Archive | August 2012

OSHA Safety Standards

Safety has become an increasingly important issue for business.  Many employers are experiencing fewer workplace injuries than at former times, and some openly market their safety record.  There is significant guidance for many situations including many industry-specific rules.  OSHA employers must also follow OSHA’s general duty clause.  This clause states that the employer must make the workplace “free of recognized hazards that are causing or likely to cause death or serious physical harm.”  Not only can this rule be cited along with industry-specific rules, it also applies when there is no specific rule in place.  But for a violation, a feasible and useful way to correct the danger must exist.

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Department of Labor Work Sharing

The Department of Labor has issued a guidance to state agencies on a new program for short-time unemployment compensation or “work sharing.”  Saying the program is a win-win, Secretary Solis stated, “This program will provide more flexibility to workers and employers so they may more efficiently and effectively weather the ups and downs of the economy.”

Work sharing allows employers to avoid layoffs through reduction of hours for a group of affected workers.  Those eligible workers can receive a portion of their weekly unemployment compensation payments while keeping their jobs.  More information is available on the DOL website at http://wdr.doleta.gov/directives/corr_doc.cfm?DOCN=9382.

Accessibility Requirements Under ADA

The new ADA accessibility standards are in place, with most having become effective March 15.   The standards, found in the 2010 ADA Standards for Accessible Design, were originally announced in the summer of 2010 with regulations published during September 2010 in the Federal Register.  These standards cover hotels, bars, stores, museums, schools, and eateries—in fact, most buildings that are open to the public.  Among other requirements, they provide that counters and shelves be set no higher than four feet high along with reachable objects like fire alarms and add to the number of designated handicap parking spaces for vans.