Advocacy Update

Forrest Wall March 2021Written by HBA and AAM CEO, Forrest M. Wall, CAE

LGBTQ Expansion of Elliott-Larson Act Signed Into Law

After legislative passage by both the Michigan House and Senate, Governor Whitmer signed an expansion of Michigan’s Elliott-Larson Civil Rights Act to include LGBTQ individuals. Public Act 6 of 2023 amends all relevant sections of the act (title, scope, employment, real estate, etc.) to include sexual orientation, gender identity or expression among the protected classes under the law. Prior to PA 6, Michigan’s civil rights law prohibited discrimination on the basis of religion, race, color, national origin, age, sex, familial status, and marital status.

Housing Inspection Notification
Legislation Introduced

Legislation has been introduced in the Michigan House of Representatives which increases notification requirements under rental inspection law. House Bill 4273 would require an enforcing agency to notify the property owner as well as each rental unit occupant of any inspection violations. Currently, the owner must be notified of a violation but occupant notification is discretionary. The legislation also proposes to expand what is in the notice, to include a reference to the specific section of act that was violated and whether the violation constitutes a serious and imminent hazard to the health or safety of the occupants.

Have A Builder’s License? Don’t Forget Your Continuing Competency

Some AAM Members hold a Michigan Residential Builder License even though they may not be currently building. If you wish to maintain your license, please remember that the State of Michigan requires you to complete three hours of “continuing competency” by your license renewal deadline of May 31, 2023. AAM and HBA are holding three hour classes (covering each of the required categories – one hour codes, one hour legal and one hour safety) which will provide you what you need to comply.  Visit for details and online registration.

Posted in 2023, APRIL 2023 | Comments Off on Advocacy Update

Employee Burnout And Safety

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

A common contributing factor that can be seen in a significant number of injury reports is employee burnout. Employee burnout can be described as the inability to completely recover between shifts and where one is unable to fully perform their job duties in either physical or mental capacities.

When employees experience this type of stress, they may become less aware of their surroundings or find it more difficult to comply with safety policies and practices. This can be seen directly or indirectly. Employee burnout can be attributed to the job being overly demanding without enough time allotted for employees to fully compress before the next exposure of stressing work. Or, employees may not take their personal time to actually reset, relax or restore for any reason. While burnout can be “seen” mostly through physical labor, burnout does not discriminate for any role, level of responsibility, level of activity or level of mental stressors. Someone who does an entry level job may experience the same temperature of burnout through mental stress as a CEO of a large organization. Knowing how to recognize burnout is a must . . . before you get burned.

There are certain environments that are suitable to grow burnout. These environments tend to be ones with time constraints, pressure to get a job done, constant pressure to improve customer service, high stress or hostile environments, long work days or long work weeks, and areas in which employees and/or employers do not maintain good working relationships. People are capable of great things, but when employees are stretched too thin, burnout starts to make appearances, and the consequences are a lack of quality work, employee turnover and a significant increase in injuries and accidents. Many companies may have seen a notable increase in accidents in the last couple years, and if your company is one of them, addressing burnout could be an important decision in reducing your rates.

It wouldn’t be fair to speak on employee burnout without addressing that a lot of what contributes to it takes place off-the-clock. Obviously, an employee working more than one job can experience burnout faster than an individual working only one, but it doesn’t take two jobs to experience off the clock burnout. When someone is off the clock, this time is entirely to do whatever they please without control by their employer. This means lunch breaks, after hours, weekends, vacations, holidays and PTO. This needs to be well established if you may feel employees are experiencing burnout. If a job is mentally strenuous, after work activities that are also mentally demanding may not allow someone to fully decompress before their next work shift. Additionally, physically demanding jobs require one to rest fully before starting work the next day. Someone who is not prepared for their job is inherently at greater risk for injury, incidents or accidents.

