Advocacy Update

Forrest WallWritten by Forrest Wall, CAE, Vice President
Government Affairs and Industry Relations

Rent Control Preemption Under Attack

A group of Democratic Senators has introduced multiple bills which would dismantle the current Michigan law protecting against rent control.
The first effort, Senate Bill 1129, would completely repeal the existing law which prohibits local governments in Michigan from enacting rent control ordinances. This bill was introduced in the Michigan Senate on September 22 and has been referred to the Committee on Local Government.

A second proposal, which is a two-bill package, was introduced on the same date in the Senate. Senate Bills 1131 & 1132 propose to allow rent control in specific situations, with the potential for offsetting property tax breaks. These bills authorize local units of government the ability to limit rent for disabled individuals and senior citizens. An individual with a disability is defined in the bill as a person with either physical or mental disability that limits one or more major life activities of the individual. Senior citizen is defined in the bill as someone 62 or older, but the rent limitation would not apply to a person 70 or under unless the person has lived in their dwelling for the last five years. The legislation allows (but does not mandate) local units of government with rent control ordinances under this section to provide a property tax break to property subject to the rent control ordinance. The tax break takes the form of an exemption from ad valorem property taxes, with a specific tax taking its place. The specific tax is figured by taking the amount of tax that would have been collected on the parcel as though it was not exempt from ad valorem property tax, minus an amount determined by the local government but not exceeding the ad valorem tax. These bills have also been referred to the Committee on Local Government for consideration.

The preemption of local rent control is one of the most significant legislative accomplishments in AAM’s history. AAM will continue to oppose legislation attempting to repeal or change this law!

Posted in 2020, NOVEMBER 2020 | Comments Off on Advocacy Update

MIOSHA Required Safety Training for Construction

Written by Daniel Aday, CompOne Administrators Safety & Loss Prevention Specialist

With everything that goes on day-to-day and constantly playing catch up with customers, jobs, and everything else, safety training is one of many items that may be forgotten. Safety training is not only required by law, but also significantly helps reduce worker-related injuries and keeps jobs on pace. Although it does take time away from a job – to gather individuals and prepare a course to teach – the time invested in training comes back as time well spent as compared to spending countless hours and dollars on accidents, fines and citations after they occur.

While MIOSHA’s standards are set as the bare minimum for a company or organization to follow, they provide guidelines and have shown to improve safety within a company. The following is a list of training that is required from MIOSHA, and while it is not a complete list of all safety trainings that you should be conducting, it serves as a reminder to ensure that you are within compliance and protecting your workers.

New Employee Training
When hiring new employees, it is imperative that training be performed prior to any exposure of such recognized hazards. Countless times, you will see employers waiting for weeks, even months, to conduct training for new hires so that training can be done all at once. While this may seem more economical, there is a significant portion of all accidents that occur within the first period of employment that can easily be avoided by implementing training before work is done.

Basic training should be established on the first day, or the first week of employment if the first day does not allow enough time. It should include a fundamental understanding of your company’s safety procedures, your accident prevention program, demonstration or instruction of your company’s safety data sheet management system, emergency response (including fire response, protection and evacuation procedures), usage of all applicable PPE that may be used, limitations of PPE and how to use it correctly and any other job specific tasks that the employee may perform. More extensive training may be warranted for ear protection, respirators, and other PPE that requires fit testing or health screenings.
Training is also required on particular hazards of whatever jobs or duties your company performs (such as fall hazard awareness, which may include the usage of fall protection, fall prevention, safe usage of guardrails), all MIOSHA and OSHA applicable regulation, confined space entry, machine guarding and similar hazards that encompass every day duties.

Recognized Hazards
Additional training is required for recognized hazards in specific tasks, including: cranes and derricks; usage of ladders; scaffolding; usage of excavators; hoist operations; forklift training, aerial work platform, and other motorized equipment used for lifting, moving, or deconstruction; masonry wall bracing; welding; in-depth training for powder actuating tools and positioning devices.

First Aid
MIOSHA requires that at every job-site there is an individual who is trained on First Aid and can respond with treatment, if such instance ever arises. Most certifications for first aid last for three years.

As Needed
Several of these items, in which MIOSHA and OSHA ask that you perform training for your employees, do not give parameters as to how often training should be conducted. These could fall under as needed, upon hire, or annually. It is best to ensure that these are performed as soon as possible, and often enough to ensure that no unsafe work condition is created due to the lack of training. When in doubt, you should always side on training more frequently than not enough. Over the span of a year, important information may be forgotten, which is why you will typically see annual training conducted on most of these topics.

