All posts by Kit Case

Jeld-Wen to Close Yakima, WA Location – 179 Jobs Lost

Jeld-Wen Windows and Doors, headquartered in Charlotte, NC, has notified WA State that they are closing their Yakima location effective April 5, 2019, terminating the employment of 179 workers.  Jeld-Wen has indicated they have a policy to assist employees who wish to transfer to their other locations. 

On their website, JELD-WEN notes that they employ approximately 21,000 people worldwide and have manufacturing, distribution and showroom locations across the United States and in 24 countries, located primarily in North America, Europe and Australia. Although 179 jobs is a small amount in that context, it is a lot of people losing good jobs in Yakima.

Photo credit: Jeld-Wen

Increased Penalties Under the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act

Industry Notice regarding increased civil monetary penalties under the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act Improvements Act of 2015 (Inflation Adjustment Act)

The Department of Labor promulgated a final rule on January 23, 2019 adjusting penalties under the Inflation Adjustment Act.  The rule makes the following adjustments to penalties assessed by the Office of Workers’ Compensation Programs (OWCP) under the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act:

  • Section 14(g) of the LHWCA: Failure to Report Termination of Payments.The penalty amount has increased from $285 to $292.
  • Section 30(e) of the LHWCA: Penalty for Late Report of Injury or Death.The maximum penalty amount has increased from $23,426 to $24,017.
  • Section 49 of the LHWCA: Discrimination Against Employees Who Bring Proceedings. The penalty amount has increased from a $2,343 minimum and a $11,712. maximum to a $2,402 minimum and $12,007 maximum.

Industry Notice 171, which is available on the OWCP, Division of Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation (DLHWC) website at https://www.dol.gov/owcp/dlhwc/ outlines the adjustments in detail. The new amounts apply to penalties assessed after January 23, 2019.

 

Photo by Dan_Vel on Foter.com / CC BY

Agriculture Safety Event in Eastern Washington

Agriculture is one of Washington’s largest industries. Unfortunately, it continues to have one of the highest injury rates. The state is working to change that with upcoming workplace safety events geared specifically toward agricultural workers and management.

To meet the growing safety and health training needs, Washington’s 2019 Agriculture Safety Day events will be held in two locations.

This year, for the first time, the Kennewick conference was held at the Three Rivers Convention Center on Feb. 5. It returns to the Wenatchee Convention Center Feb. 27. Registration is now open online for the Wenatchee event.

Reducing hazards is good for workers, and it makes good business sense. The one-day meetings promote workplace safety and health.

The topics covered during the safety day events are specifically geared to hazards that employers and workers say are the most important. The training is cosponsored by the Governor’s Industrial Safety and Health Advisory Board and the Department of Labor & Industries (L&I).

This year’s agenda features sessions on tractor and ATV safety, confined spaces, machine guarding, hazard awareness, sexual harassment prevention, distracted driving and more. Many workshops will be in both English and Spanish.

Some classes qualify for pesticide recertification credits. Check the registration web page for details. Several health and safety exhibitors will also be there with educational booths, product displays and demonstrations.

Online pre-registration is $75 per person or $65 for groups of five or more. Students and apprentices get a discounted rate of only $35. Admission at the door is $85. The registration fee includes the conference and lunch.

Register now for Wenatchee 2/27/2019: https://www.eiseverywhere.com/ehome/376831

For more information, contact Conference Manager Rebecca Llewellyn at 1-888-451-2004.

Photo by ILO in Asia and the Pacific on Foter.com / CC BY-NC-ND

WA Farm Worker was Severely Burned When a Drum Exploded

The Washington Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation (FACE) Program* has published a new Injury Narrative. The new narrative describes an incident where a farm worker was severely burned when a drum exploded. 

For your convenience, this narrative is also available as a Slideshow intended to be used as a group discussion and training tool.

These are one-page reports that summarize work-related injury incidents and list some requirements and recommendations that might have prevented the incident from occurring. We are focusing on theagriculture industry. These narratives provide preliminary information about the incident to the interested community, similar to OSHA’s Fatal Facts and MSHA’s Fatalgrams. We hope that they are used for formal or informal educational opportunities to help prevent similar incidents.

*The FACE Program is partially funded by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH grant# 5 U60 OH008487-11) and the Safety and Health Assessment and Research for Prevention (SHARP) Program at the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries. The contents of the Fatality Narratives are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of NIOSH.

 

Photo by 10b travelling / Carsten ten Brink on Foter.com / CC BY-NC-ND

Multiple Asbestos Violations Result in Nearly $800,000 in Fines

Improper and unsafe handling of asbestos at a Seattle area home-flipping site put workers and neighbors at risk, and has left two business owners and their companies facing numerous citations and hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines from the Department of Labor & Industries (L&I).

James Thorpe, Northlake Capital & Development, 3917 Densmore LLC, and Chris Walters have each been cited for 11 willful and serious violations. In total, the fines for the four separate investigations add up to $789,200.

“These two men endangered their workers and people who live nearby this project, including children,” said Anne Soiza, L&I’s assistant director for the Division of Occupational Safety and Health. “On top of that, they tried to avoid responsibility by creating a legal web of confusion over who was responsible. I hope this sends a strong message that we take worker safety and public health very seriously.”

L&I opened the inspection following a complaint from an alert neighbor living near the residential renovation project on Densmore Road in Lynnwood. Several workers were improperly removing exterior asbestos tiles from the home over a weekend. When a neighbor confronted Chris Walters, the man who said he was the homeowner, Walters promised to remove the asbestos correctly. However, two neighbors took videos that showed the workers committing several violations.

An extensive investigation by L&I revealed that Walters was actually part of a complex corporate partnership created to renovate and flip the residence.

The home was initially purchased by Seattle company Northlake Capital & Development, owned by James Thorpe. Northlake is a real property company that primarily focuses on house flipping. After the purchase, Thorpe created 3917 Densmore LLC and established Walters, a Northlake employee, as the sole member of the new corporation, claiming that Walters was the homeowner, and that he intended to live in the home.

During parts of the investigation Walters and Thorpe shifted responsibility from LLC to LLC and from person to person. Eventually, L&I cited both men and the companies they oversee for the same violations. The fines vary, primarily due to the number of workers each entity was responsible for. Thorpe and Northlake each received $214,100 in fines and Walters and 3917 Densmore each receive $180,500.

The violations included using uncertified workers to remove asbestos; not using a certified asbestos supervisor; and not obtaining an asbestos good faith survey prior to beginning work. They were also cited for not using water and not keeping the shingles intact during removal (the workers were breaking the tiles with hammers); for the lack of proper personal protective equipment for workers; not monitoring the air during removal; and for not having a written accident prevention program.

Asbestos is extremely hazardous and can cause potentially fatal diseases like asbestosis, mesothelioma and lung cancer. Only a certified abatement contractor that follows the specific asbestos related safety and health rules may remove and dispose of asbestos-containing building materials.

An employer has 15 business days from the time a citation is received to appeal, and each of these citations is currently under appeal.

Penalty money paid as a result of a citation is placed in the workers’ compensation supplemental pension fund, helping injured workers and families of those who have died on the job.

For a copy of the citations, please contact Public Affairs at 360-902-5413.

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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