OSHA’s Top 10 Safety Violations

by Michael Haberman on March 22, 2017 · 0 comments

The top 10 violations look very familiar.

OSHA has released the top 10 safety violations for the last fiscal year. They could have just said “See last year’s list” because it is the same ten violations. The appalling thing is that, even though these violations don’t change, there is little improvement being made. Last year 4500 workers were killed in the workplace and another 3 million were injured.

The list

Here is the list of these top 10 violations:

  1. 501 – Fall Protection
  2. 1200 – Hazard Communication
  3. 451 – Scaffolding
  4. 134 – Respiratory Protection
  5. 147 – Lockout/Tagout
  6. 178 – Powered Industrial Trucks
  7. 1053 – Ladders
  8. 305 – Electrical, Wiring Methods
  9. 212 – Machine Guarding
  10. 303 – Electrical, General Requirements

These are listed in order, but also listed are the code locations, as active links, so you can take a look at the specific codes.

I have found that many companies pay scant attention to these codes, especially smaller companies. Or they once paid attention to them and have not updated them in a decade or more.

Violations cost money

According to the website ohsonline.com:

While it may be easy to think that larger companies pay larger amounts in fines for violating OSHA safety standards, statistics for 2013 show otherwise. The smallest companies with only 1 to 19 employees contributed a staggering amount of more than $70 million in penalties. In contrast, the largest companies with 250+ employees contributed the smallest amount, totaling to only around $16.2 million. In fact, the numbers seem to indicate that the smaller the company, the bigger the fines paid for safety violations. The amount paid in fines is inversely proportional to the number of employees that a company has. This may be attributed to the limited resources that smaller companies have in terms of complying with health and safety regulations.

Once you get a history of safety violations you then get on a list that gets you check repeatedly. If you have not corrected your safety violations the fines go up and may bring criminal violations if the lack of corrections is seen as being an intentional act. In my post Ignoring OSHA regulations can be costly in many ways, I talk about the different ways OSHA violations can be damaging to a company.

If OSHA is an issue for your company it would be well worth your effort and money to make the needed improvements.

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The US is in last place in mandated family and medical leave.

Back in December I somewhat addressed this topic with my post Mandated Paid Sick Leave- an inevitability? Now we see movement toward mandatory paid family and medical leave with the introduction of a bill in Congress. Is the time this trend will come to be?

The US in last place

According to the website Think Progress, the U.S. is just one of three countries out of 185 in the world that does not offer paid maternity leave. The other two are Oman and Papua New Guinea. Even countries not known for the most progressive treatment of women, such as Iran, offer paid maternity leave. Seventy other countries offer paid paternity leave. The amount of paid maternity leave runs the gamut from 12 weeks in Iran to 40 weeks in Great Britain. Paid paternity leave runs from one week in the Bahamas to 3 months in Iceland. The U.S. is acknowledged to be pretty poor in insuring mothers and fathers are taken care of as they take care of their families.

Bill introduced

This is why the Democrats have introduced a bill in Congress called The Family Act. Playing off of the FMLA, this act would provide for 12 weeks of partial income, at 66% of monthly wages. Unlike the FMLA, which covers only employers with 50 or more employees, this bill would apply to all employers regardless of size. It would be funded by payroll deductions which are contributed to by both the employer and employee. It would be administered by a new agency created to distribute the funds.

The likelihood of passage

Given that this bill is only supported by the Democrats the passage of this bill is unlikely in this Congress. But that does not mean that we won’t eventually see such legislation being passed on a national basis. President Trump actually seems receptive to the idea according to attorneys Robert Ortbals Jr. and Spring Taylor of the firm Constangy, Brooks, Smith & Prophete, LLP. They said:

President Trump campaigned on giving six weeks of paid maternity leave to working moms who gave birth. During his recent Congressional speech, the President may have expanded on his campaign proposal by speaking in terms of paid family leave, which would presumably be available to fathers as well as mothers. His paid-leave plan is still being crafted.

Orbals and Taylor however, see paid FMLA time leaking its way into American business through the efforts of state legislation. Currently five states have some form of legislation in place or planned. The public seems receptive to it, with a poll showing 72% of Americans favoring some sort of leave.

As we age

As the baby boomers age, the responsibility for taking care of them will fall to their children. The Gen-Xers and the Millennials, as voters, may see the need for help taking care of their parents. As Millennials start families shifting attitudes about work may have them applying pressure on their governments to mandate paid time off.

These shifting attitudes, and the growing pressure on employers to attract more and better talent, will also force companies, even without a government mandate, to offer more and better time off for family and personal reasons.

Let’s face it. It is a trend whose time has arrived. Companies will be best served by considering it now and staying ahead of the curve.

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Problems with your company culture? Look in the mirror!

by Michael Haberman on March 20, 2017 · 0 comments

Culture is a leadership issue.

Have your employees been leaving? Have your Glassdoor ratings not been where you would like them to be? Employee productivity not where you would like it to be? It is very likely you have a culture problem. Who is to blame?

Who creates the culture?

Every organization has a culture. Some have a good culture where people are recognized, valued and rewarded. The employees are energized by coming to work and their productivity is high and the company is one of the best places to work for. Other companies have poor cultures. Everyone feels there is a lack of respect. The employees don’t feel rewarded or engaged. They don’t feel valued. They feel like they are just a cog in the machine. They are not productive and they are very likely looking for employment someplace else.

