Archive for November, 2009

Department of Labor hires 250 new wage and hour investigators

Tuesday, November 24th, 2009

U.S. Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis recently issued a statement regarding the increased enforcement of the department’s Wage and Hour Division, announcing that she “hired an additional 250 new wage and hour investigators, a staff increase of more than one third, to ensure that we promptly respond to complaints and can undertake more targeted enforcement.”

Apart from the question if you agree with the need for this or not; what are you going to do about it? Do you need to do something? One suggestion: listen to one of KPA’s webinars by labor and employment lawyers from Ford & Harrison and Fine, Boggs & Perkins.

Who needs DOT training?

Thursday, November 19th, 2009

Sounds like a simple question and you would expect a simple answer, doesn’t it? Yet, the reality is that many employees and employers alike don’t know the answer. Or worse, because they cannot readily find the answer, they assume they don’t need it. Unfortunately, in many cases they are required by DOT to have training.

Let’s review a few definitions and requirements.

Question: what defines a “hazmat employee”?

Answer: a hazmat employee is a person who is employed by a hazmat employer and who in the course of employment directly affects hazardous materials transportation safety. This term includes an individual, including a self-employed individual, employed by a hazmat employer who, in the course of employment: (1) Loads, unloads, or handles hazardous materials; (2) Manufactures, tests, reconditions, or repairs, modifies, marks, or otherwise represents containers, drums, or packages as qualified for use in the transportation of hazardous materials; (3) Prepares hazardous materials for transportation; (4) Is responsible for safety of transporting hazardous materials; or (5) Operates a vehicle used to transport hazardous materials.

Question: who needs DOT hazmat training?

Answer: all hazmat employees require training including the following: (1) General awareness/familiarization training, and (2) Function-specific training.

Question: when and how often do I need training?

Answer: Initial training by a new hazmat employee, or a hazmat employee who changes job functions must be completed within 90 days after employment or a change in job function. Recurring training is required at least once every three years.

Check out the DOT regulations for the 49 CFR, Part 172, Subpart H regulations or the website of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration for a less formal and more readable explanation.

OSHA’s Top Most Cited Violations

Thursday, November 12th, 2009

EHS Today published an article on October 29 about the Top 10 Most Cited Violations for 2009. According to Richard Fairfax, director of OSHA’s directorate of enforcement programs, 81 percent of the violations OSHA recorded throughout the year were either serious or willful violations. The number of top 10 violations has increased almost 30 percent over the same time period in 2008.

We though you may find it interesting to see the top 10 for Auto Dealers:

  1. Hazard Communication
  2. Electrical safety requirements
  3. General Duty Clause
  4. Personal Protective Equipment
  5. Spray finishing using flammable and combustible materials
  6. Abrasive wheel machinery
  7. Respiratory Protection
  8. Portable fire extinguishers
  9. Exit routes, emergency action plans and fire prevention plans
  10. Machinery and Machine Guarding

Consistent with inspections by KPA’s engineers and registrations in dashboards, OSHA found that by far the most common violations by Auto Dealers are related to hazard communication. Details of OSHA requirements are outlined in OSHA’s Inspection Procedures for Hazard Communication Standards. Violations include deficiencies in chemical inventories, written hazard communication program, material data sheets (MSDS), and employee training.