Hot Tips for Summer Safety

Hot Tips for Summer Safety

Summer is well under way in North America, and with the sun and fun comes a number of safety concerns to keep in mind.

By Jessica Davis   Jul 03, 2018  via Occupational Health & Safety

Summer is well under way in North America, and with the sun and fun comes a number of safety concerns to keep in mind. Many safety-related agencies and organizations have issued safety warnings and tips for a variety of summer celebration hazards and activities. We’ve collected them here for you, organized under the categories of heat/fire safety, bug-related safety, water safety, and safety on amusement park rides.


Heat and Fire Safety

Sun Exposure (via CDC NIOSH)

  • Wear a broad spectrum sunscreen with a minimum of SPF 15.
  • Follow the application directions on the sunscreen bottle.
  • Apply sunscreen liberally (a minimum of 1 oz.) at least 20 minutes before sun exposure.
  • Make sure to cover the ears, lips, neck, tops of feet, and backs of hands.
  • Reapply sunscreen at least every 2 hours and each time you get out of the water or sweat heavily.
  • Throw away old sunscreen, as sunscreens lose their potency after 1-2 years.
  • Some sunscreens may not work as well when used with insect repellent, requiring more frequent reapplication when the two are used together.
  • Wearing protective clothing can also help prevent sunscreen, particularly high-SPF clothing.
  • Workers should wear wide-brimmed hats and sunglasses. Sunglasses with 100 percent UV protection and side panels are recommended.

Hot Cars (via Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs)

  • Always check the vehicle for passengers and pets after parking.
  • Remember that the inside of a parked car can reach up to 120 degrees Fahrenheit within minutes on a 78-degree day, and 160 degrees in less than 10 minutes on a 90-degree day.
  • If you see a person or animal trapped in a hot car, have the driver paged in the nearby store and/or call 911 immediately.


According to NFPA statistics, July is the peak month for grilling fires. In addition to the fire hazards posed by grills, they can also release carbon monoxide, a deadly, odorless, colorless gas. Follow these tips from Michigan LARA to help prevent accidents.

  • Check for leaks or breaks with gas grills.
  • Clean the grill before use to eliminate fire hazards posed by heavy grease buildup.
  • Always grill outdoors. Never grill indoors, on a balcony, or in the garage.
  • Grill on a level surface at least 10 feet away from the house, garage, deck, or any flammable material.
  • Keep children and pets at least three feet away from the grilling area.
  • Never leave the grill unattended.
  • Don’t overload the grill with food. Excessive fat and grease dripping on flames can ignite large flare ups.
  • Keep a fire extinguisher close by and know how to use it. Keep a spray bottle or bucket of water handy for minor flare ups.

Bug Safety

Ticks (via CDC NIOSH)

  • Wear a hat and light-colored clothing, including long-sleeved shirts and long pants tucked into boots or socks.
  • Use insect repellents that provide protection for the amount of time you will be outdoors:
  • Use repellents such as Permethrin for greater protection.
  • Check your skin and clothes for ticks every day. The immature forms of these ticks are very small and may be hard to see.
  • Wash and dry work clothes in a hot dryer to kill any ticks present.
  • Learn the symptoms of tick-borne diseases.
  • If you develop symptoms of a tick-borne disease seek medical attention promptly. Be sure to tell your health care provider that you work outdoors in an area where ticks may be present.

Mosquitoes (via National Safety Council)

  • To prevent mosquito bites, use Environmental Protection Agency-registered insect repellant with DEET and wear long-sleeve shirts and long pants
  • Read product labels when using insect repellant and apply as directed
  • Do not leave doors or windows propped open
  • Once a week, scrub or empty planters, birdbaths, vases and flowerpot saucers; mosquitoes lay their eggs in standing water
  • Use EPA-approved indoor and outdoor flying insect spray or foggers
  • Turn on air conditioning; mosquitoes prefer warm, damp and dark spaces

Water Safety

There are many electrical hazards in swimming pools, hot tubs and spas, on board boats, and in the waters surrounding boats, marinas, and launch ramps. One such danger is electric shock drowning (ESD), when marina or onboard electrical systems leak electrical current into the surrounding water. The current then passes through the body, causing paralysis that results in drowning. In addition, drowning is the leading injury-related cause of death for children ages 1-4 and the third leading cause of injury-related death among children age 19 and under.

