Advocacy Update

Forrest WallWritten by Forrest Wall, CAE, Staff Vice President and Industry Relations

New Legislation Proposes To Make Certain Evictions More Difficult

Recently introduced legislation in the Michigan House of Representatives would make it more difficult to evict in cases involving controlled substances or threats of physical injury. Under current summary proceedings law, a landlord is entitled to recover possession of premises in cases of controlled substances when a formal police report is filed alleging that the person has unlawfully manufactured, delivered, possessed with intent to deliver, or possessed a controlled substance. House Bill 5396 would change that standard for delivery, possession with intent to deliver, and possession from a formal police report to an actual conviction. The standard for unlawful manufacture of a controlled substance would remain as a formal police report. Further, current law states that you can recover possession in instances where the tenant or member of the tenant’s household has caused or threatened physical injury to another individual, and the police department has been notified. This legislation would change that standard of simple notification of the police to an actual conviction of a crime.

Lead Legislation Would Expand Inspection Law

Proposed amendments to the Housing Law of Michigan would incorporate lead-based paint provisions in rental property inspection law. The legislation, House Bill 5388, would add lead-based paint inspection fees to the fee provision for local building code inspection. Furthermore, a lead-paint violation could trigger existing clauses in the law allowing the local government to order the property to be vacated and/or to have rents paid into an escrow account until the property is abated.

Inclusionary Zoning Bill Amended To Be Voluntary

Legislation which originally proposed to allow for local inclusionary zoning has been amended in the Michigan Senate. Senate Bill 110, as first introduced, would have allowed local governments to dictate to developers the terms for inclusion of affordable units in new residential rental developments. The revised legislation allows local governments to “implement a plan to use voluntary incentives and agreements to increase the supply of moderate- or low-cost private residential property available for lease.”

 

Posted in 2018, APRIL 2018 | Comments Off on Advocacy Update

Preventing Eye Injuries

WRITTEN BY GARY SMITH, APARTMENT BUILDING MANAGEMENT WORKERS COMPENSATION SELF INSURED FUND

According to Prevent Blindness®, a non-profit dedicated to preventing blindness and preserving sight, more than 700,000 Americans injure their eyes at work each year. Additionally, it’s estimated that over 90 percent of these injuries are preventable with the use of appropriate eye protection. So, what actions can be taken by employers?

The best defenses to prevent eye injuries are:

  • Know the eye safety dangers at work by completing a personal protective equipment (PPE) hazard assessment and equipment selection. Employers are required to document their assessment and selection for PPE.
  • Eliminate hazards before starting work. Use machine guards, work screens, and other engineering controls.
  • Require the use of proper eye protection.

Employers are also required to provide PPE to employees without cost, in most all cases. Providing prescription safety eyewear is not required when an over-the-glass (OTG) style of eye protection is made available.

To help employers comply with the requirements of General Industry Part 33 – Personal Protective Equipment, MIOSHA prepared PPE Guide SP#16. A copy is available at http://www.michigan.gov/documents/dleg/deleg_wsh_cetsp16_336065_7.doc.

The types of eye protection that employees should wear depends on the hazards in the workplace. If working in an area that has particles, flying objects, or dust, then employees must at least wear safety glasses with side protection (i.e., side shields). If working with chemicals, then employees should wear goggles to protect against splashes. If working near hazardous radiation (e.g., welding, lasers, or fiber optics), then employees must use special-purpose safety glasses, goggles, face shields, or helmets designed for that task. Protective eye wear should be worn by anyone working in or passing through areas that pose eye hazards. Management should be prepared to lead by example and always wear eye protection in these areas.

What is the difference between glass, plastic, and polycarbonate lenses? All three types of safety lenses meet or exceed ANSI Z-87.1 requirements for eye protection.

Glass lenses

  • Are not easily scratched
  • Can be used around harsh chemicals
  • Can be made in your corrective prescription
  • Are sometimes heavy and uncomfortable
  • Plastic lenses
  • Are lighter weight
  • Protect against welding splatter
  • Are not likely to fog
  • Are not as scratch-resistant as glass

Polycarbonate lenses

  • Are lightweight
  • Protect against welding splatter
  • Are not likely to fog
  • Are stronger than glass and plastic
  • Are more impact resistant than glass or plastic
  • Are not as scratch resistant as glass

To help encourage consistent use of eye protection, employers can offer several style choices of safety glasses, lanyards to keep them at hand, and anti-fog cleaning solution. These workplace practices make it easier for employees to develop, and maintain, their habit of using eye protection.