There are few topics that require training every three years, including forklift and other powered industrial equipment. However all training is warranted when there are deviations from your company’s safety policy and what is being observed.
Additionally, retraining should occur if an incident occurs and if an audit finds error or a previously unknown hazard. Lastly, ensure that if you promote within the company and job duties are modified, existing workers should go through complete training and become qualified in all new roles.

If you need any assistance with investigating an incident or are interested in accident investigation training, please feel free to contact me at daday@compone.net or at 734-341-6620.

Posted in 2020, NOVEMBER 2020 | Comments Off on MIOSHA Required Safety Training for Construction

The Importance Of Accident Investigation

Written by Daniel Aday, CompOne Administrators Safety & Loss Prevention Specialist

The only thing worse than an accident happening, is a previous accident happening again. Incidents and accidents that occur and go without a proper accident investigation are likely to occur again. It is your responsibility as an employer or owner of a company to ensure that your employees are provided a workplace that is free of hazards, and that includes conducting a proper investigation on accidents and incidents and doing what is feasible to prevent them from happening again. The purpose of an accident investigation is to determine the root cause (the real reason) of why the incident occurred, or to find the initial hazard that set off the series of events that led up to the accident. While there are many ways to determine a root cause, it is best not to “jump to a conclusion” and assume what happened based on very little investigation

Additionally, the purpose of an accident investigation is NOT to assign blame. It is common to see untrained investigators simply put the blame or the cause of the accident on someone “not paying attention” or similar. While these components of an accident may play a part in why the accident occurred, they are not the root cause of why the incident occurred.

Finding the root cause may be as simple as just asking “why” more than a couple times. This is known as the “5 Why Analysis” and it is one of the most common forms of incident investigation you see in the workplace. It is incredibly easy to use and understand and to find root causes without much training. For example: “Lizzy was working on siding the building when she fell off the ladder and sprained her wrist” and ask the first why: “Why did Lizzy fall off the ladder?” Then follow up with the second why: “The ladder started to shift on her when she was working.” Third why: “The ladder sunk into the ground.” Fourth why: “There were missing feet on the ladder.” Fifth why: “The ladder was missing feet because the ladder was not inspected prior to use.” While this may be common sense to replace feet on a ladder, or to avoid using a ladder if it is broken or missing parts, many people may not look to inspect a ladder prior to use. A poor corrective action for this incident would be to write up Lizzy for not inspecting the ladder prior to use. This does not solve the problem, but only creates a reactive action. This does not eliminate the problem and allows the problem to still exist for all others who use ladders in a similar manner. The obvious root cause of this incident is that the missing foot was not identified prior to use. A great corrective action for this incident example would be to not only fix or replace the ladder, but additionally to also create a ladder inspection program that requires individuals to fill out a complete ladder checklist prior to use. Yes, this will take additional time, but will save the employer and employees from any future related accidents.

In addition to finding the root cause via “5 Why Analysis,” pointing out contributing factors also aids in investigation. Additional questions for this example might include:

  • Was the individual using the proper three points of contact?
  • Should the individual have fall protection gear on?
  • Was it windy or were there other weather hazards?

These are all questions that should be asked during an investigation to help aid in finding ALL the root causes. (Yes, there may be more than one root cause!) Lastly, it is unlikely that every incident will require exactly 5 questions every single time. The investigation may only require a few questions, or very well may require several more. It is your responsibility, as an investigator, to understand when you have discovered the root cause(s) and to find a adequate corrective action that will prevent the incident from occurring again.

If you need any assistance with investigating an incident or are interested in accident investigation training, please feel free to contact me at daday@compone.net or at 734-341-6620.

Posted in 2020, OCTOBER 2020 | Comments Off on The Importance Of Accident Investigation

Advocacy Update

Forrest WallWritten by Forrest Wall, CAE, Vice President Government Affairs and Industry Relations

Additional Legislation Proposed to Limit Evictions
Two bills introduced in the Michigan House of Representatives – unrelated to the national moratorium on evictions – would further restrict evictions as a result of the pandemic and establish an unreasonable use of security deposit funds. House Bill 5962, introduced in July, would amend the Revised Judicature Act to prohibit property owners from evicting residents or sending a notice to quit until 60 days after the termination of the COVID-19 emergency orders. The legislation also prohibits courts from the following: accepting a filing for summons or complaint; entering an order or judgment for a plaintiff for possession; issuing a writ of restitution or order of eviction; denying a stay of a writ of restitution or order for eviction or a continuation of a summary proceeding; or scheduling a court event. House Bill 5963 would amend the Landlord and Tenant Relationships Act to allow a resident to request their security deposit be used to pay rent during a state of emergency as declared by the Governor. The bills have been referred to the Committee on Judiciary and the Committee on Regulatory Reform where AAM is opposing them. These bills join recently introduced Senate bills which would statutorily restrict rental property evictions during a state of emergency.

