Read about how to manage and reduce your workplace risk, keeping your employees safe and making your workplace compliant.

Experts respond to questions about Family First Coronavirus Response Act

In light of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, H.R. 6201 (FFCRA) passing into law, legal experts at Dickinson Wright put together a top ten list of questions employers have about the FFCRA.

The FFCRA was signed into law by the President and will take effect on April 1, 2020. The U.S. Secretary of Labor is expected to issue regulations related to the law by March 25, 2020.

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Some COVID-19 basics: Tips for business

Many people are feeling overwhelmed by the deluge of information regarding COVID-19, the disease that develops in some people through exposure to the novel coronavirus that is being seen around the world.

Although information is constantly changing, we are monitoring alerts and updates from the Centers for Disease Control, and will continue to update to you regarding significant changes as related to the workplace.

We find this link from the CDC to be helpful: CDC Interim Guidance for Businesses and Employers

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Coronavirus (COVID-19) precautions offered for employers

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The law firm of Dickinson Wright offers basic tips for employers about the outbreak of the novel coronavirus, or COVID-19. Read more below or see the original post here. (Republished with permission, with updates from the CDC noted below).

It is now impossible to avoid the reality that the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19, the “coronavirus”), is a “public health emergency of international concern,” according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Although the risk assessment is currently considered low for most residents, the widespread transmission of the coronavirus in the U.S. “would translate into large numbers of people needing medical care at the same time” which could result in significant adverse consequences, including disruption of the American workforce.

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Don’t be a victim of email spear phishing

One specific type of phishing attack is called “spear phishing.” Unlike standard email scams, spear phishing includes several elements of social engineering that are intended to deceive the email recipient to a much larger degree.

Spear phishing is “the fraudulent practice of sending emails ostensibly from a known or trusted sender in order to induce targeted individuals to reveal confidential information.” Another frequent and unfortunate consequence of Spear Phishing is monetization. These attacks are also more frequent at the end of a major accounting period such as quarter or fiscal year end.

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Ensure safety at work: Training is a must in 2020

Safety is important for economic reasons: When an employee is involved in an accident, you spend money through lost production and absenteeism. Safety training is important so workers and managers know the hazards which cause these things.

Working safely eliminates that injury and promotes greater production. This saves you money through a sustained safe work environment every day.

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Rising popularity of vaping raises new issues in the workplace

The first time I heard about vaping was during a conversation with my teenage kids a few years ago. I was surprised to hear them say “everyone does it!” What exactly is it? The definition of vaping is “the action or practice of inhaling and exhaling the vapor produced by an electronic cigarette or similar device.” Seems harmless, but is it?

Although smoking has been banned from most workplaces for a long time, vaping now presents new issues for employers as well as society in general. Should this smoking alternative be allowed at work and treated like cigarettes?

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Safety critical as numbers of younger, millennial workers increase

Millennials will overtake baby boomers in 2019 as the largest U.S. population group, according to government data analyzed by the Pew Research Center. The Pew Center also notes that about 56 million millennials (those born from 1981 to about 2000) now work compared to 53 million baby boomers remaining on the job. Millennials make up about 33 percent of the U.S. population, according to Pew.

This is changing the workplace in many ways and will impact worker safety. These younger workers are more likely to be injured and they take safety issues in the workplace seriously. So should you.

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Training and permits required for all forklift drivers

Did you know that every employee who operates a forklift at your place of business must be certified to drive a forklift? Did you also know that BCN Services can help with obtaining that licensure?

Powered industrial trucks, more commonly called forklifts, are used in many industries to move materials. They can also raise, lower, or remove large objects or smaller objects on pallets or in boxes, crates or other containers.

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Fire prevention checklist offers tips to keep your workplace safe

Safety in the workplace is something to be concerned about. In today’s fast-paced world of work, safety items can be unintentionally overlooked.

