Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Survey Says.........Small Business Owners Concerned about Workplace Safety

Recently, EMPLOYERS, (a specialty provider of workers’ compensation insurance and services) conducted a survey of small business owners to find out what risk they were most concerned about with regards to operating their businesses.
For many owners, keeping employees safe on the job is a major concern, according to the survey.  The survey revealed that workplace safety risks were ranked as the greatest worry for business owners, with 35% of survey respondents citing it as their primary concern.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics, Slips, trips and falls account for nearly a quarter of all nonfatal workplace injuries and 15% of all fatal workplace injuries that occur in the private sector. 21% of small business employers feel as though they are prepared to handle slip, trip and fall accidents.
Other common injuries that small business owners are prepared to handle include motor vehicle accidents (12%) and employees coming into contact with harmful objects and equipment (12%). Small businesses are least prepared to address acts of violence (29%), and fires or explosions (17%). 
Survey results were based on interviews of a representative sample of 502 small businesses with 100 employees or fewer. Find more details on EMPLOYERS’ website.
If you have any questions concerning any potential risk at your workplace and how you can improve your employees safety, please contact the LL Roberts Group PEO Risk Management department (toll free) at 877.878.6463. You can even talk to us on Facebook or Twitter!


Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Working In Cold Weather: More Than Just Staying Warm.

Workers exposed to extremely cold conditions are at risk of serious health problems, including hypothermia, frostbite, dehydration and muscle injuries. Working in cold weather puts enormous strain on your body. To fight back, try these cold-weather safety tips while working on the job:
  • Securely tie down or weigh down supplies so they are safe from gusts of wind.
  • Be careful in high wind, and be aware of potentially slippery surfaces.
  • Take frequent breaks in warm, dry shelters to allow your body to warm up.
  • Sweep water out of passageways inside of buildings under construction to avoid slipping.
  • Use the buddy system – always work in pairs.

Frostbite occurs after prolonged exposure to low temperatures or wet working conditions. Frostbite can be dangerous and even life-threatening. That’s why it is important to look for the following symptoms when working in cold temperatures:
  • Discoloration of the skin.
  • Burning or tingling sensations.
  • Partial or complete numbness.
  • Intense pain.

 To prevent frostbite, wear loose-fitting layers of clothing and always cover your hands, feet, nose and ears. At the first sign of pain or if your skin gets wet, look for a place to warm up. When working outside, be aware as winds increase. Heat is carried away from the body at a faster rate, making you feel colder than if there were no wind. When your body temperature drops, your nerve cells and muscles work more slowly, impairing your body function. This is easy to notice when tying a shoelace or fastening a button in cold weather.

Safety Considerations
Layer clothing to keep warm enough to be safe, but cool enough to avoid perspiring excessively. It should also contain the following: 
  • Inner layer – a synthetic weave to keep perspiration away from the body.
  • Middle layer – wool or synthetic fabric to absorb sweat and retain body heat.
  • Outer layer – material designed to break the wind and allow for ventilation, such as GORE-TEX®
  • Wear a hat. Almost 40 percent of your body heat escapes from your head. If you wear a hard hat, add a winter liner that covers your neck.


Watch out for the effects of cold temperatures on common body functions, such as:
  • Reduced dexterity and hand usage. (Cold tool handles reducing your grip force)
  • The skin’s reduced ability to feel pain in cold temperatures.

If you have any questions concerning working in winter conditions and how you can improve your employees safety, please contact the LL Roberts Group PEO Risk Management department (toll free) at 877.878.6463. 


Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Get Ready.......OSHA 300A's Are Around The Corner!

As we start to wind up the first month of the new year, we must look again at the process of to prepare the previous year's 300A Summary using the previous year's OSHA 300 Log. The 300A contains all the information of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses in your 300 log in a condensed version. Employers with 10 or more employees must post a summary of the previous calendar year’s injuries and illnesses. If your company location has fewer than 10 employees, OSHA may still require your organization to complete the OSHA 300 log and summary if your total organization has more than 10 employees. Not all businesses must complete the OSHA log. Click HERE for a list of the exempt businesses.

To complete the 300 log, which contains all the information you need for the 300A Summary log, employers must classify work-related injuries or illnesses. The basic parts to the 300 Log that are recordable are death, loss of consciousness,  days away from work, restricted work activity or job transfer, and medical treatment beyond first aid. You must update the OSHA 300 log within seven days after each injury or illness. To complete the 300A Summary log, total up all the events from the 300 Log and complete the 300A. An employer subject to this requirement must post the OSHA 300A Summary log even if the employer had no reportable injuries/illnesses in the prior year. In addition to the posting requirement, employees with no fixed work site or no access to posted sites must be provided with a copy of the report.
While every injury on the job should be taken seriously, not every incident is “recordable” for OSHA record keeping purposes. For example, an employee may receive only first-aid treatment or the incident may be an exacerbation of an earlier injury already reported. If you need more details, the OSHA/ Department of Labor  Web site is very informative and can be very helpful.  Click HERE for "step by step" 300 & 300A record keeping information.
The 300A Summary Log must be posted from February 1st to April 30th. The log must be posted in a visible place that your employees can easily view. The break room or by the time clock are two good places that have a lot of employee traffic. The highest ranking company executive or manager at each location must sign the 300A certifying that he or she agrees with the 300A Summary. The OSHA 300 log and the posting of the OSHA 300A Summary is a complex process. After they are completed, do not send the forms to OSHA unless they specifically request them. However, any inspection will no doubt include a review of the forms. 

