Wednesday, August 13, 2014

President Obama signs executive order requiring potential federal contractors to disclose labor law violations

On July 31, President Obama signed an executive order that requires companies competing for federal contracts to disclose labor law violations and gives agencies more guidance on how to consider labor violations when awarding federal contracts. The new process is designed to level the playing field and bring more companies into compliance with OSHA regulations and other workplace laws.
"Today's executive order is an important step to ensure that workers are protected, businesses have a fair shot to compete, and taxpayers get the best bang for their buck," said U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez. "Cheaters shouldn't win, and this action ensures they won't. Everyone is welcome to compete — as long as they are willing to do so fairly."
For more information, watch the video, read the fact sheet and read the new DOL blog post.

New resources: OSHA updates Heat Stress QuickCard

OSHA's updated Heat Stress QuickCardTM serves as a reminder to employers to acclimate workers to heat conditions. Employers should gradually increase workloads and allow more frequent breaks for workers who are new to the heat or those who have been away from work. The updated QuickCardTM also advises employers to modify work schedules and establish a complete heat illness prevention plan to protect their workers. OSHA's Heat Safety Tool, a mobile app that allows users to calculate the heat index, is also available for employers and workers.

New OSHA Web page highlights earthquake preparedness in the workplace

OSHA has launched a new emergency preparedness and response Web page to protect workers from earthquake hazards. Worksites in all 50 states, U.S. territories, and the District of Columbia are at risk for earthquakes that can cause injury, death and extensive damage to buildings and other infrastructure. OSHA encourages employers to stay aware of conditions that affect their workplaces, especially those at particular risk that are near fault lines or volcanoes. Employers should train workers on workplace evacuation and emergency action plans, and keep on hand emergency supplies such as battery-operated emergency radios and first aid kits. In the aftermath of disasters, employers must ensure that workers involved in response and recovery operations are protected from potential safety and health hazards. For more information, visit OSHA's Emergency Preparedness and Response page.

Temporary worker policy memorandum outlines responsibilities of host, staffing agencies

OSHA has issued a policy background memo to its field staff as part of its focus on preventing work-related injuries and illnesses among temporary workers. In the memo, the agency reminds OSHA field staff of the agency's long standing general enforcement policy regarding temporary workers.
"Too often in recent months, it has been OSHA's sad duty to investigate fatalities and injuries involving temporary workers who were not given the necessary safety and health protections required under the Act," wrote Thomas Galassi, director of OSHA's directorate of enforcement programs.
As joint employers, both the host employer and the staffing agency have responsibilities for protecting the safety and health of temporary workers. More information is available on OSHA's Protecting Temporary Workers Web page.