OSHA Introduces State-by-State Enforcement Summary

OSHA-enforcement-cases-mapThe Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has launched a web-based map page showing all enforcement cases with initial penalties totaling $40,000 or more.

Cases are listed beginning with January 2015 enforcement and are updated weekly. By clicking on the state’s abbreviation, visitors can access detailed enforcement information for that state.

Access Top Cases Map.


NOTE: The details in this blog are provided for informational purposes only. All answers are general in nature and do not constitute legal advice. If legal advice or other expert assistance is required, the services of a competent professional should be sought. The author specifically disclaims any and all liability arising directly or indirectly from the reliance on or use of this blog.
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NLRB Reverses Course on College Football Player Unionization

In a unanimous decision, the National Labor Board (NLRB) today declined to assert jurisdiction in the case involving Northwestern University football players who receive grant-in-aid scholarships.

The board did not determine if the players were statutory employees under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA). Instead, the Board exercised its discretion not to assert jurisdiction and dismissed the representation petition filed by the union.

In the decision, the board held that asserting jurisdiction would not promote labor stability due to the nature and structure of NCAA Division I Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS).

By statute the board does not have jurisdiction over state-run colleges and universities, which constitute 108 of the roughly 125 FBS teams. In addition, every school in the Big Ten, except Northwestern, is a state-run institution.

As the NCAA and conference maintain substantial control over individual teams, the board held that asserting jurisdiction over a single team would not promote stability in labor relations across the league.

This decision is narrowly focused to apply only to the players in this case and does not preclude reconsideration of this issue in the future.


NOTE: The details in this blog are provided for informational purposes only. All answers are general in nature and do not constitute legal advice. If legal advice or other expert assistance is required, the services of a competent professional should be sought. The author specifically disclaims any and all liability arising directly or indirectly from the reliance on or use of this blog.
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OSHA Emphasizes Prevention of Workplace Amputations

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has issued an updated National Emphasis Program (NEP) on Amputations.

The NEP has been in existence since 2006 and is targeted at industries with high numbers and rates of amputations. In this updated NEP, OSHA is using current enforcement data and Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) injury data to assist with site selection targeting, the same methodology used in the prior NEP.

According to the most recent BLS data, manufacturing employers reported that 2,000 workers suffered amputations in 2013. The rate of amputations in the manufacturing sector was more than twice as much (1.7 per 10,000 full-time employees) as that of all private industry (0.7). These serious injuries are preventable by following basic safety precautions.

The NEP includes a list of industries with high numbers and rates of amputations as reported to BLS.

“Workers injured from unguarded machinery and equipment can suffer permanent disability or lose their lives,” said Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health David Michaels. “This directive will help ensure that employers identify and eliminate serious workplace hazards and provide safe workplaces for all workers.”


If you own or operate a small to medium-sized business, managing all your employees plus meeting federal labor laws and regulations can be daunting, especially with new rules being issued all the time. To help you understand your rights and responsibilities in every facet of running a business, please order a copy of Personnel Concepts’ All-On-One HR Compliance Program for Small Businesses.



NOTE: The details in this blog are provided for informational purposes only. All answers are general in nature and do not constitute legal advice. If legal advice or other expert assistance is required, the services of a competent professional should be sought. The author specifically disclaims any and all liability arising directly or indirectly from the reliance on or use of this blog.
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CDC Says Uninsured Rate Falls Below 10 Percent Nationwide

In a survey that’s been conducted by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) for 50 years, for the first time the percentage of Americans without health insurance has fallen to single digits.

The CDC reported yesterday that the National Health Interview Survey showed 90.8 percent of all Americans as now having health insurance.

In previous years, the rate always topped 10 percent, sometimes reaching as high as 18 percent.

The results are based on surveys conducted between January and March of this year. The CDC plans on releasing an annual report after the end of the year.

A similar January-to-March survey in 2014, after the start of Obamacare, found that 13.1 percent of Americans were uninsured, but the full-year report pegged the number at 11.5 percent.


