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TOOL

Telecommuter home office hazard assessment & inspection checklist

While not an OSHA obligation, it’s highly advisable to take measures to protect the health and safety of telecommuting office employees who work from home. How? By having employees seeking approval to telecommute designate a room or area as their home workspace and arranging for somebody to perform a hazard assessment inspection to verify that the workspace is safe, healthy and appropriate for the proposed use. Option 1: Have an office supervisor or manager visit the site and do a physical walk-through inspection; Option 2: Have the employee videotape the space and/or submit detailed photos and a floor plan and do the inspection virtually; Option 3: Have the employee inspect the space himself/herself. Whoever does the assessment should use the Checklist below.

EMPLOYMENT LAW UPDATE

COVID, opioids and payroll taxes on HR radar

By Mike O’Brien bio  Applicants, testing, and screening The EEOC has said you cannot test applicants for COVID-19 until after a conditional job offer. Fine, makes sense. What about taking temperatures? You can take a temperature of visitors to your business/office to make sure they are not bringing COVID-19 with them. In fact, you may have an OSHA duty to do so to protect your workers from the pandemic. What about applicants visiting your office to apply to interview—can you subject them to the same temperature screening as all other visitors? Logic would say yes; but the EEOC guidance says no, you can only take an applicant’s temperature after a conditional job offer. Yet, a visiting applicant with COVID-19 could turn your office into a virus hot spot, thus attracting… . . . read more.

Tool: Model Mandatory Face Mask Policy

More than 20 states have enacted laws requiring the use of face masks or coverings in indoor public places, which would include workplaces like medical offices. Here’s a Model Policy incorporating current legal requirements and public health guidance that you can adapt for your own office.

COVID-19

Can my employer fire me for going to a bar or do I have any freedom left?

By Lynne Curry bio  Question: My employer sent a two-part email to every employee last week. “As you know we’ve had a local spike in COVID-19 infections. The health department has provided a list of the establishments, primarily bars, where COVID-19 individuals spent extended time. The health department asks that anyone who was in these businesses during these times monitor themselves for symptoms, check their temperatures twice daily for 14 days and avoid potentially exposing others who fall into high-risk categories for COVID-19 vulnerability. Please comply with this guidance.” That was okay, but then the email obligated me as an employee to offer up personal information. “We have learned that a bartender at (named) bar has tested positive and was serving customers on ____ date and between ____ p.m. and… . . . read more.

Tool: Model COVID-19 Contact Log Sheet

Maintaining social distancing will be the price that medical offices and other businesses will have to pay to reopen and remain open until the COVID-19 threat goes away. But for social distancing to work, there must be a way to track and analyze actual encounters between people at your facility. One simple way to gather the essential data is to have employees and visitors complete a contact log sheet. Here’s a model your office can adapt for its own use.

EMPLOYERS FOOT THE BILL

Feds say insurers not required to pay for employer return to work COVID-19 testing

Since the public health emergency began, the US government has taken the position that insurers shouldn’t be allowed to make consumers pay for COVID-19 lab tests. But now comes news that insurers will not be put in that same position with regard to return to work screening conducted on employees by their employers. FFCRA rules for COVID-19 test payment The key piece of federal relief legislation, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), required insurers to cover COVID-19 tests without imposing any copayments, deductibles, coinsurance or other patient cost-sharing. But the rule (Section 6001 of FFCRA) rule applied only to tests deemed “medically appropriate” by a healthcare provider. The key question: Would insurers also have to foot the bill for screening tests not used for diagnosis and treatment? Apparently, the… . . . read more.

CORONAVIRUS

Practical guidance for medical office employers handling coronavirus

By Paul Edwards bio We know there is a lot of information (and misinformation) out there about the coronavirus (COVID-19) and how to handle it in the workplace. Our goal is to provide you with guidance on how to handle this as an employer—practical solutions for the impact the coronavirus may have on your business. If an employee is sick, can I send him/her home? If an employee is objectively showing signs of being sick—flu symptoms, bad cold symptoms, coronavirus symptoms, or other—you are able to send them home so that they don’t pose a health risk to the rest of your team or other visitors to the office. Most employers encourage their teams to stay home if they are unwell, but don’t necessarily require it unless it appears to… . . . read more.

Five reasons you need an employee handbook

By Julie Ellison bio For many employers, the idea of creating an Employee Handbook is overwhelming.  But the importance of having one should outweigh that hesitancy given the peace of mind it can provide you while you are busy running your law firm or business. An Employee Handbook is your roadmap for what your employees can expect from you and what you expect from your employees.  It should be simple, straightforward and relevant.  Not having one in place can create huge headaches that are completely avoidable. Here are five good reasons to have an employee handbook: 1. Handbooks Set Employee Expectations Handbooks allow you to clearly set forth everything from job responsibilities to disciplinary procedures, thus keeping employee expectations consistent with the employer. Experience teaches us that employees are willing to… . . . read more.

WORKPLACE SAFETY

COMPLIANCE: A 10-step compliance strategy for OSHA Recordkeeping Rules

January is the season when employers must compile their OSHA logs for the previous year. Here’s an overview of the OSHA Recordkeeping Standard and a 10-step strategy to ensure compliance. Step 1: Figure out if your office is covered Physician offices are among the industries listed by North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) as being partially exempt from the Standard (Section 1904.39), as shown below: Partially Exempt Industries by NAICS Code NAICS Code Industry 6211 Offices of Physicians 6212 Offices of Dentists 6213 Offices of Other Health Practitioners 6214 Outpatient Care Centers 6215 Medical and Diagnostic Laboratories 6113 Colleges, Universities and Professional Schools 8122 Death Care Services Result: You don’t have to keep OSHA injury and illness records (aka OSHA 300 Logs) for any establishment classified under the applicable NAICS… . . . read more.

TOOL: Model Employee Illness/Injury Reporting Policy

The OSHA Recordkeeping Standard requires you to record and potentially report work-related illnesses and injuries. Reporting of illnesses and injuries is also crucial to investigating, identifying and correcting problems that can lead to further incidents and OSHA violations. So, it’s crucial to establish a policy and procedure for workers to report workplace injuries and illnesses. You can adapt this Model Policy to ensure prompt and proper reporting of workplace injuries and illnesses.


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