Monthly Archives

October 2017

For all clients with 250 or more employees or 20 or more employees in hazardous industries (this will be blogged today)- required in ALL states

By | OSHA, Public Blogs, Safety | No Comments

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) promulgated new rules effective January 1, 2017, which requiredadditional reporting of injuries and illnesses by employers with 250 or more employees or employers with 20-249 employees in “hazardous industries.” These reports will be collected through an online portal and the reports will eventually be made publicly available on OSHA’s website.

The initial reports were originally due to be submitted to OSHA by July 1, 2017. However, that date came and went with no actual way to submit the reports and a note on the OSHA website said that implementation had been delayed.

Today, OSHA launched the Injury Tracking Application (ITA) which employers will use to electronically submit injury and illness data. OSHA also announced its intent to extend the date by which employers are required to submit their reports to December 1, 2017. 

The reporting process is entirely electronic and has three different options for data submission.

1.      Users will be able to manually enter data into a web form.

2.      Users will be able to upload a CSV file to process single or multiple establishments at the same time.

3.      Users of automated recordkeeping systems will have the ability to transmit data electronically via an API (application programming interface).

Employers should begin reviewing the ITA instructions and other materials available on OSHA’s website to ensure that they are prepared to properly submit the data by December 1, 2017. They should also ensure that they are adequately and accurately capturing the required data.

In addition to the reporting requirements, the new OSHA rules also impacted employer policies effective January 1, 2017.  If not yet done, employers should review their policies to ensure that they do not have potential chilling effects on employee reporting of accidents and injuries, and inform employees of their right to report workplace injuries and illnesses.

If you should have any questions, please contact your HR Specialist at 925-556-4404.

How California Contractors Can Avoid Disgorgement

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The construction industry is one that can be unpredictable. One of the main reasons for this is because every market is different. While one market may be doing well, another may be suffering. One component of the industry that can cause major issues for construction companies is something called disgorgement. If you want to avoid this in California, then you need to take the appropriate actions.

What is Disgorgement?

Disgorgement is a law or regulation that can require a business to give something up as demanded or through legal compulsion. In the construction industry, it means that the construction company may have to give back their profits from a project they have completed or are in process of completing. For example, if a contractor enters into a contract with a client to build a property, performs the work, receives payment, and then has to return the payment due to legal reasons, that is disgorgement in action.

Actions to Take to Avoid Disgorgement

Just as lenders, real estate agents, and investors stay up to date on different laws and regulations affecting their sides of the industry, contractors benefit greatly from understanding laws and regulations that could potentially affect their work. Obviously, disgorgement is not something that any contractor wants to happen to them. In order to avoid this, there are some key things you need to do and stay on top of so you can avoid it in your business.

  • Have a valid license. You and all of your employees should have a valid license. This means that you need to have your license during the time that you are performing the contractual work. You do not want to start a project without an active license. Not only would you open yourself to the possibility of disgorgement but you could also face some civil and criminal penalties such as jail time, fines, and more.
  • Have workers’ compensation insurance. You want to make sure that you have the proper insurance at all times during a project. Beyond that, you want to make sure that the insurance does not lapse at any time. Even though it is an extra expense, it is not one that you want to let lapse so you can save a few dollars. You could end up losing all of your money from the project as a result. You also do not want to list employees as independent contractors to save money on this insurance if they are not. Doing so could invalidate your contractor license immediately and you may not even be notified of this change. You could then be operating as usual and not even know you have lost your license.
  • Only collect payment for work completed. You do not want to take money for any work that has not been done or for materials that have not been delivered yet. It is against the law in California to do this and you must limit a down payment to $1,000 or 10% of the purchase price. Since this is law in California, it is important to follow it at all times, even if you are strapped for cash. If the working relationship between you and your client were to go bad, then they could use that against you in court and it could result in disgorgement.

As you can see, disgorgement is something that can be avoided. As long as you comply with the laws and regulations, you should not be in danger of disgorgement for your construction business.

