Showing posts with label workplace safety. Show all posts
Showing posts with label workplace safety. Show all posts

Tuesday, March 12, 2024

President Biden’s proposed 2025 federal budget offers a lot for employers to chew on

If you want to learn about a government's priorities, trace the money. 

President Biden's proposed federal budget for FY 2025 contains significant funding that would impact the workplace.

Wednesday, July 19, 2023

Are we really still talking about masks?

In-N-Out burgers are mid. Its employment practices are even worse.  

The restaurant chain is prohibiting employees in five states from wearing masks unless they receive a medical note from a doctor. 

The new rules apply to employees in five red or purple states — Arizona, Colorado, Nevada, Texas and Utah. Meanwhile, employees in two blue states — Oregon and California — may still opt to wear a mask as long as it's a company-approved N95. 

According to a company-wide memo, these new rule are designed to "emphasize the importance of customer service and the ability to show our Associates' smiles and other facial features." 

Thursday, April 13, 2023

Do you know how to spot an employee at risk for mass violence?

Before Connor Sturgeon left his home with gun to travel to his place of employment, Old National Bank, to open fire in an assault that that killed five and injured eight others, he wrote a note to loved ones. He had also apparently told others that he was suicidal. This was just the most recent in a string of never-ending workplace tragedies.

Prior to Monday, were there any signals to anyone at Old National Bank that Sturgeon was about to be a major problem, that he could kill those with whom he worked in spectacular and tragic fashion?

Sturgeon was a banker with no criminal history. Still, even without a history of criminal violence in one's background (which isn't necessarily a predictor of future violence) there are certain warning signs for which an employer can look to help determine whether an employee is at risk for potential violence.

Thursday, March 16, 2023

6th Circuit confirms that private employers can do private employer things

Four employees of the J.M. Smucker Company sought religious exemptions from the company's Covid vaccine mandate. When the company refused, they sued, claiming that the mandate infringed on their First Amendment religious liberties.

The 6th Circuit easily concluded that the 1st Amendment does not apply to J.M. Smucker or limits its power to regulate its workplace as it is a private company, not a federal, state, or local government.

Wednesday, January 4, 2023

Just because the law may not require first aid training in your workplace doesn’t mean it’s not a good idea

There is no law or regulation that requires employers to have a person or persons trained to provide first aid in the workplace. Instead, OSHA's standards (here and here) merely require that an employer ensure prompt first aid treatment for injured employees, either by ensuring that emergency treatment services are within a reasonable proximity of the worksite, or by providing for the availability of a trained first aid provider at the worksite. 

Tuesday, January 3, 2023

Do you know what to do when an employee suffers a severe accident at work?

It was like nothing we've ever seen in a televised sporting event … and hope we never see again. 

During last night's Monday Night Football game, 24-year-old Bills safety Damar Hamlin suffered a cardiac arrest while making a hard but routine tackle. He received CPR on the field for 10 minutes in front of his teammates and a full stadium of fans before being transported by ambulance to a local hospital. Those 10 minutes almost certainly saved his life. He is currently sedated and listed in critical condition. We all continue to pray for his health and recovery.

Do you know what to do if one of your employees suffers a severe accident on the job?

Thursday, August 18, 2022

How do you respond when your employees are threatened?

Boston Children's Hospital has a scary situation on its hand. Its hospital staff has received aggressive phone calls, emails, and death threats. It's all in reaction to inaccurate information posted on conservative websites and shared across social media about its transgender surgery program.

The allegations are that its medical staff performs hysterectomies on girls under the age of 18. In reality, the hospital performs hysterectomies on patients age 18 and older, but not on children.

Boston Children's began treating transgender youth in 1998 and opened the first trans health program in the U.S. for adolescents in 2007.

Thursday, June 16, 2022

The 7th nominee for the “Worst Employer of 2022” is … the murder enabler

"It is with a deep sadness and a heavy heart I share one of our students, Riley Whitelaw, passed away over the weekend. Currently, we are unable to share additional information."

That was the introduction from a letter Air Academy HS Principal Dan Olson sent to students last week.

As you can imagine, the "additional information" is heartbreaking.

Riley Whitelaw, age 16, worked at a local Walgreens. According to KKTV 11 News, last year she told store managers that a coworker, Joshua Johnson (age 28), was making advances towards her that made her uncomfortable. On June 11 a manager discovered Ms. Whitelaw dead on the floor of the breakroom with neck injuries and covered in blood. Johnson is currently in custody on first-degree murder charges.

Tuesday, June 14, 2022

Ohio decides arming teachers is the solution to mass shootings in schools; Ohio is very wrong

Yesterday, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine signed a new law that will lower the training hours school personnel to be armed from about 700 hours to a mere 24 hours — four for scenario-based training plus 20 for first-aid training, school-shooting history eduction, and reunification education.

This law is the worst possible idea to solve our gun violence and school shooting epidemic. Here are six reasons why.

Wednesday, May 11, 2022

Your front-line employees are not security guards

A video made the rounds yesterday on Twitter of a mass of Best Buy employees foiling a shoplifting attempt with a stellar zone defense.

Monday, April 19, 2021

How to identify and handle an employee at risk for workplace violence

It's been four days since Brandon Hole returned to the Indianapolis FedEx facility at which previously worked and killed eight people. 

I've previously written about how to spot an employee at risk for workplace violence. And while I'm not sure FedEx could have done anything to prevent what happened here, this tragedy nevertheless is a great reminder of what employers need to do when they suspect an employee presents a risk of violence.

Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Coronavirus Update 2-24-2021: How much does it cost an employer for not following COVID-19 safety rules?

