Archive for the ‘Safety Compliance’ Category

Quick! Melt That Ice!

February 13th, 2014

ice slips at workAs you’re probably well aware, most of the country is feeling pretty cold right now! In many states you’ll find ice and/or snow covering the roads, sidewalks, and stairs.

At your home you shovel and salt the steps and walkway for your family’s safety, but do you do the same for your employees at your place of employment? Same level slips, trips and falls are occupational hazards that can’t be ignored; these accidents occur nearly 4.0 million times each year! In fact, slip and fall claims continually make up 12-15% of all workers’ compensation claims.

Preventative Measures in the Workplace:

Preventing accidents in the workplace requires a combination of hazard identification and then correction. Have a Slip, Trip & Fall Handbook in the workplace for all property caretakers, managers, and business owners to review. A Slip, Trip & Fall Handbook will likely contain weather related strategies.

You’ll be surprised to see what the actual weather-specific hazards are – it’s not just ice covering the front walkway or stairs, but also melting snow and ice from employees’ boots and shoes that result in having slippery wet floors indoors.

If keeping the floors dry appears to be an ongoing battle, you may want to enforce a dress code (mainly a proper footwear code) to include shoes with a slip-resistant sole. For employees working outside, requiring a good work boot is advised.

If you currently work with a PEO, be sure to ask them what materials they have available covering OSHA-specific risk management and compliance. PEOs help protect employers from injuries, claims, costly fines, and lawsuits.

To learn more about workplace safety, visit our Safety Compliance section within the PEO Advantage Blog. For specific questions regarding accident prevention, contact our team at 877-636-9525.

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.

Training Incentives Make Learning Fun

April 1st, 2013

Employee Training IncentivesNo matter what industry you’re in, you’ve likely encountered the need for employee training.

Today, there are an increasing number of areas where the demand for skilled positions is outnumbering the supply, and this has prompted more employers to conduct training – whether it’s training existing employees new skill sets or training new hires that don’t have quite have enough relevant experience at this time.

Many industries also call for safety training, which is serious business! If you’re doing business in a high risk industry, OSHA will eventually check your workplace’s safety and training records, and will even ask employees about specific information covered pertaining to their job.

The problem that many employers face with employee training is that it tends to be so tedious and boring! You want your employees to learn and thrive, and you certainly want them to pay attention when reviewing best practices for a safe and secure worksite, but how can you motivate adults to the point where they actually look forward to learning?

PEOs have always assisted companies in the creation and administration of safety plans and on-site learning environments, but today one type of program is becoming increasingly popular:  training incentives.

Do you have a 5-step safety program that needs to be completed by all employees? Quizzing your employees at the end of each step, and rewarding them for knowledge not only motivates them to learn the material, but also makes learning in the workplace a little bit more fun! Why not promote employee interaction and office morale by conducting programs over lunch.  Often referred to as a “lunch and learn,” serving food and beverage during the course of a learning activity can break down barriers to participation and promote employee interaction.

What is the goal of the incentive program? Is it to drive sales and other types of productivity measures or is it to help support the safest workplace possible for employees? Training incentives do not need to be cash, but they do need to be culturally appropriate and should support the overall compensation strategy and business goals.

Incentives should be valuable and quantifiable as the employee completes each level or advances because the end result is actually a win for the employer; you now have an employee that has increased the amount of value they bring to your company.

If you already work with a PEO, be sure to ask them about employee training incentives and how they can be incorporated into your workplace. If you need help selecting a PEO that is right for your company, or just need to know a little bit more about PEOs in general, feel free to contact the PEO experts at PEO Advantage.

What is a Return to Work Program?

December 5th, 2012

Workplace accidents can strike at any time, and bad accidents can often result in an employee injury and workers compensation claim.  Did you know that as each month goes by, your injured employee’s chances of returning to work significantly decreases?

How do we prevent losing a reliable and hardworking employee following a workplace injury? The answer is with a return to work program. Return to work programs are proactive plans initiated by an employer that are geared to help both the injured employee, and the workplace return to the previous economic, vocational and even social statuses that were present prior to the injury occurring. Without a particular employee’s knowledge and insight, your workplace could be suffering as well without them.

Professional Employer Organizations (also known as PEOs or Employee Leasing) assist employers in establishing proactive return to work programs that outline the following:

  • Maintaining workplace ties and communicating on a regular basis/preventing alienation.
  • Developing step by step transitional plans to eventually return to fulltime employment (beginning with part time employment/involvement).
  • Identifying what type of employee involvement would be most beneficial to have in the workplace.
  • A signed-off physicians report at each step, approving the employee’s new duties.
  • Establishing tasks that accommodate the employee’s limitations, not necessarily set hours and large projects.
  • Ways of establishing workplace support and encouragement.

Through the co-employment (PEO) relationship, PEOs also offer support in other critical areas surrounding workplace safety: workers compensation claims, workplace safety programs, OSHA compliance, loss prevention recommendations and safety reviews/auditing, just to name a few.

To learn more about the co-employment relationship and proactive plans for workplace safety, contact PEO Advantage. We provide risk-free HR solutions that really work!  Call 877-636-9525 or fill out an application today.

Tools & Equipment – You’re Responsible

September 4th, 2012

Does your company provide employees with the tools and equipment necessary to perform their job function(s), or do employees bring their own from home?  Under OSHA, you, the employer, are responsible in all circumstances should there be an accident on the job. Even if you are leasing equipment, you are still responsible for the safety of your employees when utilizing this equipment.

