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DOL issues new guide for employees about FMLA

In announcing the new guide, entitled "Need Time? The Employee's Guide to the Family and Medical Leave Act," the DOL noted "too many workers don't know about their rights under the FMLA and fail to take advantage of its protections." While the guide is intended for employees, it offers some benefits to employers as it addresses the employee's responsibilities in the process and provides employers with a roadmap of the process that the DOL is likely to use when a case comes before it that includes a claim of FMLA interference or retaliation. The DOL encourages employers to use the Guide to facilitate discussion with employees where questions or confusion about the FMLA arise. Some employees are more likely to accept an employer's explanation of a document when it contains the DOL seal on front.

NIOSH releases small-business safety resource

NIOSH recently published an online resource guide to help small businesses manage safety and health responsibilities. The guide links to various sources of information on topics such as hazards, regulations, consultation services and emergency preparedness.

New materials address safety in cleaning industry

Newly issued publications from NIOSH provide information on safety for cleaning workers. Documents include an OSHA/NIOSH info sheet on potential health problems associated with cleaning chemicals and tips for choosing safer products; a poster on protecting worker health; and an overview of issues and research goals for the National Occupational Research Agenda on the accommodations industry.

CSB releases video on inherently safer design

A new video from the Chemical Safety Board examines the concept of inherently safer design. The 11-minute video is based on the 2008 explosion at the Bayer CropScience chemical plant in Institute, WV. The facility stored methyl isocyanate, and even though the MIC storage container was not damaged, CSB's investigation found debris from the explosion could have hit a pipe and triggered a release of the toxic chemical.