Archive for June, 2013

What Exactly Do OSHA Auditors Look For?

June 24th, 2013

Osha AuditorsOSHA, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, is an organization that conducts comprehensive site safety and health audits in order to ensure that businesses and operational facilities are being run in a safe and healthy manner.

During an audit, a team of OSHA professionals will visit your site and spend 3 to 4 days examining the operations according to their well-outlined (and extensive) standards. The information that they collect during these audits is then used both to improve the safety and health of your workers and also to educate the team of auditors as to what specific conditions and needs arise within your area or industry.

The following is a general list of elements that OSHA auditors will examine and review:

1.     Documentation

The first thing that the auditing team will do is review the documentation of your safety and health program to date to see if the program meets OSHA requirements. Documentation includes but is certainly not limited to: injury and illness logs, workers compensation documents, performance evaluations, employee reports or suggestions of safety and health hazards, preventative maintenance records, emergency procedures, employee training records, and more.

Is your company up to date with OSHA compliance? Who is in charge of managing your workplace safety? Designating responsibility to a qualified individual or team can better ensure that your workplace is “dotting all the i’s and crossing all the t’s.”  Don’t forget the OSHA has fines for noncompliance!

2.     Site Tour

After the documentation is reviewed, the auditing team will tour the work site to see hands-on whether or not your safety and health program is meeting their standards in practice. The site tour will include things like: reviewing hazardous categories such as fire safety and hazardous material storage, noting needed improvements, and discussing the hazards they have found.

OSHA auditors will share their insight on how to immediately address these issues. The industrial hygienist on the team will also check the site for known hazard areas, ensure that these are properly controlled and also make sure that no other hazards exist.

3.     Interviews

During the site tour, the auditing team will conduct interviews with random employees to help determine if safety measures are in place and being properly executed. These questions will address work procedures, emergency procedures and personal protective equipment. The audit team will also conduct more formal interviews with employees and management to better gauge the efficiency and awareness of the safety and health system.

While the goal of the OSHA audit is to promote a safer workplace and make sure your site is in compliance with OSHA guidelines, nobody likes getting surprised with a fine for noncompliance!

Did you know that if you work with a PEO, your workplace is probably more protected than most– financially protected too! PEOs share employee liability through the co-employment relationship but also work with the employer to provide adequate training, audits, precautionary steps and more.

With the help of a dedicated and experienced team, you can come up with the most effective solutions to keep your workplace as healthy and safe as possible while adhering to compliance standards.

For a complete schedule of events concerning an OSHA audit, visit http://www.osha.gov/Publications/visit/what-to-expect.html.

For more information on enhancing workplace safety and shared liability through the co-employment relationship, contact PEO Advantage.

Minimum Wage Increases for 2013

June 4th, 2013

We’re well into 2013, but if you’re just now hiring someone in the middle of the year, you may not know that a few states had minimum wage increases in 2013. 10 of them – to be exact!Minimum Wage Increases for 2013

Let’s review:

  • Arizona – $7.80
  • Colorado – $7.78
  • Florida – $7.79
  • Missouri – $7.35
  • Montana – $7.80
  • Ohio – $7.85
  • Oregon – $8.95
  • Rhode Island – $7.75
  • Vermont – $8.60
  • Washington – $9.19

Federal minimum wage remains at $7.25/hour, although that may change in the near future.  President Obama has proposed indexing the minimum wage to inflation so that it increases each time the cost of living increases. The Fair Minimum Wage Act of 2013 has been introduced in the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives and if passed would raise the federal minimum wage to $10.10 per hour by the year 2015. The minimum wage would then be adjusted each year after that to keep up with the rising cost of living.

Currently, the federal minimum wage of $7.25/hour supersedes state minimum wage laws where the federal minimum wage is greater than the state minimum wage. In states where the state minimum wage is greater than the federal minimum wage, the state minimum wage takes precedence.

Need help sorting through minimum wage laws? Ask your PEO! If you are not currently working with a PEO or payroll service provider, contact PEO Advantage today to learn more. Wage and hour laws can be complex – but you don’t have to face them alone!