Tag Archives: Safety

California Laws Important This Summer of 2015

10 May

California continues to lead the way in expanding the rights of employees and obligations of employers in the workplace in many areas. This should come as no surprise to employers and HR since the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) extends protections to almost 20 protected classes and California provides employees with more than one dozen types of leave.
Here are areas that California employers everywhere should take note of as summer 2015 approaches:
1. Paid Sick Leave
Cities around the nation have been active in enacting paid sick leave measures but so far, only three states, including California, have passed paid sick leave laws. Under the Healthy Workplaces, Healthy Families Act of 2014, covered California employers must provide paid sick leave to any employee working in California for 30 days at an accrual rate of one hour for every 30 hours worked.
The law takes effect on July 1, 2015, and it is critical that all California employers be aware of its stringent recordkeeping, notice and posting requirements and update their employee handbooks and paid time off policies accordingly.
2. Abusive Conduct
Awareness of workplace bullying is on the rise, yet no state has enacted a law specifically addressing abusive conduct in the workplace. However, under a new California law that took effect on January 1, 2015, covered California employers required to provide sexual harassment training to supervisors are now also required to include specific harassment training on abusive conduct.
Abusive conduct is conduct that “a reasonable person would find hostile, offensive, and unrelated to an employer’s legitimate business interests.” It may include “repeated infliction of verbal abuse… verbal or physical conduct that a reasonable person would find threatening, intimidating, or humiliating, or the gratuitous sabotage or undermining of a person’s work performance.” The law does not create a private cause of action for abusive conduct, but it does require employers to revisit and revise their sexual harassment training to add an abusive conduct component. Don Dressler Consulting provides this training at your location for your supervisors and managers, as well as all employees, if requested.
3. Heat Illness
If you have any employees working out of doors, including truck or other vehicle drivers operating non-air-conditioned vehicles, the company must have a written heat illness prevention plan detailing how it provides training about heat illness, access to plentiful cool drinking water, cooling off periods for employees showing signs of heat illness, and emergency plans when illness occurs. Heat conditions can be a problem at any temperature, but specific rules apply at 80 degrees Fahrenheit, and more stringent high heat rules apply at 95 degrees Fahrenheit.
4. Increased Protections for Immigrant Workers
With the US population becoming more diverse and immigrants entering the workforce at rapid rates, California has passed several measures in 2015 specifically providing increased protections for immigrants and foreign workers, including new laws:
• Prohibiting employers from reporting, or threatening to report, a worker’s (or the worker’s family member’s) immigration status or suspected immigration status to a government official because the worker exercised a right under the California Labor Code;
• Expanding the definition of an unfair immigration-related practice to include threatening to file or filing a false report or complaint with any state or federal agency;
• Prohibiting employers from discriminating, retaliating or taking adverse action against employees based on a lawful change of name, social security number, or federal employment authorization document;
• Making it a violation of FEHA for an employer to require an individual to present a driver’s license, unless a driver’s license is required by law; and
• Amending FEHA to specify that “national origin” discrimination includes discrimination on the basis of possessing a driver’s license issued by the state to undocumented persons who can submit satisfactory proof of identity and California residency.
To keep up to date with California law and to ensure you are in compliance, ask to be added to our The Bottom Line e-newsletter, produced by Don Dressler Consulting and CalWorkSafety.com.
You can sign up by sending us an email or going to our website at http://www.dondressler.com

Time To Complete Your OSHA 300 Summaries

28 Jan

It’s the time of year to be filling out your OSHA 300 Annual summaries – as they are to be posted between February 1 and April 30 of every year.
A new Cal/OSHA Safety and Health Appeals Board decision makes accuracy and thoroughness important. In a decision issued December 24, 2014 (Merry Christmas to you!) the Cal/OSHA Board upheld a citation for an oil service provider for failing to fully complete the log of workplace injuries.
Cal/OSHA regulations require employers to log all work injuries. In this case, the employer filled out the log, but failed to complete the part of the form indicating “the object which caused the injury” or column F of Form 300. In upholding a fine against the employer, the Board stated, “filling in Form 300 to record injuries means to fill in all of the information called for on the form.”
(Key Energy Services LLC 13-R4D3-2239, Dec. 24, 2014)

Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Form 300A, is the summary of job-related injuries and illnesses that occurred last year. Unless you have 10 or fewer employees or fall within one of the industries normally excused from the Occupational Safety and Health Act’s (OSH Act) recordkeeping and posting requirements, you’re required to post OSHA Form 300A (not the OSHA 300 form/log) annually from February 1 to April 30.

A complete set of Cal/OSHA 300 forms, including instructions, is available at: http://www.dir.ca.gov/dosh/dosh_publications/reckeepoverview.pdf. A complete list of exempt industries in the retail, services, finance, and real estate sectors is posted on OSHA’s website at http://www.osha.gov

If you need help either completing your OSHA Summary or in other OSHA compliance matters, our team of consultants at CalWorkSafety.com and Don Dressler Consulting are here to help. Check our websites at: http://www.CalWorkSafety.com and http://www.DonDressler.com

How You Can Make Safety Happen

7 Sep

Safety “happens” if you take the actions to make a hazard free environment. Don’t walk by an unsafe condition – or ignore someone’s unsafe act. It may be taking the time to pick up something from the floor, comment on a loose handrail or a missing machine guard. You may see someone bending at the waist to life a box.
As Carl Potter writes in I am Safe “Whatever it is, do what you can to take care of it yourself. If you can’t, let someone else in authority know about the situation.”
Why not start today? Set an example of responsibility to fix or respond to every safety hazard you encounter.