Lastly, conduct ongoing educational programs to create, keep up, and highlight the need for protective eyewear. Add eye safety to regular employee training programs and to new employee orientation.

Should you require additional information or assistance with preventing eye injuries in the workplace, please contact Gary Smith, CRM, at (517) 338-3367 or gary.smith@yorkrsg.com.

Resources:

  1. MIOSHA General Industry Part 33 – Personal Protective Equipment at http://www.michigan.gov/documents/CIS_WSH_part33_34779_7.pdf
  2. CDC/NIOSH Workplace Eye Safety at https://www.cdc.gov/niosh/topics/eye/default.html
  3. OSHA Eye & Face Protection at https://www.osha.gov/SLTC/eyefaceprotection/index.html
  4. Preventing Blindness America at http://www.preventblindness.org

 

Posted in 2018 | Comments Off on Preventing Eye Injuries

Back Injury Prevention

WRITTEN BY GARY SMITH, APARTMENT BUILDING MANAGEMENT WORKERS COMPENSATION SELF INSURED FUND

Back injuries can be very painful and long-lasting. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the back injuries of more than 1 million workers account for nearly 20 percent of all injuries and illnesses in the workplace. In fact, only the common cold accounts for more lost days of work.

OSHA and MIOSHA do not have specific regulations for back safety, but training employees to lift safely is implied by the General Duty Clause of the federal and state workplace safety statutes. These laws require employers to provide employees with a workplace that is “free of recognized hazards.” OSHA and MIOSHA have stated that they will not focus enforcement efforts on employers that have implemented effective ergonomic programs or that are making good-faith efforts to reduce hazards that cause worker strains and sprains (e.g., back safety training).

Safe lifting practices and load-carrying techniques are crucial to preventing painful and expensive injuries in the workplace. Unfortunately, most workers do not consistently use these safety practices, which leads to greater risk to their personal well-being. Back injuries, often caused by unsafe lifting and carrying of heavy or awkward objects, are easily prevented. The most common types of job-related back injuries are:

  • Strain – overused or overstretched muscles
  • Sprain – torn ligaments from sudden movement
  • Herniated disk – loss of the spine’s cushioning ability from strain or age

An effective back safety program uses both education and training to reduce the risk of these common workplace injuries. Education helps to form personal beliefs and training helps to form personal practices.

Although improper lifting, carrying, and moving techniques are the primary cause of back injuries, significant contributing factors are workers who are in poor physical condition and overweight. Encourage employees to also maintain a healthy weight and good muscle tone through stretching exercises and other wellness programs.

The following educational and training resources are available without cost:

Be sure to document education and training by using a written record with the following sections: date, time, facilitator name, subjects/content covered, attendee names/signatures, and those absent (who will require make-up).

Remember that back injuries are easily preventable. Educate and train frequently, and follow-up with workplace observations to ensure that the knowledge is being put into practice.

Should you require assistance with back safety education and training, please contact Gary Smith, CRM, at (517) 338-3367 or gary.smith@yorkrsg.com

Posted in 2018, March 2018 | Comments Off on Back Injury Prevention

Advocacy Update

Forrest WallWritten by Forrest Wall, CAE, Staff Vice President and Industry Relations

Recycling Legislation Introduced In Michigan House

A new bill has been introduced in the Michigan House of Representatives which would require multifamily rental property owners to provide on-site recycling for residents. House Bill 5485 addresses multiple dwellings with four or more units, and specifies that the owner shall provide recycling containers to residents. Additionally, the bill mandates that the recycling service be consistent with local ordinances in effect, as well as any governmental contract in place for collection and handling of recycling. The legislation provides an exemption from the requirement if the local enforcing agency determines that there is inadequate space for the placement and servicing of the recycling receptacles at the property.

Reminder: Apartment Inspection Law Changes Now In Effect

Public Act 169 of 2017, which amended the Housing Law of Michigan’s rental property inspection section, took effect on February 19. The new law provides that a lessee’s permission is needed prior to local government entry to inspect. Previously, state law allowed a local government to compel an apartment owner, regardless of the resident’s wishes, to provide unit access if the lease allowed the owner right of entry at any time. In addition to providing for tenant permission for inspection, the new law lays out the resident notification/inspection scheduling process, specifies certain exceptions (complaints, vacancy, etc.) to the permission requirement, and states the landlord’s duty to allow inspection of common areas. It is suggested that all apartment owners review this new law with your landlord-tenant attorney.

