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Winter Weather Safety Tips

Posted Wednesday, January 10, 2018 by Jules VanSant.

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While some of our members are lucky enough to be located in parts of the US that do not receive a lot of ice and snow, many of us get to experience the full force of winter weather. Here are some safety tips from OSHA to prevent accidents in freezing conditions.

Preventing Slips on Snow and Ice

To prevent slips, trips, and falls, employers should clear walking surfaces of snow and ice, and spread deicer, as quickly as possible after a winter storm. In addition, the following precautions will help reduce the likelihood of injuries:

  • Wear proper footwear when walking on snow or ice is unavoidable, because it is especially treacherous. A pair of insulated and water-resistant boots with good rubber treads is a must for walking during or after a winter storm. Keeping a pair of rubber over-shoes with good treads which fit over your street shoes is a good idea during the winter months.
  • Take short steps and walk at a slower pace so you can react quickly to a change in traction, when walking on an icy or snow-covered walkway.

Shoveling Snow

Shoveling snow can be a strenuous activity, particularly because cold weather can be tasking on the body. There is a potential for exhaustion, dehydration, back injuries, or heart attacks. During snow removal in addition to taking frequent breaks in warm areas, there are other precautions workers can take to avoid injuries. Workers should warm-up before the activity, scoop small amounts of snow at a time and where possible, push the snow instead of lifting it. The use of proper lifting technique is necessary to avoid back and other injuries when shoveling snow: keep the back straight, lift with the legs and do not turn or twist the body.

Avoid Cold Stress

Extreme cold weather is a dangerous situation that can bring on health emergencies in susceptible people, such as those without shelter, outdoor workers, and those who work in an area that is poorly insulated or without heat. What constitutes cold stress and its effects can vary across different areas of the country. In regions relatively unaccustomed to winter weather, near freezing temperatures are considered factors for cold stress. Whenever temperatures drop decidedly below normal and as wind speed increases, heat can leave your body more rapidly. These weather-related conditions may lead to serious health problems.

Recommendations for Employers

Employers should take the following steps to protect workers from cold stress:

-Schedule maintenance and repair jobs in cold areas for warmer months

  • Schedule cold jobs for the warmer part of the day
  • Reduce the physical demands of workers
  • Use relief workers or assign extra workers for long, demanding jobs
  • Provide warm liquids to workers
  • Provide warm areas for use during break periods

Recommendations for Workers

Workers should avoid exposure to extremely cold temperatures when possible. When cold environments or temperatures cannot be avoided, workers should follow these recommendations to protect themselves from cold stress:

  • Wear appropriate clothing.
  • Wear several layers of loose clothing; layering provides better insulation
  • Tight clothing reduces blood circulation; warm blood needs to be circulated to the extremities
  • When choosing clothing, be aware that some clothing may restrict movement resulting in a hazardous situation
  • Make sure to protect the ears, face, hands and feet in extremely cold weather
  • Boots should be waterproof and insulated
  • Wear a hat; it will warm the whole body. Hats reduce the amount of body heat that escapes from your head
  • Move into warm locations during work breaks; limit the amount of time outside on extremely cold days
  • Carry cold weather gear, such as extra socks, gloves, hats, jacket, blankets, a change of clothes and a thermos of hot liquid
  • Include chemical hot packs in your first aid kit
  • Avoid touching cold metal surfaces with bare skin
  • Monitor your physical condition and that of your coworkers

PPI members have access to the Environmental Health and Safety Department with Printing Industries of America (PIA) that is staffed with dedicated professionals who have extensive experience within the printing industry. They are a powerful resource dedicated to providing accurate answers, support, and assistance to members.

For questions regarding environmental, health, and safety affairs at your business contact EHS Staff:

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New Marketing (

Posted Wednesday, January 10, 2018 by Jules VanSant.

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The coming year will see more changes in the MARKETING product offering than at any time in our first 31 years of working with the marcomm community.

Most notable is the transition of the MARKETING newspaper from print to digital delivery via This main website will continue to provide the kind of editorial and advertising content that has made MARKETING newspaper a valuable resource for the local marcomm community for the past three decades.