If you would like some help or specific ideas, just contact us at CalWorkSafety.com or Don Dressler Consulting. Visit our websites: http://www.calworksafety.com and dondressler.com.

Take Personal Responsibility for Safety

30 Jun

You may be familiar with OSHA’s General Duty Clause which actually has two components: 1) employers are to furnish a workplace free of recognized hazards that cause or are likely to cause death or serious physical harm to employees, and 2) employees are to comply with all safety rules and OSHA regulations. (29 US Code 654).
Even with this law, or an equivalent in states such as California which administrate their own OSHA systems, almost 6,000 workers die every year in work related accidents, and billions of dollars are spent on workers’ compensation claims.
So, one way you can make a change this year is to take personal responsibility for safety so that everyone you know goes home every day without an injury. Start every day with some action focusing on safety. Ask your co-workers or employees if they have a safety suggestion. Make sure you follow traffic laws, and set a good example at work. As a well known safety trainer, Carl Potter says, “Being safe is not a slogan, it is an action.”
If you need some ideas, just check our website: http://www.calworksafety.com or ask for help by sending a request to dondressler1@hotmail.com

Tree-Trimming Fatality At Three Frogs, Inc Prompts Cal/OSHA Big Fines

17 Apr

Cal/OSHA recently issued citations with proposed penalties of $91,865 to Three Frogs, Inc., a La Mesa-based real estate investment company following the investigation of a fatal tree-trimming accident. A 42-year-old employee was killed last November when he was struck by a large section of a 60-foot-tall eucalyptus tree he was helping to remove from the employer’s property.

The employee had been working as a general construction laborer at various properties owned by Three Frogs for approximately three months when the accident occurred; neither he nor any of the other construction laborers employed by Three Frogs had experience or training needed to safely cut down a tree of that size.
Continue reading

Why should an employer take care of a worker injured on the job? Because doing so saves money, and the data proves it!

15 Mar

Hard cold numbers prove the value of taking care of an employee injured on the job.  For California, if a work injury can be treated by workers’ compensation medical care only, the average cost of a claim is $1,156. (Data is based on the latest report for complete year statistics of the Workers’ Compensation Insurance Rating Bureau.)

However, if the employee can’t return to work the next day, and receives “temporary disability” payments, the average cost per claim jumps to $15,041. This increase in costs clearly shows the value of an aggressive return to work program, and a “day of injury” protocol in taking care of the physical and emotional needs of an injured employee.

If an injured employee experiences any, even minor, permanent disability, the average cost per claim triples to $41,313.  Major permanent disability claims average $140,021 per claim and permanent total disability claim costs soar to an average of $109,922,270 per claim – yes that is $109 million per claim on average.  Death claims only average a cost of $43 million each.  

Contact Don Dressler Consulting and CalWorkSafety for help in keeping injured workers on the job.  Our Nurse Consultant is doing great work in this area and our experience consulting staff can help with safety programs to prevent the injuries in the first place.

Visit our websites at www.DonDressler.com and www.CalWorkSafety.com

Driving Safety: What Do The Numbers Say?

25 Jan

Driving and transportation accidents account for the highest percentage of workplace deaths both nationally and in California. Many of my clients have seen their employees injured and costly workers’ compensation claims result.
The November 2013 issue of Traffic Safety Facts, published by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) contains some interesting statistics.
driving statistics 2013
As can be seen by the above figure, the total number of fatalities in 2012 rose slightly over the previous year, the first time this has occurred since 2005. 33,561 people lost their lives in motor vehicle traffic crashes. This represents a 3.3% increase from 2011. However, when those numbers are broken down further here is what we see:
 Both the fatality rate and the injury rate increased over 2011; 3.6% and 6.7% respectively.
 Fatal crashes involving large trucks increased 3.7%
 Total alcohol-impaired driving fatalities rose 3.3%

Driving a vehicle is still likely the most hazardous activity we all do each day. Since the numbers went up from 2011 to 2012 we should take this very seriously; someone dies from a vehicle accident in this country every 16 minutes.
There are steps we can take to decrease the odds of becoming the next statistic.
 Driver training is often forgotten… after all, we all know how to drive, right? Reviewing the basics of speed, following distance, braking technique, driving in adverse weather, distracted driving, and vehicle maintenance issues can be very helpful for any driver regardless of age or experience. Remind employees that arriving safely, even a little late, is far better than risking a crash by speeding, tailgating, or driving aggressively.
 Review your electronic device policy for drivers. Every effort should be made to ensure people are not distracted by cell phones calls or texting while driving. Keep in mind it really doesn’t matter if the phone is handheld or hands free; the cognitive distraction of the conversation is the real hazard.
 Vehicle maintenance is critical for safe operation. Drivers should be completing daily pre-trip inspections and all organizations should have routine maintenance schedules. Tire pressures and tread wear are one of the most important factors in vehicle control so keep a close eye on those.

Thanks to Randy Klatt, MEMIC Safety Director for information on this article