As 2008 approaches, Tennessee employers need to check their labor law posters to make sure the information is up to date.
The 2008 Tennessee labor law posters have gone through several changes and companies need to take appropriate action. As a result of the Fair Minimum Wage Act of 2007, the federal minimum wage rose for the first time in about 10 years from $5.15 per hour to $5.85 per hour. Several states raised their minimum wages at the same time.
One of the major changes during 2007 related to minimum wage. The federal minimum wage, as a result of the Fair Minimum Wage Act of 2007, went from $5.15 to $5.85 per hour. Nearly a dozen states increased their minimum wage on the same day.
During 2007, many other states, including Texas, Maine, Utah, and North Carolina established higher state minimum wages, too.
Other changes occurred to labor laws in 2007 that required companies to modernize their posters. For example, a new tough ban on smoking at work was established in Ohio. Businesses there had to post no-smoking signs at every entrance.
The 2008 Tennessee labor law posters that every employer must display are:
- OSHA – Health and Safety Protection
- Unemployment Insurance
- Child Labor
- Workers’ Compensation Notice
- Discrimination Notice
In addition, under federal law, every Tennessee employer must display the following posters that cover U.S. labor law:
- Federal Minimum Wage
- Employee Polygraph Protection Act
- USERRA – Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act
- Equal Employment Opportunity is the Law
- Family and Medical Leave Act
- OSHA-Job Safety & Health Protection
A number of states across the country enacted an increase to their state minimum wage during 2007. Maine, North Dakota, South Dakota and New Hampshire are among them.
Minimum wage wasn’t the only law that changed during 2007. Two states established new no-smoking bans.
Illinois’s new law banned smoking in almost every work environment, including casinos, restaurants and bars. In Ohio, a tough new ban on smoking at work was also enacted. Businesses were then required to post new no-smoking signs at all entrances.
All of the changes that occurred during 2007, and those slated to occur in 2008 will require employers to update their labor law posters. If the posters are not updated, the employer could be fined.
More than a dozen states will increase their minimum wages on January 1, 2008. These include Delaware, Oregon, Washington, California, Florida, Iowa, New Mexico, Massachusetts, Vermont, Colorado, Arizona, Missouri, Montana and Ohio. The lowest rate to be increased is in Montana, where the state minimum wage will increase from $6.15 per hour to $6.26. In Missouri and New Mexico, the state rate will go to $6.50.
Another increase will occur on July 24, 2008, raising the federal minimum wage from $5.85 to $6.55 per hour. Again, the states that tie their minimum wage to the federal rate will bump their state minimum wages, too.
Both state and federal law require that every employer prominently display the posters in an area where they can be seen by every employee. Popular locations are a bulletin board, near the time clock or in the break room.
The most common reason for employers to update posters includes statute changes, especially to minimum wage laws. In just the past few months, employers in New Hampshire, Nevada and Maine have updated their labor law posters as the state minimum wages changed. The most recent increase was on October 1, 2007 when the New Hampshire minimum wage increased to $6.50 per hour.
Forklift operators should be retrained anytime they are involved in an accident or a close call. This is true even if the operator was not at fault for the accident. OSHA standards require regular evaluation and retraining of forklift operators.
According to the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration, or OSHA, about 1.5 million US workers operate forklifts. The handy little machines, also called Powered Industrial Trucks (PITs) or fork trucks, are one of the most common pieces of industrial equipment.
A recent Tennessee worker safety article focuses on reducing fork truck injuries and deaths by improving training for forklift operators.
Forklifts are used in many industries. PITs are not difficult to operate, but they pose some dangers in the workplace. One of the most common mistakes is overloading the forklift, or improperly balancing the load. Even a light load that sits too far forwards on the tines, or forks, poses a hazard. Either of these mistakes can cause the truck to tip over.
According to OSHA, a number of features must be included in a forklift training program. The training should address any hazards specific to the workplace. It should also take into account the worker’s level of skill, their prior knowledge and experience, and the type of forklift being used.
It is a regular practice in industry to add attachments to forklifts. A variety of attachments like boom extensions, hoppers and drums improve the functionality of the forklift. Many of these attachments are used primarily in the manufacturing industry. Unfortunately, if improperly installed, they also increase the danger associated with forklift use.
Any modifications or attachments should be approved in advance by the forklift manufacturer. Maintenance and operation labels or decals must be updated by the manufacturer to reflect the new operating standards. The weight of an attachment reduces the forklift’s maximum capacity.
