As if the end of the year wasn’t busy enough for most employers, they also have to worry about updating their 2008 Idaho labor law posters.
There are a number of changes to the 2008 Idaho labor law posters. Every employer is required by law to display these posters in a prominent position, where they can be seen by employees and applicants alike. Popular choices are the break room, near the time clock or in a back hallway.
Employers who fail to display posters face penalties and hefty fines.
It is especially important that employers display the updated 2008 Idaho labor law posters, since the federal minimum wage – and other relevant laws – changed in 2007.
For 2008, the Idaho labor law posters are:
- Unemployment Insurance
- Minimum Wage
- Workers’ Compensation
- Discrimination Notice
These posters must be displayed by every employer in the state.
In addition, federal law mandates a number of posters having to do with labor laws on the national level. These include:
- USERRA – Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act
- Equal Employment Opportunity is the Law
- Federal Minimum Wage
- Employee Polygraph Protection Act
- Family and Medical Leave Act
- OSHA-Job Safety & Health Protection
The labor laws covered by labor law posters vary widely from state to state within the country. Overtime laws and the minimum wage rates for tipped employees are two areas of labor law that vary widely from one state to another.
The federal rate for tipped employees is $2.13 an hour. Kentucky, Nebraska, and Indiana follow that rate. Kansas is only $1.59. Massachusetts is $2.63 and Michigan is $2.65. Wisconsin is at $2.33 and North Carolina at $2.43. Connecticut hotel and restaurant workers get overtime on the 7th consecutive workday.
Tipped workers get the normal minimum wage in Washington State – $8.07 per hour on January 1. In Hawaii, tipped workers get $7 an hour compared to the normal rate of $7.25. Colorado’s rate for tipped workers is going to $4.02 in 2008.
Some states have no overtime laws of their own, and are covered by the federal law. Others have passed laws mirroring or extending the federal laws.
Federal law offers a premium of 1.5 times the normal hourly rate for any time over 40 hours. States without their own laws include Delaware, Arizona, Idaho, Georgia, and Florida. Workers not normally covered by federal overtime law are not entitled to overtime in these states.
Nebraska mirrors the federal law but extends coverage to all businesses with 4 or more employees. Illinois, Massachusetts, and Michigan also mirror federal law – 1.5 times normal after 40 hours. But Kansas’ overtime does not kick in until 46 hours, and Minnesota’s not until 48.
Kentucky provides overtime after 40 hours or on the 7th consecutive workday regardless of number of hours. In Colorado, it kicks in after 12 hours in a day or 40 hours in a week. Only restaurant and hotel workers may collect overtime on the 7th consecutive day of work in Connecticut.
California has the most generous overtime plan for workers. Employees get overtime after working 8 hours in a day or 40 hours in a week. Anyone working 7 consecutive days gets overtime on the 7th day. Double-time is paid after an employee works 12 hours in a day, or after 8 hours on the 7th consecutive work day.
In 2007, the first minimum wage increase in more than a decade affected many workers. This is especially true in the five states without any state minimum wage, South Carolina, Mississippi, Alabama, Louisiana and Tennessee. An additional 70-cent increase in the federal minimum wage is scheduled for July 24, 2008 when the rate goes from $5.85 to $6.55 per hour. On July 24, 2009 the final 70-cent increase will take the federal rate from $6.55 per hour to $7.25 per hour.
While it might seem surprising, according to a recent Idaho worker safety alert the number of injuries and fatalities that occur in the workplace as a result of ATV use is on the rise. Though most people think of ATVs in regards to sport use, the vehicles have seen a recent increase in popularity among a number of professions because of their versatility and ability to traverse areas where standard vehicles simply cannot reach.
Unfortunately, because ATVs have such a reputation for recreational use many people assume that this means they are easy to operate or that they shouldn’t be taken seriously. A number of the accidents referred to in the Idaho OSHA alert occurred because the operators simply didn’t give the vehicle the respect that it deserved and lost control of it because they were not anticipating the power that the small vehicle possessed. When OSHA began compiling a listing of workplace accidents, they discovered that the number of accidents which involved ATVs were rising steadily each year. In the past 9 years, there have been over 1600 ATV accidents in the workplace which resulted in the injured employee having to miss one or more days of work.
Even worse, though, were the 113 fatalities that resulted from ATV misuse during that same time period. Many of these deaths resulted from overloaded vehicles which were taken on inclines or other rough terrain where the ATV tipped over with the user still onboard. Some of these fatalities may have been preventable, but the users were not wearing helmets because they didn’t think that the “cute” vehicle could be dangerous.
In order to combat this rise in injuries and fatalities, the Idaho OSHA alert included a set of guidelines which could drastically improve the safety of ATV usage in the workplace. Hopefully, this documentation will help users to operate their ATVs safely and will lead to a sharp decrease in ATV-related accidents.
