Fill out the form below for
a free consultation

close

Request free consultation

ALGUNOS RELEVOS SON INVALIDOS Segunda Parte

If you want results, call us. If you want peace of mind, call us. If you want representation who understands the hardship that has been thrust upon you, call us.

Request Free Consultation

Archive: Sep 2016

ALGUNOS RELEVOS SON INVALIDOS Segunda Parte

Artículo 16-39 B

¡No Se Deje! ®

La semana pasada, en la Primera Parte de este artículo les expliqué que los relevos -“releases” en inglés- son contratos o convenios que limitan o extinguen el derecho legal a demandar.  Muchos relevos son formas cortas de una sola página pero también pueden ser documentos complicados que tienen una extensión de varias páginas. Los relevos son utilizados para solucionar reclamos legales y demandas entre las partes en conflicto. Por ejemplo, en los casos típicos de accidentes de automóvil, la víctima inocente generalmente registra un reclamo por daños personales o por daños materiales (el auto).

 

Según el Código Civil de California, los relevos que exoneran a alguien por cometer un fraude o  lesionar intencionalmente a una persona o la  propiedad de otro, o por una violación a la ley, están en contra de las normas de la ley y son inválidos. La ley invalida los relevos privados que afectan el “interés público”. Para entenderlo mejor aquí están unos ejemplos:

 

Las cortes invalidaron un relevo de un proveedor de cuidado de menores porque dichos servicios están regulados por el estado y son de vital importancia para el público y por lo tanto son  asuntos de necesidad práctica. Y, en otro caso, un relevo fue invalidado con relación a servicios automovilísticos dado que tales servicios son necesidades prácticas y una  función importantísima de vida o muerte en una sociedad que depende de los automóviles. Y, en uno de los principales casos relacionados con relevos, TUNKL, la corte invalidó un relevo usado por un hospital como condición para recibir tratamiento médico porque los servicios hospitalarios son necesidades críticas y los solicitantes de admisión no están en posición de negociar con el hospital, o encontrar otro hospital que no requiera un relevo.

 

En otro caso la Corte de Apelaciones de California rechazó dar como válido un relevo relacionado con un ahogamiento en una piscina municipal en Santa Bárbara. La corte dijo que aunque el relevo era válido para exonerar a la ciudad de responsabilidad por negligencia ordinaria, no sería válido si un jurado decidiera que la ciudad o su empleado es culpable por “crasa negligencia”. Crasa negligencia es definida bajo la ley de California como “Un acto ú omisión que muestra una falla en ejercer aún el mínimo cuidado o que constituye una extrema desviación de los estándares comunes de conducta.” Es la acción que indica una actitud indiferente hacia las consecuencias de su conducta o por la seguridad y bienestar de otros. Crasa negligencia es una acción u omisión que es tan peligrosa que el hechor debe saber que es muy probable que resulte un daño.

 

Estos casos jurídicos establecen que algunos relevos son inválidos y no se pueden hacer valer. Siempre es mejor no firmar un relevo que es injusto. En el caso de un relevo que soluciona un reclamo o demanda, asegúrese que la cantidad que usted recibirá es justa y adecuada antes de firmarlo. A menos que su reclamo sea muy pequeño, usted siempre debe consultar el valor de un caso con un abogado experimentado antes de firmar un relevo. Usted debe asumir que un relevo será válido y ejecutable porque puede serlo. Y finalmente, si usted ha firmado un relevo que le parece injusto, contacte inmediatamente a un abogado experimentado ahora que ya sabe que algunos relevos pueden ser inválidos. ¡NO SE DEJE! ®

 

 

JESS J. ARAUJO, ABOGADO

Read More

SOME RELEASES ARE INVALID Part two

Article 16-39 B

¡No Se Deje!

In the first part of this article last week, I explained that releases are contracts or agreements that limit or end legal rights to sue.  Many releases are short one page forms but they can be complicated documents that are several pages long.  Releases are used to settle legal claims and lawsuits between the parties.  For example, in typical auto accident cases, the innocent victim often files a claim for personal injury or property damage (the car).

