LEAD PAINT UPDATES
EPA Starts Lead Safe Logo Program
Contractors who have been certified under the Lead Renovation, Repair, and Painting (LRRP) rule are being encouraged to use a new logo that highlights them as an “EPA Lead-Safe Certified Firm.” The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) campaign includes ads that encourage parents and those that care for children to “Protect Your Family. Look for the Logo.” The promotions also link to a database of local LRRP certified firms for homeowners to explore. More information can be found at EPA Lead Safe.
EPA Cracks Down on LRRP Rule in the Northeast
The EPA recently cracked down on companies for violations of the LRRP Rule. Four New England companies were fined between $2,200 and $30,000. This follows the recent fines where two firms paid a total of $14,455 for similar violations in Maine. Lowe’s also recently agreed to pay the largest civil penalty ever under the LRRP Rule, $500,000, to settle claims that its contractors in at least nine states (including Connecticut, New Hampshire, New York, and Vermont) violated the LRRP Rule with both paperwork and testing non-compliance.
EPA Releases New Specifications for ENERGY STAR Windows, Doors, and Skylights
The EPA released its final program requirements for ENERGY STAR Version 6.0 for residential windows, doors, and skylights. The final Version 6.0 specifications include significant improvements from earlier drafts that increase ENERGY STAR qualification requirements of windows, doors, and skylights, while keeping those products more affordable for homeowners. More information on the new specifications can be found at ENERGY STAR.
Clean Water Act
The EPA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers unveiled a proposed rule that could greatly expand federal regulatory jurisdiction over wetlands under the Clean Water Act (CWA). Some fear the greatly expanded jurisdictional tributaries, including ditches and any other man-made conveyance that drains or connects to water sources. While the EPA has strongly denied that is their intent, large opposition is forming to oppose this overreach and make the EPA redefine their intent.
CREDIT CARD STANDARDS – UPGRADES & CHANGES IN LIABILITY
As of October 1, 2015, merchants will be subjected to new credit card terminal standards – a shift from magnetic-stripe cards to chip-and-PIN cards. American Express, Discover, MasterCard, and Visa have all announced their plans to transition to the EMV system. While the new cards will feature chip technology, at this point the cards will not require PINs in the United States. Most merchants will still require a signature when the card does not require a PIN.
Compliance with EMV is not mandated for merchants and processers, meaning retailers are not required to upgrade their credit card terminals and systems to read chip-and-PIN cards; however, merchants who do not use the new terminals and software will be liable for any fraudulent purchases. At this point there does not appear to be a shift in liability for orders taken online, via mail, or over the phone, known as card-not-present (CNP) transactions.
A new credit card terminal with the chip reader costs approximately $40, but can cost as much as $100 if it comes with a PIN keypad. More information on EMV credit cards and machines can be found at: EMV Memo.
TRANSPORTATION & DRIVERS
National Registry of Certified Medical Examiners
Beginning May 21, drivers are required to receive a medical examination from a certified medical examiner. Certified medical examiners are listed on the National Registry. If your driver’s medical card expires May 21 or after, it is important that you check the National Registry to ensure that the medical examiner is certified. You do not need to send your driver for a medical exam until his or her card is about to expire. To find a certified medical examiner in your area, click here. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is still processing certification information; therefore the number of certified medical examiners in your area should increase over the next couple of months.
FMCSA Begins Deactivating USDOT Numbers of Carriers without Updated Registration
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) began deactivating the U.S. Dept. of Transportation (USDOT) numbers of motor carriers who have failed to update their MCS-150 registration information as part of the biennial requirement. FMCSA will continue to deactivate USDOT numbers for those who fail to update their MCS-150 forms within two months of their assigned biennial update deadline. Motor carriers, freight forwarders, and brokers who do not fulfill their biennial update requirement on time can face penalties of up to $1,000 per day with a maximum of $10,000 total in addition to having their operating authority deactivated. Motor carrier registration updates can be completed here.
Heat Exhaustion and Illness
With the summer months approaching, it is important for employers to make sure employees are taking the proper precautions to avoid heat exhaustion and heat-related illnesses. The Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) continues to run its “Campaign to Prevent Heat Illness in Outdoor Workers,” which includes a webpage and even a smartphone App. These are excellent tools to use for your outside workers, but it is important to remember that indoor workers can also suffer from heat-related illnesses in worksites that are not properly ventilated and cooled.
OSHA Proposes Rule Requiring Employers to Report Workplace Injuries and Illnesses
OSHA proposed a rule to expand the injury and illness reporting requirements for employers. The notice of proposed rulemaking requires electronic submission of these reports to OSHA. OSHA is proposing that establishments with 20 or more employees in certain industries with high injury and illness rates (including LBM dealers), be required to submit electronically their summary of work-related injuries and illnesses to OSHA once a year. OSHA plans to eventually post the data online.
AFFORDABLE CARE ACT
Delays in Small Business Health Insurance Exchanges and Employer Mandate for Some States
The Obama administration is permitting more than a dozen states to not implement part of the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) small business health insurance exchange until at least 2016. The delays mean that small-business employees seeking to buy health insurance in the SHOP system will only have one option in those 18 states. The ACA intended to allow customers on the SHOP exchange to pick from a variety of options, but the rollout of that feature has been delayed several times. Included in the list of 18 states that received this delay were Maine, New Hampshire, and New Jersey.
Additionally, for companies that have 50 – 99 employees, the employer mandate is now delayed until January 2016 – when companies must either offer health insurance policies or pay a penalty. The mandate will still take effect in January 2015 for companies with 100 or more workers.
PCORI Fees Due by July 31, 2014
If you administer a self-insured group health plan or health reimbursement arrangement (HRA), you must file your IRS Form 720 with your Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute Fee (PCORI) by July 31, 2014. You can find the IRS Form 720, IRS Form 720 instructions, and information on PCORI fees at the included links.
The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has decided to abandon a rule requiring a new posting notice regarding employee rights to unionize. The NLRB issued the ruling in 2012, but courts have since overturned the rule and the NLRB decided not to appeal the decision to the Supreme Court.
NRLA and NLBMDA are members of a coalition representing companies suing the NLRB over this posting requirement. This is a great victory for businesses, and our members should be proud of their efforts to help defeat this rule.