Every Alabama employer should be prepared for an influenza pandemic, or a worldwide outbreak. That’s right, the OSHA wants everyone to be prepared in case of an influenza pandemic. Should you panic? No. You should, however, make a plan just in case, as you would for a fire, severe storm or power outage. It may seem unlikely to you, but the flu we have come to know could change into something we aren’t immune to. That is how an outbreak could occur.
The Alabama OSHA alert about a possible flu pandemic, is nothing to ignore and nothing to get upset about. Should a new strain of the virus emerge, is could spread from person to person across the globe. So far, we haven’t had a mutation of the flu virus or anything to that effect, so everything is fine, to date. Thank goodness! That doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t have a plan. It is true that disasters can occur suddenly, so please understand the need for preparation.
Did you know that there was a flu outbreak not to far back in history? Towards the end of the first World War, in 1918, millions died of the Spanish Flu over the course of 18 months. This pandemic swiped away the lives of 50 to 100 million people! Of course the war claimed the lives of many as well, about 9 million soldiers, but we lost many more to the outbreak, unfortunately.
Imagine a pandemic: grocery stores will be hectic, as consumers purchase needed materials. Many supplies, like hand sanitizer and tissues, may be in short supply. Healthcare facilities and clinics might become overloaded. However, some companies may experience an abrupt decline. For instance, malls, restaurants and movie theaters will likely be nearly empty, as people elect to stay home, shop online and download movies. Since the flu is contagious, it would probably be a wise decision to stay at home.
Think of ATVs and you usually think of weekend fun. But All-Terrain Vehicles are seeing greater use in the workplace, and with that comes a trend that’s anything but fun. ATV accidents and fatalities on the job are increasing.
An Alabama OSHA alert says the accidents and fatalities are up partly because of the increased use of the sport vehicles on the job. They’re used in construction, facilities management, police work, and agriculture.
In fact, there are a number of reasons why accident and fatality rates are up:
ATVs handle differently from a car or bicycle. They are not easy to drive. Combine low-pressure fat tires with handlebars and you’ve got a combination that can result in trouble.
They have a tendency to turn over on slopes or during sharp cornering.
Sometimes they’re overloaded. They’re designed to carry one driver and no passengers, and don’t have the ability to carry equipment. With overloading, flips on inclines become more of a danger.
The Alabama OSHA alert stresses that drivers should adhered to the manufacturer’s operational guidelines for weight limit and numbers of passengers when driving an ATV. Here are some guidelines to keep in mind. First, wear a helmet. Second, receive training to operate an ATV, because even if you are licensed for car or truck operation, the ATV will handle differently. OSHA has a set of guidelines for off-road motorized vehicle with low-pressure tires, handlebars for steering, and a seat straddled by the driver. The vehicle may also include a storage rack at back or front for limited carrying.
OSHA’s numbers show that since 1992 the rate of deaths on ATVs has gone up steadily until 9 years later, when 113 people died as a result of using them. Some workers were hurt badly enough to be off work for a day or more. Altogether there were 1,625 accidents in 9 years. ATV workplace deaths may soon outnumber those of recreational users. In recreational use, there were more than 800,000 injuries in the last 10 years.
The state of Alabama labor laws cover key provisions that affect employers and employees in the state. Today I’ll give you a quick overview of the types of labor laws enforced in the state.
Child Labor Laws: Alabama has an extensive set of laws regulating child labor. For example, all minors under 18 must obtain a permit to work. The state also places a number of restrictions on the hours which minors are allowed to work, and the types of jobs youth may be employed in at various ages.
Safe Employment Laws: This area of the law covers the duties employers have to employees to provide a safe workplace. Alabama law requires employers to furnish necessary equipment and safety devices that employees need to perform their work safely. Employers are also required to maintain a reasonable level of repair and safe operation in their work facilities.
“Right to Work” Laws: Alabama law states that prospective employees should not be denied work based on their membership or lack thereof in a union. Employers may also not either prohibit or require any current employee to join a union.
Jury Duty Law: This law requires employers to let employees miss work on account of jury duty. It also forbids employers from firing a worker because of missed work time due to jury duty.
Payment of Wages: Alabama law in regards to payment of wages only extends to wage disputes. The Commissioner of Labor has the authorization to investigate any claims of unpaid wages made against an Alabama employer.
Workers’ and Unemployment Compensation: Provisions in the state law of Alabama authorize compensation and set out rules dealing with workers’ compensation in injury cases, and also insurance and compensation for employees who are laid off involuntarily.
A more complete listing of many applicable labor laws at the state and federal level can be found on the Alabama Complete Labor Law Poster.
The Alabama labor board has a very important position within the state. As you know, the labor board handles many laws that have to do with the workers of the state. With that said, it is important to realize the various types of protection that they provide to us, the good people of Alabama. Currently, Jim Bennett is the Commissioner of the Department of Labor for the state. The labor board consists of a wide range of people all dedicated to serving those that work within the state.
Some of the most common things that the Alabama labor board handles include regulating virtually all jobs within the state. They work with various unions most of which are rather small with 25 or less members. Here, they help by providing mediation services and help provide representation elections for those unions. The Department also helps in providing information to the common citizen about illnesses that are related to the workforce, injury as well as fatality reports that are related to the workforce as well as providing a wealth of information about the actual laws in place.
Currently, the Alabama labor board is enforcing the labor laws that include minimum wage which is set at $5.15 per hour. They also provide for the child labor laws that are set in place for the state limiting what children under the age of 18 can and can not do in relation to working. OSHA laws and reports can be found at the website of the Department of Labor and are closely monitored by the Alabama labor board. All of the most current labor laws regarding Alabama can be found in detail on the Alabama Complete Labor Law poster.
Finally, it is nice to know for those that are living in Alabama that our unemployment rate is at 3.6% which is a whole percent lower than the United States average unemployment rate which is currently at 4.6%, as of June of 2006.