 

According to the California Civil Code, releases that exempt someone from responsibility for their own fraud or willful injury to the person or property of another, or of a violation of law, are against the policy of the law and are invalid.   The law invalidates private releases affecting the “public interest.” For a better understanding here there are some examples:

 

The courts invalidated a release by a childcare provider because childcare services are regulated by the state and are of vital importance to the public and are a matter of practical necessity.  And, in another case, a release was invalidated regarding automobile services since such services are a practical necessity and a vital life or death function in a society dependent on cars.  And, in one of the leading cases dealing with releases, TUNKL, the court invalidated a release used by a hospital as a condition of receiving medical treatment because hospital services are a critical necessity and applicants for admission are in no position to bargain with the hospital or find another hospital that does not require a release.

 

In another case the California Court of Appeals refused to find a release valid regarding a drowning in a municipal swimming pool in Santa Barbara.    The court said that although the release was valid to exempt the city from liability for ordinary negligence, it would not be valid if a jury decided that the city or its employee is guilty of “gross negligence”.  Gross negligence is defined under California law as “An act or omission that shows a failure to exercise even slight care or that constitutes an extreme departure from the ordinary standard of conduct.”  It is action that indicates an indifferent attitude toward the consequences of his conduct or for the safety and welfare of others. Gross negligence is an act or omission that is so dangerous that the actor should know that it is highly probable that harm will result.

 

The lesson to be learned is that some releases are invalid and not enforceable.  It is always better to not sign a release that is unfair to you.  In the case of a release that settles a claim or lawsuit, be sure that the amount being paid is fair and adequate before you sign it.  Unless your claim is very minor, you should always discuss case value with an experienced attorney before you sign a release.  You should assume that a release will be valid and enforceable because it may be.  And finally, if you have signed a release that seems unfair to you, contact an experienced attorney immediately since you now know that some releases are not valid.  ¡NO SE DEJE! ®

 

 

JESS J. ARAUJO, ESQ.

Read More

Can You Sue Your Employer for Being Bored at Work?

In the past, boredom at work was just another part of the job. Boring jobs pay the bills, after all, and employees either dealt with their boredom or found a more captivating career. Thanks to new studies about how boredom affects mental health, however, employees are now not only unwilling to tolerate a boring job, but they’re also suing their employers because of it.

Burgeoning Boredom-Intolerance

A senior psychology lecturer at the University of Central Lancashire in England, Sandi Mann, believes boredom is a commonly hidden emotion in the workplace. She states that as a society, we have become less inclined to tolerate boredom and expect entertainment. In the world of mobile devices and instant gratification, boredom is unacceptable, even at work. Today, employees commonly leave higher-paying but boring jobs for a pay cut at a workplace that is more fulfilling.

Mann deems boredom the new “stress” at work but claims most companies are not aware of the problem. Companies do not want to admit that employees find them boring. Lack of awareness and initiatives to solve the problem lead to more and more bored employees at work with no outlets for relief. In the past, this may not have been a newsworthy problem, but today it is an issue that concerns an employee’s mental health and stability.

Boredom and Mental Health

Last year, a University of Cambridge professor studied military surgeons in Afghanistan for six weeks. He found that boredom had a marked destabilizing effect on surgeons who otherwise performed highly in the field. He mentioned that problems arose not when injured patients inundated Camp Bastion, but when the surgeons had nothing to do. On days when not a single casualty came in, surgeons still worked around the clock waiting for traumas. They became bored, restless, and unhappy.

Bored employees are more likely to experience stress symptoms than less-bored coworkers and engage in behaviors that could damage their employment. This can include horseplay or failing to show up for work. A study from the University of South Florida and Montclair State University identified six ways bored employees can harm a company:

  • Abusing and criticizing others
  • Purposely failing at tasks
  • Sabotage
  • Withdrawal
  • Theft
  • Horseplay

Withdrawal is the most common damage, when employees take unnecessarily long breaks, show up to work late, or do not show up at all. This was the case when Frédéric Desnard filed a lawsuit against the Parisian company he worked for, Interparfums, for “boring him out” of his high-paying job. The company fired Desnard for going on a prolonged sick leave after being in a car accident. However, Desnard alleges that his employer demoted him in an attempt to have Desnard voluntarily quit. Desnard cites that boredom at his job was the reason for the company’s actions and demands more than $400,000 in compensation.

Researchers find that boredom can directly result in stress-like symptoms, such as bad health and poor workability. It is necessary for employers to provide a workplace environment that is safe for employees to ask questions and find psychological support. Allowing employees to express their boredom may sound like a non-starter, but it may be the only way to avoid a lawsuit in today’s changing legal atmosphere.

