Posts Tagged ‘compliance tip of the month’

October Tip of the Month – Check the Tongue Guards on Your Grinders

Monday, October 1st, 2012

Compliance-Tip of the MonthAccording to OSHA, unsafe grinders are one of their most cited offenses. There are several common safety issues with grinders. This month, we’d like to focus your attention on the tongue guard – a small protective shield located at the top of the grinding wheel.

Each tongue guard should be positioned 1/4 inch from the wheel and the adjustment should be checked frequently. During safety inspections, we frequently find that tongue guards are missing or not adjusted properly. (See photo at right.)

The purpose of the tongue guard is to make sure that, if an object gets sucked up into the grinder, it doesn’t come back out at the top and hurt the operator. Serious injuries can occur if the guard is absent, or poorly installed.

Bench Grinder With Missing Tongue Guard

Bench grinder with missing tongue guard.

KPA Resources – How to make sure your grinders are safe:

*This poster is typical of materials provided to KPA clients. If you’re not a client, you can request more info here.

Compliance Tip of the Month: Improve Your Driving at Work

Thursday, September 1st, 2011

Compliance Tip of the MonthThirty percent of traumatic fatalities occur from employees driving on the job. If you ever talk on your cell phone while driving, follow too closely behind the vehicle in front of you, or forget to wear your seat belt, you put your life and the lives of others at risk. Just putting your ringer on silent or turning your phone off all together can greatly reduce your chances of getting in an accident.

If you or your employees drive in any capacity as part of your job, KPA’s new online Safe Driving course will help you increase the number of safety precautions you take every time you get behind the wheel. Take it today and have all new employees complete it within 30 days of hire.

A Lot of Safety on Your Lot

Sunday, May 1st, 2011

Compliance Tip of the MonthInventory lots, parking lots, and holding lots make up the backbone of your business, and need to be kept safe. Here are a few basic safety checks keep your lots up to code, and keep them safe for employees and customers. First, make sure the speed limit is posted, blind spots are eliminated, and that employees are given specific test drive routes if they leave the premises with customers as part of their job. If golf carts are part of your business, safe operating rules need to be posted in the cab of each cart.

All employees need to practice safe driving. This includes using seatbelts, and eliminating the use of cell phones while behind the wheel. All paperwork needs to be current, including safe driver training records, and DMV records.

More details are available in the May 2011 newsletter article, “Lot Safety Checklist” at

http://www.kpaonline.com/news-and-events/newsletter/compliance-newsletter-may-2011/lot-safety.html

Don’t forget “protection” when disciplining or terminating employees

Friday, April 1st, 2011

Remember the “protected” rule when disciplining or terminating employees. Never discipline or terminate an employee in a protected class or an employee engaged in a protected activity without consulting an attorney. Protected classes are race, color, religion, national origin, age (40 and over), disability, veteran status, genetic information sex, familial status, sexual orientation and gender identification (some jurisdictions). Protected activities include lodging a harassment complaint, filing a work comp claim, taking certain leaves including FMLA leave, asking for a disability accommodation or complaining or filing a charge of unlawful activities.

Always Confirm Employment Eligibility With E-Verify

Thursday, February 3rd, 2011

Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)  is cracking down on employers who hire illegal aliens   Make sure that you complete an I-9 form within three days of hire and take the extra step of confirming eligibility to work in the United States but using E- Verify. Not all employers are required to use E-Verify but every employer should..   E-Verify is fast, free and easy to use – and it’s the best way employers can ensure a legal workforce.

Click here to learn more or to sign up for E-Verify.  http://www.dhs.gov/files/programs/gc_1185221678150.shtm

KPA offers a free webinar on What Employers Must know about Immigration Control and Enforcement. Check it out at

http://www.kpaonline.com/news-and-events/webinars/recorded-webinars.html

Is this tip helpful for your business?  Please share your thoughts and experiences about using E-Verify with the KPA blog community.

Meet with your Insurance Broker to Update Benefit Plans Before Fall Enrollment

Thursday, July 1st, 2010

Compliance Tip of the MonthMost open enrollment periods for benefits programs happen in the fall so use the summer months to get a head start. After researching what health care reform requirements will impact you, schedule a meeting with your insurance broker. Draw on the agent’s expertise to walk through your benefits plans, plan by plan, and make changes where necessary (such as to the dependent age coverage limitations, which are increasing to age 26). Be sure that the broker and insurance carrier work together to present you with revised plan documents, as necessary. You can also view list of binary brokers that could benefit these programs. KPA offers a free webinar and white paper on How Healthcare Reform Impacts Dealerships.