Help AAM Make A Difference In The Election!
With all 110 seats in the Michigan House of Representatives up for election this year, AAM needs your help to maintain our strong voice for the multifamily rental property industry. One great way you can assist us is by supporting AAM-PAC. AAM-PAC is the Apartment Association’s political action committee, which utilizes contributions from members and aggregates them into one fund. This fund is used to financially support those elected officials who understand the important role of rental housing in Michigan’s economy. In short, we do the legwork for you to find the candidates who will best represent your business, and then support their campaign.

Remember, AAM-PAC contributions must be made via personal, partnership, LLP, or LLC check or credit cards. Please call me at 248-862-1004 to make your contribution today!

Posted in 2020, OCTOBER 2020 | Comments Off on Advocacy Update

The Hazards Of Heat Stress

Written by Daniel Aday, CompOne Administrators Safety & Loss Prevention Specialist

Whether you are outside mowing the lawn, or sitting in an office without adequate air conditioning, heat stress is a very real problem that can become life-threatening, quickly. When you think of heat stress, you may think of sky rocketing temperatures, while standing in the direct sun and extreme physical work, but in truth, heat can affect individuals differently based on their health, hydration levels and tolerance for temperatures. Not all hazards of heat stress are noticed and could be as simple as lowering worker motivation and morale and decreasing work output. Take the time now to be able to recognize the signs and symptoms of heat-related illnesses and preventing them before they become a problem.

Signs and Symptoms
Although there are many heat-related illnesses, the most severe is “Heat Stroke”. Heat stroke can occur when the body’s temperature rises rapidly and the rest of the body can’t keep up. Individuals who experience heat stroke generally are not sweating (your body’s natural way of cooling down), have hot, dry skin, are generally confused, may faint or go into a coma and even have seizures. If any of these symptoms occur, call 911 immediately and move the individual to a cool, shaded spot. Put wet clothes or ice on them to rapidly cool them down.

Heat exhaustion is not as life-threatening as a heat stroke, but should still be addressed immediately. It occurs when there is an excessive loss in water and salt in the body after being exposed to heat. It coincides with excessive sweating (hence the loss in salt to retain water). Symptoms may include headaches, weakness, excessive sweating, light-headedness, irritability, and thirst. If caught early on, have the individual take frequent sips of cool water while seated in shade or in front of a fan. If someone is extremely confused, light-headed, or non-responsive, call 911 immediately.

Heat cramps are more common and may lead to one of the aforementioned heat-related illness. Heat cramps are most common in the abdomen, arms, and legs and are a result of dehydration and a lack of salt within the body during more strenuous activity. If you do notice cramps, pain, or spams in any of these parts of the body, drink a sports drink that is going to replenish your electrolytes. If cramps are not going away with an hour, medical attention may be required.

Pre-existing conditions may influence someone’s response to heat. Rhabdomyolysis, diabetes, heart disease, mental illness and poor blood circulation, to name a few, lower an individual’s tolerance to heat. Something to consider is just because you feel comfortable, doesn’t mean that someone else’s concern for the heat is invalid. All concerns for high heat levels should be taken seriously and addressed accordingly.

How to Prevent Heat Stress
The most important preventative measure you can take to combat heat stress and heat-related issues is to check the weather and plan accordingly. Also take into account the humidity and the heat index. The heat index is the measure of what the “real feel” temperature is outside. This takes into account the humidity and actual temperature and outputs a temperature that your body will react to. An example of this is when it’s 92 degrees out, with 85% humidity, it can feel like 126 degrees! Plan work accordingly and encourage frequent breaks, hydration and provide shade when working outside at temps above 80 degrees.

Additionally, provide drinks and cold treats. Believe it or not, milk is actually one of the best drinks to maintain hydration, along with coconut water, sports drinks and, of course, water. Additionally, cold treats not only help reduce body core temps, but also increase work morale on hot summer days.

Lastly, have workers trained in CPR and first aid to be able to easily recognize early signs and symptoms and have the knowledge to react to an emergency if one occurs. If you do not have a First Aid, CPR, and AED trainer already, CompOne has certified Red Cross Trainers and are able to come on-site and offer adequate training to help prepare your staff for potential medical emergencies. If you need additional information, please feel free to contact us at: daday@compone.net or 734-309-3456.

Posted in 2020, August 2020 | Comments Off on The Hazards Of Heat Stress