Desnard’s case serves as a precedent for others to sue employers for boredom. Organizations that do not redesign work in a way that challenges employees and keeps them occupied may land in the courtroom. As more researchers collect data and conduct studies into how boredom affects mental health and work ethic, this may be a circumstance that the legal system sees more and more often.

Read More

SOME RELEASES ARE INVALID Part one

Article 16-39A

¡No Se Deje!

Releases are contracts or agreements that limit or end legal rights to sue.  Many releases are short one page forms but they can be complicated documents that are several pages long.  Releases are used to settle legal claims and lawsuits between the parties.  For example, in typical auto accident cases, the innocent victim often files a claim for personal injury or property damage (the car).

 

If the driver that caused the accident, or his insurance company, agree to pay the victim for his injuries and damage to the car, they will insist that the victim sign a release.  The release will provide an acknowledgment by the victim that he accepts the agreed amount as final settlement of his claim and that he has received that amount.  The signed release allows the paying party to prove that the claim has been legally settled and that no further claims can be filed arising out of the same incident.

 

Releases are also used before an accident occurs.  Many businesses require customers to sign releases before agreeing to provide products or services.  The release can be a separate document or it can be contained on an admission ticket or product receipt.  For example, people that rent horses, bicycles, or motorcycles routinely sign releases before they are allowed to ride the horse or use the vehicle.  Also, customers at theme parks, golf courses, bowling alleys, and ski resorts typically sign releases before participating in the recreational activity.  Customers that sign these releases agree that they will not be allowed to file a claim or lawsuit if they are injured as a result of the use of the product (horse, bicycle, or vehicle) or participating in the activity.

 

SOME RELEASES ARE INVALID AND CANNOT BE ENFORCED

 

According to the California Civil Code, releases that exempt someone from responsibility for his own fraud or willful injury to the person or property of another, or of a violation of law, are against the policy of the law and are invalid.   The law invalidates private releases affecting the “public interest.” The courts have listed some factors that indicate when a public interest is involved.  If some or all of these factors are present, the release will be considered invalid and not enforceable.

 

  • The business requiring the release is one that is suitable for public or governmental regulation.
  • The business performs a service of great importance to the public that is a matter of practical necessity.
  • The service is offered to the public at large.
  • The business has an economic advantage because the services are essential to the customer.
  • The release is a contract of adhesion, meaning that it is unfair because the other party really has no choice but to sign or suffer far greater harm.
  • The person that signs the release is accepting the risk of the carelessness of the other party.

 

It is preferable not to sign any release that seems unfair to you, but if you already did, contact an experienced attorney immediately. Again, some releases are not valid. ¡NO SE DEJE! ®

 

JESS J. ARAUJO, ESQ.  

Read More

ALGUNOS RELEVOS SON INVALIDOS Primera Parte

 

Artículo 16-39A

¡No Se Deje! ®

Los relevos –“releases” en inglés- son contratos o convenios que limitan o extinguen el derecho legal a demandar. Muchos relevos son formas cortas de una sola página pero también pueden ser documentos complicados que tienen una extensión de varias páginas. Los relevos son utilizados para solucionar reclamos legales y demandas entre las partes en conflicto. Por ejemplo, en los casos típicos de accidentes de automóvil, la víctima inocente generalmente registra un reclamo por daños personales o por daños materiales (el auto).

 

Si el conductor que causó el accidente o su aseguradora acepta pagar a la víctima por sus lesiones o daños al carro, ellos insistirán en que la víctima firme un relevo. El relevo proveerá un reconocimiento por parte de la víctima aceptando la cantidad convenida como arreglo final por su reclamo y de que ha recibido dicha cantidad. El relevo firmado permite que la parte que hace el pago demuestre que el reclamo fue legalmente solucionado y que no pueden hacerse más reclamos con base en el mismo incidente.

 

Los relevos también se usan antes de que los accidentes ocurran. Muchos negocios requieren a sus clientes firmar relevos antes de aceptar brindar sus servicios o productos. El relevo puede ser un documento separado o puede estar impreso en un boleto o en un recibo de compra. Por ejemplo, las personas que rentan caballos, bicicletas, o motocicletas regularmente firman relevos antes de que se les permita montar los caballos o usar estos vehículos. También, los clientes de parques temáticos, campos de golf, pistas de boliche, y centros para esquiar generalmente firman relevos antes de participar en la actividad recreativa. Los clientes que firman estos relevos aceptan que no se les permitirá registrar una demanda si salen lesionados a consecuencia del uso de los productos (caballo, bicicleta, o vehículo) o por participar en la actividad recreativa.

