Print Print

Bits ‘n’ Pieces

New OSHA rules

New OSHA rules

New Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) rules that went into effect Jan. 1, 2017, are bringing changes to way employers are required to report injuries and illnesses.

While companies were previously required to keep a log of work injuries and illnesses, those documents were internal and only had to be shared with OSHA if there was an audit. Under the new rules, however, companies with more than 250 or more employees in a single location are required to submit this information on the OSHA website. Those with between 20 and 249 employees will also be required to submit this information if they are in high-risk industries, as identified by OSHA, including department stores, grocery stores and rental centers.

Some of this data will be posted to the OSHA website to encourage employers to improve workplace safety. In addition, publicly posting data will provide valuable information to workers, job seekers, customers, researchers and the general public, according to OSHA’s web site.

Employers will be able to electronically submit data in three ways.

  • Manually enter data into a web form
  • Upload a CSV file to process single or multiple establishments at the same time
  • Transmit via an application programming interface

Companies in covered industries with 250 or more employees, and those with 20 to 249 employees in high-risk industries must submit data by July 1, 2017. The site is scheduled to go live in February 2017.


Credit checks and the hiring process

Nearly half of employers use credit checks in the hiring process, according to research by the Society for Human Resource Management, but those that do may want to reconsider.

Several states restrict companies from making hiring decisions based on someone’s credit report, and an increasing number of legislators and employment experts say using credit reports this way unfairly punishes someone who has suffered economic hardship.

Before pulling that credit report, consider whether it’s really relevant for the position you filling. And if you do proceed, the Fair Credit Reporting Act requires you to provide a copy of the report to the potential employee and an opportunity to correct inaccurate information.


Meals and entertainment expenses

Businesses commonly write off meals and entertainment, but the allowable tax deduction depends on factors including where the meal or entertainment takes place, the reason for it and the participating parties.

Expenses that are 100 percent deductible include:

  • Holiday parties
  • Food and drink for employees in the workplace
  • Public events for advertising purposes
  • Transportation to meals and for activities
  • Company picnics
  • Food and beverages provided for promotional purposes

Those that are 50 percent deductible include:

  • Business travel meals
  • Business meetings with employees and stockholders
  • Client meetings

Clearly understanding the rules is critical to maximizing deductions – and staying on the right side of the tax code.