Michigan LARA offers the following safety tips for summer water-related activities:


  • Never swim near a marina, dock, or boatyard, or near a boat while it’s running.
  • Never leave children unattended near any body of water or pool.
  • If you are around water and your child is missing, always check the water first. Seconds count.
  • Always check the depth of the water before diving in.
  • Never dive in the shallow end of a pool or into above-ground pools.
  • Wear Coast Guard-approved life jackets while on a boat or around an open body of water or while playing water sports.


Nearly 71 percent of all boating fatalities are caused by drowning, and 85 percent are a result of not wearing a life jacket, according to Michigan LARA.

  • Equip you and your passengers with Coast Guard approved life jackets.
  • Complete a boater’s safety course to know and understand your boat’s full operation.
  • Know boating laws and be courteous to other boaters.
  • Always check water and weather conditions before taking the boat out.
  • Don’t overload the boat with passengers and cargo.

Amusement Park Rides Safety

The New York Department of Labor recommends the following to make amusement park rides as safe and fun as possible:

  • Read and follow all warnings and instructions.
  • Keep hands and feet inside the ride while it is moving.
  • Don’t reach toward fences or barriers.
  • Secure loose clothing and long hair.
  • Don’t drink and ride; you put yourself and others at risk.
  • Don’t stand or attempt to leave a ride until it comes to a complete stop.
  • Check restraining devices to make sure they are properly latched. If the equipment does not work, exit the ride.
  • Avoid horseplay; it’s dangerous.
  • Never attempt to unlock or loosen a restraining device until instructed by the operator.

Happy 6th GPS Anniversary Sue Ellison!

Happy 6th GPS Anniversary Sue Ellison!

Join us in wishing Sue Ellison at GPS Corporate a Happy 6th GPS Anniversary!

On your anniversary with GPS, we want you to know what a pleasure it is to work with someone as dedicated as you are.  Thank you for being such an important asset to our team and the many wonderful years of service!  We wish you much success in the years ahead! 

Happy Anniversary!

#gpsassociatesrock #gpsjobs

Happy 30th GPS Anniversary MJ Sorrell!

Happy 30th GPS Anniversary MJ Sorrell!

Join us in wishing a Happy 30th GPS Anniversary to MJ Sorrell, GPS Chief Commercial Officer!  An anniversary is a good occasion to look back on what you have accomplished. 

MJ, for 30 years you have been and are…terrifically tireless, exceptionally excellent, abundantly appreciated and…magnificent beyond words!  We wish you much more success in the years ahead.  Happy Anniversary!  Enjoy your day!


#gpsassociatesrock #gpsfun

Commemorate 9/11! Honor the Victims!

This 9/11 Anniversary, Honor the Victims, Reflect on 9/11 History (This article is from the 9/11 Memorial & Museum website)


Commemorate 9/11!

The 16th anniversary of 9/11 is quickly approaching and, as in years past, the families of those who were so senselessly killed on that terrible day will gather at the 9/11 Memorial in commemoration of their loved ones. On this solemn day, it is a sacred obligation for each of us to remember those who were killed, recognize all who survived, honor the sacrifices of the first responders and recovery workers, and recapture the spirit of unity and service that arose in the immediate aftermath of the attacks. We invite you to observe the anniversary in your own communities.

Here in New York, Tribute in Light will once again illuminate the New York City skyline as a symbol of our endurance and as a powerful reminder of the strength we found on 9/11.

I encourage you to seek out commemorative events in your home town, whether that be in the classroom, by participating in public service programs, or by gathering with neighbors and friends to pay tribute. The Memorial & Museum offers information and resources about 9/11 to enrich your observance, including suggestions for commemorative activities. Once you’ve decided how you will observe this year’s anniversary, we ask that you share your tributes and messages of remembrance online, using #Honor911.

