Advocacy Update

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

Uniform Assignment of Rents Legislation Proposed

Legislation introduced in October in the Michigan House of Representatives would provide for a uniform act covering assignment of rents. House Bill 5086, sponsored by Rep. Brandt Iden (R-Kalamazoo), would create the “Michigan Uniform Assignment of Rents Act.” The purpose of the legislation is to create one act providing for the creation, perfection, and enforcement of security interests in rents, while at the same time repealing other sections of law currently covering this. The basis for this legislation comes from the Uniform Law Commission (ULC), which in 2005 released a model version for proposed adoption by every state in the U.S. The ULC is an organization made up of practicing lawyers, judges, legislators and law professors, all of whom are appointed by state governments. ULC seeks to draft model legislation for certain areas of critical state law in an effort to create uniformity and save states from the cost of preparing legislation themselves. The bill has been referred to the House Judiciary Committee for action.

 

HUD Proposes Revision to Disparate Impact Rule
In August, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced a proposal to amend its original rule interpreting the Fair Housing Act’s disparate impact standard. Disparate impact is a controversial legal theory, formalized in the 2013 HUD rule which prohibits neutrally-applied practices with a disproportionate impact on protected classes under the Fair Housing Act, even without proving intent to discriminate. A 2015 U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs v. Inclusive Communities Project, Inc. upheld the validity of disparate impact liability but highlighted limitations to that liability. The goal of the proposed rule is to align with the limitations cited in the majority ruling in that case to provide more appropriate guidance on what constitutes unlawful disparate impact.
Posted in 2019, NOVEMBER 2019 | Comments Off on Advocacy Update

Slips, Trips And Falls


Written By AJ Hale Jr. CSM-LSP, CompOne Administrators Safety & Loss Prevention Risk Manager

OSHA estimates that slips, trips and falls cause approximately 15% of accidental deaths. Second only to motor vehicle accidents. They also account for between 12% and 15% of Workers’ Compensation costs. The average cost for one disabling injury now approaching $30,000.
 

From a regulatory standpoint, there are two types of falls. They are:
1. On same level: high frequency, low severity
2. From elevations: low frequency, high severity
The primary contributing factors, are:

  • Wet, slippery, oily floors/stairs.
  • Loose, irregular surfaces, such as rocks.
  • Insufficient light.
  • Uneven walkways or sidewalks.
  • Shoes with slick soles or raised heels.
  • Moving too fast.
  • Carrying items (impair balance, obstruct vision).
  • Objects on the floor (e.g., paperclips, food).
  • Shifting floor tiles.
  • Not watching while walking/moving.
  • Spilled liquids.
  • Cords across walkways.

There are four steps we can take to help eliminate these types of injuries:
1. Find the problem/hazard. Ask yourself:

  • Is the area wet, slippery, or cluttered?
  • Are employees moving too quickly?
  • Is the area poorly lit?
  • Are stairs steep or in poor condition?
2. Check it out. Ask yourself:
  • Is the problem area near the area high-traffic?
  • Is the area properly lit?
  • Are employees wearing proper footwear?
  • Are “wet floor” signs in place?
  • Are floors being mopped one-half at a time?
  • Is walking surface more slippery due to its construction?
  • Is area outside and subject to weather?
3. Fix it
If possible, eliminate or control the hazard immediately (e.g., having spills wiped up).
If not possible, take steps to alert people and then determine what can be done to eliminate or control the hazard.
4. Look at it again
  • Ensure the hazard/problem was repaired, eliminated or controlled.
  • Does the area have to be checked periodically to ensure the hazard/problem does not return?
  • Determine if any training is required for affected employees.
  • Should appropriate signage be posted?
More Prevention Suggestions
  • Ensure walkways and stairways are well lit.
  • Portable ladders should be stable and secure when used, and support a minimum of 250 lbs.
  • Have “wet floor” signs posted where necessary.
  • Apply non-skid coating or floor mats in areas where floors are likely to be slippery or wet.
  • Encourage employees, residents and guests to report hazardous situations as soon as possible.
  • Train employees to look for slip/trip/fall hazards.
  • Situations that are identified as hazardous should be investigated and corrected as soon as possible.
Safety requires everyone to communicate and work together! 
Should you require assistance with understanding or applying the OSHA or MIOSHA Standards, please contact AJ Hale, CompOne Administrators Inc./Rizikon, at 269-789-9166 or ajhale@compone.net
References:
OSHA  and MIOSHA
Posted in 2019, NOVEMBER 2019 | Comments Off on Slips, Trips And Falls

Advocacy Update


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

Emotional Support Animal Bills Introduced

New legislation in the Michigan House of Representatives would strengthen state law to help prevent the false representation of possession of an emotional support animal. As you may recall, this effort originated in the last legislative session, with a bill passing the Michigan Senate before stalling the Michigan House in the final days of 2018.
House Bill 4910, introduced on September 3rd, would create the “Misrepresentation of Emotional Support Animals Act.” First, the bill would define an emotional support animal and limit these to common domestic animals. The bill also defines a housing provider as well as a health care provider.

