Archive for November, 2011

Client Testimonial: KPA Keeps Laria Chevrolet Compliant

Wednesday, November 23rd, 2011


Laria Chevrolet is a full service dealership that serves the Akron, Ohio area. The family owned business has been a client of KPA’s environmental health and safety (EHS) service since 2010. Tom Prather, Service Manager at Laria talks about how KPA keeps his dealership compliant. Tom states, “The biggest thing is, [that with KPA] we have employees that are trained on safety”, “We simply cannot do without someone like KPA coming in and help us.”

 

Find out what more clients are saying about KPA at
http://www.kpaonline.com/clients

 

2012 Pension Plan Limitations

Monday, November 21st, 2011

The Internal Revenue Service has announced cost of living adjustments affecting dollar limitations for pension plans and other retirement-related items for Tax Year 2012. In general, many of the pension plan limitations will change for 2012 because the increase in the cost-of-living index met the statutory thresholds that trigger their adjustment. However, other limitations will remain unchanged.

Summary:

 

The elective deferral (contribution) limit for employees who participate in 401(k), 403(b), most 457 plans, and the federal government’s Thrift Savings Plan is increased from $16,500 to $17,000.

•The catch-up contribution limit for those aged 50 and over remains unchanged at $5,500.

•The deduction for taxpayers making contributions to a traditional IRA is phased out for singles and heads of household who are covered by a workplace retirement plan and have modified adjusted gross incomes (AGI) between $58,000 and $68,000, up from $56,000 and $66,000 in 2011. For married couples filing jointly, in which the spouse who makes the IRA contribution is covered by a workplace retirement plan, the income phase-out range is $92,000 to $112,000, up from $90,000 to $110,000. For an IRA contributor who is not covered by a workplace retirement plan and is married to someone who is covered, the deduction is phased out if the couple’s income is between $173,000 and $183,000, up from $169,000 and $179,000.

•The AGI phase-out range for taxpayers making contributions to a Roth IRA is $173,000 to $183,000 for married couples filing jointly, up from $169,000 to $179,000 in 2011. For singles and heads of household, the income phase-out range is $110,000 to $125,000, up from $107,000 to $122,000. For a married individual filing a separate return who is covered by a retirement plan at work, the phase-out range remains $0 to $10,000.

•The AGI limit for the saver’s credit (also known as the retirement savings contributions credit) for low-and moderate-income workers is $57,500 for married couples filing jointly, up from $56,500 in 2011; $43,125 for heads of household, up from $42,375; and $28,750 for married individuals filing separately and for singles, up from $28,250.

 The limitation on the annual benefit under a defined benefit plan under section 415(b)(1)(A) is increased from $195,000 to $200,000.

The limitation for defined contribution plans under Section 415(c)(1)(A) is increased in 2012 from $49,000 to $50,000.

The limitation under Section 402(g)(1) on the exclusion for elective deferrals described in Section 402(g)(3) is increased from $16,500 to $17,000.

The annual compensation limit under Sections 401(a)(17), 404(l), 408(k)(3)(C), and 408(k)(6)(D)(ii) is increased from $245,000 to $250,000.

The dollar limitation under Section 416(i)(1)(A)(i) concerning the definition of key employee in a top-heavy plan is increased from $160,000 to $165,000.

The dollar amount under Section 409(o)(1)(C)(ii) for determining the maximum account balance in an employee stock ownership plan subject to a 5 year distribution period is increased from $985,000 to $1,015,000, while the dollar amount used to determine the lengthening of the 5 year distribution period is increased from $195,000 to $200,000.

The limitation used in the definition of highly compensated employee under Section 414(q)(1)(B) is increased from $110,000 to $115,000.

The dollar limitation under Section 414(v)(2)(B)(i) for catch-up contributions to an applicable employer plan other than a plan described in Section 401(k)(11) or Section 408(p) for individuals aged 50 or over remains unchanged at $5,500. The dollar limitation under Section 414(v)(2)(B)(ii) for catch-up contributions to an applicable employer plan described in Section 401(k)(11) or Section 408(p) for individuals aged 50 or over remains unchanged at $2,500.

The annual compensation limitation under Section 401(a)(17) for eligible participants in certain governmental plans that, under the plan as in effect on July 1, 1993, allowed cost of living adjustments to the compensation limitation under the plan under Section 401(a)(17) to be taken into account, is increased from $360,000 to $375,000.

The compensation amount under Section 408(k)(2)(C) regarding simplified employee pensions (SEPs) remains unchanged at $550.

The limitation under Section 408(p)(2)(E) regarding SIMPLE retirement accounts remains unchanged at $11,500.

The limitation on deferrals under Section 457(e)(15) concerning deferred compensation plans of state and local governments and tax-exempt organizations is increased from $16,500 to $17,000.