With that in mind, we thought we’d provide a quick read safety checklist of common sense “to do’s” to help you assess your place of business when it comes to basic fire prevention standards. Do a regular walkaround of your workplace to see if any of these need attention throughout the year:

  1. Provide an adequate number of fire extinguishers and service them at least once annually. Visit the OSHA website at https://www.osha.gov/SLTC/etools/evacuation/portable_placement.html for tips about placing and using portable extinguishers.
  2. Train employees how to use fire extinguishers.
  3. Train employees how to respond should a fire occur.
  4. Ensure that building “exit” signs are readily visible and well lit.
  5. Ensure that there are enough exits to facilitate a prompt escape, if needed.
  6. Post your emergency evacuation plan and have periodic fire drills that put your plan in practice.
  7. Keep aisles, stairwells and exits clear – DO NOT block these areas with furniture or other obstacles.
  8. Store materials no closer to the ceiling than 36 inches (in a non-sprinklered room) or 18 inches (in a sprinklered room).
  9. Do not overload electrical outlets. Check your outlets regularly.
  10. Provide safety ashtrays in areas where smoking is allowed.
  11. Store hazardous chemicals properly and locate them away from sources such as gas pilot lights.
  12. Keep work areas free of refuse.
  13. Don’t use compressed air to blow dust off equipment or other work surfaces. Dust levels in the air can quickly reach dangerous levels that can pose a health hazard to your workers and, if combustible, may even explode when contacting lights or other common electrical sources.
  14. Do not use flexible cords that are frayed or have damaged plugs. Take them out of service by placing a tag on them that visibly says, “Damaged, Do Not Use” and report them for replacement. Replace and discard as soon as possible.
  15. Be aware that unusually warm or hot outlets may be a sign of unsafe wiring. Unplug any cords to the outlet, mark the outlet as “Do Not Use”, and report the condition immediately to someone who can safely follow up.

We can help you determine what safety changes are needed in your workplace. In addition to the above checklist review, BCN Services has a staff of safety consultants who will come to your place of business to offer a friendly set of eyes and do a more thorough safety walk-through at no charge. Our consultants have decades of experience across many industries.

Call the BCN Services Risk Management Department at 1.800.891-9911, ext. 108 and arrange a walk-through today. Let’s focus on safety in the workplace in 2019.

Patrick Boeheim, Safety and Risk Manager

Frequently Asked Questions about posting labor law rules

Do I have to post labor law posters in my workplace? This is a very good question and if you have been given responsibility for poster compliance, consider the next questions when determining your labor law requirements:

Do I have employees on payroll?

If you answered “yes,” are any of your employees on payroll not your spouse? If so, then you are mandated by law to post the most up-to-date labor law posters.

Now that you have determined your need for labor law posters, you’re probably wondering where you should post them. According to poster compliance requirements, posters must be displayed in an area where your employees can readily see them. The most common areas to consider are:

  • A breakroom
  • A common room
  • Near the time clock
  • A lunch room or kitchen

Places that may seem like a good idea but don’t adhere to labor law compliance requirements include:

  • The HR Manager’s office
  • A gender-specific bathroom
  • Outside an office in the hallway
  • The owner’s office
  • In one specific department

What if I have two break rooms? Do I have to display the posters in both areas?

The best way to determine this is to ask yourself another question. Do all your employees have access to both rooms? If the answer is no, then we would suggest that you display the labor law posters in both break rooms. If yes, then you should be compliant with the posters in one break room.

What if my employees work on separate floors? Do I need to display the compliance posters on each floor?

Yes, you need to post the compliance posters on each floor because you’re required to post the labor law posters where all of your employees can readily see them.

The key word here is “access.” Your employees must have easy access to labor law posters. If employees are required go out of their way to view and read the posters, then the posters are not easily available to them. As an employer you are not following labor law compliance requirements.

What if some of my employees work in a separate building? Do I need to display the posters there? Yes, you should display the compliance posters in both buildings so that all employees have easy access to the posters.

What happens if my business is not compliant with labor law posting regulations?

If your business is not in compliance with current federal and state labor law poster standards, you are in jeopardy of receiving a fine or citation. Additionally, keeping your business in compliance by using the appropriate posters helps to remind supervisors of their obligations to uphold the law and protect your workers from injury, discrimination, harassment, and other important state, federal, and OSHA requirements.

If you still have questions about your labor law poster needs, contact your HR professionals at BCN Services. We are available to help you with all your compliance needs and can keep you up-to date on laws as they change.

Lisandra Garrow, Partnership Manager