New California Law Will Limit Immigration Enforcement Agents’ Access to Workplaces, Records

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Employers in California will soon face several new requirements involving workplace inspections by US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

Effective January 1, 2018, the Immigrant Worker Protection Act will prohibit employers in California from voluntarily consenting to allow immigration enforcement agents to enter any nonpublic areas of their workplaces unless they obtain a subpoena or judicial warrant.

The Act also will prohibit employers from consenting to enforcement agents accessing, reviewing or obtaining their employee records (except Forms I-9 and other documents for which ICE has provided the required three days’ notice before inspection) without a subpoena or judicial warrant.

Employers also will be required to notify employees of any inspections of Forms I-9 or other employment records within 72 hours of receiving notice of the inspection, including:

  • The name of the agency conducting the inspections;
  • The date that the employer received notice of the inspection;
  • The nature of the inspection to the extent known; and
  • A copy of the Notice of Inspection of I-9 Employment Eligibility Verification forms for the inspection to be conducted.

By July 1, 2018, the California Labor Commissioner will create a template that employers may use to satisfy these notice requirements.

Within 72 hours of receiving inspection results, employers will be required to provide affected employees a copy of the written immigration agency notice and a written notice containing certain information about their collective obligations.

Employers that violate any of the aforementioned requirements will be subject to civil penalties of $2,000 to $5,000 for a first violation and of $5,000 to $10,000 for each subsequent violation.

In addition, employers will be prohibited from reverifying the employment eligibility of a current employee at a time or in a manner not required by specified federal law. Violations of this requirement will be subject to a civil penalty of up to $10,000.

If you should have any questions, please contact your HR Specialist at 925-556-4404.

Workplace Violence/Active Shooter Webinar

By | HR, OSHA, Public Blogs, Safety | No Comments

On Wednesday Oct 25, 2017 @ 1:00 PM, we will be offering a 45 minute webinar titled “Workplace Violence/Active Shooter Training”.

How timely is this?

As fas as I know, we are the only HR/Safety/Insurance company offering such a class for employers! This webinar spans across all employment types and I am sure if we get the word out, we will have some great attendance. Some of the areas we will be discussing include:

  • Definitions
  • OSHA-involvement
  • OSHA required Injury & Illness Prevention Program and an Emergency Action Plan and documented employee training
  • Workers’ Compensation due to injuries related to workplace violence
  • Legal ramifications including heavy fines and possible criminal involvement on the part of owners and managers
  • Hostage situations
  • Robberies/Burglaries and how are they different
  • Employee Assistance Plans
  • Business recovery – Can you business  actually survive an “active shooter situation”? and
  • And some mind blowing statistics!
 
Please let me know if you should have any questions.

OSHA Top 10 Safety Violations for 2017 (Fiscal Year)

By | OSHA, Public Blogs, Safety | No Comments

With employers always having limited resources for safety, they would benefit from OSHA’s Top 10 violations for 2017. If the employer are going to put money towards safety, I would recommend the following areas as applicable to their business:

1. Fall Protection – General Requirements (1926.501)     

6,072

2. Hazard Communication (1910.1200)   

4,176

3. Scaffolding (1926.451)              

3,288

4. Respiratory Protection (1910.134)     

3,097

5. Lockout/Tagout (1910.147)    

2,877

6. Ladders (1926.1053) 

2,241

7. Powered Industrial Trucks (1910.178)

2,162

8. Machine Guarding (1910.212)               

1,933

9. Fall Protection – Training Requirements (1926.503)     

1,523

10. Electrical – Wiring Methods (1910.305)          

1,405

Fall protection has led the safety violations for many years and generally include falls in excess of 8 feet.

Hazard Communication includes all those written safety plans required by law.

No matter what industry an employer is in (and some are more than one), there is a high likelihood that you have an area in OSHA’s Top 10 violations.