I think people should be extraordinarily thoughtful in how they decide to go out,” Dr. Paul Biddinger, director of Emergency Preparedness Research, Evaluation and Practice program at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health said.

He added, “Of course you have to take off your mask in order to eat and that changes the protection that we’ve been recommending now for so many months. “

The report shows adults infected with the virus were more than twice as likely to report dining out in the 14 days before getting sick.

“And if they are sharing a table with people that are not part of their household, part of their close environment, they should actually be discussing risk factors, recognizing still that we think that 30-60 percent of people can transmit COVID when they have minimal or no symptoms,” Dr. Biddinger said.

He believes there may be different risks between dining indoors versus on a patio.

Most restaurants are doing what they can to protect people by limiting capacity and spacing out tables.

In a statement, the Texas Restaurant Association said the study contained a number of flaws.

Now, more than ever, it is essential that the public is able to make decisions about activities outside of their home based on complete and accurate information about the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19).

We still do not find evidence of a systemic spread of the coronavirus coming from restaurants who are effectively following our Restaurant Reopening Guidance, encouraging guests to wear masks, social distancing, and practicing good hand hygiene. In effect, the lack of a direct correlation should be evidence that, when restaurants demonstrate effective mitigation efforts, the risk is low when dining outside or inside.

Assembly Bill 685 Changes Employer Notification Requirements on COVID-19 and Enhances Cal OSHA Enforcement Abilities

By Cressinda D. Schlag & Amy P. Frenzen on September 17, 2020 -Jackson Lewis PC

On September 17, 2020, Governor Newsom signed Assembly Bill (“AB”) 685, which requires employers to provide written notifications to employees within one business day of receiving notice of potential exposure to coronavirus (“COVID-19”).  AB 685 also authorizes the Division of Occupational Safety and Health (“Cal OSHA”) to prohibit operations, processes, and prevent entry into workplaces that it has determined present a risk of infection to COVID-19 so severe as to constitute an imminent hazard. AB 685 also authorizes Cal OSHA to issue citations for serious violations related to COVID-19 without requiring the agency to comply with precitation requirements.

Notification Requirements

Current California law requires employers to report certain occupational injuries and illnesses to Cal OSHA within a prescribed period. AB 685 confirms employers must report COVID-19 cases to the agency that satisfy Cal OSHA’s definition of a serious injury or illness. To satisfy this requirement, employers must have a process for employees to report potential exposures to COVID-19, having tested positive for COVID-19, or having symptoms of COVID-19. Employers must also assess any employee COVID-19 case to determine whether reporting on the case is required under Cal OSHA regulations.

Along with notifying Cal OSHA of a COVID-19 case that meets the definition of a serious occupational injury or illness, AB 685 requires employers having notice of a potential COVID-19 exposure (e.g., individual testing positive for COVID-19 was in the workplace) provide a written notice to:

  • employees and subcontractor employees who were at the worksite when a potentially infected individual was there and may have been exposed to COVID-19 as a result; and,
  • employees’ exclusive representative, if applicable.

This notice must be provided within one business day of the employer being notified of a potential exposure and may be done in “a manner that the employer normally uses to communicate employment-related information,” such as personal service, mail, or text message. The notice should be drafted to protect employee privacy and without disclosure of personally identifiable information or personal health information. The notice should also include information on COVID-19 benefits the employee may be entitled to and the disinfection and safety plan the employer has implemented or plans to implement in accordance with guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (“CDC”).

An employer may also need to notify its local public health department of COVID-19 cases if the number of cases the employer knows about meets the definition of a COVID-19 outbreak as currently defined by the California State Department of Public Health. Upon an outbreak, the employer must notify its local public health department within 48 hours and be prepared to provide information on the number of COVID-19 cases at the worksite, their names, occupation, and other pertinent information. Employers will then need to keep working with the local health department and provide updates on new laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 cases.

Notifications required under AB 685 do not alter or change the work-relatedness determination for COVID-19 cases under Cal OSHA regulations. AB 685 further requires that employers maintain records of written notifications for at least three years.

