Federal and state lawmakers enacted a plethora of employment laws in 2023. The result was an unprecedented number of updates to required labor law postings. In addition to the typical Minimum Wage increases, many states passed pay transparency legislation, enhanced discrimination protections, restrictions or bans on non-compete agreements, and increased paid sick leave regulations.
As a result, forty states updated at least one of their labor law postings in 2023. In fact, over thirty states revised more than one, and several had four or more mandatory amendments to their posters this year. Additionally, several brand new required labor law posters were added in 2023.
While updates traditionally happen near the new year, 2023 was a year full of employment legislation resulting in updates all year long. This trend is likely to continue. The best way to ensure your business is always compliant is to order labor law posters now and choose our subscription option. The subscription renews yearly, offering the perfect solution to staying up to date with labor laws. You’ll automatically receive a new, yearly set of posters, hassle free. If there are any major, mandatory changes to the posters throughout the year, we will provide you complimentary updated copies with your subscription service.
The reality is at least a dozen states will increase minimum wage effective January 1, 2024. However, the changes will likely continue throughout 2024 which will lead to the need for replacement posters. In order to keep up, at National Safety Compliance, we monitor government websites daily and expect to continue to see updates from coast to coast. These poster revisions are expected to include discrimination, domestic violence leave, veterans benefits and services, paid sick leave and any number of other notices.
Every day, millions of U.S. workers are exposed to heat in their workplaces. Although illness from exposure to heat is preventable, every year, thousands become sick from occupational heat exposure. Sadly, some cases are fatal. Hazardous heat exposure can occur indoors or outdoors. As a result, OSHA is sponsoring a “Beat the Heat Contest” to raise awareness of the dangers and hazards of heat exposure in both indoor and outdoor workplaces.
OSHA’s Beat the Heat Contest has four main goals:
Educate stakeholders, especially workers and employers, about heat hazards in the workplace.
Prevent heat illness by creating an awareness campaign that increases the public’s knowledge about this issue.
Highlight the dangers of heat; and
Motivate employers and workers to take action to prevent heat illness.
Tragically, every year, dozens of workers die and thousands more become ill while working in hot or humid conditions. To combat this, OSHA created a Heat Illness Prevention campaign in 2022 to educate employers and workers on the dangers of working in the heat. Whether you work outside, or inside in a hot and humid environment, you’re at risk of enduring a heat illness. “Our goal is to make it safe for workers in hot indoor and outdoor environments, so that they can return home safe and healthy at the end of each day,” said Assistant Secretary for Occupational Safety and Health Doug Parker. “Working together, we can ensure workers know their rights and employers meet their obligations in order to protect workers from the growing dangers of extreme heat.”
Some industries where workers have suffered heat-related illnesses:
Bakeries, kitchens, and laundries
Construction – especially, road, roofing, and other outdoor work
Electrical utilities, boiler rooms
Iron and steel mills and foundries
Mail and package delivery
Oil and gas well operations
What are heat illnesses? A heat illness is one caused by high temperatures and humidity. In a warm environment, the human body relies on its ability to get rid of excess heat to maintain a healthy internal body temperature. Heat dissipation happens naturally through sweating and increased blood flow to the skin. If heat dissipation does not happen quickly enough, the internal body temperature keeps rising and the worker may experience symptoms that include thirst, irritability, a rash, cramping, heat exhaustion, or heat stroke.
The four most common heat illnesses include:
Heat rash, which is a stinging skin irritation that turns your skin red.
Heat cramps, which are painful spasms in your muscles.
Heat exhaustion, which is caused by too few fluids and long hours in high temperatures, causes heavy sweating, a fast and weak pulse and rapid breathing.
Heat stroke happens when your temperatures rise above 106 degrees very quickly -within minutes. This is a life-threatening illness.
Heat illness is serious, but we can work together to prevent it.
Employers can keep workers safe in the heat. Employers should create plans to protect workers from developing heat-related illnesses. Keeping workers cool and well-hydrated are the best ways to protect them when working in hot environments. If you or your employees are working in a hot work environment, it is vital to understand how to address heat-related illnesses to keep everyone safe.