According to Section 5 duties found in OSHA, each employer shall furnish to each of his employees a place of employment which is free from recognized hazards that are causing or are likely to cause death or serious physical harm to his employees; and each employer shall comply with occupational safety and health standards promulgated under this Act.

Let’s say that an OSHA compliance inspector stops by today and notices that a ladder within your workplace is not sturdy. Unfortunately, you are the one that will get cited, whether it’s your ladder, a leased ladder, or an employee’s ladder. How do you prevent worksite accidents and protect yourself from the financial burdens of violating OSHA compliance?

Partner with a PEO. PEOs provide expert support services with risk management and compliance surrounding OSHA, which will further protect you from costly fines and lawsuits. More importantly, through the co-employment relationship, the PEO inherits half of the risk and responsibility.

Your PEO will also file and track claims, makes sure all claims are legitimate, manage safety reviews, and offload time-consuming documentation and reporting activities. Best of all, the cost of workers’ compensation insurance will probably decrease.

Call 877-636-9525 or contact us today for smart solutions that’ll put your business on a safer road to success.

Employment Law 101- What is SWDA?

July 11th, 2012

Welcome to Part 5 of our 5 part series on employment law. Are you equipped to manage compliance in-house? Did you already know about the laws that we addressed? Do they apply to your business? As a reminder, PEOs are up to date on ALL employment laws and regulations (both state and federal) and with a co-employment relationship comes peace of mind.  If you don’t want to memorize an endless list of everchanging regulations, or, you’re unsure about some of the specifics and how they apply to your business, the co-employment relationship may be for you!

Employment Law 101- What is SWDA?

Introduced in 1976, the SWDA (Solid Waste and Disposal Act) is one of the many laws that fall under OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Act). This Act protects workers against retaliation in the event that they complain to fellow employees, unions, OSHA, or other government organizations about the unsafe or unsanitary conditions of their workplace.

The SWDA is also called the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) and provides technical and financial assistance for facilities that recover energy and other resources from discarded materials. It helps regulate the management of hazardous waste.  Under this Act, whistleblowers are protected from discrimination; they may not be transferred, denied a raise, be fired, or punished.

How a PEO Protects:

Regardless of what industry your company is in, employers are required by law to provide their employees with a safe work environment. Even one slip up or unsanitary working condition can be a violation of OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) standards.

So how does an employer stay up to date with all of the requirements under the OSHA standards AND keep their employees safe?  The answer is simple: hire cost-effective and highly knowledgeable professionals—people that do this all the time! Many professional employer organizations (PEOs) allow you to outsource the OSHA compliance issues AND liabilities.

PEOs are familiar with the specific OSHA standards, and are great at communicating, reducing risk, and staying up to date with compliance. They can even perform inspections to make sure business is being conducted safely at all times.

Congratulations!  You’ve made it through 5 weeks of Employment Law 101. Compliance can quickly become a full time job, especially when you are responsible for numerous employees. To learn more about qualified PEOs in your area that can help offload stress and ensure workplace compliance, contact us.

America’s Most Dangerous Jobs: How a PEO Protects!

October 17th, 2011

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ annual report on workplace fatalities, 4,547 people died on the job in 2010. Although this number is slightly lower than 2009, the rate of fatal injury across all occupations is still 3.5 per 100,000 workers!

Occupations with the highest rate of fatal work injuries (deaths per 100,000 workers) are as follows:

  1. Fishers and related fishing workers: 116
  2. Logging workers: 91.9
  3. Aircraft pilots and flight engineers: 70.6
  4. Farmers and ranchers: 41.4
  5. Mining machine operators: 38.7
  6. Roofers: 32.4
  7. Refuse and recyclable materials collectors: 29.8
  8. Driver/sales workers and truck drivers: 21.8
  9. Industrial machinery installation, repair and maintenance workers: 20.3
  10. Police and sheriff’s officers: 18.0

 

Some industries are clearly much more dangerous than others, but regardless of what industry you’re in, employers are required by law to provide their employees with a safe work environment. Even one accident in your place of employment can be a violation of OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) standards.

So how does an employer stay up to date with all of the requirements under the OSHA standards? What if the standards require employee training in a specific language and environment?  The answer is simple: hire cost-effective and highly knowledgeable professionals—people that do this all the time! Many professional employer organizations (PEOs) allow you to outsource the OSHA compliance issues AND liabilities. PEOs are familiar with the specific OSHA standards, and are great at communicating, reducing risk, and staying up to date with compliance. They can even perform inspections to make sure business is being conducted safely at all times.

You certainly want to select a PEO that is most qualified for your organization’s specific needs, and has a strong background and experience. Even if safety training is in accordance with the OSHA standards, it needs to be delivered in a manner that employees can understand. For example, classes may need to be conducted in a language other than English for employees who speak limited English. If an employee is illiterate, it is a violation of OSHA standards to send the employee home to read the safety procedures or operators manual if they are going to have someone else read it to them.

OSHA is going to check safety and training records, and will even ask employees about specific information covered pertaining to their job. It is important to make sure training is conducted professionally and will pass an inspection. Protecting your employees, and protecting your business, is a lot easier with a PEO. To learn more about qualified PEOs in your area, contact us.