Enforcement Procedures

AB 685 authorizes Cal OSHA to act when, “in its opinion,” employees are exposed to COVID-19 in such a manner as to constitute an imminent hazard by:

  • Prohibiting entry or access to a worksite;
  • Prohibiting performance of an operation or process at the worksite; or
  • Requiring posting of an imminent hazard notice at the worksite.

In treating an employer’s worksite as having an imminent hazard to COVID-19, Cal OSHA must limit its restrictions on the employer’s worksite to the immediate area where the hazard was identified. In addition, Cal OSHA’s restrictions must not “materially interrupt the performance of critical governmental functions essential to ensuring public health and safety functions or the delivery of electrical power or water.” These provisions will sunset on January 1, 2023. Cal OSHA regulations require a strict process for “serious violations,” in which Cal OSHA creates a rebuttable presumption of a serious violation following an inspection, which is then shared with the employer and the employer is given a chance to rebut. The employer’s rebuttal may then be used in defense of the violation in an appeal or hearing on the matter. Generally, this procedure is satisfied by Cal OSHA sending a standardized form containing descriptions of the alleged serious violation and soliciting information in rebuttal of the presumption to the employer at least 15 days before issuing the citation. For COVID-19 hazards and violations only, AB 685 streamlines this process by allowing Cal OSHA to issue a citation alleging a serious violation without requiring the agency to solicit information rebutting the presumption of a serious violation.  Accordingly, Cal OSHA would not need to notify an employer 15 days before issuing a serious violation related to COVID-19. This exemption will be repealed on January 1, 2023.

New California Law Significantly Expands Employee Entitlement to Family and Medical Leave

By Susan E. Groff and Jennifer S. Grock

September 17, 2020

California employers with as few as five employees must provide family and medical leave rights to their employees under a new law signed by Governor Gavin Newsom on September 17, 2020. The new law significantly expands the state’s existing family and medical leave entitlements and goes into effect on January 1, 2021.

Senate Bill 1383 (SB 1383) also expands the covered reasons for protected leave and the family members whom employees may take leave to care for under the law.

Expanded Eligibility to Small Employers

Under pre-existing law, employers were not required to provide family care and medical leave under the California Family Rights Act (CFRA) (Cal. Gov. Code section 12945.2), if the employee seeking leave worked at a worksite with fewer than 50 employees within a 75-mile radius. Similarly, employers were not required to provide “baby bonding” leave under the New Parent Leave Act (NPLA) (Cal. Gov. Code section 12945.6), if the employee seeking leave worked at a worksite with fewer than 20 employees within a 75-mile radius.

SB 1383 repeals CFRA and NPLA and expands the obligation to provide leave to small employers not covered before. The new law requires employers with at least five employees to provide an otherwise eligible employee with up to 12 workweeks of unpaid job-protected leave during any 12-month period for certain covered reasons. The employer must maintain and pay for the employee’s coverage under a group health plan for the duration of the leave at the level and under the conditions coverage would have been provided if the employee had continued in employment continuously for the duration of the leave.

Additional Covered Family Members and Expanded Reasons for Leave

SB 1383 also expands the covered family members and potential reasons for which an eligible employee may take leave. Under SB 1383, eligible employees may take leave to bond with a new child of the employee or to care for themselves or a child, parent, grandparent, grandchild, sibling, spouse, or domestic partner.

Under the prior CFRA statute, leave for purposes of caring for a family member was available only if the family member was the employee’s child, a parent, spouse, or domestic partner.

With the enactment of SB 1383, all eligible employees will be able to care for grandparents, grandchildren, and siblings, unlike under the prior CFRA statute.

SB 1383 contains other significant changes. It requires an employer that employs both parents of a child to grant up to 12 weeks of leave to each employee. Under pre-existing law, the employer only had to grant both employees a combined total of 12 weeks of leave.