Second, the legislation bars an individual from falsely representing a disability or possession of an emotional support animal. The housing provider may request documentation from an individual’s health care provider to confirm a disability and the need for an emotional support animal.

Third, the bill states health care providers shall not falsely represent an individual’s need for an emotional support animal, and it proposes requirements for those providers who do prescribe an emotional support animal. Those requirements include:

  • That the health care provider be licensed in Michigan or the state the individual resides
  • That the health care provider maintain a physical office space where patients are treated regularly
  • Documentation of treatment of the individual for at least 6 months before the date a housing provider requests documentation of validity of a disability and the need for an emotional support animal
  • Provide documentation in the form of a notarized letter
  • Provide the notarized letter above on an annual basis upon request
  • Fourth, the bill includes misdemeanor penalty provisions for those who knowingly violate the law, including:
  • Imprisonment for not more than 90 days
  • A fine of not more than $500.00
  • Community service for not more than 30 days
Additionally, a tenant who falsely represents an emotional support animal could face lease termination.

Finally, the bill directs the Michigan Department of Civil Rights to receive reports of an individual(s) falsely representing possession of an emotional support animal and health care providers falsely certifying the need for such an animal.

A second bill, House Bill 4911, would amend the Revised Judicature Act to support termination of a lease for misrepresentation of an emotional support animal. Both bills have been referred to the House Regulatory Reform Committee for action.
Posted in 2019, October 2019 | Comments Off on Advocacy Update

The Two Sides of Distracted Driving – Part II


Written by Eric Waidelich, Risk Management Professional, Rizikon Inc.
As we discussed last month, as with anything in life there are always two sides of any situation. For the second part of the series we are focusing on you, as the working bystander who might be the recipient of someone else texting and driving. Keep in mind that all of the information we are about to cover is not just for your safety, but is also an expectation of OSHA.
Understand the hazards
Working close to traffic is dangerous, whether it involves construction related activities, maintaining property or vegetation. Each work site has its own unique set of hazards. Make sure all of the affected staff are informed of the known hazards at the work site before beginning work.

Be aware that the types of hazards can change over the course of your work shift. For example, traffic volumes can increase, a large number of 16 year old “first year drivers” leaving the local high school parking lot may not know how to properly operate the vehicle in a congested area where people are working near the road, or simply may not be paying attention.

From a defensive position, automatically assume that every person who is driving a vehicle near your work area is texting and driving. Taking this mental approach will assist you in establishing a work area that will help protect you from incidents involving a distracted driver.

As we learned from the first section of this article, people under the age of 20 are involved in more fatal crashes due to distractions than any other age group.

Potential hazards around the work site

  • Consider if work vehicles will be entering or exiting the work site over the day.
  • Store your equipment and supplies in an area where they won’t get hit and you can safely access them.

Potential hazards on the road

  • Be aware if you are working near an intersection with traffic coming from multiple directions.
  • Measure how much space you have between your work site and the roadway. Be aware of your location vis-à-vis traffic, cyclists and pedestrians as you work.
  • Be aware of the visibility of approaching drivers. Check to see if there are any curves, crests of hills, trees and bushes, or parked vehicles.
Potential traffic hazards
  • Be aware of the type of traffic that is passing by – passenger vehicles, buses, large trucks.
  • Large vehicles such as commercial trucks are often wider than normal vehicles and may have protruding side mirrors.
  • Be aware of vehicles travelling faster than the speed limit.
Look at the local area
  • Identify any traffic entering or exiting nearby commercial premises that could block signage or obstruct visibility of you or your co-workers.
  • Consider any police, ambulance or fire stations you should be aware of.
  • Look at the environment
  • Consider if the weather may impact visibility of drivers (e.g., fog, heavy rain).
  • Be aware of the condition of the roads. Are they slick or slippery?
  • Be aware of any light conditions or location of the sun that may affect the drivers’ visibility.
  • Consider how the above hazards may change over the course of your work. For example:
    > Rush-hour traffic flows
    > School run traffic and parking
    > Special events
    > Weather, amount of daylight, and road surface conditions
Review this checklist before beginning your roadside work.
  • Are you aware of the hazards associated with your work site?
  • Have you had a safety briefing to review work site hazards and address safety concerns?
  • Do you understand your organization’s procedures for working safely around work vehicles and mobile equipment?
  • Are you wearing high-visibility garments? Is it clean and usable – not torn or faded?
  • Do you know your escape route in case a vehicle crosses into the work zone?
  • If you don’t know where your work site will be in advance, do you know how to identify and address site-specific hazards once you arrive at your work site?
Remember
  • Where possible, work facing traffic. This is especially important if the area is noisy or you’re wearing hearing protection.
  • Be careful not to inadvertently move closer to traffic as you work. Keep your focus; stay aware of your position.
  • Be aware of changing conditions over the course of your work shift. Traffic volumes, road surface conditions and visibility can change quickly and increase your risk.
  • Be aware of work vehicles, especially as they enter and exit the work zone. If you have any concerns about your safety – or the safety of co-workers, motorists, or pedestrians near your work site – alert your supervisor or employer. 
Information provided by Eric Waidelich of Rizikon Inc. Office: (877) 591-0300; Mobile: (313) 530-8251; Email: ewaideich@rizikon.net
Source material and statistics are from OSHA, NHTSA, and ConeZoneBC.
Posted in 2019, October 2019 | Comments Off on The Two Sides of Distracted Driving – Part II

