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Changes to the Workers’ Compensation Bill of Rights

HR Strategies continues to be dedicated in providing you guidance when it comes to workplace safety as well as compliance with required postings. The Georgia State Board of Workers’ Compensation Bill of Rights for the Injured Worker was updated July 1st 2015. It is very important that the updated Bill of Rights is posted in a prominent area available to all of your employees. A brief description of the changes to the Bill Of Rights are:

  • Temporary Total Disability (TTD)- If an employee is injured on the job and he/she misses more than 7 days of work due to the treating physician taking him/her completely out of work or placing him/her on restricted duty that the employer cannot accommodate, they would be entitled to weekly TTD benefits effective the eighth day. The amount of the benefit is determined by calculating 2/3’s of the employee’s average weekly wage. The maximum allowed weekly benefit has changed from $525 a week to $550.
  • Temporary Partial Disability (TPD) – In cases where an injured worker is able to return to work after a work related injury however it is at a lower rate of pay or reduced hours due to restricted duty, they may be entitled to TPD payments. The maximum allowed weekly benefit has changed from $350 a week to $367.

Workers’ Compensation Administration is a service that HR Strategies provides for its clients. See how we can help your business with workers’ compensation by clicking this sentence. If you’d like to read the Georgia State Board of Workers’ Compensation Bill of Rights for the Injured Worker, click on the image below:

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HR Strategies Assists in OSHA Compliance and Reduction of Penalties

Challenges:

HR Strategies provides aid and counsel on a variety of government regulatory compliance issues. One of the biggest issues which HR Strategies aids client owners in is OSHA compliance. Recently, a client owner received an “on site” visit from two OSHA inspectors regarding a complaint reported to their office.  Upon completion of the “on site” inspection, which included one-on-one interviews with selected personnel, a meeting was conducted to review the findings and closing remarks with the client. It became apparent the client was in violation of a number of serious OSHA standards; and that a citation and penalties would be forth coming.

Solution:

HR Strategies was notified immediately by the client at the time of the “on site” visit, and was able to meet with the inspectors and client, and was also able to attend the review meeting on the findings and closing remarks. Upon receipt of the citation letter, HR Strategies took a pro-active approach to address the citations and provide the necessary training and documentation in a timely manner in order to potentially reduce the penalties that were identified. HR Strategies was able to present the “corrective action” items in an informal conference with the OSHA area director.

Results:

The client was very appreciative of the timely and thorough action taken by HR Strategies, including the back-up of having a professional HR team present at meetings with them, and the training provided to allow them to be in compliance going forward. The meeting was favorable, resulting in the reduction of the penalties by half the original amount.

Read Full Post Here.

HR Strategies Provides Swift Assistance in Workers’ Compensation Injury

Challenges:

HR Strategies offers a variety of human resource solutions to their clients.  One of the most sought after solutions by clients is Workers’ Compensation administration. Through Workers’ Compensation administration, HR Strategies is able to aid their clients with not only procurement and management, but also with claims administration among other facets of WC.  The wide range of WC administration services recently provided a client peace of mind and ease in handling an injury.  HR Strategies’ client had an employee that fell at work on a Saturday, resulting in multiple injuries.  In pain, the employee became frustrated wondering where he could go for treatment without having to wait in an emergency room for hours, and without having to pay for the treatment out of pocket since he did not have the insurance carrier information with him. In addition to the employees pain and fret over out of pocket expenses, the employee was concerned that if he was not able to see a doctor that day that he would end up missing time from work and future wages.

Solution:

The supervisor remembered that as a client of HR Strategies he had been given a card, which he kept in his wallet, instructing him on what to do in case of an injury.  As the card instructed, he called the 24- hour claims reporting number and was able to make contact with HR Strategies to assist with the claim.  The injured employee was directed to an Urgent Care facility near his work and was able to receive prompt attention for his injuries.  HR Strategies was available to authorize the visit and provide the office with carrier information; as well as to verify the injury for the pharmacy to process the prescriptions.

Results:

By the client allowing HR Strategies to perform their workers’ compensation administrative needs and claims management, an injured employee was able to receive prompt medical attention and return to work the next business day. Not only did this benefit the employee, with no actual time lost from work; but also the employer as the overall cost of the claim was minimal and there was no loss in productivity or profit.

Read the whole case study here.

Back to OSHA Basics

osha_3dToday we’re taking you back to the basics of one of the governing agencies that oversee labor and employment in our country. The agency which ensures employers are responsible for providing a safe and healthful workplace is the Occupational Safety & Health Administration. OSHA’s mission is to assure safe and healthful workplaces by setting and enforcing standards and by providing training, outreach, education and assistance.