 

Posted in 2018, March 2018 | Comments Off on Advocacy Update

Injury Prevention Best Practices – Part II

WRITTEN BY GARY SMITH, APARTMENT BUILDING MANAGEMENT WORKERS COMPENSATION SELF INSURED FUND

In last month’s article, we directed attention on improving the overall effectiveness of our safety programming by considering items #1 and #2 below:

  1. Safety Roles and Responsibilities
  2. Safety Planning and Loss Analysis
  3. Safety Program and Process
  4. Education and Training

Now, let’s consider items #3 – Safety Program and Process and #4 – Education and Training to bring our review of best practices together.

Safety Program and Process
These two elements, a written safety program (i.e., what to do) and internal safety process (i.e. how to do it), may be developed as one document. They are both necessary for internal safety standards to be established, communicated, and followed.

Many safety program templates exist that can be further customized to meet your organizations specific needs. For efficient and effective internet searches, follow this advice: If, for example, a written safety program template is needed, type into a Google search, safety program+*.doc, and then select the best template from the results.

The safety process element should be kept as simple as possible while still maintaining effectiveness. Like any successful recipe, identify the ingredients, quantities, order of addition, and any other pertinent information that will bring the best possible results. So, a safety process will include the critical steps (e.g. complete new hire safety orientation checklist, and so on). Whatever the process, keep it simple, document it, and follow it. Remember, “simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” -Leonardo da Vinci

Lastly, be sure to perform an annual review of all programming, and make any necessary revisions. Schedule specific dated and times to review relevant regulatory updates and industry changes.

Education and Training
Identify all safety education and training requirements by creating a matrix (i.e., safety subjects and job positions within the organization), and then schedule dates/times to complete it during the calendar year.

Next, consider the difference between education and training as explained by E. Scott Geller, Ph.D., author of The Psychology of Safety Handbook, 1st and 2nd editions:

Education – People need to understand and believe in the rationale, theory and principles underlying a particular set of program procedures, and this is commonly referred to as education. Education targets thought processes directly, and might indirectly influence what people do. Education most directly affects attitudes, beliefs, values, intentions, and perceptions. Education = Attitudes and Beliefs.

Training – Understanding, belief, or awareness is not sufficient, however, to implement a new procedure or process. People need to learn the specific behaviors or activities required for successful implementation… This requires training, and should include behavior-based observation and feedback. Training most directly affects behaviors. Training = Behaviors.

Both education and training are necessary for an effective injury prevention program, and consider the needs for these four types:

Orientation
This process often includes the many aspects of the operations (i.e. work processes, paperwork, etc.), but be sure to provide a solid emphasis on injury prevention right up front. Focus on critical areas of concern, which should include past injury experience resulting in high frequency (i.e., number of claims) and high severity (i.e., cost of claims). Create the context for new workers so they have a better appreciation for the safety programming and injury prevention efforts. The company safety culture will benefit by taking time to explain and create buy-in.

Refresher
Injury prevention efforts often work best with short duration and high frequency training. Content (i.e., messaging) needs to be repeated before it is fully heard and understood. It is often stated that it takes seven times to repeat a message to accomplish this goal. So, think “short duration, high frequency” while providing new examples or stories so that the material stays fresh.

Supervisory
In additional to regulatory-required training, supervisors should receive additional education and training to recognize hazards, perform worker observations, provide coaching to reinforce safe work habits, and help to maintain/strengthen a culture of safety. Investment in supervisory level training provides continuous positive benefits to an organization’s injury prevention program.
Safety Committee
A well-educated and trained committee provides numerous benefits to an organization’s injury prevention program. When healthy, these teams drive safety cultures to higher levels of performance, create better worker buy-in for programming elements and foster higher levels of job satisfaction.

So, in 2018, consider improving the overall effectiveness of your organization’s safety programming by diligent use of these best practices.

Should you require assistance with safety program and process development, or safety education and training, please contact Gary Smith, CRM, at (517) 338-3367 or gary.smith@yorkrsg.com

Posted in 2018, February 2018, Uncategorized | Comments Off on Injury Prevention Best Practices – Part II