All businesses in the state must display the Maine OSHA 300 form from February 1, 2008 to April 30, 2008.
OSHA sources emphasize, “Employers are responsible for providing a safe and healthful workplace for their employees. OSHA’s role is to assure the safety and health of America’s workers by setting and enforcing the standards; providing training, outreach, and education; establishing partnerships; and encouraging continual improvement in workplace safety and health.”
A portion of each employer’s responsibility is to display the OSHA 300 log along with the OSHA-It’s the Law Poster.
The OSHA 300 forms provide a recap of all work-related illnesses or accidents that happened in 2007. The form also lists the causes of those accidents. Once it has been completed, the form should be posted in an area that is easily accessible to all employees. Some of the more popular locations include near the time clock, and the employee break room.
Currently, there are no regulations that require the Maine OSHA 300 form to be publicly posted.
The point in posting the 300 form is to try to prevent future problems from occurring. If a company keeps track of the different types of accidents that happen most frequently, then managers and employees will be able to focus their efforts on preventing those types of accidents.
It is important to note that OSHA is intolerant of noncompliance. The prominent posting of the 300 form is required by law. Any business not displaying the required poster in a proper manner will be subject to fines. The health and safety of employees is important to OSHA, and the organization makes continuous efforts to try to inspire the same sentiment in employers.
OSHA offers free safety consultations, as well as advice. They also perform inspections, and enforce all worker safety laws and regulations.
According to Maine OSHA officials, preventing and reducing workplace accidents is a primary goal. Companies, of course, must do their own part by making sure that employees follow safety precautions. They should also make sure that they remind their coworkers about the importance of health and safety.
There is a set of regulations regarding job safety and health standards that have been established by the federal government. More than half of all states follow these regulations. There are 22 states, however, that opted out of the federal OSHA program. In order for states to have their own OSHA plan, federal regulations stipulate that those plans have to be at least as effective as the federal regulations.
Even those states that have their own version of OSHA often still require their own type of OSHA 300 form. The state government in Washington makes it a requirement for employers to post a Washington OSHA form. The reason for this is to keep track of work-related injuries and illnesses. According to law, the form has to be posted from February 1 to April 30 of each year. The purpose of the form is to review all work-related illnesses and injuries. This way, employees can see the overall safety of their company for the previous year.
When states have their own OSHA program, such as Washington, that state’s OSHA conducts its own safety inspections instead of the federal government. The state programs also offer health training and occupational safety programs. The Washington OSHA, just like the federal program, provides on-site consultations in order to help employers learn how to identify and correct any workplace hazards. It should be noted that this service is free.
California also has its own worker safety organization, but they take the process one step further. California makes public workplace hazards that the federal OSHA standards do not cover. Most states only make public workplace hazards that are stated in federal standards.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration requires all Colorado employers to display an OSHA 300 form from February 1, 2008 to April 30, 2008.
The purpose of the OSHA 300 form s to provide a recap of all work-related illnesses or accidents that occurred in 2007. The form also lists the cause of the illnesses or accidents. Once the forms have been completed, they must be posted in areas that are readily accessible to employees. Some of the more popular locations include the time clock or the employee break room.
No current regulations require that the Colorado OSHA 300 form be placed in a public area.
According to OSHA sources, “Employers are responsible for providing a safe and healthful workplace for their employees. OSHA’s role is to assure the safety and health of America’s workers by setting and enforcing standards; providing training, outreach, and education; establishing partnerships; and encouraging continual improvement in workplace safety and health.”
A part of each employer’s responsibility is to display not only the OSHA 300 log, but the OSHA-It’s the Law Poster.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is responsible for regulating and maintaining safety in the workplace. Though OSHA regulates most of this country’s private businesses and non-profits, there are a few industries that have their own worker safety organizations.
The mining industry is regulated by the Mining Safety and Health Agency, or MSHA. This is primarily because the safety standards within this industry are very different from those in other businesses. The Department of Transportation heavily regulates the transportation and railroad industries.