“In 1970, the United States Congress and President Richard Nixon created the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), a national public health agency dedicated to the basic proposition that no worker should have to choose between their life and their job. The OSHA law makes it clear that the right to a safe workplace is a basic human right.

Since OSHA’s first day on the job, the agency has delivered remarkable progress for our nation. Workplace injuries, illnesses and deaths have fallen dramatically. Together with our state partners, OSHA has tackled deadly safety hazards and health risks. We have established common sense standards and enforced the law against those who put workers at risk. Our standards, enforcement actions, compliance assistance and cooperative programs have saved thousands of lives and prevented countless injuries and illnesses.

Looking to the future, OSHA is committed to protecting workers from toxic chemicals and deadly safety hazards at work, ensuring that vulnerable workers in high-risk jobs have access to critical information and education about job hazards, and providing employers with vigorous compliance assistance to promote best practices that can save lives.

Although our task is far from complete, our progress gives us hope and confidence that OSHA will continue to make a lasting difference in the lives of our nation’s 130 million workers, their families and their communities.” http://www.osha.gov/Publications/3302-06N-2006-English.html

Rights and Responsibilities under OSHA Law

Employers have the responsibility to provide a safe workplace. Employers MUST provide their workers with a workplace that does not have serious hazards and must follow all OSHA safety and health standards. Employers must find and correct safety and health problems. OSHA further requires that employers must first try to eliminate or reduce hazards by making feasible changes in working conditions rather than relying on personal protective equipment such as masks, gloves, or earplugs. Switching to safer chemicals, enclosing processes to trap harmful fumes, or using ventilation systems to clean the air are examples of effective ways to eliminate or reduce risks.

Employers MUST also:

  • Inform workers about chemical hazards through training, labels, alarms, color-coded systems, chemical information sheets and other methods.
  • Provide safety training to workers in a language and vocabulary they can understand.
  • Keep accurate records of work-related injuries and illnesses.
  • Perform tests in the workplace, such as air sampling, required by some OSHA standards.
  • Provide required personal protective equipment at no cost to workers.*
  • Provide hearing exams or other medical tests required by OSHA standards.
  • Post OSHA citations and injury and illness data where workers can see them.
  • Notify OSHA within eight hours of a workplace fatality or when three or more workers are hospitalized (1-800-321-OSHA [6742]).
  • Prominently display the official OSHA “Job Safety and Health – It’s the Law” poster that describes rights and responsibilities under the law
  • Not retaliate or discriminate against workers for using their rights under the law, including their right to report a work-related injury or illness.

* Employers must pay for most types of required personal protective equipment.

Workers have the right to:

  • Work in conditions that do not pose a risk of serious harm.
  • File a confidential complaint with OSHA to have their workplace inspected.
  • Receive information and training about hazards, methods to prevent harm, and the OSHA standards that apply to their workplace. The training must be done in a language and vocabulary workers can understand.
  • Receive copies of records of work-related injuries and illnesses that occur in their workplace.
  • Receive copies of the results from tests and monitoring done to find and measure hazards in their workplace.
  • Receive copies of their workplace medical records.
  • Participate in an OSHA inspection and speak in private with the inspector.
  • File a complaint with OSHA if they have been retaliated or discriminated against by their employer as the result of requesting an inspection or using any of their other rights under the OSH Act.
  • File a complaint if punished or discriminated against for acting as a “whistleblower” under the 20 additional federal laws for which OSHA has jurisdiction.

The above is just a quick snapshot into the intensive Occupational Safety and Health Administration.  Please visit OSHA’s website, www.OSHA.gov, to find out more. The website also provides information on standards, enforcement, reporting and record keeping, complaint procedures, and additional assistance. In addition to having a great website full of important information, OSHA has recently introduced a mobile app for employees/employers:

•Heat Index for Outdoor Workers: Find out your local heat index and what precautions you should take to stay safe.

As always, HR Strategies is here to help our clients with regulatory compliance in respect to the many aspects of OSHA.

A few testimonials…

“They have  brought to this market something almost forgotten this day and time, true sincerity in business and people who actually care about you and your business. Every need that we have had: payroll, employee issues, workers’ compensation claims, and employment issues and advice have all been handled very professionally and in a timely manner.”
– Dental

“I have been using their service and am extremely happy with their professionalism. They make everything easy and seamless. Now I don’t have to worry about processing payroll, HR issues, employee benefits, or workers’ compensation.”
– Consulting

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