In addition to these resources, which are available throughout the year, now through September 7, 2017, we invite 9/11 memorial sites from around the globe that are listed in our memorials registry, along with educational institutions and government entities, to submit an application to license select 9/11 Memorial content. This toolkit includes photos of the Memorial plaza and several oral history clips from eyewitnesses for use in 9/11 anniversary commemorations. Learn more by completing a simple online application here:

Whether you are viewing the Tribute in Light here in New York, learning about 9/11 in your classroom, or paying tribute through acts of service in your local community, I hope you will join us in the essential act of remembrance.

With warm regards,

Alice M. Greenwald

President & CEO
9/11 Memorial & Museum

National Flag Day Foundation

The National Flag Day Foundation

Our mission is to carry on the tradition of the first flag day observance. On June 14th, 1885, Bernard J. Cigrand, a 19 year old teacher at Stony Hill School, placed a 10 inch, 38- star flag in a bottle on his desk then assigned essays on the flag and its significance. This observance, commemorated Congresses adoption of the Stars and Stripes as the flag of the United States on June 14, 1777. This observance was also the beginning of Cigrand’s long years of fervent and devoted effort to bring about national recognition and observance of Flag Day. The crowning achievement of his life came at age fifty when President Wilson, on May 30, 1916, issued a proclamation calling for a nation wide observance of Flag Day. Then in 1949, President Truman signed an Act Of Congress designating the 14th day of June every year as National Flag Day. On June 14th, 2004, the 108th U.S. Congress voted unanimously on H.R. 662 that Flag Day originated in Ozaukee County, Waubeka Wisconsin.

The National Flag Day Foundation joins forces with community groups and individuals that love our flag and want to keep its traditions alive.

Our goal is to teach Americanism, using Flag history, enlisting 4-H groups, VFW, Scouts and other patriots to teach the lessons of our great flag.

The National Flag Day Foundation initiates fund raising efforts to support Bernard J. Cigrands’ dream to fittingly commemorate the birthday of the American Flag. And to carry the message of our Flag to the future leaders of our great country – our youth.

We hope you will join us in our mission

John J. Janik

National Flag Day Foundation

The National Flag Day Foundation is a Tax Exempt Educational Foundation

The Overtime Rule

In 2014, President Obama directed the Secretary of Labor to update the overtime regulations to reflect the original intent of the Fair Labor Standards Act, and to simplify and modernize the rules so they’re easier for workers and businesses to understand and apply. The department has issued a final rule that will put more money in the pockets of middle class workers – or give them more free time.

The final rule will:

  • Raise the salary threshold indicating eligibility from $455/week to $913 ($47,476 per year), ensuring protections to 4.2 million workers.
  • Automatically update the salary threshold every three years, based on wage growth over time, increasing predictability.
  • Strengthen overtime protections for salaried workers already entitled to overtime.
  • Provide greater clarity for workers and employers.

The final rule will become effective on December 1, 2016, giving employers more than six months to prepare. The final rule does not make any changes to the duties test for executive, administrative and professional employees.

Overtime updates will extend protections to 4.2 million workers across the country.

American Businesses Struggling to Hire STEM Talent

National Survey: American Businesses Struggling to Hire STEM Talent Due to Increasing Scarcity, Higher Costs and Government Fees

WASHINGTON, Feb. 25, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — The American Competitiveness Alliance (ACAlliance), a coalition of organizations dedicated to advancing common-sense immigration policies, today released a national survey highlighting the increasing challenges businesses face when recruiting STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) and IT professionals, including scarcity of talent, climbing administrative and regulatory costs, and constricting wage pressures.

As a result of this scarcity, wages have steadily increased for high-paying, in-demand positions in STEM fields, with three in four executives reporting higher salaries for their STEM workers than in the previous five years. Further, many of these jobs go unfilled for weeks or even months due to the limited pool of qualified candidates and increasing costs associated with recruitment and retention of skilled employees. Subsequent economic pressures decrease productivity and limit expansion, negatively impacting the marketplace and hampering job growth.