Accidents from the previous year are displayed on the OSHA 300 form. The point in doing this is to prevent any future problems from happening. If a company is able to keep track of the different types of accidents that occur most frequently, they will be better able to focus their efforts on preventing the same accidents from happening in the next year.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration in Colorado has the major goal of preventing and reducing workplace accidents. Employers are expected to contribute their part by ensuring that employees follow all safety precautions. It is also necessary for companies to remind workers about the importance of health and safety.
State worker safety agencies do exist in many states, as opposed to OSHA, but they still require their own version of the OSHA 300 form. The state government of Washington requires each employer to post a Washington OSHA form so that they can keep track of all work-related injuries and illnesses. The form has to be posted beginning February 1, and remain posted through April 30 of each year. The form essentially recaps all work-related illnesses and injuries so that employees will be better able to gauge the safety record of their company for the preceding year.
Every state has the option of having its own OSHA organization. Those policies, however, must be approved by the federal government before any state can start using it.
If a state wants to obtain their own OSHA plan approved by the federal government, they must first develop a plan to make sure that the state has the funds to operate its own OSHA. The process ends in certification. States can obtain certification by assuring the federal OSHA that they will be able to effectively run their own OSHA within three years.
More than half of the states with their own OSHA program follow a set of regulations that have been set down by the federal government. These regulations involve job safety and health standards. There are 22 states that have chosen to opt out of the federal OSHA program. Every state’s OSHA plan, according to the federal government, has to be at least as effective as the federal OSHA program.
Washington, for example, has its own OSHA program. Therefore, the Washington Occupational Safety and Health Administration conducts their own safety inspections, rather than the federal government.
President George W. Bush signed a bill on January 28, 2008 that provides up to 26 weeks of unpaid, job-protected FMLA leave for relatives and spouses of National Guard and Reserve personnel who have been called to active duty. The law also extends the same benefit to spouses and relatives of active members of the armed services.
The FMLA expansion was part of the National Defense Authorization Act or NDAA, HR 4986. The U.S. Department of Labor immediately began drawing up regulations for this new policy, for approval by the White House.
Employers must immediately begin granting leave to family members to care for injured soldiers. The NDAA expands FMLA to include the soldiers “next of kin,” regardless of the relationship. This could potentially allow in-laws, cousins, aunts and uncles to take unpaid leave under NDAA.
It also increases the total unpaid FMLA leave from 12 weeks to 26 weeks, for military families.
The new law went into effect immediately, which means that military families were entitled to take leave beginning January 28, 2008.
The new law permits a spouse, son, daughter, parent or next of kin to take up to 26 weeks of unpaid FMLA leave to care for a member of the armed forces, reserve or National Guard who is receiving medical treatment. This treatment includes recuperating, undergoing physical or mental therapy, treatments on an outpatient basis, or caring for a soldier on the temporary disability retired list for a serious illness or injury.
While the U.S. Department of Labor is drawing up final regulations for this expanded coverage under FMLA, they will require employers to act in good faith under the new legislation. The U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division enforces this law.
Because the NDAA amends the FMLA, the U.S. Department of Labor urges employers to use FMLA procedures already in place for unpaid leave, including medical certification and substitution of paid leave.
The NDAA also permits an employee to take up to 26 weeks of leave for “any qualifying exigency” arising from the fact that a spouse, son, daughter or parent of the employee is on active duty, or has been notified of impending active duty. It is probable that this will include time off to care for children when a family member is deployed. This provision of the NDAA is not technically in effect until the U.S. Secretary of Labor issues final regulations on what constitutes a “qualifying exigency.” In a confusing message, the U.S. Department of Labor “encourages” employers to provide such leave to workers immediately.
More information will be published as soon as the U.S. Department of Labor finalizes the regulations, which may take several weeks.
The expanded FMLA at 26 weeks allows more than twice the 12 weeks provided by the traditional FMLA. In addition to the increased in time, the expanded FMLA also allows leave to care for healthy children.
