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Workplace Safety and Health Law Blog

Posts in employer policies and handbooks.

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.

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?

We’re going to comment on the numerous policies and rules which must be revised because of the NLRB’s many changes last year; especially during December 2014. Today, we’ll briefly discuss email.

I saw some really good posts on forklift safety last week and want to share them below. Much like fall-protection and struck-bys in construction, the distribution and manufacturing employer cannot focus too much on forklift and pallet jack safety and compliance. Although related, strict compliance with the OSHA standards will not guarantee no accidents and well trained operators will not protect one from citations for missing a daily inspection, inadequate evaluation of an operator for a particular machine, or for failure to retrain an operator after an accident. The wise employer always thinks about both parallel tracks ... "safety" and "compliance."

Yesterday I shared a link to a post discouraging managers and employees from drinking at parties and in fact use the conversations where you are the sober one. Today, I am linking to a "kind-of" contrarian view from another wonderful writer, who argues that one should use drinking at company parties as a way to build a better reputation and relationships within the company. Enjoy!

Almost 4.1 million employees missed work due to illness last January, which was the most since 2008. Even worse, the four-month peak season lasted through March, so the numbers continued to add up. Some years, absences during that four-month period ran at 3.8 million a month, for a whopping total of 15+ million absences. Remember news outlets carrying stories in January 2013 about the City of Boston declaring a state of public-health emergency and of Chicago hospitals having to send flu patients to other hospitals?

I recently read an article stating that over one-half of 250 HR respondents thought that the traditional employee survey is dead. Most respondents felt that the future of employer research was “qualitative” rather than “quantitative,” and 80% believe that mobile technology will become the most common way for employees to voice their opinions.

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.

I am writing this post as I sit on a bench in front of a Homewood Suites. As I sat working on documents, I struck up a conversation with an employee who was emptying the trash and straightening up outside. I’ll call him “Nate.” One could and should use Nate’s example to train professionals, including members of my benighted species, lawyers. His customer service attitude translates to professionalism and engagement in countless areas of "legal" responsibilities.

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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