Vigilant Blog

News, trends and analysis in employment law, HR, safety & workers' comp

Showing posts for: Safety and Health

Photo of Manish Gooneratne
Jul 16 2019
Safety and Health  

Q&A: Keep exit routes clear and unobstructed

Question: How many exit routes should we have? Also, is it okay to temporarily block an exit route?   Answer: Generally, you’ll need to have at least two solid exit routes for your employees and your operation, but more exit routes may be required depending on the number of people onsite and/or the size of…

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Photo of Kara Craig
Jul 01 2019
DisabilityHarassment & DiscriminationSafety and Health  

Employers need objective basis to require fitness-for-duty exam

A federal district court recently ruled that a police department complied with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) when it required a bomb squad technician to undergo a fitness-for-duty exam. Their justification? The city had an objective basis for the fitness-for-duty exam request. In this case, the technician was experiencing hand…

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Photo of Michael Sorensen
Jun 21 2019
Safety and Health  

Wildfire season…are you ready?

As wildfire season approaches, it’s important to understand your obligations if employees want to wear dust masks to try to protect themselves from smoke in the air. Wildfire smoke is a mixture of gases and fine particles from burning trees and other plant material. Smoke can irritate workers’ eyes and respiratory systems,…

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Photo of Karen Davis
Feb 08 2019
Safety and Health  

OSHA launches new inspection initiative based on 2016 data

Employers who reported high injury and illness rates in 2016, or who failed to report at all, will be targeted for inspections by the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Site-Specific Targeting The agency announced the directive, “Site-Specific Targeting 2016,” on October 16, 2018. States with their own safety programs, such as…

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Photo of Karen Davis
Feb 08 2019
Safety and Health  

OSHA cites employer after forklift crushes employee during maintenance

A forklift maintenance procedure at a Kansas drywall contractor turned tragic when a hydraulic cylinder in the process of being swapped out fatally crushed an employee. The federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recently issued a press release announcing that it had cited the company for seven serious safety…

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Photo of Kara Craig
Aug 17 2018
Q&ADisabilityLeave LawsSafety and Health  

Q&A: No FMLA notice required unless employee asks for time off

Question: I have a production employee who says that standing for eight hours a day is causing him pain. He doesn’t want to go on any type of leave and says he’d rather just suffer through it. We are covered by the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). What do I do?
 

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Photo of Kandis Sells
Aug 06 2018
Q&ADisabilityHarassment & DiscriminationSafety and Health  

Q&A: “100-percent healed” return-to-work policy violates ADA

Question: To avoid workplace injuries, we require all employees to be 100-percent healed without any medical restrictions before they return to work after an illness or injury. We think this is an important policy to protect employee safety, but recently heard it might be unlawful discrimination. Is it?

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Photo of Manish Gooneratne
Jun 26 2018
Safety and Health  

New workers have a higher risk of on-the-job injuries

Studies show that new workers are more likely to be involved in a work-related lost time injury within the first three months of work compared to workers who have been on the job for more than one year. Knowing this information, what can you do to help lower the risk…

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Photo of Kandis Sells
May 30 2018
Harassment & DiscriminationHiringSafety and Health  

New domestic violence law expands protections in Washington

Washington has significantly revised its Domestic Violence Leave law to prohibit discrimination against applicants or employees who are victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking. The new law applies to all employers as of June 7, 2018, and prohibits employers from: Refusing to hire an actual or perceived victim of…

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May 09 2018
Q&ASafety and Health  

Use a numerical rating system to prioritize safety in busy times

Because deficient safety processes are the underlying causes of accidents, it is important to administer the most critical ones effectively. Here’s how employers can prioritize safety objectives when under a time crunch: Create a weighted scale for “prevention” and one for “compliance” (1-5 for effectiveness at “prevention” and 1-3 for effectiveness at “compliance,” where 1 is at the low end…

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