Should you have any questions concerning, your OSHA 300 and 300A Summary log please contact your LL Roberts Group PEO Risk Management Department (toll free) at 877.878.6463. or you can talk to us on Facebook!


Monday, November 11, 2013

Happy Veteran's Day! Thank You For Serving Our Country.

We honor all our men & women in uniform, past, present, and future. Thank You for your service and courage. We thought we would share some history about our Veterans on their day. 

Veterans Day originated as "Armistice Day" on Nov. 11, 1919, the first anniversary of the end of World War I. Congress passed a resolution in 1926 for an annual observance, and Nov. 11 became a national holiday beginning in 1938. Veterans Day is not to be confused with Memorial Day--a common misunderstanding, according to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. Memorial Day (the fourth Monday in May) honors American service members who died in service to their country or as a result of injuries incurred during battle, while Veterans Day pays tribute to all American veterans--living or dead--but especially gives thanks to living veterans who served their country honorably during war or peacetime.

Veterans Day Facts
  • In 1954, President Eisenhower officially changed the name of the holiday from Armistice Day to Veterans Day.
  • In 1968, the Uniform Holidays Bill was passed by Congress, which moved the celebration of Veterans Day to the fourth Monday in October. The law went into effect in 1971, but in 1975 President Ford returned Veterans Day to November 11, due to the important historical significance of the date.
  • Britain, France, Australia and Canada also commemorate the veterans of World Wars I and II on or near November 11th: Canada has Remembrance Day, while Britain has Remembrance Sunday (the second Sunday of November). In Europe, Britain and the Commonwealth countries it is common to observe two minutes of silence at 11 a.m. every November 11.
Veterans Facts
  • 9.2 million veterans are over the age of 65.
  • 1.9 million veterans are under the age of 35.
  • 1.8 million veterans are women.
  • 7.8 million veterans served during the Vietnam War era (1964-1975), which represents 33% of all living veterans.
  • 5.2 million veterans served during the Gulf War (representing service from Aug. 2, 1990, to present).
  • 2.6 million veterans served during World War II (1941-1945).
  • 2.8 million veterans served during the Korean War (1950-1953).
  • 6 million veterans served in peacetime.
  • As of 2008, 2.9 million veterans received compensation for service-connected disabilities.
  • 5 states have more than 1 million veterans in among their population: California (2.1 million), Florida (1.7 million), Texas (1.7 million), New York (1 million) and Pennsylvania (1 million).
  • The VA health care system had 54 hospitals in 1930, since then it has expanded to include 171 medical centers; more than 350 outpatient, community, and outreach clinics; 126 nursing home care units; and 35 live-in care facilities for injured or disabled vets.

The brave men and women who serve and protect the U.S. come from all walks of life; they are parents, children and grandparents. They are friends, neighbors and coworkers, and an important part of their communities. Here are some facts about the current veteran population of the United States.
U.S. Census Bureau and United States Department of Veterans Affairs 

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Social Security Wage Base Increases to $117,000 in 2014

The Social Security Administration (SSA) announced on Wednesday, October 30, 2013, that the 2014 social security wage base will be $117,000, an increase of $3,300 from the 2013 wage base of $113,700 (the SSA Fact Sheet is available at www.americanpayroll.org/members/Forms-Pubs/#annual). As in prior years, there is no limit to the wages subject to the Medicare tax; therefore, all covered wages are still subject to the 1.45% tax. As in 2013, wages paid in excess of $200,000 in 2014 will be subject to an extra 0.9% Medicare tax that will only be withheld from employees' wages. Employers will not pay the extra tax.

The FICA tax rate, which is the combined social security tax rate of 6.2% and the Medicare tax rate of 1.45%, will be 7.65% for 2014 up to the social security wage base. The maximum social security tax employees and employers will each pay in 2014 is $7,254. This will be an increase of $204.60 for employees and employers.

The social security wage base for self-employed individuals in 2014 also will be $117,000. There is no limit on covered self-employment income that will be subject to the Medicare tax. The self-employment tax rate will be 15.3% (combined social security tax rate of 12.4% and Medicare tax rate of 2.9%) up to the social security wage base. In 2014, the maximum social security tax for a self-employed individual will be $14,508.

FICA coverage threshold for domestic, election workers
The threshold for coverage under social security and Medicare for domestic employees will be $1,900 in 2014, up from $1,800 in 2013; the coverage threshold for election workers will be $1,600 in 2014, unchanged from 2013.