Burnout may look different from one company to another and from one job category to the next, but addressing it can be the same. Taking note of increased turnover, employee satisfaction, employee participation, and of course, incident rates should trigger the need to begin addressing burnout. Ensure available resources are made to employees, such as employee assistance programs for all contributions of stressors. Additionally, do not allow an environment where it is known that employees are overly stressed. Addressing things such as production or work schedules, PTO allowance, wages and work/life balance policies are not easy things to do, but most of the time these are what is needed. Ensuring that employers minimize stressors that they have control over is ultimately one of the best ways to minimize turnover, increase employee happiness (which in return can improve everything from service to quality) and reduce risks – making working environments safer for all.

Posted in 2023, APRIL 2023 | Comments Off on Employee Burnout And Safety

Advocacy Update

Forrest Wall March 2021Written by HBA and AAM CEO, Forrest M. Wall, CAE

Source of Income Bills Introduced
Two pieces of legislation – both introduced recently in the Michigan House – propose to add “source of income” protections in state law. First, House Bill 4062 would amend the Landlord and Tenant Relationships Act to forbid a rental property owner from doing any of the following as it relates to source of income:

  • Deny or terminate a tenancy
  • Make any distinctions or restrictions in rental price, terms, conditions, fees, or privileges relating to the rental unit
  • Attempt to discourage the lease of any rental unit
  • Assist, induce, or coerce another person to engage in a practice violating the proposed amendment
  • Coerce, intimidate, threaten or interfere with rights granted under the act
  • Represent to a prospective or current resident that a unit is not available for inspection or rental when in fact it is available
  • Otherwise make unavailable or deny a unit based on source of income

    The bill goes on to mandate that a landlord shall not publish or display any notice or ad indicating a preference or requirement based on source of income, and, that a person who “suffers a loss” as a result of violation of the law may bring a court action to recover actual damages or up to 4.5 times the monthly rent of the unit, whichever is greater, along with court costs and attorney fees.

    The second bill, House Bill 4063, proposes to amend the Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act. This legislation would add source of income protection to both the title and section 502 (relating to real estate transactions) of the act.

Housing Committees Announced in House & Senate
The Democratically-controlled Michigan Legislature has created new committees to take up housing issues. In the Michigan Senate, the Housing & Human Services Committee was announced on January 12. Chairing the new committee is Sen. Jeff Irwin (D-Ann Arbor) and it consists of 8 Democrats and 3 Republicans. In House of Representatives, the Housing Subcommittee was established under the Economic Development and Small Business Committee. The subcommittee is chaired by Rep. Kevin Coleman (D-Westland) and consists of 7 Democrats and 4 Republicans.

Posted in 2023, MARCH 2023 | Comments Off on Advocacy Update

Comfortably Complacent With Safety Noncompliance

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

Safety and Health regulations are constantly changing and expanding, making compliance harder for companies and businesses. While it is anticipated that no company intends to be out of compliance on safety and health regulations, it is fairly rare to see companies fully in compliance. This is due to a mix of an ongoing need for improvement, a lack of available or obtainable resources or a lack of direction toward becoming compliant.

To start bringing your company back into compliance, it is important to start with some means of self-assessment. Determining where your company stands currently is needed in order to determine where it should be. This can be started with assessing what company safety programs you currently have and which of them are actually being used. Additionally, safety cannot be observed from a window. Interviews, discussions, real time spent doing the job and seeing what work is actually being done is an absolute must for determining your company’s safety. Compiling this information can take a few days, or can take several months. In any case, doing something to improve your safety is better than completely ignoring it. The most important step during this phase is to keep up the momentum toward improving your safety.

Once you have a fairly good idea of what programs you have, and which you may need, you need a good understanding of what regulations are required. Reading regulations can be confusing and discouraging, yet even with many resources available to you, it is up to you to take the first step in becoming compliant. Some of the best resources can be found directly on OSHA’s and MIOSHA’s websites. Ensure that if you are looking online for assistance to only use reliable sources. As a safety professional, there are several websites I come across that report incorrect information. If you find yourself needing more information on safety and health compliance, reach out to your local OSHA or MIOSHA office.