The new law also requires employers to provide up to 12 weeks of unpaid job-protected leave during any 12-month period due to a qualifying exigency related to the covered active duty or call to covered active duty of an employee’s spouse, domestic partner, child, or parent in the Armed Forces of the United States. Lastly, SB 1383 does not permit an employer to refuse reinstatement of “key employees” as was previously allowed by the CFRA under qualifying circumstances. Under SB 1383, employees will still need to meet eligibility requirements, including 12 months of service and 1,250 hours worked for the employer in the previous 12-month period, to qualify for family and medical leave.

California Releases ‘Employer Playbook for a Safe Reopening

4 Aug

Jessica Mulholland July 27, 2020 Cal Chamber

On July 24, 2020, when the reported number of COVID-19 cases in California surpassed 425,000, Governor Gavin Newsom announced a new playbook — called the “Employer Playbook for a Safe Reopening” — to guide employers on how to provide a safe and clean environment for workers and customers to reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19.

“We want to continue to work in the spirit of collaboration and partnership with our employer community to educate,” Newsom said during the press conference, “not only employers large and small, but to help them educate employees as well.”

The 32-page Employer Playbook for a Safe Reopening includes a compilation of industry-specific guidance, checklists and tools to help employers open safely and mitigate risks associated with COVID-19.  

As previously reported and in accordance with the Governor’s resilience roadmap and industry guidelines, the playbook also specifies that before reopening, all facilities must:

  1. Perform a detailed risk assessment and create a work site-specific COVID-19 prevention plan.
  2. Train workers on how to limit COVID-19’s spread, which includes how to screen themselves for symptoms and when to stay home.
  3. Set up individual control measures and screenings.
  4. Put disinfection protocols in place.
  5. Establish physical distancing guidelines.
  6. Establish universal face covering requirements (with allowed exceptions) in accordance with California Department of Public Health (CDPH) guidelines (for further guidance on enforcing mask requirements, see Appendix A).

The state’s COVID-19 website for industry guidance recommends that businesses review the playbook guidance that’s relevant to their workplace, make a plan and put that plan into action. It also recommends posting your completed checklist “so everyone can know the steps you’ve taken” and to feel free to add more safety measures to the ones listed in the playbook.

Additional guidance released recently includes for services that can be provided outdoors, like hair, nail and massage services, and for outdoor dining, all in counties that have been on the Monitoring List for three consecutive days; and the CDPH issued guidance on the use of face coverings, which requires people to use face coverings when in public or common spaces. 

“Stopping the spread of COVID-19 depends on keeping our workers safe,” Newsom said in a press release. “The vital work they do every day puts them and their families at higher risk for exposure and infection. Taking action to protect them will help protect all Californians.”

Jessica Mulholland, Managing Editor, CalChamber

A Vaccine is Coming: Can Employers Require Employees to Take it?

Tuesday, July 28, 2020

As clinical trials continue across the world for a COVID-19 vaccine, many employers are asking whether they will be able to require employees to take the vaccine when it becomes available in the United States. Like with so many questions surrounding COVID-19, the answer is not entirely clear.  In general, employers can require vaccination as a term and condition of employment, but such practice is not without limitations or always recommended. 

The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“OSHA”) has taken the position that employers can require employees to take influenza vaccines, for example, but emphasizes that employees “need to be properly informed of the benefits of vaccinations.”  OSHA also explains that “an employee who refuses vaccination because of a reasonable belief that he or she has a medical condition that creates a real danger of serious illness or death (such as a serious reaction to the vaccine) may be protected under Section 11(c) of the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 pertaining to whistleblower rights.”