The compensation amounts under Section 1.61 21(f)(5)(i) of the Income Tax Regulations concerning the definition of “control employee” for fringe benefit valuation purposes is increased from $95,000 to $100,000. The compensation amount under Section 1.61 21(f)(5)(iii) is increased from $195,000 to $205,000.

The adjusted gross income limitation under Section 25B(b)(1)(A) for determining the retirement savings contribution credit for married taxpayers filing a joint return is increased from $34,000 to $34,500; the limitation under Section 25B(b)(1)(B) is increased from $36,500 to $37,500; and the limitation under Sections 25B(b)(1)(C) and 25B(b)(1)(D), is increased from $56,500 to $57,500.

The adjusted gross income limitation under Section 25B(b)(1)(A) for determining the retirement savings contribution credit for taxpayers filing as head of household is increased from $25,500 to $25,875; the limitation under Section 25B(b)(1)(B) is increased from $27,375 to $28,125; and the limitation under Sections 25B(b)(1)(C) and 25B(b)(1)(D), is increased from $42,375 to $43,125.

The adjusted gross income limitation under Section 25B(b)(1)(A) for determining the retirement savings contribution credit for all other taxpayers is increased from $17,000 to $17,250; the limitation under Section 25B(b)(1)(B) is increased from $18,250 to $18,750; and the limitation under Sections 25B(b)(1)(C) and 25B(b)(1)(D), is increased from $28,250 to $28,750.

The deductible amount under § 219(b)(5)(A) for an individual making qualified retirement contributions remains unchanged at $5,000.

The applicable dollar amount under Section 219(g)(3)(B)(i) for determining the deductible amount of an IRA contribution for taxpayers who are active participants filing a joint return or as a qualifying widow(er) is increased from $90,000 to $92,000. The applicable dollar amount under Section 219(g)(3)(B)(ii) for all other taxpayers (other than married taxpayers filing separate returns) is increased from $56,000 to $58,000. The applicable dollar amount under Section 219(g)(7)(A) for a taxpayer who is not an active participant but whose spouse is an active participant is increased from $169,000 to $173,000.

The adjusted gross income limitation under Section 408A(c)(3)(C)(ii)(I) for determining the maximum Roth IRA contribution for married taxpayers filing a joint return or for taxpayers filing as a qualifying widow(er) is increased from $169,000 to $173,000. The adjusted gross income limitation under Section 408A(c)(3)(C)(ii)(II) for all other taxpayers (other than married taxpayers filing separate returns) is increased from $107,000 to $110,000.

The dollar amount under Section 430(c)(7)(D)(i)(II) used to determine excess employee compensation with respect to a single-employer defined benefit pension plan for which the special election under section 430(c)(2)(D) has been made is increased from $1,014,000 to $1,039,000.

Internal Revenue Service. (2011). IRS Announces Pension Plan Limitations for 2012 (IR-2011-103, Oct 20, 2011) Washington, DC: .http://www.irs.gov/newsroom/article/0,,id=248482,00.html

Federal Judge Rules in Favor of Business on Meal and Break Laws

Friday, November 18th, 2011

In the latest ruling on meal and break laws, a federal judge in the Southern District of California ruled in Favor of Penske Logistics. According to this decision, meals and rest breaks are not covered under wage laws. That means that meal and break laws for the transportation industry as defined by individual states are superseded by FAAA laws, requiring that a state:

“may not enact or enforce a law, regulation, or other provision having the force and effect of law related to a price, route, or service of any motor carrier … or any motor private carrier, broker, or freight forwarded with respect to the transportation of property.”

Employer’s Bottom Line:

This court’s decision is encouraging for California employers who fit within the definition of “motor carriers.” However, it is too early to tell whether it may be relied upon because it is likely that the order will be reviewed on appeal.

 

You can read more about the case at our partner’s page:

http://www.fordharrison.com/shownews.aspx?show=7703

Quick Take: 6H Rule Explained for Autobody Shops

Thursday, November 17th, 2011


This video by KPA Field Engineer, Lori Matthews explains what the EPA’s 6H rule means for autobody shops. The rule is intended to reduce the public’s exposure of HAP’s that are generated from paint stripping and/or surface coating operations.  There are six parts to the rule:

  • Training
  • Paint gun selection
  • Spray gun cleaning
  • Spray enclosures
  • Notification to the EPA
  • Recordkeeping

The point:

Compliance with the 6H law is manageable. There are six parts to remember, and some important deadlines to keep. Contact your KPA field engineer if you have any questions, and check your progress with this helpful 6H Rule Compliance Checklist.

