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State Bills Address Workers’ Comp Issues

January 25, 2023

Bills recently introduced in Mississippi and New York are designed to address issues with workers’ compensation and could potentially pave the way for more lawsuits by injured workers, according to Business Insurance.

The Mississippi bill, S.B. 2863, filed on January 16, 2023, would allow injured workers or surviving family members to sue employers under certain circumstances.

The law, if passed, would add to the state’s exclusive remedy provision in workers’ compensation law an exception stating that “(w)hen an injured employee, or his legal representative in case death results from the injury, can demonstrate that the employee’s injury or death on the job was caused by the employer’s gross negligence where injury was substantially certain to occur.”

In New York, Senate Bill 1488, which was introduced on January 19, 2023, would prevent businesses from retaliating against workers who file claims for work-related injuries. If passed, employers who violate the law could face fines between US$500 and $2,000.

It was already illegal in New York for employers to “discriminate” against employees for filing workers’ compensation claims. The new bill now adds the word “retaliation” to the same law.

The Mississippi bill has been referred to a judiciary committee. The New York bill has been sent to the state’s Senate Labor Committee.

Yet Again, Dollar General Cited for OSHA Violations

Since 2017, OSHA has identified similar violations by the discount retailer in more than 180 inspections nationwide.

January 25, 2023

According to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), federal investigators—yet again—found that Dollar General, one of the nation’s largest discount retailers, continues to expose workers and others to dangerous conditions at its stores, this time at location in West Lafayette, Ohio.

Since 2017, OSHA has fined Dollar General Corp. and Dolgencorp LLC more than US$15 million for numerous workplace safety violations nationwide, described by the administration as “willful, repeat, and serious.” OSHA has at least 100 federal safety inspections currently open at stores owned and operated by the Goodlettsville, Tennessee, company.

OSHA inspectors identified the following five repeated safety violations at the West Lafayette location, with proposed penalties of $395,717:

  • Storing boxed material stocked more than 7 feet high on rolling containers throughout the retail area
  • Blocking exit routes and the south building exit with wheeled carts, boxes, and bins
  • Allowing open bags of food, boxes, and bins to be spread throughout the store
  • Obstructing access to fire extinguishers with a ladder, boxes, and carts
  • Blocking access to electrical panels with boxes, bins, and carts.

“Dollar General continues to intentionally ignore federal safety standards while the company’s defiance shows they value profits more than the safety and wellbeing of employees,” said Larry Johnson, OSHA area director in Columbus, Ohio. “Dollar General’s unwillingness to make changes across its organization and, as importantly, at stores where hazards persist should be a serious concern for workers and shoppers alike.”

Check out Costly Safety Violations Continue at Dollar General Stores and Safety Violations, Penalties Pile Up for Dollar General to learn more about past inspections of Dollar General stores and the previous fines imposed on the company by OSHA in 2022.

Dollar General has 15 business days from the receipt of the citations and penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA’s area director, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

January/February Cleanfax Digital Edition Now Available

January 25, 2023

The Cleanfax January/February digital issue is now available online.

In the latest edition of Cleanfax, find out what it takes to deal with a hostile restorer/adjuster environment, learn business building tips from industry pros in the 2023 Cleaning Industry Leaders Review, check out the health and safety issues with toxic dioxin exposure in post-fire environments, and more.

The January/February issue covers:

Visit Cleanfax’s table of contents to see everything available in the most recent issue.

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