In March 2020, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) issued COVID-19 guidance specifically addressing the issue of whether employers covered by the Americans With Disabilities Act (“ADA”) and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (“Title VII”) can compel all employees to take the influenza vaccine (noting that there is not yet a COVID-19 vaccine). In responding to this question, the EEOC explained that an employee could be entitled to an exemption from a mandatory vaccination under the ADA based on a disability that prevents the employee from taking the vaccine, which would be a reasonable accommodation that the employer would be required to grant unless it would result in undue hardship to the employer.  Under the ADA, “undue hardship” is defined as “significant difficulty or expense” incurred by the employer in providing an accommodation.   Additionally, Title VII provides that once an employer receives notice that an employee’s sincerely held religious belief, practice, or observance prevents the employee from taking the vaccine, the employer must provide a reasonable accommodation unless it would pose an undue hardship to the employer as defined by Title VII, a lower standard than under the ADA.  Under Title VII, employers do not need to grant religious accommodation requests that result in more than a de minimis cost to the operation of the employer’s business.  However, analogous state laws may impose stricter standards. 

In light of these exemptions and the risk of discrimination, the EEOC has advised that it is best practice to simply encourage employees to take the influenza vaccine rather than to mandate it.   Although we can presume that the EEOC will issue similar guidance when a COVID-19 vaccine is approved, the threat imposed by COVID-19 to the health and safety of others may make employers more inclined to require vaccination. Moreover, this threat and the necessary safety measures required of employers with unvaccinated employees may render exemptions to the COVID-19 vaccine more burdensome.  However, employers must also consider that employees may respond negatively to a vaccination requirement, and adverse reactions to the vaccine could lead to workers’ compensation claims.

Accordingly, employers contemplating any policy mandating a COVID-19 vaccine should be prepared to carefully consider the threat posed to the health and safety of their employees, the risk of future claims, and employee morale.  Moreover, employers must be prepared to carefully consider the reasons for any employee requests for exemptions.

© Polsinelli PC, Polsinelli LLP in California

All Signs Lead to Cal/OSHA Issuing COVID-19 Citations In the (Very) Near Future

Jul 29, 2020  By: Thomas B. Song

Governor Newsom’s televised news briefing on July 24, 2020, provided clues that enhanced enforcement of COVID-19 workplace safety is in the works.  Likely, in response to criticism of the perceived ineffective response to worker protection during COVID-19, labeling Cal/OSHA as a “remote” investigatory agency, staying at home while other workers risk health and safety on a daily basis.

Newsom announced that the spread of COVID-19 disproportionately affected the essential workforce – construction, truck drivers, healthcare and first responders, cashiers, grocery workers, agriculture and farm workers, etc. – and that plans were underway for “targeted” and “strategic enforcement of labor laws”, no doubt from Cal/OSHA. 

The Governor also mentioned the need to call out “bad actors” that give other companies in the industries a bad name.  He also indicated a need to “waive” or modify some timelines associated with regulatory enforcement, noting that it can take over six months to “move an enforcement action.”  While he did not mention a particular enforcement mechanism or jurisdiction, six months is the same amount of time that it takes for an expedited appeal to make its way through the Cal/OSHA Appeals Board process, including the time to issue a decision following an expedited hearing.  Coincidence?  Most likely not.

Cal/OSHA’s July 16th press release urged “all employers in California to carefully review and follow the state’s COVID-19 workplace safety and health guidance to ensure their workers are protected from the virus.”  The new Cal/OSHA Chief, Doug Parker, reinforced that “[e]xisting regulations require employers to implement effective measures to protect employees from worksite hazards, including recognized health hazards such as COVID-19,” and reminded employers that, “[w]e’ve designed guidance documents for more than 30 industries so employers have a roadmap.”

Although not specifically mentioned by the Chief, “existing regulations” is an obvious inference to the Injury and Illness Prevention Program (IIPP) regulation, which (as we’ve already discussed in prior blog articles) requires all employers in California to have effective measures in place to address known hazards in the workplace, including the threat of COVID-19.  (For more information on the IIPP, see CDF’s past articles from earlier this summer [here] and [here].)