 

 

 

 

ALGUNOS RELEVOS SON INVALIDOS Y NO PUEDEN SER EJECUTADOS.

 

Según el Código Civil de California, los relevos que exoneran a alguien de la responsabilidad por cometer un fraude o por lesionar intencionalmente a la persona o la  propiedad de otro, o por una violación a la ley, están en contra de las normas de la ley y son inválidos. La ley invalida los relevos privados que afectan el “interés público”.  Las cortes han identificado algunos factores que indican cuándo un interés público está en juego. Si algunos de esos factores están presentes, el relevo será considerado inválido y no ejecutable.

 

  • El negocio que requiere el relevo es apropiado para la regulación pública o gubernamental;
  • El negocio realiza un servicio de mucha importancia para el público siendo un asunto de necesidad práctica;
  • El servicio es ofrecido al público en general;
  • El negocio tiene una ventaja económica porque los servicios son esenciales para el cliente;
  • El relevo es un contrato “adherente”, dando a entender que es injusto porque la otra parte realmente no tiene más opción que firmar o sufrir un daño mucho mayor;
  • La persona que firma el relevo está aceptando el riesgo de negligencia de la otra parte.

 

Es preferible no firmar un relevo injusto pero si ya se hizo, consulte con un abogado experimentado inmediatamente.  Repito, algunos relevos son inválidos.  ¡NO SE DEJE! ®

 

 

JESS J. ARAUJO, ABOGADO

Read More

Medical Marijuana and Workers’ Compensation

As lawmakers around the nation more widely accept the use of medical marijuana (and recreational in some states), workers’ compensation systems face a new predicament. Marijuana legalization is a complex legal issue with many implications for the workplace. Employee drug testing and drug-free work policies may have to undergo a change, as well as workers’ compensation procedures. However, businesses suffer a lack of local government guidance, as state legislation and federal law are currently at odds.

How Medical Marijuana Can Affect a Workers’ Compensation Claim

Unlike alcohol, which leaves the bloodstream in a matter of hours, marijuana lingers in a person’s system for up to 30 days. An employer can ascertain that there was marijuana in an employee’s system, but it cannot be said for sure if the employee was high at the time of a reported incident. There are no tests available to pinpoint the exact time marijuana entered the system. It is also much more difficult to prove impairment due to marijuana than due to alcohol consumption. Thus, even if an employer confirms marijuana use, it is unlikely that drug use can be attributed to the cause of the accident.

On the other hand, an employee who tests positive for marijuana may be breaking workplace drug-free rules. Although California legalized medical marijuana in 2015, it is up to the employer to maintain a marijuana-free workplace or not. If the employer does have zero-tolerance drug rules, it could mean the dismissal of the employee’s workers’ compensation case. However, this presents an issue within itself—can employers ban a legalized drug from the workplace? As of now, employers are left on their own to adapt to changing state rules and decide whether to update anti-drug policies.

For example, the Colorado courts recently ruled that an employee violated his company’s zero-tolerance drug policy when he used prescription medical marijuana on the job. The employee is a quadriplegic who uses medical marijuana as part of his prescribed health care treatment plan. Despite this fact, the courts still ruled in the employer’s favor due to workplace drug policies.

Who Pays for an Injured Employee’s Medical Marijuana?

The National Counsel for Compensation Insurance recently received requests to cover costs of medical marijuana in workers’ compensation claims. When states began legalizing medical marijuana, widespread professional opinion was that workers’ compensation would not pay for this substance. Marijuana is still an illegal substance under multiple acts, including the Drug-Free Workplace Act of 1988. However, various boards are approving compensation for medical marijuana in workers’ compensation systems.

The ongoing confusion as to whom the law requires to pay for medical marijuana is in large part due to local governments having no precedence for policy decisions. As tension builds regarding this debate, the results have been disparate decisions in different states. Arizona, for example, updated its Medical Marijuana Act to add self-insured employers and workers’ compensation insurers as entities that do not have to pay for medical marijuana. New Mexico, on the other hand, saw medical marijuana as an equivalent to other forms of “reasonable and necessary” medical care and ruled that its workers’ compensation system must pay for the substance.