Under the past FMLA regulations, any qualified employee can take off time to care for a sick child or a sick parent or spouse. Caring for healthy children can only be charged to FMLA upon birth, newly adopting a child, or newly fostering a child. For example, if a stay-at-home mom develops a long-term illness. Her husband can take FMLA leave to care for her, but not to watch the children.
Under the newly expanded FMLA, spouses and relatives can take FMLA leave for up to 6 months to stand in for a National Guard or Reserve member who’s been called to active duty. That leave can be granted to care for a sick child or parent, and to take care of healthy children as well.
The president had vetoed a similar bill just a month earlier on December 28, 2007.
This bill expands FMLA (Family Medical and Leave Act) coverage throughout the United States.
Pundits in Washington were not surprised by the President’s quick flip-flop. After the previous veto, President Bush stated that the FMLA portion of the bill was in no way connected to his reasons for the veto. The expanded FMLA was part of the National Defense Authorization Act, which President Bush believed would “risk imposing financially devastating hardship on Iraq that will unacceptably interfere with the political and economic progress everyone agrees is critically important to bringing our troops home.”
This statement opened the door for the expanded FMLA to be attached to another bill in 2008, and made its passage almost certain. That passage occurred on January 28, 2008.
The U.S. Department of Labor recently filed suit against Fifth Third Bank for mismanagement of the sale of property owned by the Operating Engineers Local 324 Pension Fund in Troy, Michigan.
The pension fund lost money when a property purchased for $28 million was sold for $4.5 million. Fifth Third Bank, a mega-bank based in Ohio, was acting as financial advisor to the union in the case.
“The department’s action protects the workers, retirees and their families who are counting on the Operating Engineers Local 324 Pension Fund for their retirement security,” said Bradford P. Campbell, assistant secretary of the Labor Department’s Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA). “In taking this legal action we are seeking to recover, with interest, all the funds that are owed to the pension plan.”
The bank and Carey Milestone Advisors LLC, another Ohio company, managed real estate investments on behalf of the pension plan. Based on the advice of Carey Milestone Advisors, the bank furnished the pension plan with a strategy for development of property located at 1001 Woodward in Detroit, Michigan.
Fifth Third Bank subsequently reversed its development strategy and sold the property to the Cavaliere Group for only $4.5 million in 2004. At the time the sale took place, the pension plan had invested more than $28 million in the property.
The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Detroit, alleges that during the period from Aug. 25, 2003, to Oct. 1, 2006, the Fifth Third Bank served as an investment manager and fiduciary, bank vice president John Schmitz acted as a fiduciary, and Carey Milestone Advisors acted as an investment advisor and fiduciary to the pension plan.
The Labor Department’s suit seeks to recover any losses owed to the plan, including interest, resulting from fiduciary violations committed by the defendants under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act.
The suit resulted from an investigation conducted by EBSA’s Cincinnati, Ohio office.
This time, the union appears to be the victim in the case, rather than the wrongdoer. By contrast, in another recently reported case, Local 38 of the United Association of Plumbers, Pipefitters and Journeymen of San Francisco actually misappropriated funds from employee benefit accounts in California. In that case, the union was ordered to repay $3.5 million, plus additional proceeds from the sale of a resort.
The U.S. Department of Labor takes misuse of employee benefit funds very seriously, and has prosecuted a number of high-profile cases in the past few months.
In September 2007, the U.S. Department of Labor won two default judgments against Prime Care Services of Southfield, Michigan, recovering more than $1.1 million for workers who participated in the company’s 401k and retirement plans.
“Workers and their families have been counting on these benefit plans to help fund their retirements,” said Secretary of Labor Elaine L. Chao. “Fortunately in this case the department was able to recover all of the money in the benefit plans, more than $1.1 million, and it will be distributed to the participants and beneficiaries.”
Prime Care offered in-home healthcare services for elderly and disabled individuals in Washtenaw County before going out of business.
Most employees trust that their retirement, 401k and other benefit plans are secure. Tragically, this is often untrue. In 2006 alone, the U.S. Department of Labor recovered $2.6 Billion in misappropriated employee benefit funds. That number may be just a fraction of what was stolen by unscrupulous employers.