General Duty Clause in Plain English

Monday, November 14th, 2011


The General Duty Clause explained for dealerships and service centers by an OSHA enforcement expert. This video covers how dealerships get cited for General Duty Clause violations, and how to identify and address issues before they become citations. General Duty Clause is one of the top OSHA violations for 2011.

Our engineers have found some rather unusual instances of general duty clause issues at dealerships. How does you facility identify and address general duty clause issues?

Let’s Make Every Day “Hire a Veteran Day”

Friday, November 11th, 2011

Today is Veterans Day.  Make today more meaningful by committing your company  to proactively recruit and hire veterans throughout the year. Our veterans have a higher than the already unacceptably high rate of unemployment or are under employed, although they have the proven commitment, skills and training to make a positive impact on the private sector workplace.  Tax credits of $5600 to $9600 will soon be available to companies that hire veterans.  This is truly a case where employers can do well by doing good. The Veterans Job Bank can connect veteran job seekers and employers, learn more at https://www.nationalresourcedirectory.gov/home/veterans_job_bank .

Thank you to all our veterans and to our active duty military personnel for your service to our country.

Beaten on the job: get tough gloves

Thursday, November 10th, 2011

Browsing through the news emails this morning, I thought it’s an interesting (funny?) coincidence how the SafetyNewsAlert.com placed one of their top stories next to sponsored content. It almost suggests that if you get beaten on the job you should get a pair of these gloves. As a provider of Human Resource Management services and expert advice, we definitely do not recommend this, and we’re pretty sure that this wasn’t the intention of Safety News Alert.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Safety Alert: Multiple Brands Recalled from First Aid Kits

Wednesday, November 9th, 2011

Recently, agents from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) visited one of our clients to inspect first aid kits for recalled items.

This inspection was part of a larger reaction to recalls from H&P industries and their sister company, Triad Group. An FDA report on the company says there have been a total of at least 10 deaths reported to the agency in the wake of a recall of contaminated products. It is believed that the deaths were related to serious hospital stays, not simply using a product from a first aid kit.

That being said, we strongly recommend removing any Alcohol Prep Pads, Alcohol Swabs, and Alcohol Swabsticks (alcohol product recall earlier this year), and Povidone Iodine products that can be traced back to this manufacturer. Consumers that have any of these types of products in their possession should not use the product and should return it to the place it was purchased. These products are usually re-branded with one of the following name brands:

Recalled Brands

 Albertson’s  Good Neighbor Pharmacy Select Medical Products
 American Fare  Good Sense Smart Sense
 Amerinet  Kmart Total Resources
 Amerisource Bergen  Leader Triad
 Boca/ Ultilet  Major Triad-Triadine
 Cardinal Health  Medical Specialties Triad Plus
 Chain Drug Consortium  Meijer VersaPro
 Conzellin  Moore Medical VHA
 CVS  North Safety Walgreens
 Equaline  Nova Plus Winn Dixie- Medic
 Fred’s  Premiere Value
 PSS Select  Atware Carey First Aid Kits

Does the Respiratory Protection Standard Apply to You?

Friday, November 4th, 2011

Reading through the 124 pages of OSHA’s new publication, Small Entity Compliance Guide for the Respiratory Protection Standard, there are a few helpful things for dealerships and service centers. Here is one of them. Use this handy checklist to determine if you actually need a respiratory protection plan.

CHECKLIST FOR PERMISSIBLE PRACTICE

Hazard Determination
Is there a hazardous atmosphere in your workplace, which has (check all that apply):

 

If you did not check any of the boxes above, the Respiratory Protection standard does not apply to your workplace. If you checked any of the boxes above, the Respiratory Protection standard may apply to your workplace. OSHA requires use of the following methods to control the hazardous atmosphere(s) in your workplace:

If you did not check both of the boxes above, the Respiratory Protection standard does apply to your workplace, and you must develop a written respiratory protection program that is specific to your workplace.

Sexual Harassment Is No Joke

Friday, November 4th, 2011

Sexual harassment continues to be  a very costly issue in the workplace.   The most recent high-profile incidents involve presidential candidate Herman Cain.  While  CEO of the National Restaurant Association, Cain was accused of harassment and the association provided monetary settlements to several women.   Mr. Cain remarked that “I do have a sense of humor, and some people have a problem with that,”  after the harassment allegations first surfaced, explaining how his actions may have been misconstrued.   All kidding aside, sexual harassment is no joke.  Resolving sexual harassment claims is expensive. Beyond attorney fees and settlement costs, harassment impacts morale and productivity, damages your company’s brand and reputation and limits your ability to hire and retain employees.

It is more cost-effective to take a proactive approach and prevent sexual harassment rather than settle claims.  Watch this 3 minutue video to learn the three steps every business should be taking to prevent sexual harassment in the workplace.