Also, unlike the onerous Federal OSHA “General Duty Clause” – which requires a hazard to be “likely to cause serious injury or death” – no such standard is required under California’s IIPP mandate.  An IIPP violation is often a “General-classification,” which only requires a “relationship to occupational safety and health of employees.”  Needless to say, that with all the industry guidance put out by Cal/OSHA, Cal/OSHA will have a strong case against employers that do not incorporate the listed precautions into their IIPPs, or otherwise do not take the COVID-19 guidance seriously. All the signs point to stricter enforcement of COVID-19 workplace safety laws in the very near future, and most likely in the form of Cal/OSHA citations targeted against some of the “bad actors” mentioned by the governor.  California employers, whether essential businesses or not, should take heed of the guidance, incorporate appropriate COVID-19 workplace protections into their IIPPs and train their workforce on protection against COVID-19 as soon as possible.

Heat Illness – A Real Menace

30 Jun

Heat Illness

Workplace Safety Measures and Heat Illness Tools

Now approaching the summer season heat and as employers begin to return to work (RTW) after months of COVID-19 quarantine, they may be out of shape, out of practice on workplace safety procedures, and will be required to re-breathe hot air through face coverings.
As employers focus on COVID-19 RTW efforts, it is vital that they remain aware of risks of safety rule violations, injuries, and heat illness.
Prepare Employers & Employees for a Hot Summer:
  1. Have a Written Heat Illness Plan and a post a copy where outdoor employees are working. If you have not updated your plan in the past three years, it will not be compliant with Cal/OSHA’s current rules. Our CalWorkSafety & HR, LLC team can help you quickly update.
  2. Memorize these three words: Water – Rest – Shade. Ideally, workers require cool water as often as possible, but they may need sports beverages containing balanced electrolytes if they are sweating for several hours at a time. Employers should ensure workers can access shaded or air-conditioned rest areas to cool down as needed.
  3. New and temporary workers are most at risk. The body takes time to build a tolerance to heat (more than 70% of outdoor heat fatalities occur during a worker’s first week of working in warm or hot environments); building tolerance is called “acclimatization.” Our Heat Safety experts help companies create a Heat Illness Prevention Plan to ensure all employees are fully trained and acclimatized in the 1st work week.
  4. Indoor workers also suffer from heat illness. Kitchens, laundries, warehouses, foundries, boiler rooms and many other indoor work environments can become dangerously hot. Click below to view Cal OSHA’s workers High-Risk occupation list.
  5. Use engineering controls or modify work practices to protect employees. By increasing ventilation using cooling fans; scheduling work at a cooler time of the day; rotate job functions among workers to minimize heat exposure. Refer to the Best Practices OSHA resource.
  6. Familiarize everyone at your workplace with the Signs and Symptoms of Heat Ilness from CDC (Centers for Disease Control & Prevention): and ensure everyone knows what to do in an emergency. This includes:
  7. Common heat exhaustion signs present: dizziness, headaches, cramps, sweaty skin, nausea and vomiting, weakness, and a fast heartbeat. Heat stroke symptoms may include red, hot, dry skin; convulsions; fainting; very high temperature and confusion. Also: Pair workers with a buddy to observe each other for early signs and symptoms of heat illness … as well as Employees should call a supervisor for help if they believe someone is ill – and 911 if a supervisor is not available, or if someone shows signs of heat stroke. CalWorkSafety & HR offers training materials to help you!
  8. To help calculate the heat index at your worksite download the iPhone or Android device application – which provides specific recommendations for planning work activities and preventing heat illness based on the estimated risk level where employees are working.
  9. Ensure workers and supervisors know the location where they are working and how to direct emergency responders to your work site if needed.
  10. On high heat days, keep extra watch on workers health and stress need to drink water frequently and use cooling off breaks if needed – When the temperature equals or exceeds 95 degrees Fahrenheit.
The OSHA-NIOSH Heat Safety Tool Features offers a visual indicator of the current heat index and associated risk levels specific to your current geographical location; Precautionary recommendations specific to heat index-associated risk levels; An interactive, hourly forecast of heat index values, risk level, and recommendations for planning outdoor work activities in advance; Editable location, temperature, and humidity controls for calculation of variable conditions and Signs and symptoms and first aid information for heat-related illnesses.
The Bottom Line
As Workers continue to Return to Work After a Prolonged
Absence Due to COVID-19
Employers should be more vigilant in refreshing employee training, especially as it relates to heat illness prevention and other safety requirements. Return to work may necessitate generalized retraining on core safety rules. We know that you will face challenging decisions during this national crisis. Please be assured that we are here to help you meet your evolving needs and thrive.