Any employer who has read the recent worker safety statistics would understand the importance of a comprehensive worker safety program in the place of work.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration or OSHA oversees workplace safety in Tennessee. They produce an excellent OSHA Workplace Safety Pack for employers to use in their workplace training programs. Included in the pack are:
- Workstation Safety Tips Poster
- Lifting Safely Poster
- Slips, Trips and Falls Poster
- Workplace Ergonomics Poster
Tennessee worker safety is of paramount importance. Work place injuries can be expensive for an employer. If the worker needs time away from their job, their tasks have to be covered. There may be expensive medical bills, and even law suits.
So much better then to educate workers on the importance of safety and making sure they are aware of proper safety techniques.
Workplace injuries are not as rare as some employers may think. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the U.S. Occupational and Health Administration looks into millions of work place related injuries in Tennessee and across the country, each year.
The most recent statistics available are for the year 2005. They do not make happy reading. There were 4,214,200 work related accidents throughout the nation.
These accounted for 1,234,700 lost work days. There were 5,702 fatalities.
High though these figures are, they only include work related incidents for the private sector. Work related incidents for paramedics, police, firefighters and other government departments. They also do not include work related incidents for non-profit organization employees.
Statistics for Tennessee workers are just as grim. Around half a million (503,530) workers suffered from strains, tear or sprains, and there were 270,890 painful work related back injuries during 2005. Falling at work account for 255,750 injuries.
Work place injuries account for one of the highest causes of accidental deaths, second only to vehicle related accidents.
Asbestos is the subject of the latest Tennessee worker safety alert. Many people would consider an asbestos hazard in the workplace a thing from past times, but a recent OSHA alert contradicts this.
The warning in question refers specifically to asbestos in the brakes and clutches of older models of trucks and cars. This presents a hazard to mechanics and others who work in related industries. Most new cars and trucks do not contain asbestos, but mechanics and other workers may be exposed to the hazard when they are asked to work on the older models.
Because of this threat, OSHA recommends that owners of older models of cars and trucks do not carry out repairs or other work on them themselves, but take them to a workshop where professionals are set up to deal with the hazard.
The reason that asbestos presents such a risk to health is that when it is disturbed, it breaks into tiny airborne particles that cannot be seen by the naked eye, but can easily be inhaled into the lungs, causing damage.
As there is no definite way of determining whether a clutch or brake contains asbestos, workers are told to treat every repair job as though it does. There are four main methods of controlling asbestos in the automotive repair shop. They are the low pressure/wet cleaning method, the negative pressure enclosure/HEPA vacuum system and the spray can/solvent measure.
Employers are responsible for instigating safety procedures to be carried out when working with asbestos, and that these procedures should be in writing. They are also responsible for ensuring that all their employees follow the safety procedures.
When you consider that around 10,000 people die from asbestos related diseases in the United States each year, it is important that workers realize the risks involved are very real indeed. Such diseases include asbestosis, lung cancer, mesothelioma and gastrointestinal cancer.
A number of deaths have occurred recently involving ATVs at work in a variety of industries. Most of those tragedies could have been prevented by using safety precautions and by training workers in the use of the vehicles.
In the past 10 years, 100 workers have lost their lives in job-related ATV accidents. Some of the safety precautions include wearing a helmet and following the manufacturer’s recommendation for weight limits. While ATVs are commonly associated with recreation, and are sometimes operated by children, OSHA notes that they are actually tricky to operate and handle much differently than trucks or cars.
An ATV driver lost her life when the vehicle she was operating on the job flipped over on her. Her employer had fitted it with an herbicide sprayer that was 55 pounds over the manufacturer’s recommended limit, according to OSHA.
A Tennessee worker safety alert has followed. Without training and safety precautions, deaths and injuries will increase. OSHA says the All-Terrain Vehicle, usually associated with recreation, is a growing part of the workplace. They’re found, for example, in farming, forestry, police work, and construction to get around quickly and easily on all kinds of ground.
In the Tennessee incident, a worker was driving an ATV uphill on rough terrain. The employer had rigged an herbicide sprayer on the cargo rack at the back of the vehicle, changing its weight distribution. The driver, who was spraying herbicides on weeds at the time, found the wheels of the All-Terrain Vehicle leaving the ground. She tried to stabilize it by standing up, and when that failed, attempted to jump clear. Tragically, she was unable to do so, and the vehicle crushed her.
Recreational use still causes the greatest number of accidents. In the past 10 years, ATV accidents have claimed more than 100 lives, and there were 800,000 injuries during the past decade.
A recent bulletin describes the guidelines for operation and training when ATVs are used on the job.
The local office of OSHA investigated the accident. OSHA said a major reason for the accident was instability because of the changes the employer had made by adding the sprayer. The device weighed 55 pounds more than the manufacturer’s recommended weight limit, and that redistributed the weight over the wheelbase, causing instability, according to OSHA. Most ATVs are not designed to carry much cargo.