For the full story on how the Affordable Care Act (ACA, or Obamacare) affects your business, no matter how large or small, please obtain a copy of our comprehensive yet easy-to-follow Affordable Care Act Compliance Kit.



NOTE: The details in this blog are provided for informational purposes only. All answers are general in nature and do not constitute legal advice. If legal advice or other expert assistance is required, the services of a competent professional should be sought. The author specifically disclaims any and all liability arising directly or indirectly from the reliance on or use of this blog.
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HHS to Fund 266 New Health Centers

Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Sylvia M. Burwell has announced $169 million in Affordable Care Act (ACA) funding to 266 new health center sites in 46 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico for the delivery of comprehensive primary health care services in communities that need them most.

These new health center sites are projected to increase access to health care services for over 1.2 million patients. These awards build on the $101 million awarded to 164 new health center sites in May 2015.

“Across the country, health centers have provided a source of high-quality primary care for people in rural and urban communities for 50 years,” said Acting Deputy Secretary Mary Wakefield. “These Affordable Care Act funds build on the strong legacy of the health center program and provide even more individuals and families with access to the care they need the most.”

This investment will add to the more than 700 new health center sites that have opened as a result of the Affordable Care Act, including those awarded earlier this year. What started with one clinic in rural Mississippi and another in South Boston is today a national program that supports 1,300 community-based and patient-directed health centers with 9,000 sites serving nearly 23 million people.


For the full story on how the Affordable Care Act (ACA, or Obamacare) affects your business, no matter how large or small, please obtain a copy of our comprehensive yet easy-to-follow Affordable Care Act Compliance Kit.



NOTE: The details in this blog are provided for informational purposes only. All answers are general in nature and do not constitute legal advice. If legal advice or other expert assistance is required, the services of a competent professional should be sought. The author specifically disclaims any and all liability arising directly or indirectly from the reliance on or use of this blog.
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HHS Throws Its Hat into the Head Start Reform Ring

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has proposed the first holistic revision and complete reorganization of the Head Start Program Performance Standards since they were originally published in 1975.

A Notice of Proposed Rule Making (NPRM) has been published in the Federal Register. It includes the proposed Program Performance Standards, as well as a preamble with helpful information for context.

Please note the current Performance Standards will remain in effect until a final rule is issued.

The Office of Head Start (OHS) is accepting comments on the NPRM through Tuesday, Aug. 18.


NOTE: The details in this blog are provided for informational purposes only. All answers are general in nature and do not constitute legal advice. If legal advice or other expert assistance is required, the services of a competent professional should be sought. The author specifically disclaims any and all liability arising directly or indirectly from the reliance on or use of this blog.
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DOL Proposes Rule to Protect Religious Liberties

The Department of Labor’s Center for Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships has announced a proposed rule that would provide beneficiaries of social service programs supported by department grants — such as those enrolled in employment and training programs — with religious liberty protections while continuing to ensure equal protection of the laws for faith-based and community organizations that receive federal financial assistance and provide such services.

The proposed rule formally implements Executive Order 13559, which provides that beneficiaries or prospective beneficiaries of social service programs must be protected from discrimination based on their religion or religious beliefs, or on a refusal to attend or participate in a religious activity.

The proposed rule sets forth changes to current regulations, including:

  • Clarifying the definition of direct and indirect financial assistance so that faith-based organizations understand when certain religious liberty protections are triggered under the updated rule.
  • Clarifying activities covered by the regulations by replacing the prior term “inherently religious activities” with the term “explicitly religious activities,” and by defining the latter term as “including activities that involve overt religious content such as worship, religious instruction, or proselytization.”
  • Requiring that faith-based organizations supported with direct financial assistance from the department provide beneficiaries with a written notice informing them of a variety of religious liberty protections, including steps that must be taken to refer the beneficiary to an alternative provider, if the beneficiary requests such a provider.
  • Providing a resolution process so that beneficiaries can file complaints with the department’s Civil Rights Center about social service providers that fail to comply with applicable rules.

