Archive for May, 2010

Red Flags Enforcement -False Start (Yet Again)

Friday, May 28th, 2010

Will the FTC ever enforce the Red Flags rule? A better question is why have a rule if there is no enforcement? In the ongoing saga of will they-won’t they-  enforce the rule the answer is not today, not tomorrow and not until January 1, 2011 (maybe).

On May 28, 2010, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced that it would suspend enforcement of the Identity Theft Red Flags Rule until January 1, 2011. The Red Flags Rule was originally set to take effect on November 1, 2008, but implementation has been delayed multiple times. The substance of the Red Flag Rule will not be changed during the delay.

You can find more information about the FTC’s decision to delay implementation of the Red Flags Rule at: http://ftc.gov/opa/2010/05/redflags.shtm.

Join the conversation: After multiple delays are you enforcing Red Flags internally or just waiting to see what happens?

OSHA cites auto parts maker fot $135,900

Thursday, May 27th, 2010

OSHA has cited auto parts maker Sewon America Inc. in LaGrange, Ga., for a variety of safety violations after receiving a complaint. OSHA initiated a comprehensive inspection of the company’s facility in March. Penalties total $135,900.

Read more detail in an article posted in OH&S Magazine.

Free OSHA Quicktakes

Thursday, May 27th, 2010

I’m in a week long training class and hope to bring you some beneficial information from it - it’s the OSHA 30 HR Construction Safety.  Even though it’s construction, there are several things that I’m taking away from it that relate to the dealerships I work with.

One thing that they mentioned at the start of the class was to register on OSHA’s website for their QuickTakes emails.  It’s free and provides constant updates to what OSHA is doing.

In case you are not already registered for them, go to http://www.osha.gov/pls/quicktakes/e_subscribe.subscribe and enter your email address to subscribe to these updates.

FTC To Begin Red Flags Rule Enforcement June 1, 2010

Wednesday, May 19th, 2010

No more extensions-the FTC will begin enforcement of the Red Flags Rule on June 1, 2010.   Since the rule was to go into effect November 2008, and then the FTC delayed  enforcement in May 2009, November 2009 and June 2010, everyone should have a plan in place already; but for  those of you who have take procrastination to a new level here are some resources to ensure you are ready by the June 1 date.   

The FTC website provides how to guides, FAQ and templates and forms at http://www.ftc.gov/redflagsrule .

Review Red Flag Rule for Dealership, a KPA whitepaper at http://www.kpaonline.com/authorizedFiles/Red_Flags_Rules_Overview_wp.pdf

Join the conversation: is your Red Flags program in place?

Paid Time Off, Benefit or Requirement?

Tuesday, May 18th, 2010

With summer vacations coming up  a common question for employers and employees is “how is paid time off calcuated and when is it due?”.   While many employers offer at least some paid time off to employees,  the answer to this question may surprise you.  Employers are not required by law to provide time off for vacations, holidays or sick leave.  The Fair Labor Standards Act also does not required employers to offer meal or rest periods, however many states have regulations that do require paid meal and rest periods.  The federal Department of Labor website is a great resource for which states have laws regarding paid meal and rest periods.

While paid time off for holidays, vacations and sickness may not be required, unpaid leave is mandated for variety of circumstances under the  federal Family Medical Leave Act  (FMLA) and state specific regulations.

Join the converstation: Does your company offer paid time off?

Missing face plates on electrical outlets: $52,500 fine

Thursday, May 13th, 2010

Okay. It’s not exactly that. OSHA proposed the $52,500 penalties for four violations: a repeat violation is for failing to provide functioning safety latches on the hydraulic automobile lifts, a serious citation is for missing face plates on electrical outlets, and two other-than-serious violations are for recordkeeping deficiencies and hazard communication deficiencies. The company has 15 business days from receipt of the citations to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA’s area director, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

Two learning lessons from this press release:

(1) OSHA is STILL providing you the opportunity to reduce the fine by complying or contesting. HOWEVER, the damage is to your reputation is already done when a press release like this goes out from OSHA

(2) These violations are just a few in pretty much an end-less, and growing, list of potential violations. You can use EHS checklists but that gets you only so far.These checklists typically don’t cover the  General Duty Clause very well, and makes it virtually impossible to rely on checklists alone. For reference, the general duty clause states that “Each employer shall furnish to each of his employees employment and a place of employment which are free from recognized hazards that are causing or are likely to cause death or serious physical harm to his employees”

My advice: stop playing whac-a-mole with regulations, do a risk assessment, and engage in a formal safety program.

Hire with the HIRE Act

Saturday, May 1st, 2010

Compliance Tip of the MonthSave money when hiring with the HIRE ACT and other tax credits. If you hire a new employee who has worked less than 40 hours in the past 60 days you, the employer, will immediately improve your cash flow since you will retain the employer portion of the Social Security tax ordinarily remitted. In addition you will receive up $1,000 tax credit for each previously unemployed worker you hire. The HIRE ACT tax incentives and credits are in addition to WOTC (Work Opportunity Tax Credits) and state hiring incentive credits.