Attend Our Covid-19 Prevention Update

11 May

May The Bottom Line

ZOOM SESSION – MAY 14, 2020
Time: 10:00 a.m. PST  

Meeting ID: 839 6272 6013

Password: 192985

One tap mobile

Find your local number:

https://us02web.zoom.us/u/keG7mQWQSF 

Our Three Speakers & Topics:

  

Cindy Williams:
Session: 15 minutes 
DISCUSSION TOPIC:
Hazard Inspections in Various Work Environments, PPE
CalWorkSafety & HR is Now
Providing Virtual Inspections

Wendy Garcia: 
Session: 15 minutes 

DISCUSSION TOPIC:

How to develop a written COVID-19 Exposure Prevention, Preparedness, and Response Plan for your Company.
The purpose of this plan is to outline the steps that every employer and employee can take to reduce the risk of exposure to COVID-19.  Discussion of the elements of a well-designed plan and the importance of understanding and complying with local, State and national Health Orders. Discussion of the use of Employee Health Screening methods to monitor for COVID-19. The Consultants at CalWorkSafety & HR are available to assisting in writing plans to be specific to each unique business.
Judy Lindemann:
Session: 15 minutes 
DISCUSSION TOPIC:
The Power of Cough: Education and How We
Arrived at Six Feet Social Distancing; How Covid-19 Is Transmitted to Your Employees and what your Business Can Do to Protect Your Employees
Keeping Electronics Clean and
Types of Covid-19 Testing

 

CalWorkSafety & HR Consultants
We Train Your Staff … Visit Your Company …
Audit Your OSHA Injury Records … and much more.
Please Contact Us:  email: dondressler1@hotmail.com

How Engaged Workers are Safe Employees

25 Nov

Safe Jobs.jpg

Engaged workers can lead to an increase in productivity and a positive impact on a company’s bottom line.

A disengaged workforce could spell trouble for a company’s bottom line and lead to unsafe behavior on the job.

When employees are not committed or fully vested in a safety culture, they’re not overly concerned with their performance and they are not invested in the future success of the company. This negatively can affect day-to-day operations, inhibit a company’s growth and put workers’ safety at risk.

A Commitment to Growth

In studies conducted by Queens School of Business and the Gallup Organization, disengaged workers have 37 percent higher absenteeism, 49 percent more accidents and 60 percent more errors and defects. Organizations with low employee engagement scores experienced lower productivity, profitability, job growth and share price over time.

Engaged workers fully are committed to their work and the success of the company. They put in more effort, have a higher quality work product, go out of their way to assist others, have fewer accidents and are willing to provide feedback and suggestions on ways to increase efficiencies and improve the work environment.

In contrast, companies with highly-engaged employees are sought after by other workers and, as a result, have seen a 100 percent increase in job applications for current and future job openings, according to the studies.

Engagement Does Not Mean Happiness

Someone might be happy at work, but that does not necessarily mean they are working hard or productively on behalf of the organization. It also does not mean employee satisfaction. A satisfied employee might show up for their daily shift without complaint, but that same “satisfied” employee might not give the extra effort on their own.

Worker engagement is an emotional commitment the employee has to the organization and its goals. Emotional commitment means engaged employees actually care about their work and the success of the company. They don’t work just for their paycheck or next promotion, but work on behalf of the company’s goals.

Employee engagement empowers an organization to create a culture of recognition through all aspects of the business, including safety.

Key Elements of Worker Engagement

Where do you start? Start at the top with a visible, empowering leadership team that provides a strong narrative about where the company is and where it is going. Managers should focus on their employees and give them scope, treat them as individuals and provide them guidance toward future growth.

