Things you should know

Deadlines extended for filing ACA forms

Employers will have two more months – until March 31 – to give individuals Forms 1095-B and 1095-C forms for reporting on offers of health coverage and the coverage provided, the IRS said Dec. 28 in Notice 2016-4.

The deadlines for reporting this information to the IRS are extended by three months. The deadlines are now May 31 for those not filing electronically, and June 30 for electronic filers-versus the previous Feb. 29 due date for paper filings, and March 31 deadline for electronic returns.

Earlier in December, the passage of the appropriations bill delayed implementation of the “Cadillac tax” on high valued health plans.

Employers beware: EEOC’s recently released Performance and Accountability Report (“PAR”) shows significantly greater recoveries in FY 2015 than in FY 2014

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) recovered more than half a billion dollars through litigation and other enforcement activities in Fiscal Year 2015, which ended on September 30, 2015, compared to only $318.6 million in FY 2014. The EEOC attributes the increase in part to its “record success” in resolving charges of systemic discrimination. The agency made a reasonable cause finding in 99 of the 268 (or 36%) of these systemic investigations – a rate far greater than the EEOC’s historical average. Among all EEOC initiated litigation, the greatest number of lawsuits (53) was filed under the ADA.

Comp claim costs lower when employers choose doctor

According to a new study, “Length of Disability and Medical Costs in Low Back Pain,” sponsored by the Liberty Mutual Research Institute for Safety, the average medical cost per workers’ compensation claim is lower in states where employers can choose an injured worker’s initial treating health care provider. The study was published in the December issue of the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine.

Electronic logging devices to be required in commercial truck and bus industries

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) issued a Final Rule that employs automated technology to strengthen commercial truck and bus drivers’ compliance with hours-of-service regulations.

New regulation protects truck and bus drivers from coercion

A new regulation issued by the FMCSA will give commercial truck and bus drivers additional protection from being coerced into violating federal motor carrier safety regulations. The rule, which was proposed in May 2014, goes into effect on January 29, 2016. It prohibits any entity that operates a commercial motor vehicle in interstate commerce from coercing a driver and gives FMCSA enforcement authority over shippers, receivers, and transportation intermediaries, as well as motor carriers.

FMCSA pulls carrier safety data from public website

FMCSA no longer will publicly display most information involving motor carriers’ safety performances. The changes were effective on Dec. 4. Although the new law allows FMCSA to continue to display some safety performance data, the agency has decided to pull all information while “appropriate changes are made. “Safety data will continue to be made available to motor carriers and enforcement users who submit proper login information. Any qualified parties who need a personal identification number may submit a request.

Helpful infographic on head, shoulder, knee and toe injuries and PPE

Magid created a new infographic to help safety managers and workers discover common work-related injuries, costs and prevention options.

Trench Right App promotes worker safety

A recently developed mobile app aims to protect workers who take part in excavation and trenching activities. Sponsored by the Michigan Infrastructure and Transportation Association, the Trench Right App performs calculations to help workers determine whether potential excavations are safe enough to be completed. Users input the dimensions, soil type and tons-per-square-foot reading from their penetrometer, and the free app uses the information to determine whether the worksite is safe.

No emergency showers, PPE for jewelry industry workers in Rhode Island

A lack of emergency shower and eye wash facilities were among the safety deficiencies found by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) in an investigation into the potential hazards in the Rhode Island jewelry industry. Among NIOSH’s findings: workers often did not know what compound they were working with and were not aware of potential toxicities.

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