As a reminder, PEO clients receive continuous update and support related to employment tax regulations and obligations, as well as other regulatory changes.   Contact the LL Roberts Group today and find out how a PEO can assist you with your employee administration needs and to ensure your company’s compliance with constantly changing laws and regulations.  Call us (toll free) at 877.878.6463 and ask to speak with an LL Roberts Group PEO Consultant. You can even talk to us on Facebook or Twitter!


Thursday, October 17, 2013

Taking Ladder Safety to New Heights!

Today’s topic will go over something that many people use at work or even completing odd jobs around your house. Ladders are not just used in construction or services jobs, you can find them in office settings as well. Ladders are used in storage rooms, warehouses, retail stores and many other places. The same rules apply when at work or at home, yet many of us still take chances by not following simple ladder safety basics. Falls from elevated surfaces are always listed as one of the top 10 causes of accidents in the workplace. In recent years Hospitals have reported a spike in non-occupational injuries of 50%. To help prevent ladder injuries, practice the following safety tips.  

Setting up Safely
Make sure you select the correct ladder for the job—check the length and duty rating. Proper length is a minimum of three feet extending over the roofline or working surface. Inspect your ladder before each use for loose or damaged:
  • Steps
  • Rungs
  • Spreaders
  • Rung dogs
  • Safety feet
  • Other parts 
Always clear the area where you will be working. Never place a ladder in front of a door that is not locked, blocked or guarded. Because metal ladders conduct electricity, use a wooden or fiberglass ladder near power lines or electrical equipment.

Check that all locks on extension ladders are properly engaged before placing your ladder on a steady surface. The ground underneath the ladder should be level and firm. Large, flat wooden boards braced underneath a ladder can help level it on an uneven surface or soft ground. Straight, single or extension ladders should be set up at approximately a 75 degree angle.

Use the 1:4 ratio to ensure your safety when on a ladder. Place the base of the ladder one foot away from whatever it’s leaning against for every four feet of height up to the point of contact for the top of the ladder.

Use Caution
Always exercise caution when using a ladder and do not use a ladder for any other purpose than intended. Other safety considerations include:
  • Make sure the weight that your ladder is supporting does not exceed its maximum load rating (user plus materials). And only one person should be on a ladder at a time.
  • Keep your body centered between the rails of the ladder at all times. Do not lean too far to the side while working. Never overreach. Instead, descend from the ladder and move it to a better position.
  • Do not step on the top step, bucket shelf, or attempt to climb or stand on the rear section of a stepladder.
  • Always face the ladder when climbing up or down. Never leave a raised ladder unattended. Slowly step down from a ladder if you feel dizzy or tired.
  • Non-slip footwear should be worn at all times when on a ladder.
Ladders pose specific safety hazards, so it’s essential to familiarize yourself with the risks and safety rules to help minimize ladder accidents.

If you have any questions concerning ladder safety and how you can improve your employees safety, please contact the LL Roberts Group PEO Risk Management department (toll free) at 877.878.6463. You can even talk to us on Facebook or Twitter!


Thursday, October 10, 2013

E-Verify Unavailable Due To Government Shutdown

For those of your in E-Verify states, E-Verify is currently unavailable due to a government shutdown.  E-Verify will provide additional guidance once they reopen. While E-Verify is unavailable, you will not be able to access your account and the following features are  unable:
  • Enroll any company in E-Verify
  • Verify employment eligibility
  • View or take action on any case
  • Add, delete or edit any User ID
  • Reset passwords
  • Edit your company information
  • Terminate an account
  • Run reports 

In addition, E-Verify Customer Support and related services are closed. As a result:
  • Employees will be unable to resolve Tentative Nonconfirmations (TNCs).
  • Telephone and e-mail support will be unavailable. You may send e-mails, however, we cannot respond until we reopen.
  • E-Verify webinars and training sessions are cancelled
  • E-Verify Self Check will not be available

We understand that E-Verify’s unavailability may have a significant impact on your company’s operations. To minimize the burden on both employers and employees, the following policies have been implemented:
  • The 'three-day rule' for E-Verify cases is suspended for cases affected by the shutdown. 
  • This does NOT affect the Form I-9 requirement—employers must still complete the Form I-9 no later than the third business day after an employee starts work for pay.
  • The time period during which employees may resolve TNCs will be extended. Days the federal government is closed will not count towards the eight federal government workdays the employee has to go to SSA or contact DHS. 
  • For federal contractors complying with the federal contractor rule, please contact your contracting officer to inquire about extending deadlines.

Employers may not take any adverse action against an employee because of an E-Verify interim case status, including while the employee’s case is in an extended interim case status due to a federal government shutdown (consult the E-Verify User Manual for more information on interim case statuses).

Form more information you can go to http://www.dhs.gov/e-verify, or you can contact The LL Roberts Group (toll free) at 877.878.6463