Heat-related illnesses can be prevented. The first step in prevention is for employers and workers to recognize heat hazards. Management should commit to:
Protect new workers.
Train all employees to recognize heat hazards.
Determine whether total heat stress is too high.
Implement engineering and administrative controls to reduce heat stress.
Provide sufficient rest, shade, and fluids.
Unfortunately, most outdoor fatalities occur in the first few days of working in warm or hot environments because the body needs to build a tolerance (acclimatization) to the heat gradually over time. Lack of acclimatization is a major risk factor for fatal outcomes. Our bodies sweat to cool ourselves. Sometimes, sweating isn’t effective enough.
In fact, OSHA encourages water, rest, & shade as prevention as well as treatment for heat-related illness. In addition, engineering controls such as air conditioning, can make the workplace safer. Other options include making changes to workload and schedules. For example, scheduling work for the morning or shorter shifts with frequent rest breaks in the shade. Encourage workers in warm, humid environments to drink hydrating fluids. At a minimum, all supervisors and workers should receive training about heat-related symptoms and first aid. The best scenario in workplaces at high risk of heat illnesses would be a formal Heat Illness Prevention Program.
Heat Illness Prevention Program key elements include:
A Person Designated to Oversee the Heat Illness Prevention Program
Water. Rest. Shade. Message
Modified Work Schedules
Monitoring for Signs and Symptoms
Emergency Planning and Response
It is important to understand workers’ rights and vital information about heat illness. Clearly, some workers are more susceptible to heat-related illness. Personal risk factors include medical conditions, lack of physical fitness, previous episodes of heat-related illness, alcohol consumption, drugs, and use of certain medication. Management should commit to preventing heat-related illness for all employees. In accordance with their heat tolerance levels. Measurement of heart rate, body weight, or body temperature can provide individualized data to aid decisions about heat controls.
Training workers before work in extreme heat begins is just the first step in keeping workers safe. Additionally, tailoring the training to worksite conditions is key. Employers should provide a heat stress training program for all workers and supervisors that include the following:
Causes of heat-related illnesses and steps to reduce the risk.
The importance of acclimatization.
Recognition of the signs and symptoms of heat-related illnesses and administration of first aid.
The importance of immediately reporting any symptoms or signs of heat-related illness.
Proper care and use of heat-protective clothing and equipment.
The added heat load caused by exertion, clothing, and personal protective equipment.
Effects of other factors (drugs, alcohol, obesity, etc.) on tolerance to occupational heat stress.
Procedures for responding to symptoms of possible heat-related illness.
Procedures for contacting emergency medical services.
While heat related illnesses are dangerous, they are also preventable with the right knowledge and plan in place. Employees can be prepared and protected while working in less than perfect environments. At NSC, we are here to help. Our Heat Stress Training Program encourages employees to have a positive attitude about heat fatigue safety, learn the symptoms of heat exhaustion and how to recognize if their body is overheating to prevent heat fatigue.
In recent years, the Department of Labor, DOL for short, has renewed its commitment to enforce labor laws, promoting the safety and health of American workers. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration, OSHA for short, was created in 1970 to ensure safe and healthy conditions for all workers. It is OSHA’s responsibility to set and enforce safety standards that employers must comply with in order to provide employees with the safest workplace possible. Just last month, OSHA issued two memorandums indicating that they are stepping up their focus on the enforcement of labor laws. In Fact, both memorandums were issued by OSHA’s Directorate for Enforcement Programs.
According to the DOL, OSHA “has issued new enforcement guidance to make its penalties more effective in stopping employers from repeatedly exposing workers to life-threatening hazards or failing to comply with certain workplace safety and health requirements.”
The first memorandum, Application of Instance-by-Instance Penalty Adjustment, gives OSHA Regional Administrators and Area Office Directors the authority to cite certain types of violations as “instance-by-instance citations.” This includes cases where the agency identifies “high-gravity” serious violations of OSHA standards specific to certain conditions. Specifically when the language of the rule supports a citation for each instance of non-compliance. The purpose of this change is to encourage OSHA personnel to apply the full authority of the Occupational Safety and Health Act where increased citations will in fact discourage non-compliance.