Twenty-five states and counting have legalized marijuana in some form. As states continue to issue conflicting rulings on how medical marijuana affects workers’ compensation, employers and insurers face a challenge to navigate various workers’ compensation boards with differing guidance and advice. In the future, when it comes to medical marijuana, employers and employees can likely expect a different type of workers’ compensation system across the nation.

Read More

TODO VOTANTE ELEGIBLE DEBERIA DE VOTAR SIEMPRE

 

 Artículo 16-38

¡No Se Deje! ®

Las Elecciones Producen Cambios

Las elecciones siempre son importantes porque determinan cuales candidatos serán los legisladores, quien será Gobernador o Presidente, y que proposiciones (leyes aprobadas por los votantes) se convertirán en leyes. Las elecciones son importantes especialmente para los Latinos.

 

Las elecciones produjeron miembros en los concejos municipales de Escondido, California; Hazleton, Pennsylvania y Farmers Branch, Texas donde fueron aprobadas leyes anti-inmigrantes.  Una elección produjo la SB 1070; la infame ley anti inmigrante aprobada por los votantes en Arizona que fue declarada inconstitucional por las Cortes Federales.  En California, los votantes eligieron al Demócrata Jerry Brown en lugar del Republicano Arnold Schwarzenegger; el Demócrata Brown aprobó la ley para permitir que los conductores indocumentados pudieran obtener licencias de manejo; el Republicano Schwarzenegger vetó 3 veces las leyes  que permitirían a los inmigrantes indocumentados obtener licencias de manejo. Las elecciones produjeron legisladores en Nuevo México y en varios otros estados que promulgaron leyes que permiten a los inmigrantes indocumentados obtener licencias de manejo.

 

Los Latinos en California podemos determinar los resultados en nuestras elecciones.  Esto solo puede ocurrir si nosotros votamos.  Aún cuando muchos Latinos no son elegibles para votar porque todavía no son ciudadanos de EE.UU. o porque todavía son muy jóvenes, sin embargo la cantidad de votantes calificados puede determinar los resultados de nuestras elecciones.  California tiene más Latinos que cualquier otro estado.  El Presidente Obama podría no haber sido electo sin los votantes Latinos.  El recibió el 67% del voto Latino y solo el 43% del voto blanco no Latino.  California alberga el 20% de todas las minorías étnicas y nacionalidades en Estados Unidos.

 

El Censo de EE.UU  reporta que la población de California es casi de 38.3 millones de habitantes en 2014. En un informe de Julio de 2014, el Public Policy Institute of California-PPIC (en español Instituto de Políticas Públicas de California) reporta que hasta Septiembre de 2012 más de 14 millones (38%) eran Latinos y que alrededor del  37% de probables votantes Latinos eran inmigrantes.  El PPIC también reporta en su informe que el 59% de los Latinos de California eran Demócratas registrados, el 18% eran Republicanos, 17% eran Independientes y el 5% eran  “otros”.  La mayoría de expertos concuerdan que California tendrá una mayoría Latina en 2020.  Esto significa que cada año los Latinos tendremos un impacto aún más grande en los resultados electorales, SI CUMPLIMOS CON NUESTRO VOTO

 

El PPIC también determinó que solo el 17% de “Probables votantes” de California son Latinos.  “Probables votantes” son votantes registrados con antecedentes de tener interés en la política y en asuntos públicos, que tienen un historial positivo en votar e intentan votar.  Infortunadamente, los Latinos tienen un historial de estar sub representados en las elecciones.  Esto significa que los votantes Latinos elegibles realmente votan en un porcentaje más pequeño comparados con otros grupos étnicos y raciales.   El reporte también indica que solo el 17% de los Latinos adultos tienen probabilidad de votar comparado con el 11% de Asiáticos, el 6% de Afro Americanos, y el 62% de Americanos blancos.

 

Nadie que sea elegible para votar debería omitir su voto porque las elecciones producen importantes consecuencias.  Para los Latinos, la calidad de vida puede ser cambiada drásticamente.  La reforma migratoria será decidida por los Representantes y Senadores del Congreso de EE.UU. que resulten elegidos. Los legisladores estatales determinan los incrementos al salario mínimo y a las compensaciones justas para las personas  que resultan dañadas ó lesionadas por la negligencia de terceros. ¡VAYAMOS A VOTAR!   ¡NO SE DEJE! ®

 

JESS J. ARAUJO, ABOGADO

Read More

ALL ELIGIBLE VOTERS SHOULD ALWAYS VOTE

Article 16-38

¡No Se Deje!

