Kit Case, Causey Wright's Paralegal & Media Manager

Chase for Talent Pushes Tech Giants Far Beyond West Coast

Today’s post was shared by Jon L Gelman and comes from www.nytimes.com

The current Apple campus in Austin, Tex. The company is planning a new 133-acre campus there that will initially have 5,000 workers. Tamir Kalifa for The New York Times

SAN FRANCISCO — This generation’s biggest technology companies — including Apple, Amazon and Google — have long been tied to their hometowns. Now these giants are increasingly outgrowing their West Coast roots.

Driven by a limited pool of skilled workers and the ballooning cost of living in their home bases of Silicon Valley and Seattle, as well as President Trump’s shifting immigration policies, the companies are aggressively taking their talent hunt across the United States and elsewhere. And they are coalescing particularly around a handful of urban areas that are already winners in the new knowledge-based economy, including New York City, Washington, Boston and Austin, Tex.

This eastward expansion accelerated on Thursday when Apple said it would build a $1 billion campus in Austin, expanding its presence there to over 11,000 workers and becoming the area’s largest private employer. The decision followed Amazon’s highly publicized selection of Queens and Arlington, Va., last month for new offices that would house at least 50,000 employees. Google, too, is shopping for more real estate in New York that could enable it to more than double its work force of 7,000 in the city.

“They’re expanding out,” said Mark Zandi, chief economist at…

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Trucking Tips – A Kit to Fit a Freezin’ Season

Information provided by the Keep Trucking Safe program. TIRES is a project of the Safety & Health Assessment & Research for Prevention (SHARP) program of the Washington State Department of Labor & Industries. TIRES is supported in part by CDC/NIOSH grant# U60 OH008487. For more information and free training resources visit KeepTruckingSafe.org

Fog, ice, wind, rain, and snow make winter driving hazardous and slow. But with careful preparation you can keep safe and warm in any situation. To avoid the weather’s frosty grip, pack a survival kit for your trip. Pack a kit with items in the following list:

  • Warm socks, hat, and gloves. Waterproof gloves cost more, but keep your hands from freezing and going numb.
  • Sleeping bag or blankets.
  • Non-perishable foods such as dried fruit, nuts, granola.
  • Extra medication. Check expiration dates.
  • Bottled water.
  • Foldable or stowable shovel.
  • Flashlights and batteries.
  • First aid kit.
  • Jumper cables.
  • Tool kit: Screwdrivers (both flat-head and Phillips) Pliers. Box knife. Small selection of wrenches. Duct tape.
  • Spare bulbs for either the marker lights or headlights.
  • Extra fuses.
  • Chains.
  • Windshield de-icer and scraper.
  • Emergency flares.
  • Charged cellphone with emergency contact numbers. If you don’t have your emergency contacts memorized, then keep a paper copy as well in case you need to borrow a phone.
  • Small section of tarp or other such material to lay on for installing chains.

 Photo by TruckPR on Visualhunt.com / CC BY-NC-ND

Washington Paid Family and Medical Leave has Arrived

Washington Employment Security Department has been working hard to build the entire Paid Family and Medical Leave program from the ground up, and as of January 1st the program has officially begun!

Employers from every corner of Washington are ready for Paid Family and Medical Leave – and the work is just getting started. ESD is continuing to build the program and get the word out to Washington employers and employees about this great new program.

WA employers on why paid leave is good business

Washington employers talk about why Paid Family and Medical Leave is good for their business

 

Here are a few samples of Washington’s Paid Family and Medical Leave in the news:

Seattle Times: Workers start paying for Washington’s new paid-leave law next month. Here’s how it works. 

KOMO: Wash. to implement best paid family & medical leave in America in 2019

AP: Premiums for new paid family program start next week

Walla Walla Union-Bulletin (Op-Ed): Washington families will benefit from state’s paid leave  

www.paidleave.wa.gov

Washington Minimum Wage Climbs to $12 in 2019

Initiative 1433, approved by Washington voters in 2016, requires a statewide minimum wage of $11.00 in 2017, $11.50 in 2018, $12.00 in 2019, and $13.50 in 2020. The minimum wage in Washington will increase to $12 per hour starting Jan. 1, 2019, for workers age 16 and older.

The cities of SeaTac, Seattle, and Tacoma have their own minimum wage rates. SeaTac’s minimum wage rate is $16.09 per hour in 2019. In Seattle, small employers (with 500 or fewer employees) must pay at least $15.00 per hour. The Tacoma minimum wage is $12.35.

According to the Economic Policy Institute, Washington was one of 19 states raising the minimum wages on January 1, meaning wage increases for more than 5 million Americans. An estimated 337,100 workers in Washington got a raise. Thanks to all the workers in Seatac, Seattle, Tacoma and across the state who fought for and won these raises to the minimum wage!