Conditions Where Instance-by-Instance Citations May Apply:
The second memorandum, Exercising Discretion When Not to Group Violations, states that it is “intended to reiterate existing policy that allows Regional Administrators and Area Directors discretion to not group violations in appropriate cases to achieve a deterrent effect.” Instead they should cite them separately, with the goal of effectively encouraging employers to comply with the the OSH Act.
This updated guidance covers enforcement activity in general industry, agriculture, maritime and construction industries, and becomes effective 60 days from Jan. 26, 2023. Since the current policy has been in place for more than 30 years and applies only to egregious willful citations, these aggressive changes make it clear that OSHA is focused on deterring employers from ignoring their responsibilities to keep workers safe.
Doug Parker, Assistant Secretary for Occupational Safety and Health explained the changes this way, “Smart, impactful enforcement means using all the tools available to us when an employer ‘doesn’t get it’ and will respond to only additional deterrence in the form of increased citations and penalties. This is intended to be a targeted strategy for those employers who repeatedly choose to put profits before their employees’ safety, health and wellbeing. Employers who callously view injured or sickened workers simply as a cost of doing business will face more serious consequences.”
OSHA has delivered remarkable progress in improving the safety of America’s work force. Workplace injuries, illnesses and fatalities have fallen dramatically over the years. OSHA has tackled fatal safety hazards and health risks by establishing common sense standards and enforcing the law against those who put workers at risk. OSHA standards and enforcement actions have saved thousands of lives and prevented countless injuries and illnesses. Looking to the future, OSHA is renewing its commitment to protecting workers by promoting best practices that can save lives.
Keeping up with the changes to labor laws and the posting requirements that go along with those laws can be a challenge. You may remember, that in October the EEOC “Know Your Rights” poster replaced the “EEO is the Law” poster. This was the first mandatory update to the required federal posters in six years.
However, since then two important federal laws passed in late December. The first new law to take effect is the Provide Urgent Maternal Protections for Nursing Mothers Act (PUMP). This act expands the rights of nursing mothers to all workers. Followed by the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act, which provides anti-discrimination protections for pregnant employees.
Federal Poster Updates
These new laws both include mandatory posting requirements for employers. First, the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) poster was updated in April. The new poster covers the expanded rights for nursing mothers under the PUMP Act. Next, in June the Know Your Rights poster was revised. The revision includes the types of employment discrimination that are prohibited under the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act. Further, it includes failure to provide reasonable accommodations for pregnancy as a practice that is employment discrimination. In addition, the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) poster had a non-mandatory update in April. (The U.S. Department of Labor maintains that the April 2016 and February 2013 versions still fulfill the posting requirement.)
A helpful solution
All these changes in such a short period of time magnify the value of our Poster Subscription Plan. When a major, mandatory change occurs while your subscription is active, we will provide you complimentary updated copies with your subscription service. The subscription renews yearly, offering an easy solution to compliance with labor law. You’ll automatically receive a new, yearly set of posters, hassle free.
Furthermore, the federal posting updates aren’t the only requirements that employers need to be aware of. Many states have been updating labor laws as well. For example, since January almost a dozen states have updated at least one of their mandatory posters.
States with updates since January:
This trend in labor law requirements is likely to continue. Tracking all the changes can be complicated. That’s why at NSC we constantly monitor it for you. The most efficient way to stay compliant is with our Poster Subscription Plan.
In addition to OSHA’s heightened focus on enforcement, the U.S. Department of Labor recently announced changes to Occupational Safety and Health Administration civil penalty amounts based on cost-of-living adjustments for 2023. Since 2015, agencies have been required to adjust penalties and make subsequent annual adjustments for inflation. The purpose of increased penalties is to improve the effectiveness and to maintain their deterrent effect.
This year, OSHA’s maximum penalties for serious and other-than-serious violations will increase from $14,502 per violation to $15,625 per violation. The maximum penalty for willful or repeated violations will increase from $145,027 per violation to $156,259 per violation. These increases, in addition to OSHA’s enhanced focus on enforcement, remind employers how critical it is to pay attention to their responsibility to provide a safe workplace for all employees. The ability to cite each individual violation separately could mean significantly higher costs for non compliance.
