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Workplace Safety and Health Law Blog

Posts in employer policies.

After reading the May 8 Quest Diagnostics annual Drug Index for over 10,000,000 2017 test results, one could be forgiven for thinking that we've traveled back in time to the same problems of the 80s and 90s - rising Marijuana use, a return of cocaine, and jaw dropping increases in Meth positive results in some areas. Employer should use this data to refine their testing efforts and to rework drug policies and related procedures to reflect the increased challenges posed by new Marijuana laws and changes in drug use.

My weekly Round Up of OSHA and relevant legal developments, practical insights and news and observations relevant to Risk Managers, Safety and HR professionals, and executives interested n reducing risk and instilling leadership in the workplace. Special emphasis this week on handling OSHA witness statement demands.

The SEC recently voted to require employers to disclose the pay gap between the CEO and his or her employees. Unions, investors, and other groups have increasingly been using this disparity to attack companies. As Fortune calmly pointed out:

The rule is well intentioned. CEO pay in 2014 was an eye-popping 373 times that of an average worker, according to data compiled by the AFL-CIO, and a sharp rise from 331 times in 2013. This imbalance contributes to America’s growing wealth gap and accompanying social and political inequities. Requiring companies, especially large public corporations, to disclose how richly their CEOs are paid would provide valuable information for shareholders and possibly help the larger national debate about economic fairness. WSJ the Big Flaw in the SEC’s Pay Ratio Rule.

I’m a conservative free market, individual rights oriented, gun owning, evangelical leaning person who grew up in the hills of North Georgia. I deal with the Federal and State government every day and I believe that private organizations can better handle many government tasks. Have I established my credentials so that I can make the following statement?

Laura Stack posted an excellent INC. article, “You Can’t Stop A Polar Vortex, But You Can Be Ready For The Next One.” While I travel constantly, I live in Atlanta, so this is a visceral subject to me both as a “Catastrophe Manager” and as an Atlanta employer. When Atlanta businesses, government, and schools all decided to release everybody at the same time, I had a first hand seat to witness poor planning and decisions. My secretary got home at 2:00 a.m., my best friend at 5:00 a.m., and others slept in their cars or at Publix, Kroger and CVS stores who graciously let people sleep in the store. I was out to the wee hours rescuing people because I had a good vehicle and outdoor skills, which does not alter the fact that all of us were caught with our proverbial pants down. For a fascinating hour by hour description of Atlanta’s misfortune, complete with images of weather forecasts and communications, read “How To Prevent the Next Atlanta Snow Apocalypse” by the seasoned weather hands of Minnesota Public Radio.

Although Americans have celebrated some sort of Thanksgiving since 1661, Abraham Lincoln established Thanksgiving as a national holiday by proclamation on November 28, 1861. The Thanksgiving holiday takes on more meaning when one considers that an American people so exhausted by war, nonetheless gathered together to offer thanks.

Almost 4.1 million workers missed work last January because of illness. The peak flu season generally lasts through March, and in some years over 15 million workers have missed work due to illness during that time. These absences place a tremendous economic burden on employers and employees and their families. As a result, many states and municipalities have passed or are considering the passage of laws requiring paid sick time.

I enjoy articles that I discover in Plant Engineering because one of my (many) goals is to obtain more coordination between the safety, engineering, maintenance and purchasing functions. Management of Change (MOC) affects far more than PSM, combustible dust and guarding and interlocks. We should all try to understand the plant engineers approach and work to better integrate safety and sustainability into those decisions. The following article is one of several on Plant Engineering's site.

Fran Sepler recently posted an insightful blog, “I’m Sort of Sorry: Coaching the High Level Harasser” discussing coaching a high-level performer regarding harassment, poor behavior or insensitivity. It takes wisdom and experience to deal with an executive who controls valuable business or can fire you if your message is displeasing.

Safety Professionals do a fine job of determining the “root causes” or “contributing factors” of incidents in order to prevent the next accident. Executives might apply this analysis to employee performance issues.

Of necessity, employers often analyze performance and attitude problems from the standpoint of ensuring that a termination is legally defensible. Let’s shift our focus and try to determine the contributing factors to employee performance or judgment issues, and start with an often-overlooked contributing factor … employee fatigue.

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