Elections Produce Changes

 

Elections are always important because they determine which candidates will become lawmakers, who will be Governor or President, and which propositions (laws approved by the voters) will become laws.  Elections are especially important for Latinos.  While all laws generally apply to Latinos, some laws especially target Latinos even though they officially refer to “immigrants” or “illegal immigrants”.

 

Elections produced the members of the city councils in Escondido, California, Hazleton, Pennsylvania and Farmers Branch, Texas where anti-immigrant laws were passed.  An election produced SB 1070; the infamous voter approved anti-immigrant law in Arizona that was declared unconstitutional by the Federal Courts.  In California, voters elected Democrat Governor, Jerry Brown replacing Republican Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger; Governor Brown signed the law allowing undocumented immigrants to obtain driver licenses; the Republican Governor Schwarzenegger vetoed three times laws passed by our lawmakers to allow undocumented immigrants to earn drivers’ licenses. Elections produced the lawmakers in New Mexico and several other states that enacted laws that allow undocumented immigrants to obtain drivers’ licenses.

 

Latinos in California can determine the results in our elections.  This can only occur if we vote.  Even though many Latinos are not eligible to vote because they are not yet U. S. citizens or because they are still too young, the number of qualified Latino voters can determine election results.  California has more Latinos than any other state.  President Obama could not have been elected without Latino voters.  He received 67% of Latino votes and only 43% of non-Latino white votes.  California is home to 20% of all ethnic and national minorities in the United States.

 

The U. S. Census reports that the population of California is almost 38.3 million people in 2014.  The Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC) in a report dated July 2014 reveals that more than 14 million (38%) are Latinos as of September 2012 and that about 37% of likely Latino voters are immigrants.  The PPIC also reports that 59% of California Latinos are registered Democrats, 18% are Republican, 17% are Independents and 5% are “other”.  Most experts agree California will have a Latino majority by 2020.  This means that each year Latinos will have an even greater impact on election results IF WE VOTE!

 

The PPIC also determined that only 17% of “Likely voters” in California are Latinos.  “Likely voters” are registered voters with a history of having an interest in politics and public issues, who have a positive history of voting and intend to vote.  Unfortunately, Latinos have a history of being under-represented in elections.  This means that a smaller percentage of eligible Latino voters actually vote compared to other ethnic and racial groups.   The report also indicates that only 17% of Latino adults are likely to vote compared to 11% of Asians, 6% of African Americans, and 62% of white Americans.

 

No one that is eligible to vote should fail to vote because elections produce important consequences.  For Latinos, the quality of life can be drastically changed.  Immigration reform will be decided by the Congressional Representatives and Senators that will be elected.  State law makers will determine minimum wage increases, and whether injured people get increased compensation for their injuries among other important rights.  LET’S VOTE!   ¡NO SE DEJE! ®

 

JESS J. ARAUJO, ESQ.  

Read More

New OSHA Rule Calls for Employers to Electronically Submit Data

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued a new rule that takes effect January 1, 2017, to improve worker safety across the country. According to the new rule, certain employers must electronically submit illness and injury data. Employers already record this data for OSHA Injury and Illness forms, but this is the first time OSHA expects employers to also submit the information electronically.

What Does the New Rule Mean for Employees?

The new rule enables OSHA to analyze the data employers submit to ascertain compliance with federal law. OSHA will also post the information for public perusal on the administration’s website. By making this information available to the public, OSHA hopes to encourage employers to improve workplace safety, which translates into fewer accidents, injuries, and deaths.

The rule also prohibits employers from coercing or discouraging workers from reporting illnesses and injuries. OSHA now requires employers to provide valuable information to employees, such as their right to work in a hazard-free environment. Employees can report work-related incidents and injuries without fear of employer retaliation.

OSHA stated that it will use software that automatically redacts all employee-identification information from submitted firms. This protects the privacy of employees whose names and private information are on the OSHA 300 or 301 forms. The protection of employee privacy is a main priority for OSHA, and employees shouldn’t worry about OSHA publishing their private information under the new rule.

How Do Employers Comply With the New Rule?