The survey – conducted by the Benenson Strategy Group – analyzed responses from 400 hiring managers and executives from companies nationwide and found that:

  • 8 in 10 executives report their company is investing more in STEM recruiting as a result of IT hiring challenges;
  • 82 percent of business professionals report hiring a skilled foreign worker costs as much or more than hiring a U.S. worker;
  • 3 in 4 professionals say the costs associated with sponsoring and complying with the H-1B visa program are already too high for most American companies.

The recent doubling of H-1B visa fees for some employers is particularly troubling in light of these data. In December 2015, the U.S. Congress included a provision in the omnibus spending bill which increased the visa processing fee from $2,000 to $4,000 per application. Businesses without the resources to pay this and other increasing costs – typically, smaller, local businesses already struggling to compete against their larger rivals – will be hardest hit. Large businesses, meanwhile, may relocate operations outside the U.S., where a large base of skilled talent is readily available to ensure they remain globally competitive.

“These data make clear that we need a multi-faceted approach to tackling America’s SKILLS gap,” said Matthew Slaughter, Dean of the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth and Academic Advisor for the American Competitiveness Alliance. “While a robust investment in STEM education will help our economy in the long-run, we clearly need policies from Washington that support growth, not slow it.

A 2013 Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce report found that the U.S. is already on track to face a shortage of five million workers by the end of this decade, with nearly 80 percent of those positions requiring various levels of advanced education.

Additional details on the survey, the first of two to be released this year, can be found on the ACAlliance website at

About the ACAlliance
The American Competitiveness Alliance (ACAlliance) is a coalition of organizations dedicated to advancing modern immigration policies that ensure America’s global competitiveness through attracting and keeping talent here in the United States.

The ACAlliance is led by co-chairs former U.S. Treasurer Rosario Marin and former New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson.  The ACAlliance works to educate and inform stakeholders of the positive impact immigration reform can have on our economy, while cautioning against proposals that would do our economy harm. Visit us online at or follow us on Twitter: @AC_Alliance

CONTACT:  Elysa Montfort, 410-916-1369,

Logo –

To view the original version on PR Newswire, visit:

SOURCE American Competitiveness Alliance (ACAlliance)


2016 State Unemployment Insurance Report

Department of Labor Releases 2016 State Unemployment Insurance Report

American Staffing Association (02/26/16)  Toby Malara

The 2016 State Unemployment Insurance Report has been released by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Unemployment Insurance.

As of the end of 2015, four states and jurisdictions (California, Connecticut, Ohio, and the U.S. Virgin Islands) still had outstanding loans to the federal government, totaling $7.36 billion. Six states (Colorado, Illinois, Michigan, Nevada, Pennsylvania, and Texas) currently have outstanding private loan and debt service obligations totaling $8.3 billion.

Even though most states’ trust funds show positive balances, only 18 states have balances that meet or exceed DOL’s recommended solvency level. States without sufficient funds in their trust accounts likely would have to borrow money from the federal government in the event of another recession.

In his latest budget, President Obama recommended several proposed reforms to state unemployment insurance programs. One proposal would require states to provide at least 26 weeks of coverage while maintaining reserves in their UI trust fund accounts sufficient to provide benefits for at least six months of an average economic recession. While these provisions are unlikely to be adopted by this Congress, they may be part of a future administration’s agenda.

The DOL report is available at

EEOC Releases Fiscal Year 2015 Enforcement and Litigation Data


EEOC Releases Fiscal Year 2015 Enforcement and Litigation Data

Retaliation, Race Discrimination and Harassment Persist; Disability Charges Increase

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) today released detailed breakdowns of the 89,385 charges of workplace discrimination that the agency received in fiscal year 2015. Retaliation charges increased by nearly 5 percent and continue to be the leading concern raised by workers across the country.  Disability charges increased by 6 percent from last year and are the third largest category of charges filed.

EEOC resolved 92,641 charges in fiscal year 2015, and secured more than $525 million for victims of discrimination in private sector and state and local government workplaces through voluntary resolutions and litigation.  Learn more about our 2015 agency accomplishments.