From there you need to ensure employees have a voice throughout the organization. Engaged employees are central to instilling change, encouraging innovation, ensuring a safe workplace, assisting with conflict resolution and contributing to the overall success of the company.

Key elements of an employee voice include:

  • Setting clear guidelines – Workers must know their position and that for which the company is striving.
  • Instilling a sense of ownership – Let employees know they are important and you trust them to do the job right every time.
  • Investing in employees’ future growth – Companies who invest in continued growth and development of their employees are more successful and retain staff longer.
  • Involving employees in the safety program – Conduct safety meetings and create safety committees to involve employees in the safety culture. Also include workers in changes before they occur to allow for open discussion.
  • Providing ongoing training for employees – When employees are not properly trained or training has lapsed, they are not being set up for success. It can put their own and others’ safety at risk.
  • Facilitating two-way communication – Managers and supervisors need to be approachable and allow employees to voice their opinions, concerns and ideas without fear of retaliation.
  • Recognizing employees – A simple thank you can go a long way when employees go above and beyond what is expected. Recognition helps to positively reinforce safe behavior and fosters engagement.
  • Gaining employee feedback for continuous improvement – There always are ways to change through improved workflow and processes. Engaging employee feedback helps come up with solutions by fostering creativity. Providing employees opportunities to offer feedback will further solidify engagement and safety efforts.

Without active participation by all members of an organization, a safety culture will not evolve and the safety management system will not reach its full potential.

Engaged workers are invested employees, and they will look out for each other and for the company’s best interests. Employee engagement also shows consideration and care for the staff, which is spread through the company, creating a team atmosphere and providing a positive solution to health and safety concerns.

CalWorkSafety, LLC can help you evaluate the engagement level of your employees, as well as assist with safety training, Cal/OSHA compliance, safety plans and human resources isseues.  We wish you a safe and Happy Thanksgiving.

Visit our website at www.calworksafety.com

 

Michelle Boeldt | EHS Today.

Workplace Fatigue Growing Safety Concern

19 Aug
Aug-Masthead-FatigueSafety
Since workplace safety makes employers consider proper training, proper equipment and a safe work environment … safety fundamentals never stop being a top priority. Tired workers can pose a serious risk to himself/herself and to coworkers.
Research shows that 13% of workplace injuries are attributed to fatigue and 43% of American workers admit that they sometimes are too tired to function safely doing their job.
Health-related Lost Productivity Caused by Fatigue
Costs U.S. Employers $136B Per Year
Certain workers are more likely to experience workplace fatigue, especially those who work irregular or extended shifts (transportation, healthcare, police and firefighters) as well as others whose jobs require rotating shifts. Other factors – long commutes and simply not sleeping enough– also contribute to fatigue even for those with regular shifts.
Regardless the cause, workplace fatigue does increase the risk of injury and illness on the job. The Labor Department reports that accident and injury rates are 18% greater during evening shifts and 30% greater during night shifts when compared to day shifts.

Long shifts – 12-hour days – spike injury by almost 40%. 
These numbers suggest that workplace fatigue awareness matters and is the first step for both employers and employees to keep in mind. Employers can take proven common-sense approaches to diminish the risk of workplace fatigue. OSHA recommends the following steps:
Workers are encouraged to take steps to reduce the risks posed by workplace fatigue as well. A rested worker is a safer worker and makes for a safer work environment for everyone.
Employers benefit from engaged, alert and rested employees. Make this a priority for your company to avoid any accidents or increased costs. Call 949-533-3742 or visit our website  CalWorkSafety to learn how our training programs help you manage workplace fatigue.

CALWORKSAFETY.COM ANNOUNCES COMPANY ACQUISITION OF ATENTO CONSULTING SERVICES

12 Jul

Atento Masthead Heading-7-1-19

IRVINE, CA — JULY 1, 2019 – Irvine, CA — Don Dressler, a national leader in human resources and risk management solutions, today announced the acquisition of Long Beach, CA-based ATENTO Consulting Services, Inc. by Irvine, CA-based CALWORKSAFETY, effective July 1, 2019.