The best way to avoid workplace safety violations is an ongoing dedication to education and training. Both employers and employees must be aware of all the safety concerns at their workplace and be prepared to address those safety issues. Is your safety education program equipping your workers to keep themselves safe at work? It is helpful to be aware of common workplace hazards as well as the unique hazards specific to your own work environment. Are you aware of the top cited OSHA violations and how to address those?
Are OSHA violations still a major concern in the United States?
Unfortunately, yes. While it’s true that the Federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has played a significant role in improving employee safety standards, many workplaces are still deemed unsafe.
For example, in 2021, OSHA health and safety inspectors carried out 24,333 federal inspections and discovered that 4,764 workers had died on the job in the previous year. The industries that accounted for nearly half of the fatal occupational injuries were:
We’ve written this post to assist both employers and employees identify and fix safety violations. We’ll explore the 10 most commonly violated OSHA standards as reported by OSHA inspectors and discuss ways you, as an employer, can address these concerns.
1. Fall Protection (29 CFR 1926.501)
According to the Bureau of Labor’s Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries Summary, there were 850 fatal falls recorded in the U.S. in 2021, up 5.6% from 2020. Falls, slips, and trips in construction and extraction occupations accounted for 370 of these 2021 fatalities.
You can reduce the likelihood of these incidents by adhering to the OSHA Fall Protection standard. This is a standard with two main requirements for employers:
Provision of fall protection systems such as guardrails, safety nets, personal fall arrest systems
Provision of fall protection training to employees working at elevated heights greater than six feet
In order to comply with this standard, employers must do the following two things:
Develop and implement a lockout/tagout program
Teach employees the correct techniques to control hazardous energy
This standard is most often violated when employees:
Fail to train workers in general LOTO procedures
Fail to establish energy control programs
Fail to carry out periodic workplace machinery inspections
Regular LOTO training goes a long way in mitigating machinery-related accidents. Ensure your workers receive quality Lockout/Tagout safety training thanks to our comprehensive resources.
8. Eye and Face Protection (29 CFR 1926.102)
Workplaces can become dangerous because of sparks, flying debris, and various hazardous materials. These often cause eye injuries, which is why the OSHA Eye and Face Protection standard was created.
It mandates employers to:
Furnish workers with necessary eye and face protection
Train employees how to correctly wear and use this PPE
For more information on how to protect employee’s eyes and faces on the job site visit our National Safety Compliance website eye safety page.
9. Powered Industrial Trucks (29 CFR 1910.178)
Industrial trucks are used across different industries and workplaces in the U.S. However, their use must be regulated and accompanied by training on safe workplace utility.
The OSHA Powered Industrial Trucks standard provides guidance on what safety precautions employers are meant to put in place to safeguard their employees. One requirement is to train workers on the proper operation of powered industrial trucks.
Prevent driving accidents and remind workers of safe driving practices with our driving safety posters, games, and video kits.
10. Machinery and Machine Guarding (29 CFR 1910.212)
With workplaces like manufacturing plants and industries that are powered by machinery, it was pivotal to develop a standard that related specifically to machinery. That’s where we get the OSHA Machinery and Machine Guarding standard.
This standard is designed to teach workers how to prevent injuries from moving parts while working.
Violations of this standard typically revolve around employers failing to train their employees about how to safely operate machinery and avoid being injured by moving machine parts.
Fostering a safe workplace begins with training and is preserved with educational posters like our Machine Safeguarding resources.
The Bottom Line
Employers and employees have an important role to play in preventing and reducing OSHA violations. Improving the workplace and making it safer and more secure is a team affair. A careful study of these standards and examination of your own current practices doesn’t just protect your workers and save lives, but it can lead to a more functional, effective, and profitable workplace altogether.
New York now requires all employers to provide an electronic version of all mandatory labor law posters to their employees. Assembly Bill A7595 was signed by Governor Hochul of New York on December 16, 2022, and became effective immediately. While New York is the first state to require digital versions for all employees, it most likely will not be the last. Many states are likely to follow this trend. In fact, some states including New Jersey already allow certain of their required posters to be delivered electronically.
