Archive for March, 2012

Is your Safety Incentive Program Illegal?

Friday, March 30th, 2012


In a recent memo sent to OSHA regional administrators and whistleblower program managers, Deputy Assistant Secretary Richard Fairfax gives a general warning to businesses against tying management or supervisory bonuses to lower reported injury rates. The memo also clarifies four areas where businesses often have policies and practices that discourage reporting and could constitute unlawful discrimination against employees for reporting injuries.

Make sure that your company policy does not include any of these practices or policies.


1. Policies that take disciplinary action against employees who are injured on the job, regardless of circumstance.

2. Policies or practices that discipline employees who report an injury or illness, and the stated reason is that the employee has violated an employer rule about the time or manner for reporting injuries and illnesses. This section also applies where the employer’s reporting requirements are unreasonable, unduly burdensome, or enforced with unjustifiably harsh sanctions.

3. Policies that discipline an employee for reporting an injury, on the grounds that the injury resulted from the employee violating a company safety rule. An indication that a policy is unlawful is if the employer does not monitor for compliance with the work rule in the absence of an injury.

4. Programs that unintentionally or intentionally provide employees an incentive to not report injuries. For example, an employer might enter all employees who have not been injured in the previous year in a drawing to win a prize, or a team of employees might be awarded a bonus if no one from the team is injured over some period of time.

The full memo is posted by OSHA at this link.

Employer Safety Incentive and Disincentive Policies and Practices Memorandum

How OSHA’s Final Rule on Hazard Communication Changes Your Safety Program

Thursday, March 29th, 2012

As the dust settles around OSHA’s final rule on Hazard Communication, it is easy to see how this is going to affect safety programs at small businesses in the automotive industry. This final rule will become effective, in part, on June 26, 2012, with a built-in transition period and a fully effective date of June 1, 2016.

The standard changes OSHA’s current hazard communication requirements to conform to the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals (GHS) and international trade laws. There are three parts of OSHA’s Hazard Communication Requirement that will be affected: system-labels, SDSs, and employee training.


Part of the new requirement mandates that labels will contain a signal word, pictogram, hazard statement and precautionary statement for each hazard class and category. Labels will also have to disclose voluntary threshold limit values (TLVs) established by the American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH). They will also disclose carcinogen status from nationally and internationally recognized lists of carcinogens.

Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) becomes Safety Data Sheets (SDS)

Under the new rule, hazards will be communicated through a set of 16 hazard categories, including a new category of hazards – “Hazards Not Otherwise Classified” and labels will also include combustible dust in the definition of “hazardous chemical.”

Employee Training

Employee training will have to be updated so that employees are knowledgeable about the new system labeling requirements and new hazard classifications. The training requirement will go into effect December of 2013.

The final standard can be found on OSHA’s website. Compliance guidance on the new standard, including Highlights and FAQOSHA Fact Sheet and OSHA Quick Cards, can be found on the agency’s website as well.

What’s your take on the changes to the hazard communication standard? Is your safety program ready for this new rule? Leave a comment and share your thoughts with the KPA blog community.


Social Hiring

Friday, March 23rd, 2012

Dealers have embraced social media to sell more cars and generate more business in the service drive but most lag in using social media to hire the best employees. The very same things that drive customers to your site and “close” the deal can be used to bring in higher quality applicants for your open positions.
1) The average career page on dealer website is buried and if an applicant does manage to find it the content is less than compelling. Update that page with a video of real employees explaining why they love working at your dealership. List the benefits of working for your company. Have a unique page for each new job opening (and remember not to re-post the same job over and over but instead update and improve content each time you re-post). Don’t forget to use your company name in the page title. If you just use “Senior Service Tech” as the page title you are competing and losing with the job boards. Don’t forget a Meta tag. Nothing new here in good SEO practices but usually forgotten when it comes to the “career page”.
2) Employee referrals are a great source of quality applicants and good employees- so do you encourage your employees to post job opening at your dealership on their Facebook page? If you don’t (and also offer a referral bonus) then you are missing out. Encourage employees to tweet job opening too. If you don’t have a separate career Facebook page, get one.
3) Create a social media policy and have all employees sign it. Employees can be your best brand ambassadors and recruiting sources- but they need guidelines on what is acceptable and what is not acceptable. Given that 90% of hiring managers and recruiters say they use social media and 68% say they have not hired a person due to information they found on the internet it’s critical you have a policy. Most employees:
• Don’t know that they owe you duty of loyalty when they’re off the clock.
• Don’t understand the nature of social media.
•  Don’t realize that the Federal Trade Commission has a requirement regarding disclosure when employees recommend products or services provided by an employer.
Social media is not just a tool for selling cars. It’s just as powerful in workforce management.   Here’s an excellent infographic from Guru on social hiring.

Social Hiring


Don’t Miss Tomorrow’s Webinar: Social Media & Fixed Ops: Your Hidden Gold Mine

Tuesday, March 20th, 2012

Already close to 200 registrations for tomorrow’s webinar with guest speaker Kathi Cruse. Don’t miss this one!

Can’t attend? Don’t worry, we’ll record it, and after the presentation, we’ll send all registrations a link to the recorded webinar.


Social Media & Fixed Ops: Your Hidden Gold Mine 


Date:   Wednesday, March 21st, 2012 

Time:   9am PST / 12 noon EST 


How to Attract Visitors, Build Genuine Fans and Generate Leads 

Join us for a fascinating Webinar on the new Social Economy and how to create more business in the Service Drive.  Studies show there’s never been more pressure on Fixed Ops to capture business from after-market service providers.  Social Media helps you leverage your already-existing customer database and foster repeat business. 84% of consumers say a referral from friends & family influences their decision. Word-of-mouth has always been the preferred way your customers want to buy. Social Media is word-of-mouth…digitized.