The ERISA, Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974, sets minimum standards that employers must abide by for employee retirement accounts. The law was later amended to include other types of employee benefit accounts, including healthcare and profit-sharing accounts.
On January 22, the U.S. Department of Labor announced a grant of more than $1.2 million to benefit workers in Oregon who were affected by the December flooding and mudslides.
The $1,201,862 grant, with an initial release of $400,620, will go to the state of Oregon to create temporary jobs to assist in cleanup and recovery efforts.
The Northwest, including Washington, Oregon and the Canadian Province of British Columbia, was ravaged by a series of Pacific storms between December 1 and December 3, 2007. Winds as high as 139 miles per hour were reported on the Oregon coast and 18 deaths were blamed on the storm systems. Residents were evacuated by the Oregon National Guard. More than 36,000 customers were without power for up to one week.
“This $1.2 million grant will fund temporary jobs for Oregonians to assist in ongoing cleanup and recovery efforts in communities affected by the recent severe storms,” said Secretary of Labor Elaine L. Chao. “These funds can also be used to help provide humanitarian assistance such as food, clothing and shelter.”
On Dec. 8, 2007, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) declared nine Oregon counties as eligible for FEMA’s Public Assistance Program. The state targeted seven of those counties — Clatsop, Columbia, Lincoln, Polk, Tillamook, Washington and Yamhill — for assistance under this grant.
The grant, awarded to the Oregon Department of Community Colleges and Workforce Development, will provide temporary employment on projects related to the cleanup, demolition, repair, renovation and reconstruction of damaged or destroyed public structures, facilities and lands within affected communities. Funds may also be used for projects that provide food, clothing, shelter and other types of humanitarian assistance for disaster victims.
National Emergency Grants are part of the secretary of labor’s discretionary fund and are awarded based on a state’s ability to meet specific guidelines. For more information on applying for emergency grants, visit www.doleta.gov/NEG.
Prior emergency grants have been awarded to Washington state to help residents of that state after the December floods.
On January 8, the U.S. Department of Labor announced a grant of $2.1 million to aid unemployed workers in Washington.
On Dec. 8, 2007, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) declared the Washington counties of Grays Harbor, Kitsap, Lewis, Mason, Pacific and Thurston eligible for FEMA’s Public Assistance Program.
The grant, which is awarded to the Washington State Employment Security Department, will provide workers affected by the recent storms with temporary jobs on projects related to the cleanup, demolition, repair, renovation and reconstruction of destroyed public structures, facilities and lands within the affected communities. Funds will also be used for projects that provide food, clothing, shelter and other types of humanitarian assistance for disaster victims.
According to the U.S. Department of Labor, National Emergency Grants (NEG) are discretionary awards by the Secretary of Labor. The grants temporarily expand service capacity at the state and local levels through time-limited funding assistance in response to “significant dislocation events.” When a layoff, plant closing or other event creates a need beyond what the state can reasonably be expected to meet, the state may apply for an Emergency Grant. In order for a state to qualify, any discretionary funds available at the state level must be included in the state’s resources.
Grants are given for different purposes. Disaster grants benefit areas afflicted by floods, wildfires, blizzards, hurricanes, earthquakes and other natural disasters. Other grants include Trade-WIA Dual Enrollment grants and Trade-Health Coverage Infrastructure grants.
This was just the most recent of a series of National Emergency Grants awarded by Labor Secretary Elaine L. Chao. In September 2007, a grant of almost $1.1 million was awarded to Missouri workers who were displaced with the closure of the O’Sullivan Industries plant in Lamar, Missouri. In addition, a $250,000 grant was awarded to a new program, SI WORKS, designed to improve worker opportunities and economic development in 20 southern Illinois counties.
Also in September, a $3 million grant went to provide temporary jobs and benefits to workers in parts of Minnesota ravaged by flash floods.
More than 400 workers laid off by Micron Technology, Inc. in Boise, Idaho received assistance through a grant of more than $2 million. The U.S. Department of Labor immediately released $847,538 of the grant to assist workers dislocated by the layoffs. The total grant is for $2,010,277.