If you’re in the latter company you have probably been told to do something in order to improve the situation. You may have been told to improve the culture. The bad news is that culture is not an HR department issue. Culture is a company issue. It is created by how employees are treated by management. It is created by how supervisor interact with employees on a daily basis. It is created by how employees interact with each other.

Employees have been disengaged

China Gorman, writing about a recent Gallup poll, says that over the past 16 years the needle on engagement has not moved at all. During that time less than one-third of employees report they are engaged with their work. That means that two-thirds of employees are either not engaged, or are actively disengaged. According to China engagement is a leadership issue. The HR department can only do so much about it. They are a function. They cannot create daily interactions that make people feel valued. That is a management job. They cannot create daily interactions that make people feel respected, that is a supervisory job. HR cannot create good working relationships between co-workers that is the responsibility of the employees.

Culture is the job of everyone

What research has shown, so says China, is that everyone has to work at making the culture work. If you leave it solely to the HR department you are doomed to fail. Not because they are not capable people, it is because culture does not come from the work of one department. Everyone has to work on it. HR can help others realize that and perhaps provide guidance on creating and maintaining a great culture but they cannot do it alone.

So the next time someone says the culture needs to be improved tell them to go look in the mirror to see who has the solution.

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The job of the future will be that of a “creative”

The title above is a paraphrase of a sentence that futurist Gerd Leonhard wrote in a an article entitled 2017: GOODBYE TO THE AGE OF REPLICATION, WELCOME BACK TO ORIGINALITY: PRODUCTIVITY… IS FOR ROBOTS. It is a fascinating take on what we may soon be facing in the world of work. Gerd says that what humans in the future will have to work on will be creative positions.

Rapid advance of technology

His premise is that technology is advancing very rapidly, so rapidly that jobs that involve repeatable or routine tasks will totally disappear. I don’t think any of us are surprised at that. I have written about that as well. In fact in Future Friday: 47% of US Employees in Jobs that could be Robotized we learn that, due to algorithms, even complex jobs will be taken over. Gerd says that science, government, legal work and surgery just as much as manufacturing, transportation and hotel services will be replaced and productivity will become the task of robots. He says that “The richly ironic fact is that the truly human skills (such as artisan and craft abilities) that preceded the industrial revolution will now be the only ones that will guarantee fruitful employment in future.”

Education cannot help

Gerd’s contention is that our hope of retraining people for jobs of the future will not work. If that work is routine and repeatable it will be replaced. So new jobs, such as truck drivers transitioning to drone flyers will not work. Robots will fly the drones soon after that transition is made. What do we do with those workers then?

Make them “artists”

Gerd says the only thing that will save jobs in the future is creativity. We need to have people doing things where everything they do is unique. Every product made is a new creation. Every person will have to wake up each day to a blank canvas of what needs to be created. He says this job extinction will reach into the professional ranks as well.

“Human beings will be reserved for untrodden paths where process and routine has never ventured. The model here is the entrepreneur and the artist – not the ‘professional’, the ‘expert’ or the ‘qualified’. Entrepreneurial crafts will replace today’s same old, same old jobs and roles, and we’ll see a tidal wave of professional extinction joining yesteryear’s telephonists, weavers, coopers and axe-head carvers….If you’ve been automated out of a job, re-education will no longer secure your rescue – far better to learn how artists and inventors ideate (seemingly) out of nothing, because where there are no precedents, there can be no artificial intelligence, no algorithms.”

The challenge will be to turn a society of people who are used to repetition and routine into a entrepreneurial crafts person. How do we teach creativity?

Perhaps our transition to the gig economy is not such a bad thing after all.

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From the Archive: Is the Internet destroying the Outside Sales exemption?

by Michael Haberman March 16, 2017

I get sales calls all the time, often proceeded by an email, or followed up by an email. I thought it would be relevant to raise this issue again for companies to pay attention to.  With the tool of the Internet a lot of sales are conducted online. I know that I am solicited a […]

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Avoiding lawsuits is as simple as a little bit of training

by Michael Haberman March 15, 2017

An office cleaning company found out that just providing supervisors with a little bit of training would have been a much cheaper solution than paying a $16,000 settlement because of discrimination. Scoliosis gets in the way According to the EEOC a Michigan based company that provides corporate cleaning services will pay $16,000 to settle disability […]

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Stress-relief Outing Ideas for Your Staff

by Michael Haberman March 14, 2017

According to the American Psychological Association, 65 percent of Americans cited work as a top source of stress. Meanwhile, only 37 percent surveyed said they were doing an excellent or very good job at managing stress. But stressed-out workers aren’t just grappling with it behind closed doors. Stressed workers tend to be fatigued, prone to […]

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Small Companies not served by big company processes

by Michael Haberman March 13, 2017

I read a great deal of research and other blog posts, and in case you didn’t know it I serve primarily a small company marketplace. I try to provide advice that small companies should pay attention to and try to abide by. But I get dismayed in reading these articles, especially reading the ones about […]

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Future Friday: The employee experience and the future of the workplace

by Michael Haberman March 10, 2017

More and more stories are being written about “the employee experience” and the importance it has to the future of the workplace. In the book The Future Workplace Experience, Jeanne C. Meister and Kevin Mulchay discuss the employee experience. It is part of the 10 rules for mastering disruption in recruiting and engaging employees. Over […]

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From the Archive: 10 Reasons to Keep Your Older Workers

by Michael Haberman March 9, 2017

I thought that this post was appropriate today, the day after The Day Without Women protest. Women are trying to demonstrate that they are valuable in the workplace. To my way of thinking all workers are valuable. Older workers are another group that gets discriminated against, so I am republishing this post about keeping older […]

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