“Over the past year, EEOC removed barriers to hire and obtained relief for thousands of people facing retaliation, unfair pay, harassment, and other forms of discrimination,” said EEOC Chair Jenny Yang.  “At the same time, we demonstrated our strong commitment to working with employers to voluntarily resolve charges of discrimination by achieving the highest mediation and conciliation success rates in our history.”

The year-end data shows that retaliation again was the most frequently filed charge of discrimination, with 39,757 charges, making up 45 percent of all private sector charges filed with EEOC. The agency is currently seeking public input on its proposed update of enforcement guidance addressing retaliation and related issues as part of its commitment to inform the public about the Commission’s interpretation of the law and promote voluntary compliance. Preserving access to the legal system, which includes retaliatory actions, is a national priority for EEOC.

The charge numbers show the following breakdowns by bases alleged:

  • Retaliation: 39,757 (44.5% of all charges filed)
  • Race: 31,027 (34.7%)
  • Disability: 26,968 (30.2%)
  • Sex: 26,396 (29.5%)
  • Age: 20,144 (22.5%)
  • National Origin: 9,438 (10.6%)
  • Religion: 3,502 (3.9%)
  • Color: 2,833 (3.2%)
  • Equal Pay Act: 973 (1.1%)
  • Genetic Information Non-Discrimination Act: 257 (0.3%)

These percentages add up to more than 100 because some charges allege multiple bases.

Charges raising harassment allegations-which span industries and affect our nation’s most vulnerable workers-made up nearly 28,000 charges, or 31 percent.  Preventing harassment through systemic enforcement and targeted outreach is also a national priority for EEOC.  Employees claimed harassment in charges based on race, age, disability, religion, national origin and sex, including sexual orientation and gender identity.   To address this pressing issue, EEOC launched a Select Task Force on the Study of Harassment in the Workplace in March 2015. Co-chaired by Commissioners Chai R. Feldblum and Victoria A. Lipnic, the task force will examine the various forms of workplace harassment and identify and promote strategies to prevent it.

The agency filed 142 merits lawsuits last year, up from 133 the previous year. The majority of the lawsuits filed alleged violations of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, followed by suits under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). This included 100 individual lawsuits and 42 lawsuits involving multiple victims of discriminatory policies, of which 16 were systemic. Legal staff resolved 155 lawsuits alleging discrimination.

The fiscal year ran from Oct. 1, 2014, to Sept. 30, 2015. EEOC enforces federal laws that make it illegal to discriminate against a job applicant or employee because of the person’s race, color, religion, sex, pregnancy, national origin, age, disability or genetic information. Further information about EEOC is available at

Summertime Blues? Solicitor of Labor Eyes July Publication of Overtime Regs

Summertime Blues? Solicitor of Labor Eyes July Publication of Overtime Regs

Posted in DOL Enforcement
Authored by Alex Passantino

Pinning down a publication date for the DOL’s final revisions to the white-collar exemption rules has proven difficult for anyone outside of the agency’s headquarters. Sometimes, the answer seems to elude even those inside the Frances Perkins Building. From statements from the Solicitor last Fall that the rule would be out in “late 2016” (subscription) to the Department’s regulatory agenda setting a target date of July 2016 to Secretary of Labor Perez’s confidence that the rule would be out by Spring of 2016, we’ve seen a fairly wide range of expectations out of DOL.

At a recent meeting of the New York State Bar Association, we got yet another, although this one is in line with the Department’s official target: the Solicitor of Labor told a group of attorneys that the overtime rule would be issued in early July.

The Department proposed to increase the salary level required for exemption to $50,440, and the salary required for the highly compensated employee exemption to $125,000. The Department also proposed to automatically increase the salary on a regular basis, based on inflation or other factors. DOL inquired into a number of issues related to the duties tests, including the propriety of changing the standards for determining an employee’s “primary duty,” but did not afford the regulated community the opportunity to comment on any specific proposal.

DOL received nearly 300,000 comments in response to its proposal. It is in the process of reviewing those comments and finalizing the rule. Once DOL has finalized the rule and publishes it in the Federal Register, employers likely will have between 60 and 120 days to come into compliance with the new standards. Given the short timeframe, employers should be starting to review their potentially impacted positions now.