OSHA has cited a Missouri auto parts manufacturer for failing to implement and enforce coronavirus protections, which ultimately lead to an employee's death. The details, from OSHA's news release.
Two machine operators … who jointly operated a press tested positive for the coronavirus just two days apart, in late August 2020. The two workers typically labored for hours at a time less than two feet apart; neither wore a protective facial mask consistently. Ten days later, two more workers operating similar presses together tested positive. On Sept. 19, 2020, one of the press operators fell victim to the virus and died.
The total penalty? $15,604. For someone who died during a global pandemic because of his employer's irresponsibility

Thursday, December 12, 2019

Just because you’re out on FMLA does not grant you a license to threaten your co-workers

“Hey pussy … I’m going to get you for what you did.”

Ordinarily, if one employee confronts another employee with a threat like the one above, you’d consider it grounds for termination. Maurice Darby, however, claimed that the fact that he made the threat while out on FMLA leave constituted grounds for retaliation after his employer terminated him.

Monday, August 5, 2019

Help me understand guns

This weekend was one of the deadliest on record ever for gun violence. Dozens were killed and more injured in separate shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio.

So, today, I take a diversion from employment law to ask a simple question.

Can someone help me understand guns?

Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Do workplace bullies violate OSHA?

According to a study recently published in the Journal of Applied Psychology, bullying bosses make workplaces less safe.
Poor treatment from a boss can make employees feel that they’re not valued by a group. As a result, they can become more self-centered, leading them to occasionally forget to comply with safety rules or overlook opportunities to promote a safer work environment.

The headline made me think that if bullying contributes to an unsafe workplace, can it also violate OSHA? The answer is quite possibly yes.

Thursday, July 25, 2019

Which mental health service does the FMLA not cover?

Yesterday, I discussed our national mental health crisis, and the important role employers play in removing barriers to employees receiving the help they need. Then, I came across this post on LinkedIn, discussing a massive barrier that the FMLA institutionally imposes.

An individual suffering with a mental health issue has various treatment and therapy options available to them. For medication, one can see a psychiatrist, a primary care physician, or a nurse practitioner. For assessment and therapy, one can see a psychologist, a clinical social worker, or a licensed professional counselor.

Amazingly, however, the FMLA does not recognize one of these licensed mental health professionals as a “health care provider.”

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Employee suicide is the next big workplace safety crisis

A recent headline at caught my eye:

It’s a pretty dramatic headline, but when you drill down into the statistics, it has a lot of weight.

  • Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the U.S.
  • Between the ages of 10 and 34, however, suicide is the second leading cause of death, and the fourth leading cause of death between the ages of 35 and 54.
  • In 2017, 47,173 Americans died from suicide (more than double the number of homicide victims), and another 1.4 million attempted suicide.
  • Between 2000 and 2016, the U.S. suicide rate among adults ages 16 to 64 rose 34 percent, from 12.9 deaths for every 100,000 people to 17.3 per 100,000.
  • In 2016, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics hit a record in its 25-year tally of workplace suicides at 291, with the number gradually climbing over the prior decade.
  • The highest suicide rate among men was for workers in construction and mining jobs, with 53.2 deaths per 100,000 in 2015, up from 43.6 in 2012.
  • The highest suicide rate among women was for workers in arts, design, entertainment, sports and media, with 15.6 deaths per 100,000 in 2015, up from 11.7 in 2012.

The numbers are stark and scary, and show a nation in the midst of a mental health crisis. What can employers do to recognize and mitigate this risk, and provide a safe workplace for employees in crisis?

Monday, February 18, 2019

Do you know how to spot an employee at risk for violence?

Early Friday afternoon, Henry Pratt Co. informed one of its employees, Gary Martin, of his termination. Shortly thereafter, he opened fire with a .40-caliber Smith & Wesson, killing five of his co-workers and wounding five police officers. Martin himself was the sixth casualty, killed in a shootout with police.

After the news of this tragedy broke, reports surfaced of Martin's history of violence—six prior arrests by the local police department for domestic violence, and a decades-old felony conviction for aggravated assault.

All of which begs the question, should this employer have known that Martin was prone to violence, and, if so, should it have taken added measures in connection with his termination.

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Ohio Chamber of Commerce takes the lead on fighting addiction at work with launch of its Employer Opioid Toolkit

Nearly 50,000 Americans lost their lives to opioid-related overdoses in 2016. Compare that figure to the HIV/AIDS epidemic, which recorded 43,000 deaths during its peak in 1995, or the entire Vietnam war, which saw 58,000 U.S. soldiers die.

Needless to say, our opioid problem is a national epidemic. And, Ohio sits right on the front lines, with the 3rd highest rate of annual opioid-related deaths, trailing only West Virginia and New Hampshire.

My state, however, is not taking this problem sitting down. Last week, the Ohio Chamber of Commerce launched its Employer Opioid Toolkit.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

OSHA doubles down against retaliation

OSHA has had a busy October.

First, it announced that it has delayed enforcement, until December 1, of the anti-retaliation provisions of its injury and illness tracking rule.

According to OSHA, “The anti-retaliation provisions were originally scheduled to begin Aug. 10, 2016, but were previously delayed until Nov. 10 to allow time for outreach to the regulated community.” While I hate to be appear cynical, I can’t help but think that the pending lawsuit challenging the legality of these rules has something to do with this delay.

Second, even though OSHA keeps delaying these rules, it continues its efforts to educate employers and employees about them. On October 19, OSHA published both a memorandum and example scenarios interpreting these new anti-retaliation provisions.