Labor laws play an important role in protecting employees. Both Federal and State laws mandate employer responsibilities to their employees. They are intended to protect both individuals and companies. The primary way employee rights and protections are communicated is through labor law posters which are required to be displayed in a clearly visible area within the workplace. These posters summarize important details of the laws intended to protect both employees and employers. The electronic versions of these posters do not replace the physical posters in the workplace, they are just one more way for employers to keep their employees informed of their rights.
Due to the recent shift to remote work for many employees, the typical workplace has seen significant changes. Many of those changes are here to stay. One seemingly permanent change includes the demand for offsite employees. With this increase of remote workers, the need for providing electronic versions of the required labor law posters must be addressed. Many businesses have already began providing electronic versions of required labor law posters to their remote employees and the next logical step is to provide digital copies to all employees.
Many companies realized the need for digital posters a couple of years ago and began asking questions about how best to meet the requirements for remote employees. The US Department of Labor Wage and Hour Division created a Field Assistance Bulletin to provide guidance regarding the posting of required notices electronically. Many of the regulations for labor law posters require the posting of a notice “at all times,” or require employers to “post and keep posted, ” such notices. In order for digital posters to meet this standard, employers must insure that employees have easy access to the electronic posting at all times. Employers can accomplish this through an electronic database and regular notifications. The DOL bulletin makes it clear that the employer must take steps to inform employees of where and how to access the notices electronically. The standard being that the electronic notice must be as effective as a hard copy posting.
The guidance further explained, where an employer has both on-site and remote employees, the employer may supplement the hard copy posting requirement with an electronic posting. Employers should establish an easy-to-access location for these notices and inform workers where to find them. As physical labor law posters are updated for onsite workers, employers should also communicate any mandatory updates of notices on their electronic posting site.
The main way employee rights and protections are communicated is through labor law posters and now that so much of the workforce does their work remotely, it makes sense for posters to be readily available in a digital format to all employees. While New York is the first state to require employers to provide this to their employees it likely will not be the only state to do so, doubtlessly many others will see the benefits and follow suit.
This has been a busy year for keeping up to date with labor laws. In addition to the run-of-the-mill minimum wage increases that happen fairly regularly, 2022 had an unusual number of new required postings. It is quite challenging to watch legislatures and stay in the know about new laws and updates to old laws that require employers to notify their employees of their rights and protections. It is especially difficult for businesses in multiple locations. At NSC we work hard to keep our labor law posters up to date so you don’t have to try to monitor them yourself.
This year, the Federal “EEO is the Law” poster had a major update that included a new title. It is now titled “Know Your Rights: Workplace Discrimination is Illegal.” This poster is prepared by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and summarizes the federal laws prohibiting job discrimination based on a long list of factors. The update clarifies what is included in sex discrimination, details that harassment is a form of discrimination, and gives information about equal pay discrimination for federal contractors. In addition, the new poster includes a QR code that links to the EEOC webpage for filing discrimination charges. This poster is also required to be posted by all federal contractors.
If it seems like there are more and more requirements to keep up with each year, it’s because there are! Along with the major update on the Federal level, several states have added brand new mandatory notices in 2022 and upcoming in 2023 to their labor law requirements. These new posters include everything from pregnancy accommodations and domestic violence resources to whistleblower protections and electronic monitoring notifications. Seizure first aid and paid sick and family leave are also among the new required postings.
States from coast to coast have been energetic in updating their required notices in 2022. These changes vary from state to state; however, most of the updates coming in early 2023 are related to minimum wage but there are also a few paid leave updates coming soon.
States with Recent and Upcoming Labor Law Updates Include:
As you can easily see, the task of monitoring labor law posting requirements can easily become too much in addition to all the other responsibilities of running a business. You don’t have to do it alone, with our Poster Subscription Plan we offer an easy and affordable way to stay compliant throughout the year. Any time a mandatory change occurs to one of your plan-covered posters, we will ship you a free updated poster while your Poster Subscription Plan is active. Simply discard the old poster and display the new one. Purchase the Poster Subscription Plan option with your Labor Law poster purchase and leave the compliance to us. In addition, the plan renews annually and we ship a new set of posters annually so you continue to stay in compliance. Simple. Easy. Compliant.