In this timely Webinar you’ll learn how retail automotive has shifted toward the Social customer and what that means for the Fixed Ops in 2012. We’ll discuss “best practices” for marketing on Social and other platforms and how to maintain a great online reputation. We’ll also discuss:
• Powerful ways to grow Fixed Ops using the optimal platforms for Social business.
• The risks of ignoring your online ratings and what you can do about it.
• Importance of developing staff to support your Social Media strategy.

We’ll be hearing from Kathi Kruse, automotive Social Media expert and Founder of Kruse Control Inc., a leading Social Media coaching & training company with 30 years in the car business!

Don’t miss this Webinar! You’ll takeaway valuable information that you will use immediately! The Social economy is here. Register now.

How to Engage Employees for Maximum Productivity

Monday, March 19th, 2012

Engaged employees are productive employees. This video explains how a manager can work with their team to increase productivity without increasing numbers in the workforce.

Driving goals of managing for productivity include real-time feedback for employees to know exactly how they are doing throughout the year, and encouraging two-way communication to instill a sense of ownership of performance for all employees.

Strategies Include

  • Critical Incident Reports
  • Open Door Policies
  • Performance planning
  • Job descriptions
  • Policies/ handbooks
  • Involving employees in overall strategic plans

Some managers use a variety of techniques to achieve optimal productivity with their workforce. What works best for you? Share your experiences with the KPA blog community by leaving a comment.




Don’t Miss Tomorrow’s Webinar: Background Screening 101: Managing the Risk of Hiring

Wednesday, March 14th, 2012

This webinar will dispense myths related to background screening and the automobile industry. Make sure to bring your tough questions to the Q&A session at the end of the webinar. John actually thinks pre-employment screening is exciting and promises a rollicking good time! In this webinar we will cover the following and more:

  • What background screening providers and data providers don’t want you to know
  •  Understanding how good your search scope really is
  •  Learn the truth about drug testing.

Click here to get more info about the webinar and register today.


When to Compensate Non-exempt Employees for Lectures, Meetings and Training Programs

Wednesday, March 14th, 2012

Many of our clients seek clarification regarding training pay and when they are required to compensate non-exempt employees for the lectures, meetings, and trainings they attend. The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) requires employers to compensate employees for all hours worked.  Hours worked ordinarily includes all time during which an employee is required to be on the Company’s premises, on duty, or at a prescribed workplace. Any hour that an employee works on behalf of the Company, or that the Company knows or has reason to know that work is being performed by the employee, is compensable time, regardless of where the work is performed (with some limitations).

Many companies give employees opportunities to attend lectures, seminars and training programs as well as require employees to attend company meetings.  Depending on the facts of the situation, lectures, meetings and training programs may or may not be compensable. Time spent at the lecture, seminar, or training session does not have to be compensated if all of the following four conditions are met:

  1. Attendance is outside of the employee’s regular working hours
    Employees’ participation in lectures, meetings, and training takes place outside their regular work hours.
  2. Attendance is voluntary
    In order for attendance to be voluntary, the employer cannot put any pressure on the employee to attend the training. Training is not voluntary if it is required by the employer, if the employee is led to believe that not attending will adversely affect his or her present working conditions or continued employment, or if disciplinary action will be taken against the employee for not attending.
  3. The training is not directly related to the employee’s job
    If the lecture, meeting or training program is not directly related to the employee’s job because it is designed to train him or her for another job and is not intended to make the employee more efficient in his or her present job the time is non-compensable. However, if the training is designed to make the employee do his or her job more effectively or to teach him or her something he or she needs to know to do his or her present job, it is compensable.
  4. The employee does not perform any productive work during the training attendance.
    Productive work would be any work which you are able to use for your business purpose, rather than work which is for practice only and of no use to you.

If all of the above factors are not satisfied, then employers must compensate their employees for any time spent attending the lecture, meeting or training program.


Is this article helpful?

Have you had a notable experience determining if an employee’s training is compensatory? Help others learn from your experience by leaving a comment.

OSHA Announces Major Restructuring of Whistleblower Protection Program

Monday, March 12th, 2012

While OSHA’s 2012 funding remains relatively flat, the organization has proposed major budgetary shifts to the Office of the Whistleblower Protection Program (OWPP). This is part of a strategy to encourage more employees to report alleged workplace violations.

You can read the full press release at:

2012 – 03/01/2012 – US Department of Labor’s OSHA Whistleblower Protection Program moved to Office of the Assistant Secretary.

KPA’s JD Rucker Presenting at Automotive Boot Camp

Tuesday, March 6th, 2012

KPA is a key sponsor of the 3rd Annual Automotive Boot Camp that will be held in Las Vegas at the Monte Carlo Hotel, May 15-17th, 2012.

The Boot Camp is a hands-on skills based training program with over 30 workshops that cover the most important elements of automotive digital marketing strategies: social media, blogging, video, link building, content creation and SEO.

KPA’s Director of New Media, JD Rucker will teach attendees the ‘Ins and Outs’ of social media marketing and how to use the latest technology to attain new levels of targeted consumer interaction.

Registration is limited. Follow this link for the schedule, and a special discount on registration:

Automotive Boot Camp Conference – Las Vegas May 15-17th.

Getting Ready for a Safety Audit

Tuesday, March 6th, 2012

This article from EHSToday has some suggestions for service managers who like to be prepared before a third party safety audit. Although it is written for manufacturers, the short list of suggestions would be very practical for dealerships and service centers.

The Auditors Are Coming! The Auditors Are Coming!.