Check your air conditioning service certificates

Tuesday, June 1st, 2010

With the summer approaching and temperatures rising, EPA representatives have been visiting dealerships asking to see training certification records for air conditioning service technicians. Those unable to produce their records are facing stiff fines. In brief, a dealership should take care of the following tasks:

  • Technician Training and Certification: Ensure all dealership air conditioning service technicians have successfully completed EPA approved training on refrigerant recovery, and that each holds a uniquely numbered proof of certification.
  • Training Records: Retain on-site a record of all certified air conditioning service technicians if you own refrigerant recycling/recovery equipment.
  • Equipment Certification: Certify in writing to U.S. EPA that the dealership has acquired (and is properly using) approved recovery/recycling equipment, and that each individual authorized to use the equipment has been properly trained.

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.

Yet another discrimination settlement with a dealership, but this time for disability discrimination.

Monday, March 8th, 2010

The number of lawsuits, claims and settlements’ involving dealerships and the EEOC continues to grow in 2010.  Beyond gender and age discrimination employees must also ensure that they do not discriminate against individuals with real or perceived disabilities.   Just this month a dealership in Hawaii settled a claim that included a $32,500 payment to a job applicant and a three year consent decree to remedy alleged disability discrimination.   The consent decree requires that the dealership implement an internal policy, procedures and staff training to safeguard against disability discrimination. The car dealership must also submit annual reports to the EEOC to track future complaints of disability bias and requests for disability-related accommodations during the hiring process.

In its lawsuit (EEOC v. Valley Isle Motors, Ltd., Case No. CV09-0053 HG KSC), the EEOC asserted that the car dealership reneged on an offer to hire a job applicant as a salesperson only after a urine test revealed he was taking prescribed medication. Valley Isle Motors then erroneously perceived the applicant as too disabled to do the job despite normal medical test results and medical authorization to the contrary, the EEOC said.    The EEOC press release quoted Anna Y. Parks, regional attorney for the EEOC’s Los Angeles District Office. “Employers cannot make assumptions about a prospective employee’s ability to work… the ADA expressly prohibits that stereotypes of this nature weigh into the decision to hire or deny hire to an individual.” Timothy Riera, director of the EEOC’s Honolulu Local Office, added “Employers should heed the lesson learned by Valley Isle Motors and be mindful to judge a candidate by his or her qualifications, not some ill-informed presumption. Communication with prospective employees is the key in determining whether one’s actual or perceived condition will interfere with work. Businesses should take advantage of appropriate training opportunities that are available to learn how to appropriately engage in that interactive process.”

The bottom line is that employers cannot make an assumption about the candidate’s ability to perform the work and must make certain that all hiring practices are in  accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act. Here are five simple steps that will help toward ensuring that you are not discriminatory toward individuals with real or perceived disabilities.

1) Have a clear, complete and detailed job description for every position so that you can objectively judge a candidate’s ability to do the job against the actual requirements.

2) Confirm with a medical expert that the applicant can do the job with reasonable accommodations or that the perceived disability is even real.  A medical exam may be necessary and your expert should have experience in Occupational or Workplace Health.

3) Consider that individuals with disabilities often make high quality and loyal employees.  Tax credits may be available to assist companies with making reasonable accommodation and for hiring individuals with disabilities.

4) Take advantage of the tools and training available through your state or federal office of the Department of Labor including the excellent information on the EEOC website.  http://www.eeoc.gov/laws/types/disability.cfm

5) Consult with qualified legal hiring prior to not hiring any individual with a disability.

Secure Oil Distribution Pumps Daily to Avoid Slippery Situations

Monday, March 1st, 2010

Recently a dealership experienced a 500-gallon release of new lube oil when overnight one of the overhead lube oil distribution lines sprang a leak. The air powered pump at the oil tank detected a pressure drop and fired off. With no one around to see the oil spewing out of the broken line, it kept operating until the entire contents of the tank had been pumped out onto the shop floor, creating a tremendous mess. Many dealerships fail to secure the supply of compressed air to these pumps at the end of each workday. Thus any pipeline failure could result in a similar incident.

If your dealership operates these air driven oil distribution pumps it is important to ensure that, after hours, the supply of compressed air to these pumps is secured. A common way to achieve this is to shut off power to your air compressor and bleed your air lines. You may have other procedures that would work as well but the key is having an employee in charge of the process every day.