For more information on the minimum wage or your other rights on the job, check out www.fairworkcenter.org.

The Washington State Department of Labor & Industries (L&I) enforces the state’s wage-and-hour laws, which includes the minimum wage. The state minimum wage applies to most jobs, including those in agriculture.

Under state law, tips do not count toward a worker’s minimum wage. Also, employers can pay workers under 16 years old 85 percent of the minimum wage. For 2019, that comes out to $10.20 per hour.

When Initiative 1433 passed in the fall of 2016, it set a schedule for Washington’s minimum wage over a four-year period. As a result, in 2020 the state minimum wage will climb to $13.50. For the following year, L&I will calculate the minimum wage by using a formula tied to the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers.

Complete information about the minimum wage is available on L&I’s website (Lni.wa.gov), including details about handling overtime, rest breaks and meals. There’s also a minimum wage announcement online that employers can print off and post.

L&I investigates all wage-payment complaints. More information about wage and hour laws and workplace rights is available on L&I’s webpage. Employers and workers may also call 360-902-5316 or 1-866-219-7321.

Photo by Urban Isthmus on Visualhunt.com / CC BY

Kit Case, Causey Wright's Paralegal & Media Manager

What is talc, and why is asbestos relevant?

Today’s post was shared by Jon L Gelman and comes from www.nytimes.com

Some products currently containing talc among their listed ingredients. Jens Mortensen for The New York Times

Nearly 12,000 women have sued Johnson & Johnson, with most claiming the talc in its well-known product Johnson’s Baby Powder caused their ovarian cancer. They now have a new potential legal front.

In a recent case, a group of plaintiffs argued that the talc was contaminated with asbestos, a carcinogen considered unsafe at any level of exposure. A jury agreed with them, and awarded them $4.69 billion in damages in July.

The carcinogen has been a concern inside the company for decades. In hundreds of pages of memos reviewed by The New York Times, executives worried about a potential government ban of talc, the safety of the product and a public backlash over Johnson’s Baby Powder, a brand built on a reputation for trustworthiness and health.

What is talc, and why is asbestos relevant?

Talc is a mineral in clay mined from underground deposits. It’s the softest mineral known to man and that makes it useful in a wide range of consumer and industrial products.

Asbestos is also found underground, and veins of it can often be found in talc deposits, leading to a risk of cross-contamination, geologists say.

Are any other consumer products made with talc?

Talc is used in many cosmetics: lipstick, mascara, face powder, blush, eye shadow, foundation and even children’s makeup. In the list of ingredients, it can be listed as talc, talcum or talcum…

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Kit Case, Causey Wright's Paralegal & Media Manager

How Freaked Out Should We Be by the Possibility That There Was Asbestos in Baby Powder?

Today’s post was shared by Jon L Gelman and comes from slate.com

It's a bottle of Johnson & Johnson baby powder
It’s a bottle of Johnson & Johnson baby powder

Recent blockbuster investigations from Reuters and the New York Times allege that for decades, there was asbestos lurking in bottles of Johnson & Johnson baby powder, that the company knew about it, and that it did not share that information with the public. It sounds terrible: A cover-up, a mineral that can cause cancer after even tiny amounts of exposure, and a contaminated product that is marketed for use on infants. And it is terrible. But none of the reports answered the fundamental question for consumers: If you’ve used Johnson & Johnson baby powder on yourself or your children, just how scared should you be?

Over the last six days, I talked to two experts in the fields of environmental and occupational health, and consulted a slew of papers and fact sheets from independent sources. And while they all agree that the news reports are concerning, the topline takeaway is that individual consumers don’t have to worry as much as the terrifying word salad of “asbestos baby powder” would suggest.

Let’s back up. The Reuters investigation is pegged to the story of Darlene Coker, who sued Johnson & Johnson in 1997, and alleged that the company’s baby powder had given her a rare form of cancer, mesothelioma, which is closely linked to asbestos. Coker lost her case due to a lack of evidence to support the claim that the company’s baby powder contained any amount of the…

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Washington One of the Top States for Workplace Safety

Washington remains one of the best states for workplace safety and health according to a report from the Federal Bureau of Labor Statistics. For 2017 our state had the ninth lowest fatal occupational injury rate in the nation.

According to the report, there were 84 workplace deaths in Washington in 2017, which comes out to 2.5 deaths per every 100,000 fulltime workers. That’s a slight increase from 2016 when Washington’s rate was 2.4 per 100,000.

“Every workplace death is tragic. Employers, workers and the state must continue to work together and learn from each serious injury and death, so we can continue to improve Washington’s workplace safety culture,” said Anne Soiza, L&I Assistant Director for the Division of Occupational Safety and Health. “This report shows we’re on the right track, but there’s always more to do to keep workers safe and healthy. We all need to continue our focus on preventing falls and the disturbing rise of workplace violence.”

