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February 26, 2008

HR Fact Friday: OSHA Releases Its Annual Enforcement Statistics

Filed under: OSHA2:15 pm

Who says government programs are not effective? The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recently released its annual enforcement statistics. Inspections and cited violations are on the rise. Employee illness and injury at the workplace is on the decline.

In fiscal 2007, OSHA conducted 39,324 total inspections, a 4.3 percent increase over its stated goal of 37,700.  Total violations of OSHA’s standards and regulations were 88,846, a 6 percent increase from fiscal 2006.  The agency cited 67,176 serious violations, a 9 percent increase from the previous year and a more than 12 percent increase over the past four years.  The number of cited repeat violations also rose, from 2,551 in FY 2006 to 2,714 in FY 2007.    

“The fact that OSHA surpassed its inspection goal for FY 2007 proves our enforcement commitment remains strong,” said Assistant Secretary of Labor for OSHA Edwin G. Foulke, Jr.  “The significant increase in citations for serious and repeat violations documents OSHA’s focus on identifying and eliminating severe hazards in the workplace.”

Fatality and injury and illness rates have continued to decline to record lows.  The injury and illness incidence rate of 4.4 per 100 employees for calendar year 2006 was the lowest that the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) has ever recorded.  Workplace fatality rates hit an all-time low in calendar 2006 with 3.9 fatalities per 100,000 employees.

Source: SHRM


February 25, 2008

HR Fact Friday: Gone Skiing

Filed under: HRN News1:53 pm

OK, so I haven’t exactly been inundated with emails from avid “HR Fact Friday” readers wondering why there was no posting last week, but nonetheless I feel the need to account for myself. So what’s my excuse . . . I took a few days off last week to take advantage of the deep, and fluffy, Utah powder. Yes, I went skiing, and it was a wonderful experience. Here in Utah, skiing is a multi-million dollar tourist and recreation mega-industry. And why? Because the snow in Utah is the best in the world. Something about the climate, humidity, and temperature combining to create ultra-fluffy snowflakes. All I know is the stuff is wonderful and this year . . . thankfully quite abundant. So last week we got some fresh dumps of snow up in the mountains surrounding Salt Lake City and I loaded up my skis and made the short drive up Little Cottonwood Canyon which leads to Alta and Snowbird resorts.

Which brings me to the photo below which should include the caption:

All work and no play (especially when there is fresh powder at Alta) make Paul cranky.



Don’t Be a Victim of Government HR Compliance High Pressure Poster Marketing

Filed under: Employment Law1:48 pm

If you receive a number of “official looking” offers to sell you government posters or scary sounding letters warning you of the dangers of being out of “poster compliance,” you are not alone. Many private firms sell government required posters. Some are quite ethical and simply provide a service by combining some of the required postings or presenting them in more attractive formats. Others are less than ethical, by trying to appear as though they represent the government or by attempting to sell “updated” posters which really aren’t.  In any event, required posters are basically available for free through government agencies.  A good place to start your poster hunt is the Department of Labor’s website at:  At the site you will find a number of links to federal postings and even state sites.  You probably can’t stop the annoying mailings but you can smugly throw them away knowing you got your posters for free.


February 12, 2008

Buckle Up: Proposed Revisions to FMLA Regulations Now Available — by Jane

Filed under: FMLA2:16 pm

You probably haven’t gotten over the excitement of the January 28th Amendments to the Family and Medical Leave Act which provide two new forms of leave relating to military service. Well get ready for more thrill and chills.



February 11, 2008

I Couldn’t Make It To Work, My Canoe Floated Away

Filed under: General HR Buzz2:18 pm


Employee absenteeism seems to be a growing problem. According to an annual survey by 1/3 of employees admit to calling in sick even they though weren’t. Increasing, many employees view sick leave as an entitlement or another form of vacation rather than time to be used when hit with the flu or accumulated and used should they be unlucky enough to have a long term illness.

We’ve probably all heard plenty of unbelievable excuses. Some of the crazier ones, complied by Careerbuilder were found at They include:

· An employee’s dog wasn’t feeling well , so the employee tasted the food and got sick.

· At her sister’s wedding, an employee chipped her tooth on a Mint Julep, bent over to spit it out, hit her head on a keg, and was knocked unconscious.

· Someone put LSD in my salad.

· Stuck on an island- canoe floated away.

· An employee was upset because his favorite American idol contestant was voted off.

· A groundhog bit the employee’s car tire, causing it to go flat.


February 8, 2008

HR Fact Friday: Small-Business Poised to Add Jobs in 2008

Filed under: Hiring & Jobs2:19 pm

While some major employers are considering layoffs this year, further fueling fears that the U.S. economy is sliding into recession, small-business owners are poised to add jobs.  According to the Alternative Board, a Westminster, Colorado-based firm that provides advisory services, about 57 percent of the nation’s small businesses plan to hire more people in 2008. Less than 4 percent expect to downsize. Small firms also expect big things in 2008: Nearly 73 percent envision greater profitability, and 61 percent will increase their capital spending.


Affected workers transitioning from a large company to a small or medium sized employer will appreciate having a job and paycheck, but can expect the total benefits package they receive to provide less and cost more out of pocket. Small and medium sized businesses are feeling the crunch of constantly rising health benefits costs. Current trends are for small and some medium sized businesses to reduce or cut health care benefits completely. Another trend is for employers to offer lower cost, high deductible HSA plans. As a result of the trend for large corporations to downsize and small businesses to add headcount, America’s healthcare coverage crisis may very well be the make or break presidential election issue of 2008.

Data Source: Workforce Management


February 1, 2008

HR Fact Friday: New Jobs Getting Harder To Find

Filed under: Hiring & Jobs2:23 pm

With daily reports of a softening economy and fear of recession, perhaps now isn’t the best time to do anything rash in regard to a voluntary job/employment change. reported today that a government report on January jobs shows that employers trimmed payrolls for the first time in four years. But the report tells only part of the story about the underlying weakness in the labor market.