In the next two years, OSHA will phase in the new reporting requirements in certain industries and enterprises. The projected compliance schedule mandates that establishments within specific industries and with more than 250 employees must submit information from the 2016 Form 300A as early as July 1, 2017. Businesses must then submit 2017’s information by July 1, 2018. Starting in 2019, these employers will be required to submit this data every year by March 2. Even if the establishment saw no injuries, it must still complete and post the OSHA 300A form electronically.

The industries OSHA lists as high-risk are the same establishments that must abide by the new electronic submission rule. The list encompasses dozens of different industries, from agriculture to dry-cleaning and laundry services. States with the OSHA State Plan must adopt the new rule and its requirements within six months after the publication of the final rule. The new rule does not affect the existing OSHA requirements for reporting catastrophic injuries, which employers must still follow.

Pros and Cons of the New Rule

An advantage of OSHA’s new rule is that employees will face less fear of retaliation, such as employer post-accident drug testing, and an easier reporting process. While drug testing after an accident is reasonable in some cases, it is often unnecessary and only serves to dissuade employees from reporting injuries or illnesses. OSHA can fine establishments it sees taking any measures like this to dissuade employee reporting. In the end, OSHA hopes employers will enhance their safety practices due to publicized reports, leading to fewer worker injuries.

The downside of OSHA’s new rule are the broad implications for employers. Raised penalty amounts for violating compliance could put business owners at risk of taking significant losses, and published accident reports could hurt business. Business owners must ensure that they meet the new rule’s stipulations and schedule, or they will face serious repercussions. All in all, OSHA’s new rule will likely enhance employee safety and support in the workplace across the most high-risk industries, educating employees on their rights and enforcing pre-established safety regulations.

Read More

Pool Safety Tips

Even though summer is coming to a close, the importance of safety around the pool doesn’t stop with the warm weather. According to poolsafely.gov, drowning is the leading cause of unintentional death in children ages 1-4 and the CDC estimates that for every child who dies from drowning, another five receive emergency department care for nonfatal submersion injuries.

As a pool owner or goer, there are many things you can do to prevent this fun summer activity from turning into a tragic situation. That’s why we have compiled a list of some of the steps you can take to ensure your child’s safety around the pool.

Never leave a child unattended near the water.

While this may seem like a no brainer, supervision is key to ensuring that younger pool users stay safe. It’s estimated that a drowning person can only struggle on the surface for 20-60 seconds and over half of the children who drown in a given year are only 25 yards away from an adult or parent. Even if there is a life guard on duty in a public pool, the time it takes to notice and reach someone who is drowning may be too long to provide effective aid.

Teach your child how to swim.

Not only is swimming fun and a great exercise, but it can literally save your life. And considering that 71% of the earth is covered in water, it’s a good idea to be comfortable around it. There are plenty of places where you can get your child started on swimming lessons early so they know how to handle themselves around water.

Secure your pool or spa with appropriate barriers.

Especially if you have younger children, surrounding the pool or spa with a four foot protective barrier can prevent your child wandering into a dangerous situation before you have time to react. You may even want to consider installing a pool alarm that goes off anytime someone enters the pool.

Check your drain covers.

Even if your child is comfortable in the water, having hair or clothing sucked into a drain can trap them underwater. The Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act, which provides new drain requirements for public pools and spas, was named after a child who died when the suction of a spa drain entrapped her under water. Even if everything is working properly, teach your children to stay away from drains when possible.

Limit Diving.

Although diving can be a fun activity, it can be dangerous if the water is not deep enough. 6,500 adolescents are brought to the hospital per year because of diving related injuries, with 80% of these occurring in shallow water of four feet or less. Serious spinal cord and permanent brain injuries can occur if not exercising proper safety when diving, so be sure to set rules such as entering the water feet first and no shallow end diving to prevent serious harm.

Know how to perform CPR.

In the event that an accident does occur, knowing the basics of CPR can help save someone’s life or help keep them alive until help arrives. It is always best to plan for a worst case scenario, even if you don’t ever need to use your training.

Even though these are just a simple few reminders about pool safety, they can save someone’s life. If you were at a public pool and negligent behavior or safety violations, such as improper signs or broken safety features, led to the injury or harm of your child, you may want to consult an attorney who can ensure that you are fairly compensated. Nevertheless, enjoy your time at the pool, but be mindful of steps you can take to ensure the proper safety of everyone involved.

Read More