Summer is fast approaching…… and after the ups and downs of this season we are all looking forward to a break!

Seasonal and Migrant Worker Housing is the new focus of enforcement by the U.S. and Florida Departments of Labor. They have taken a very keen interest in housing, going from the actual buildings and following the trail to everyone involved – owner, crew leader, harvesting company, and farm. 29 CFR Part 500.130 states “Each person who owns or controls a facility or real property which is used as housing for any migrant agricultural worker must ensure that the facility or real property complies with all substantive Federal and State safety and health standards…..” . The U.S. DOL takes this part of the MSPA Act very seriously so that ANYTHING you do relating to any housing brings you into the requirements of the Act – something as small as directing employees to available housing! The DOL has issued fines and will revoke FLC registrations for flagrant violations of this law. They have been working very hard to follow the “employment trail” – from who arranged the housing, to who the housed people work for and ultimately to the grower of the crop where the housed people did the harvesting. It is very important you know exactly what your employee/crew leaders are doing with your workers to prevent any “surprises” from the DOL. (29 CFR Part 500, Section 130 – 135)

Drivers this season have been a premium….. keeping your current drivers “happy” and finding new drivers when needed has become a seriously hard task! And when you have loads in the fields ready to move…….sometimes “corners are cut” to get new people in the trucks ASAP, which is not a favorable situation. These employees usually represent the highest risk to the liability of your company as they can, with one accident, put all of your hard earned assets at risk! Good driver recruitment, a good written employment application, drivers’ license verification, drug testing, and a skills test are just the beginning for a new driver. Continuing training, supervisory review, random drug testing, and complete record keeping are the continued work you must do to keep up with your driver staff. Please remember there are requirements by DOT for your drivers – and if you have any questions please call CHAPP! (49 CFR Parts 391, 392)

Company working and safety rules don’t always have to be a big book or binder or an elaborately worded program – sometimes a simple list of rules or requirements on one or two pages can work just as well. It is important to make your rules clear, concise, and non-discriminatory. You can cover HR issues, safety issues, and general work practices all on one form. Our favorite is that “each employee must notify their supervisor of any work related injury prior to leaving the job site for the day”. Others can include no alcohol on premises, no children in the workplace, employee must call the office if missing work – any subject that you feel the employee needs to know or what they must do while at your job. Your list should include a signature line or receipt form that acknowledges that the employee read and understood all the rules with a copy kept in the employees’ file. Please remember that this “tool” can work both ways – if you have a list and then don’t apply it to all employees you could be at risk for discrimination lawsuits! Please call us here at CHAPP with questions or help in designing your own work and safety rules.

We would appreciate any ideas for topics, comments on our information, and any questions you may have! Please call us at (800)242-7898 or e-mail us at wwurth@chappinc.com . Remember: working safely pays!