As part of the state’s focus on prevention L&I partners with industry and labor on campaigns, provides free onsite consultations to public and private employers to help them find and fix workplace safety and health hazards. The agency also works closely with high-risk industries to alert them to dangerous work situations and activities so they can prevent them.

Washington’s workplace fatality rate is 30 percent below the national average. The numbers vary from year to year, but Washington consistently demonstrates one of the lowest fatal occupational injury rates in the country.

Construction is always one of the most dangerous occupations here and nationally. Washington had 15 construction fatalities in 2017, one more than in 2016. That’s a rate of 6.2 per 100,000 full-time workers; six other states had a lower rate.

Other industrial sectors that rank high on the national list for dangerous workplaces include the category of farming, fishing and forestry with a rate of 20.9 fatal injuries per 100,000, and transportation with a rate of 15.9. Each of these rates is meaningfully higher than the respective rates in Washington of 11.7 and 5.8 per 100,000 full time workers.

The bureau’s report contains several charts and graphs that break down the data by type of incident, occupation, industry, state, etc. For a more detailed look follow the links on the bureau’s news release.

 

Photo by TranBC on Visualhunt.com / CC BY-NC-ND

OSHA’s Top 10 Violations for 2018 revealed at National Safety Council Congress and Expo

Today’s post comes from guest author Paul J. McAndrew, Jr., from Paul McAndrew Law Firm.

Today’s post comes from our colleagues at WorkersCompensation.com

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) announced the preliminary Top 10 most frequently cited workplace safety violations for fiscal year 2018. Patrick Kapust, deputy director of OSHA’s Directorate of Enforcement Programs, presented the Top 10 on the Expo floor as part of the 2018 NSC Congress and Expo, the world’s largest annual gathering of safety professionals.

While the rankings for OSHA’s Top 10 most cited violations vary little from year to year, violation No. 10 on this year’s list, “Eye and Face Protection” (1926.102), was not on the 2017 list.

“Knowing how workers are hurt can go a long way toward keeping them safe,” said National Safety Council President and CEO Deborah A.P. Hersman. “The OSHA Top 10 list calls out areas that require increased vigilance to ensure everyone goes home safely each day.”

The Top 10 for FY 2018* are:

1. Fall Protection – General Requirements (1926.501)

7,270

2. Hazard Communication (1910.1200)

4,552

3. Scaffolding (1926.451)

3,336

4. Respiratory Protection (1910.134)

3,118

5. Lockout/Tagout (1910.147)

2,944

6. Ladders (1926.1053)

2,812

7. Powered Industrial Trucks (1910.178)

2,294

8. Fall Protection – Training Requirements (1926.503)

1,982

9. Machine Guarding (1910.212)

1,972

10. Eye and Face Protection (1926.102)

1,536

A more in-depth look at the Top 10 violations for 2018 will be published in the December edition of the Council’s Safety+Health magazine.

*Preliminary figures as of Oct. 1, 2018

About the National Safety Council
The National Safety Council (nsc.org) is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to eliminate preventable deaths at work, in homes and communities, and on the road through leadership, research, education and advocacy. Founded in 1913 and chartered by Congress, NSC advances this mission by partnering with businesses, government agencies, elected officials and the public in areas where we can make the most impact.

Kit Case, Causey Wright's Paralegal & Media Manager

The Workplace is Getting Safer – The Future of Workers’ Compensation

Today’s post was shared by Jon L Gelman and comes from workers-compensation.blogspot.com

The US Bureau of Labor Statistics has confirmed the steady decline in accidents and injuries on the job. They have declined for 14 years. This data mirrors the steady decline of workers’ compensation claims and the change of the US workplace from a manufacturing to service.

The question remains whether this trend will continue going forward given the elimination of US regulations about industrial and environmental pollution. Also, a major factor is that the workplace and the nature of work are changing in a computerized and robotic culture. As machines replace workers, compensation systems become more difficult to navigate, and what constitutes employment status versus independent contractor changes, the entire workers’ compensation system will be challenged to the core.

"There were approximately 2.8 million nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses reported by private industry employers in 2017, which occurred at a rate of 2.8 cases per 100 full-time equivalent (FTE) workers, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Private industry employers reported nearly 45,800 fewer nonfatal injury and illness cases in 2017 compared to a year earlier, according to estimates from the Survey of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses (SOII).

  • The 2017 rate of total recordable cases (TRC) fell 0.1 cases per 100 FTE workers to continue a pattern of declines that, apart from 2012, occurred annually since 2004. (See chart 1.)
  • The rates for different types of cases—days…

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Published by Causey Wright