SAFETY/HEALTH

How far can I go to ban guns at work?

07/31/2014
Q. As the owner of a Texas company, I want to institute a policy that strictly forbids employees from bringing guns to work—both into the office building and in the parking lot outside. Can I legally draft such a policy?

Plan in advance to weather natural disasters

07/10/2014

Smart employers make contingency plans so they can stay up and running even when normal work operations are disrupted. Here are eight key pieces to a crisis-management plan, which you can coordinate with the appropriate departments.

New risk: employee assault & battery lawsuits

07/09/2014
While you likely have a grasp on the definition of unlawful harassment and discrimination, have you thought about what constitutes assault, battery and “intentional infliction of emotional distress” in the workplace?

Safety-first focus shows concern for employees

06/09/2014

Toledo, Ohio-based Owens Corning offers cellphones to employees who need them for business, but employees are forbidden from using the phones while driving. The building-materials manufacturer is trying to convince employees to “own” their unsafe behavior.

Prevent violence with good hiring, training, supervision

06/06/2014
Most incidents of workplace violence could have been prevented. A supportive workplace, in fact, is one that works daily to keep violence at bay, using a three-stage strategy of primary, secondary and third-level prevention.

NLRB, OSHA pact gives longer life to whistle-blower claims

05/28/2014
Employers can expect more whistle-blower cases to be heard as unfair labor practices charges now that the National Labor Relations Board and OSHA have agreed to cooperate when employees file late safety-related complaints.

Worker acting strangely? Request evaluation

05/15/2014
If you think a worker could benefit from psychological help and fear that he may pose a danger to himself or others, you can require an evaluation.

Disability leave: Best intentions may backfire

04/23/2014

Here’s something to consider before you place an employee on disability leave following an em­­ployer-ordered medical exam. That employee may end up being considered disabled—even if the exam revealed no real medical problems. Essentially, by examining him and placing him on leave, you are regarding him as disabled. He can then sue for disability discrimination.

8 warning signs of volatile employee behavior

03/27/2014
Dennis Davis, author of Threats Pending, Fuses Burning: Managing Workplace Violence and director of client training for Ogletree Deakins, urges employers to be on the lookout for workers who display any of these eight warning signs of violent behavior.

Lancaster nurse fired after refusing influenza vaccine

03/06/2014

Lancaster-based Horizons Healthcare fired a nurse after she refused to have a flu vaccine. The company requires its employees to get flu shots to limit potential epidemics. The nurse offered to wear a mask while on duty, instead. It’s a case that has yet to result in a lawsuit—but it could.

Workers' Safety and Health

02/02/2014

HR Law 101: Employers have an obligation to provide a safe work environment for their employees. Those that don’t will pay a heavy price. Their workers’ compensation and other liability insurance costs will rise, workers may sue, and OSHA may impose heavy fines.

Does workers' comp cover injuries an employee suffers at a work-related social event?

01/24/2014
Q. Is an employee who injures himself at a ­company-sponsored picnic eligible for workers’ ­compensation?

Be alert for health, safety whistle-blowing

01/24/2014
Here’s a warning for federal government employers: Just about any internal complaint about agency wrongdoing may be protected activity under the Whistleblower Pro­­tec­­tion Act (WPA).

OSHA launches online whistle-blower complaint form

01/22/2014
OSHA now offers whistle-blowers an online complaint form. Until now, whistle-blowers had to either write or call OSHA. The online form is designed to provide workers who have been retaliated against an additional way to reach out for OSHA assistance.

Ergonomics

01/18/2014

HR Law 101: In 2009, OSHA said it plans to propose a rule requiring employers to report work-related musculoskeletal disorders (WMSDs) in a new column on their Form 300 workplace injury logs. Some believe the move is a precursor to reintroducing ergonomic standards.

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