The key to long-lasting safety compliance is through top-down support and bottom-up involvement. Safety compliance does not come easily and it is not cost-free to implement. You will need the support from the top and a budget to purchase safety equipment, PPE, training (if you are unqualified to teach topics) and anything else required to ensure compliance on your specific hazards. Once approval is given, bottom-up involvement is a necessity to achieve compliance. This can be best done by getting advice from the employees who the safety rules affect the most.

Compliance is not easy, but it is a necessity for a company to stay in business. While it can become overwhelming to picture your company being within compliance, know that each of these steps can be reduced to bite-sized accomplishments, starting with just reading this article and saying that you can do it! Always know that there are resources that can help, including CompOne Safety Specialists. You can reach out for assistance by emailing us at

Posted in 2023, MARCH 2023 | Comments Off on Comfortably Complacent With Safety Noncompliance

Winter PPE Isn’t Apples To Apples

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

When I think of gearing up for cold weather, my first thought is of Randy, the younger brother of Ralphie, in the movie A Christmas Story. All layered up from his mother, he is sent out to walk to school in the morning wake of a giant winter storm. Poor Randy had too many layers that inhibited his movement and didn’t allow him to get back up after falling over. The idea that more layers, or even thicker layers, mean warmer clothes, is no longer true. Unless you carry around a portable battery system and a heating blanket or jacket, there is no such thing as “warm clothing,” there are only clothes that insulate well, not as well or not at all.

In fact, most of a general understanding of what is effective winter PPE, usually isn’t correct at all! It is important when picking out PPE for winter, or really any season, that we understand insulation, water resistance, breathability and materials.

What insulation is better for outdoor winter work – down or synthetic down? While down may be more durable, it loses its insulation properties very quickly when wet. Synthetic down clothing is usually water-resistant or may even be waterproof! So, if there is any chance that your gear may get wet, whether from rain, melted snow or even sweat, you should opt for synthetic down. Regardless of what PPE you have, a good understanding of how to keep warm is a must. A good clothing material for winter will keep cold out and warmth in. The ability of a material to trap air in, and hold it there, will make more of a difference than a thick dense fabric. The weight of a material does not directly correlate with how well it insulates. To find the best insulator fabrics, look for wool, synthetic down, polyester fleece or fiberfill. Additionally, reflective (shiny) jacket/pant liners will do a good job of trapping heat even before it needs to be insulated!

The biggest concern for winter work safety actually isn’t keeping warm, it’s the ability to keep dry. No matter how insulated something is, it won’t do any good if your clothing, especially on your feet, gets wet. Whether from the weather or from sweat, wicking away moisture and keeping it away is the most critical aspect to regulating a comfortable temperature. With proper winter attire, it could be very easy to generate enough warmth to start sweating the moment physical activity starts. Taking off a layer before beginning this type of work is best, to warm up to the clothing, rather than overheating, sweating, then exposing wet clothing to the freezing elements. After wet clothing is exposed to the elements, and there is change in the physical activity level, the moisture will pull heat away from your body a lot faster due to conduction and evaporation. For clothing that will come in contact with the skin, select clothing described as moisture wicking, such as polyester, wool or nylon blends.

With the most modern technology out there, grouped with the proven materials, winter PPE is not only becoming more desirable, it is becoming easier to work with and even safer. With new jacket, pant, boot, glove and base layer designs, we are able to effectively dress for the weather, regardless of what it might be at any given time. When picking out adequate PPE for highly physical jobs, look for waterproof jackets with inner jackets, armpit areas that can zip open that allow ventilation and breathability when starting to warm up, elastic cuffs or waistbands that can trap in warm, good fitting and high visibility. When working outside, the effectiveness of being seen is critical, as we may find ourselves at any given time near traffic and visibility is usually limited.

Don’t find yourself being a Randy with too many layers. Ensure your Winter PPE is effective, ergonomic and allows you to work safely and warmly!

Posted in 2023, FEBRUARY 2023 | Comments Off on Winter PPE Isn’t Apples To Apples