Alcohol and drug abuse can be very costly to any business. Many employers have pre-employment drug screening and random drug testing. The Idaho Drug Free Workplace Alliance has become an important tool in the fighting of alcohol and drug abuse. Staff members of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) state educating employees about drug and alcohol abuse is one of the most effective ways for an employer to protect his or her company. Another way to protect the company is to encourage those with problems to get the assistance they need.
In workplaces that involve possibly hazardous tasks like operating machinery, OSHA is in strong support of comprehensive drug free workforce programs. OSHA understands that impairment by drugs or alcohol is a hazard that can be avoided and that drug free workplace programs help improve worker health and safety and can increase the value of a company.
The Idaho Drug Free Workplace Alliance reflects the nation’s effort and commitment to work with unions and contractor associations on the common goal of protecting worker health and safety. OSHA does not require employers to have drug-free workplace programs, but these programs along with other initiatives can ensure a safer and healthier workplace which contributes to the success and value of American businesses as well as communities.
The employer must see that all programs are reasonable and that they don’t overlook the employees’ right to privacy, especially when drug testing is involved. OSHA also understands that many workers with substance abuse problems can be returned safely to the workplace provided they have access to appropriate treatment and supportive services.
The Department of Labor points out that increased absenteeism, accidents and errors are some of the ways that a company may have to pay for alcohol and drug abuse. Other costs may include high illness rates and low morale among employees. According to OSHA statistics, most fatal job related auto accidents are due to alcohol or drug abuse.
Protecting the health and safety of employees is important, and the Idaho Drug Free Workplace Alliance is one way employers can prevent abuse problems. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration, also known as OSHA, feels that employers should take steps to safeguard their businesses. For instance, employers can help educate workers about the dangers of drug and alcohol abuse. Employers also should work with employees who have abuse problems and encourage them to find help.
Because a drug-free workplace is important to both employers and employees, OSHA is joined in the alliance by unions and construction organizations. The nation is committed to dealing with the problem of abuse. One way some businesses that belong to the alliance combat the problem is through drug testing. This drug testing can include random testing and pre-employment testing.
The Department of Labor has stated that the price businesses pay for employees who have drug and alcohol abuse problems is high. Employees with abuse problems may miss work more often, resulting in higher rates of absenteeism. These employees also may have more accidents at work and produce more errors. In addition, employees may have lower morale and suffer more illnesses. OSHA maintains that most workplace auto accidents that result in death are related to alcohol or drug abuse.
To create a drug-free workplace program that is comprehensive, employers need to follow five steps. They need to create a policy on this issue. Then, they need to train all supervisors on the problem of drug and alcohol abuse. Next, they should educate employees on the dangers posed by abuse. Employers should follow this education by offering employees assistance to deal with abuse problems. Finally, employers should create an approach to drug testing. Throughout all steps of this plan, the employer should keep the privacy rights of employees in mind.
OSHA does not require businesses to establish drug-free workplaces, but creating one is a good way for employers to protect both employees and their businesses.
Think the asbestos problem is over? Think again.
Yes, asbestos has been banned from buildings for years now. And yes, most of the asbestos has been removed. But not all of it.
An Idaho OSHA alert warns that asbestos is still a hazard for mechanics, who sometimes find themselves working on old cars and trucks. Those older cars and trucks often have brakes and clutches containing asbestos, even if newer cars don’t. That is a hazard to the mechanic. In fact, if a single employee takes apart a brake shoe in an old car the wrong way, he or she can be exposing every other worker in the shop to risky asbestos levels. There is no way to tell ahead of time if a brake or a clutch contains asbestos. So it’s best if a mechanic handles each one as if it were a hazard.
There are some key techniques for handling asbestos to minimize the problem. One is to wet it, holding down the number of airborne particles to a minimum. Another is to store the asbestos in a labeled and firmly sealed bag.
The Idaho OSHA alert recommends methods for controlling the amount of asbestos in car repair shops. One is the “negative pressure enclosure/HEPA vacuum system.” The other is the “low pressure/wet cleaning method.” The wet method is allowed only for shops doing 5 or fewer brake and/or clutch jobs a week.
OSHA has some asbestos requirements for employers in the specific industries affected by asbestos. First, make sure there are written guidelines for handling the material. Second, train workers in these safe methods for working with asbestos, and then make sure employees follow those methods.
OSHA’s regulations only apply to workers. If you like to work on your own car in your driveway, it would be wise to let professional mechanics tackle any work connected to clutch or brake repair.
Asbestos particles are too small to be seen by the naked eye, but can be deadly. Roughly 10,000 people die every year of asbestos related illnesses in the U.S. alone.