Fall has been a busy season for lawmakers and with that comes many changes to labor law posting requirements. It is essential for businesses to stay up to date on those changes. It can be challenging to continuously monitor the various government agencies that regulate labor laws. On top of the federal requirements, each state has its own mandated posters. Additionally, many businesses have locations in more than one state which creates additional challenges to keeping up with the latest laws and the implications of those laws.
As fall is quickly winding down and the new year seems just over the horizon, here at NSC, we are closely monitoring labor laws and posting updates that are on the way for 2023. While many states update the minimum wage requirement on January 1, those aren’t the only changes to come next year. As a matter of fact, some states will need to increase the expected minimum wage because of inflation. A few states have either new Paid Medical/Family Leave postings coming or an update to an existing Paid Leave poster.
At National Safety Compliance we do the monitoring of labor law posting requirements for you so you can spend time doing other important things for your business. Make sure you are ready for the new year by pre-ordering 2023 posters today. The best choice is to choose our new subscription option. The subscription renews yearly, offering an easy solution to compliance with labor law. You’ll automatically receive a new, yearly set of posters, hassle-free. If there are any major, mandatory changes to the posters throughout that year, we will provide you complimentary updated copies with your subscription service.
As stated previously, this year there are a number of states that are expected to have a minimum wage increase that is larger than scheduled due to inflation. This is likely to require an update to some posters that were not anticipated to be updated this year. We are closely watching those developments. Along with minimum wage and paid family leave, in some states it is feasible to see changes to their whistleblower protections, personal protective equipment, child labor laws, pay equity, and discrimination notices.
The Americans with Disabilities Act celebrates its 32nd anniversary on July 26, 2022. The ADA’s significant impact on the way people with disabilities experience all aspects of daily life certainly calls for celebration. In 1990 the Americans with Disabilities Act was signed into law. This was a truly historic moment for American civil rights.
The ADA is a civil rights law that prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities in all areas of public life. In an attempt to cover all the bases, the law addresses jobs, schools, transportation, and all places that are open to the general public. The main goal of the ADA is to make sure people with disabilities have the same opportunities and rights as everyone else.
Five sections of the ADA relating to public life include:
Title I – Employment
Title II – Public Services: State and Local Government
Title III – Public Accommodations and Services Operated by Private Entities
Title IV – Telecommunications
Title V – Miscellaneous Provisions
The disability rights movement has a long history. Both perceptions and treatment of people with disability have significantly shifted since the 1900s. This is mainly because people with disabilities have demanded and worked hard to create those changes. Activism among disabled Americans can be found dating back to the 1800s. Many people, events, and laws have shaped this development. The 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) followed by the ADA Amendments Act (2008) are the movement’s greatest legal achievements.
The lives of so many Americans have been positively affected by this measure to prohibit discrimination and ensure freedom for all. The ADA has truly transformed opportunities for people with disabilities. Furthermore, it ultimately changed the way America viewed people with disabilities as a whole. With that in mind, the anniversary of the ADA and the progress made are worth celebrating. What are some creative ways we can celebrate in the workplace?
Disability Awareness Events
Host wheelchair games or races.
Exhibit works by artists with disabilities.
Sponsor a disability awareness poster contest.
Demonstrate the use of assistive devices at a community event.
Host an online or in-person discussion. Ask questions such as: What impact has the ADA had on your life? What would be different about your life if we did not have the ADA?
Send staff to ADA-related workshops and conferences such as the National ADA Symposium.
Utilize the ADA National Network for training and technical assistance. 1-800-949-4232
Participate in online courses, audio conferences, and podcasts.
Conduct in-house training on ADA issues on a regular basis.
Accessibility & Program Access
Appoint an ADA Coordinator.
Re-evaluate and update existing transition plans.
Survey websites for accessibility and prioritize web pages to be updated based on use and content.
Create focus groups/panels of people with disabilities to provide feedback on accessibility and program access issues.
Assess pedestrian access and identify need areas.
Commit to providing playgrounds that meet ADA compliance guidelines.
Provide effective communication such as interpreters at all large events or public meetings.
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