The public will have 60 days from the date the proposal is published in the Federal Register to provide comments on the proposed rule. The commentary period thus ends on Oct. 5.


NOTE: The details in this blog are provided for informational purposes only. All answers are general in nature and do not constitute legal advice. If legal advice or other expert assistance is required, the services of a competent professional should be sought. The author specifically disclaims any and all liability arising directly or indirectly from the reliance on or use of this blog.
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DOL, Idaho Sign Agreement on Misclassification of Workers

Officials from the Department of Labor (DOL) and the Idaho Department of Labor have signed a three-year Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) intended to protect employees’ rights by preventing their misclassification as independent contractors or other non-employee statuses. Under the agreement, both agencies may share information and coordinate law enforcement.

The MOU represents a new, combined federal and state effort to work together to protect the employees’ rights and level the playing field for responsible employers by reducing the practice of misclassification.

Idaho is the latest state agency to join this effort with the U.S. Labor Department. Alabama, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island, Texas, Utah, Washington, Wisconsin and Wyoming agencies have signed similar agreements.


If you own or operate a small to medium-sized business, managing all your employees plus meeting federal labor laws and regulations can be daunting, especially with new rules being issued all the time. To help you understand your rights and responsibilities in every facet of running a business, please order a copy of Personnel Concepts’ All-On-One HR Compliance Program for Small Businesses.



NOTE: The details in this blog are provided for informational purposes only. All answers are general in nature and do not constitute legal advice. If legal advice or other expert assistance is required, the services of a competent professional should be sought. The author specifically disclaims any and all liability arising directly or indirectly from the reliance on or use of this blog.
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OSHA Proposes New Beryllium Standard

The federal government is proposing a new standard that would dramatically lower workplace exposure to beryllium, a widely used material that can cause devastating lung diseases. The proposal would apply to an estimated 35,000 workers covered by the Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

“This proposal will save lives and help thousands of workers stay healthy and be more productive on the job,” said U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez. “We’re pleased that industry has been such a strong voice in advocating for a more rigorous standard. The proposal is strong because of unprecedented partnership between manufacturers and the United Steelworkers.”

Currently, OSHA’s eight-hour permissible exposure limit for beryllium is 2.0 micrograms per cubic meter of air. Above that level, employers must take steps to reduce the airborne concentration of beryllium. That standard was originally established in 1948 by the Atomic Energy Commission and adopted by OSHA in 1971. OSHA’s proposed standard would reduce the eight-hour permissible exposure limit to 0.2 micrograms per cubic meter. The proposed rule would also require additional protections, including personal protective equipment, medical exams, other medical surveillance and training.

(more…)


NOTE: The details in this blog are provided for informational purposes only. All answers are general in nature and do not constitute legal advice. If legal advice or other expert assistance is required, the services of a competent professional should be sought. The author specifically disclaims any and all liability arising directly or indirectly from the reliance on or use of this blog.
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EEOC Targets Employment Exam in Latest Discrimination Lawsuit

This week the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) filed a lawsuit alleging that an assisted living facility had used an “unlawful employment exam” that resulted in national original discrimination against African employees.

The lawsuit alleges that the exam for Personal Care Providers (PCPs) contained questions “known to confuse ESL [English as a second language] test-takers” that resulted in “a disproportionate percent of the African exam takers” failing the test.

Discrimination of employees on the basis of national origin is a violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The lawsuit in question is EEOC v. Columbine Management Services Inc.


If you own or operate a small to medium-sized business, managing all your employees plus meeting federal labor laws and regulations can be daunting, especially with new rules being issued all the time. To help you understand your rights and responsibilities in every facet of running a business, please order a copy of Personnel Concepts’ All-On-One HR Compliance Program for Small Businesses.



NOTE: The details in this blog are provided for informational purposes only. All answers are general in nature and do not constitute legal advice. If legal advice or other expert assistance is required, the services of a competent professional should be sought. The author specifically disclaims any and all liability arising directly or indirectly from the reliance on or use of this blog.
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