Happy Safe and Prosperous New Year to you all. With a little focus and maybe some re-training we can get back to the business of running our companies now. As the new year rang in, over seven hundred new laws took effect in California. I heard on the radio yesterday that the total new laws from the Federal Government and the fifty States, taking effect on January 1, 2011, exceeded 31,000.
One of the mandatory State and Federal safety (OSHA) requirements is to have certain postings visible (prominently displayed) in an employee area. OSHA laws also indicate employers must “communicate with employees in a form that is readily understandable.” That means there should be posters visible in other languages as well as english if you have employees who don’t speak english.
The posters are intended to convey employee “rights” concerning issues such as “Discrimination”, “Workers Compensation”, “Pay Days”, “Minimum Wage Notices”, “USERRA” (Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act) and how to get help from “OSHA” when the workplace is unsafe and the company won’t do anything about it. Employees have a “Right To a Safe Workplace” as well as the responsibility to work safely. There were 13 required posters in California in 2010.
Posters don’t necessarily have to change from year to year. If the change is cosmetic such as an address change for an OSHA office, the poster still contains the required information for the new year. If the substance of the poster changes as a result of changes in the law associated with it, then the poster must be changed out for the new one (don’t forget in multiple languages).
There are many companies out there in the poster business. They stay on top of regulation changes, and print new posters to reflect the changes. The poster sets can range in price from $25.00 to $175.00, and you can buy them laminated or not. Shipping will always be additional. The issue is having the correct posters prominently displayed in an employee area. The price of the posters is less than the price of the fines for not having them.
I recommend my California Clients to get the new poster sets from the California Chamber of Commerce or from us (MarComm Consulting). I get the posters from the Chamber for Clients who just want to interface with us. The Chamber follows the laws carefully throughout the year, and they have both english and spanish posters printed around December for the following year. No matter where the poster sets come from, the issue is “are they current”? When I visit a workplace, one of the first things I look for is posters. OSHA inspectors, EDD, and EPA Representatives will do the same. It’s a point of vulnerability that can easily be fixed.
I recommend you all start the new year by dealing with this issue. If you have multiple locations, you need a poster set at each one, in an employee area, prominently displayed. I have some Clients who have requested me to “automatically” send them poster sets whenever the new ones come out. Easy for them, easy for me, and no vulnerability. Remember, safety is NOT what we talk about, it’s about what you and your employees actually DO. Happy New Year!