“The response to the ‘new’ website has been gratifying. People especially like the uncluttered look and ease of navigation, which is a credit to the work of my talented IT guru and daughter, Melissa Vail Coffman. After delivering news in print the past 30+ years, we’re committed to continuing to serve the Washington State marcomm community via robust and compelling content in digital form. This will be complemented by two annual print publications, the SHOWCASE, containing all the MARKETING Awards winners, and THE LINK, a repositioning of the former MARKETING ATLAS. They’ll be published in September 2018, and January 2019, respectively. We also would like to thank the leading Seattle area printers who continued as advertising Sponsors during this transition. We couldn’t have done it without them.”–Larry Coffman, Publisher/Editor,

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OSHA Increases Penalties For 2018

Posted Tuesday, January 9, 2018 by Jules VanSant.

by Gary Jones, Assistant Vice President, EHS Affairs, Printing Industries of Americaalt text

On January 2, OSHA increased its penalty amounts as allowed to adjust for inflation. The increase is about 2%.

The Department of Labor is required to adjust maximum OSHA penalties for inflation by January 15 of each new year.The new penalty levels will apply to all violations occurring after January 12, 2018.The following chart compares penalties in effect January 13, 2017 to the new penalties effective January 13, 2018

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Questions? Contact

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BOLI's Proposed Rules for the Earned Income Tax Credit Notice Requirements: Takeaways for Employers

Posted Wednesday, January 3, 2018 by Jules VanSant.

By Allison Jacobsen for Barran Liebman

Earlier in 2017, the Oregon Legislature enacted SB 398, requiring employers to provide written notice to each employee about both state and federal earned income tax credits (EITC). EITC is a benefit for working people with low to moderate income and may reduce the amount of taxes owed, and in some cases, may provide a refund. The notice requirement under the new law provides that employers include information regarding EITC annually with employees’ Form W-2s, as well as in the minimum wage poster.

The Bureau of Labor and Industries (BOLI) filed its notice of proposed rulemaking at the end of November 2017 in relation to the new bill. On December 26, 2017, BOLI extended the public comment deadline until today, January 2, 2018.

Under the proposed adoption rules, the notice must be in English and in the language the employer typically uses to communicate with employees. Additionally, the notice must be sent by regular or electronic mail contemporaneously to or with the mailing of the employee’s federal Form W-2, and contain state and federal website addresses to access information about EITC. The rule also provides that BOLI will create a template that employers can use to give notice to employees or to include on the minimum wage poster. In fact, BOLI’s employer technical assistance webpage already contains template notice language should employers need guidance now.

While the rules are not final, SB 398 went into effect in September 2017, so employers should be prepared to include EITC notice requirements as proposed when sending out W-2s this month.

For questions relating to BOLI’s proposed rules for earned income tax credit notice requirements, contact Allison Jacobsen at (503) 276-2197 or

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Tax Cuts and Jobs Act: What Your Business Needs to Know

Posted Friday, December 29, 2017 by Jules VanSant.

by Chris Morgan, Barran Liebman alt text

With the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act now officially signed into law, it is important for employers to be diligent in evaluating how these changes affect the structure of their business and employee benefit programs. While many factors will determine the impact on a particular business, this Alert focuses on a few key issues for employers.

1) Prohibition on Business Deductions for Payments Related to Sexual Harassment. Effective immediately, companies may no longer deduct as a business expense any settlement or payment amount (including attorneys’ fees) related to sexual harassment or sexual abuse if such settlement or payment is subject to a non-disclosure agreement.

2) Paid Family Leave Credit. The Bill provides a federal tax credit for employers that provide at least two weeks of paid family and medical leave for employees.

3) Qualified Non-Profits Will Pay an Excise Tax on High Income Employees. Qualified non-profit entities, including many universities, will pay a 21% excise tax on employees who earn more than $1,000,000 per year. This may include hospitals, Credit Unions, charitable organizations, and quasi-governmental entities (including large deferred compensation payments in lieu of stock options, or pensions in the private realm).

4) Rates Drop for Corporations and Other Business Entities. Corporate tax rates drop from 35% to 21%, and the Act contains a pass-through ownership deduction of 20%. These lower rates should be considered with your CPA on tax planning of distributions and compensation as well as contributions to deferred compensation or retirement.

5) Employee Fringe Benefits. The Bill either reduces or eliminates some of the fringe benefits that many employers provide for employees including mass transit, parking, and employer provided food and beverage.

6) Elimination of Individual Mandate for Health Insurance. The Bill eliminates the individual mandate, which previously required individuals to carry a minimum level of health insurance or owe a penalty. While the Affordable Care Act remains in place, fewer employees not offered sufficient health insurance under the ACA definition may seek insurance, thus lowering potential shared responsibility penalties for employers.

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