The Two Sides of Distracted Driving

Written By Eric Waidelich, Risk Management Professional, Rizikon Inc.

As with anything in life there are always two sides of any situation. For this first part of this two-part series, we are going to focus on texting and driving as if you are the person behind the wheel. The second part of the series will focus on you, as the by-stander who might be the recipient of someone else texting and driving. Keep in mind that all of the information we are about to cover is not just for your safety, but is also a requirement of OSHA.

Texting while driving puts millions of Americans who drive on the job at risk every day. That risk continues to grow as texting becomes more widespread. As a business owner or manager, it’s your legal responsibility under the Occupational Safety and Health Act to safeguard drivers at work.

This holds true whether they drive full-time or only occasionally to carry out their work, and whether they drive a company vehicle or their own. When your workers are behind the wheel doing your company’s work, their safety is your business.

That’s why the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), which enforces worker safety laws, has joined with the Transportation Department, other Labor Department agencies and key associations and organizations to enlist the help and cooperation of businesses – in a nationwide outreach, education, and enforcement effort to stop the dangerous practice of texting while driving.

The Law

Your State legislature and governor make the laws regarding distracted driving. Many States now have laws against texting, talking on a cell phone, and other distractions while driving. You can visit the Governors Highway Safety Association to learn about the laws in your State. Visit https://www.ghsa.org/index.php/state-laws/issues/distracted%20driving

The Facts
  • More workers are killed every year in Motor Vehicle Crashes than any other cause.
    Distracted driving claimed 3,166 lives in 2017 alone, (newest data available).
  • Reaction time is delayed for a driver talking on a cell phone as much as it is for a driver who is legally drunk.
  • More texting leads to more crashes. With each additional 1 million text messages, fatalities from distracted driving rose more than 75%.
  • People under the age of 20 are involved in more fatal crashes due to distractions than any other age group.
  • Studies show that drivers who send or receive text messages focus their attention away from the road for an average of 4.6 seconds. At 55 mph, this is equivalent to driving the length of a football field blindfolded!
Employers & Supervisors Should
  • Prohibit texting while driving. OSHA encourages employers to declare their vehicles “text-free zones” and to emphasize that commitment to their workers, customers, and communities.
  • Establish work processes that do not make it necessary for workers to text while driving in order to carry out their duties.
  • Set up clear procedures for the safe use of texting and other technologies for communicating with managers, customers, and others.
  • Incorporate safe communications practices into worker orientation, training and meetings.
  • Eliminate financial and other incentive systems that encourage workers to text while driving.
New School Year

New drivers are hitting the roads this month, in every community across the United States. Thousands of them. Remember, people under the age of 20 are involved in more fatal crashes due to distractions than any other age group.
Studies have determined that teen drivers have a higher rate of fatal crashes, mainly because of their immaturity, lack of skills, and lack of experience. They speed, they make mistakes, and they get distracted easily – especially if their friends are in the car.


What Can You Do?

Familiarize yourself with the restrictions placed on your teen’s license can better assist you in enforcing those laws. You have the opportunity to establish some important ground rules for your teen driver. Restrict night driving and passengers, prohibit driving while using the phone, and require seat belt use at all times.

Set the example by keeping your eyes on the road and your hands on the wheel while driving. Be consistent between the message you tell your teen and your own driving behaviors. Novice teen drivers most often learn from watching their parents.
Don’t rely solely on a driver’s education class to teach your teen to drive. Set aside time to take your teen on practice driving sessions.

Set consequences for distracted driving. If your teen breaks a distraction rule you’ve set, consider suspending your teen’s driving privileges, or consider limiting a teen’s access to their cell phone — a punishment that in today’s world could be seen by teens as a serious consequence.

Information provided by Eric Waidelich of Rizikon Inc. Office: (877) 591-0300; Mobile: (313) 530-8251; Email: ewaideich@rizikon.net
Source material and statistics are from OSHA, NHTSA, and ConeZoneBC.
Posted in 2019, SEPTEMBER 2019 | Comments Off on The Two Sides of Distracted Driving