Two ATENTO founding principles – Ron Paine, MS, ARM, and Laura Pensamiento – are seasoned experts in safety training for the construction industry. Combining the experiences with those of CalWorkSafety broadens the scope of Cal/OSHA compliance, citations defense services along with a wide variety of HR compliance solutions, specifically in Spanish and English: Safety, Risk Control & Human Resources including:

Safety Training Classes include: Hazard Communication (HazCom) Training, First Aid/CPR/AED training, Forklift Safety Training, Sexual Harassment Training (CA Compliant) and Defensive Driving Training.
Construction Specific Classes include: FED OSHA/CAL OSHA Construction 10-Hour Course & Certification, Excavation (including trenching & shoring), Fall Protection, Scaffold training, Qualify Flagger and safety traffic safety training, Construction Equipment Safety Certification, Rigging Safety and Confined Space training.

“Ron and Laura recognized employers with Spanish speaking workforces require hands on consideration developing safety programs that effectively address, overcome, and reconcile cultural difference,” said CalWorkSafety founder Don Dressler. “With 50+ years combined experience, they know what works and have collectively helped employers drastically reduce their losses through aggressive and persistent techniques that address the true causes of lost revenue,” Dressler said.

“We’ve focused on traditional approaches to establishing safety programs, such as engineering safety committees, safety incentive, and safety inspection programs for our clients. These programs aggressively motivate and educate managers on accident prevention,” Ron Paine said.

About Cal Work Safety 

Don Dressler is an experienced labor and employment law attorney and former workers’ compensation insurance company president. Nationally recognized expert on safety and workers’ comp programs and legal issues affecting business owners, Dressler is the architect of www.CalWorkSafety.com. For more than 25 years, CalWorkSafety has offered labor law/risk management consulting on: HR, Safety & Cal/OSHA, Labor Law/Discrimination/EOP and Workers’ Comp. CalWorkSafety’s customized Safety package designs significantly reduce worker’s compensation costs and protect employers from non-compliance issues affording effective employee training solutions to southern California companies. A virtual HR Department program offers effective hands-on management, discrimination and harassment claims. For more information on Cal/OSHA compliance related to illness and injury prevention, sexual harassment, discrimination contact Don Dressler at (949) 533-3742, or visit our website.

Is Your Company Prepared for These 10 Questions in 2019?

9 Oct

BottomLine Oct Update

  1. How will your firm incorporate the new or changed laws into policies and procedures?
  2. What adjustments have you made regarding 1099 changes (rules for independent contractors)?
  3. Do you have an arbitration agreement to avoid court lawsuits involving employees?
  4. Does your company have a safety plan?
  5. Is your sexual harassment policy training completed yet?
  6. How have you prepared to objectively investigate a harassment claim?
  7. What’s your plan to train each of your employees on harassment and workplace bullying prevention? How to deal with violence in the workplace?
  8. How are you calculating pay, bonuses, missed breaks, missed meals, and overtime? (are you using “rounding” for recording time?)
  9. What expectations have been set for the most critical jobs in your organization?
  10. Is your New Hire and Termination process current?
If your answers to these questions is marginal, what’s your plan for 2019?
CalWorkSafety is a leader in labor law, risk management and consultant on: Human Resources,Safety & Cal/OSHA, Labor Law/Discrimination/EOP and Workers’ Compensation. Through the design of customized HR packages, Cal Work Safety significantly reduces worker’s compensation costs and protects employers from non-compliance issues … while providing effective employee training solutions to southern California companies.
The Bottom Line:
Our Virtual HR Department offers effective hands-on Management and Staff training dealing with Mandated Regulations.  By simplifying the
employee relations and compliance elements we help clients reduce
workers’ compensation premiums, prevent discrimination and harassment claims, and settle/avoid employee claims. To learn more about preparing for 2019 HR compliance, call us at 949-533-3742 or email:

Visit our website:

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.