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Do we need to provide a ‘sick couch’?


Q. Are we required to provide a couch or cot on the premises in the event that an employee becomes ill? Are there any laws that dictate safety or health reasons for doing this?

5 steps help prevent workplace violence


An effective workplace violence prevention program begins with employee screening and ends with publicizing a tough anti-violence policy. Here’s a primer on reducing the chances of employee violence erupting at your workplace. You can also download our Workplace Violence Prevention Toolkit, containing proven violence-prevention strategies and sample policies.

When should we request fitness-for-duty exam?


Q. One of our employees recently told her supervisor that she has a heart condition. She went home early the other day because she wasn’t feeling well. Can we request that she get a doctor’s note clearing her to work?

Document your concern about employee before ordering a fitness-for-duty exam


The ADA prohibits employers from demanding fitness-for-duty exams unless the exams are “job related and consistent with business necessity.” Employers can demand an exam if they have a reasonable belief that an employee’s medical condition will impair his or her ability to perform essential job functions or will pose a safety threat. If you believe either is the case, document your objective and reasonable beliefs before demanding the exam.

OSHA cites Cincy painting firm for lead safety violations


OSHA has levied $321,000 in fines against UCL Inc., a Cincinnati-based bridge and tower painting company. The fines stem from nine willful and two serious workplace safety violations related to lead exposure.

Orlando shooter showed signs of depression before rampage


In the weeks leading up to the Nov. 6 shootings at the offices of Reynolds, Smith & Hills in downtown Orlando—where one person was killed and five wounded—alleged gunman Jason Rodriguez had exhibited signs of deep depression, according to relatives.

Don’t let tough times affect basic safety


These days, most employers are focusing hard on increasing per-employee output. By some measures, it’s working: Government statistics show large jumps in employee productivity. But some of those gains come when employees cut workplace safety corners to get more done. Don’t let that happen.

Holiday help for HR professionals


Here’s a round-up of HR advice to heed as the holidays roll around. Click on the links below for answers to holiday questions posed by our readers, as well as a slew of tips to keep things festive without finding a subpeona in your stocking:

Holiday parties: 12 tips for making sure liability doesn’t hang over your head


Every year around this time, the Ghost of Christmas Parties Past comes clanking down the hallway, dragging a chain of liability dread for employers. The biggest nightmare: alcohol-fueled misbehavior and mishaps. Here are 12 tips to ensure that what’s supposed to be the best of times doesn’t turn into the worst of times.

2008 collapse drops $500,000 in fines on mine operator


The U.S. Department of Labor’s Mine Safety and Health Administration has issued five citations to UAE Coalcorp Associates following its investigation of a fatal 2008 mine roof collapse at Harmony Mine in Northumberland County.