Implementing a National Return to Work Plan

What will a return to work look like? That is the question weighing heavily on the minds of government leaders and public health officials, employers and their employees, and American families striving for the delicate balance of staying safe and making ends meet.

It is a question that begs more questions. But this much is increasingly certain: returning to work will be gradual, phased-in, and will vary by factors such as location, sector, business type or size, and the health status of workers. It also will require continued social distancing, expanded use of personal protective equipment, and other counter-measures.

Whenever the return to work begins, the planning for it must begin now. The American business community must begin preparing now for new processes, requirements, or restrictions for which there is no playbook or precedent. And we must not allow a lack of resources, regulations that are not fit-for-purpose, and the fear of litigation to sideline efforts to return to work and life—safely, successfully, and sustainably.

To help business and government anticipate the challenges we may face, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce has begun to explore and catalogue some of the major implications of returning to work in this environment—ranging from workplace safety and employee rights to liability concerns and continued revenue disruptions.

Some of our initial thoughts are detailed below across three different sections:

  1. Essential Services and Resources
  2. Resolution of Regulatory and Legal Liability Issues
  3. Support for Businesses and Individuals

This document is intended to spur discussion. We hope you will not only read it, but also react to it and add to it. We don’t have all the answers today – or even all the questions.

It is worth pausing to thank all of those who never stopped working, who risk their personal health to keep everyone else safer. As we proceed, we should think about how we honor them and recognize their efforts.

Working together, we know we can be better prepared for the successful reopening of our economy and an eventual return to normal ways of working and living.

Issues to Resolve for a Successful Return to Work

Essential Services and Resources
Bringing employees back to work and reopening commerce will require that certain essential services and resources are in place. These include:
 

General Health Screening

The CDC has recommended that critical infrastructure employers screen certain exposed employees for temperature, ideally before entering the facility. If this recommendation is expanded to cover all employees and potentially customers, employers will have to acquire temperature checking equipment and develop a process to screen individuals. Early and federally consistent guidance as to what will be expected is critical because it will take time to acquire equipment and establish protocols.
 

COVID-19 Testing

To the extent that return to work is based on the testing of employees either for the COVID-19 virus or antibodies to COVID-19, there will have to be sufficient testing capacity, as well as clear resolution on who is responsible for administering the tests, paying for the tests, and checking test results. Most employers are not well-positioned to administer these medical tests, so there must be widely accessible third-party providers. There also will need to be standardization as to when employees need to be tested, the frequency of tests (especially important if testing for infection, rather than antibodies), and the documentation employees will provide to employers. Frequent testing could be especially costly, and it should be determined who will bear those costs.
 

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

If public health professionals recommend widespread use of PPE, such as masks, it will require clarity as to what is needed and who is responsible for providing such equipment, especially if shortages persist. For example, with respect to certain employees in critical infrastructure, the CDC has said: “Employers can issue facemasks or can approve employees’ supplied cloth face coverings in the event of shortages.” However, the purpose of these masks should be made clear as many are not rated for protecting the wearer and employers asking employees to wear them should not be held liable if an employee contracts COVID-19 while wearing such a mask.
 

Transportation

Approximately eight million Americans rely on public transportation to get to and from work each day. Public transportation is most efficient when it maximizes density, which needs to be avoided to preserve social distancing. While staggered worktimes can help spread out the rush hour, transit systems likely will need to operate at what would normally be excess capacity in order to support public health. Transit systems will likely require some form of financial assistance to support a safe return to work.
 

Childcare

Throughout the United States, many childcare providers that are still operating are primarily only caring for the children of essential workers. They also have implemented various public health recommendations to increase social distancing, such as lowering teacher-child ratios. In order to allow other parents to return to work, childcare providers will need to presumably operate under sub-optimal financial conditions: below previous capacity levels (as not all employees will return to work at once) and with increased costs (to maintain social distancing and accommodate staggered work times). Childcare providers will likely require some form of temporary financial assistance in recognition that they will need to operate at a loss in order to allow parents to return to work.

 Resolution of Regulatory and Legal Liability Issues
 

A reopening plan that is medically based and relies on social distancing and other best practices for public health may raise significant regulatory and legal liability risks. These are in addition to numerous lawsuits already filed as a result of COVID-19 and litigation risk that will become exacerbated during a reopening. Issues include:
 

Health Privacy

Federal and some state laws are designed to maximize the health privacy of individuals. However, this objective could conflict with potential reopening requirements for employers to verify an employee’s COVID-19 status and/or their vulnerability due to underlying health conditions. Employer efforts to protect other employees and conduct contact tracing in the workplace after an individual has tested positive could be slowed by obligations to protect the infected individual’s health privacy. In addition, confidentiality requirements could prevent businesses from narrowly focusing their contact tracing so as to balance workforce safety while minimizing business interruption. During the COVID-19 national emergency and recovery period, employers will need a broad safe-harbor to make necessary inquiries regarding health status and to make certain limited disclosures to prevent the spread of the disease.
 

Discrimination Claims

Employers who conduct a medically-based or risk-based reopening (using factors such as age or underlying health conditions) may face liability under existing anti-discrimination rules, including the Age Discrimination in Employment Act and the anti-discrimination provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act. In addition, employers could face claims for adverse employment actions by employees who are delayed in returning to work or who feel they are not provided other reasonable employment accommodations. At the same time, employers can likewise face liability if they return at-risk employees to work too soon. There is a need for clear guidance about what practices are acceptable in conducting a medically-based or risk-based reopening and provide a safe harbor for actions taken by employers consistent with those guidelines.
 

Safe Workplace Requirements

Generally, when maintaining a safe workplace requires the use of personal protective equipment (PPE) such as masks, respirators, and physical barriers, OSHA requires employers to be responsible for ensuring the availability of such equipment and training employees on the use of the equipment. This is simply not possible if PPE becomes recommended in all workplaces. The federal government should make clear that PPE recommended specifically to combat the spread of COVID-19 is not subject to the normal OSHA requirements around workplace PPE.

Employers also may face lawsuits around the limited supply of or training for PPE. Worker’s compensation issues dealing with shortages of PPE or its incorrect use are also likely to emerge. The federal government should clarify the scope of liability for the provision (or inability to provide due to scarcity) of PPE.
 

Support for Independent Contractors

More than 23 million Americans receive income as independent contractors in fields as varied as construction, news reporting, professional services, and online-platform-enabled work. Businesses want to be able to provide the same type of workplace protections to independent contractors as they do for employees. However, doing so could be used to argue that the individual has ceased to be an independent contractor and is instead an “employee.” Congress should settle this tension by creating a safe harbor that would allow businesses to implement health practices and provide benefits, including PPE, without establishing a formal employment relationship for the duration of the COVID-19 return to work transition.
 

Employment Practices

Employers already are facing litigation regarding employment practices related to the pandemic. This includes class actions in the transportation industry regarding employees’ scope of work and travel destinations. Employers also could face liability around wage-and-hour issues (for example: Are employees compensated while getting tested or passing through screening?), leave policy, travel restrictions, telework protocols, and worker’s compensation. In addition, employers could risk legal actions if they do not accommodate employees who either insist on returning to work even though they have not completed health screenings or are high risk, or who refuse to return to work and provide adequate support for such refusal. There should be a safe harbor for temporary employer-implemented workplace policy changes designed to combat the spread of the coronavirus.

Another source of liability are charges against employers forced to lay off workers in response to social distancing policies and government-mandated closures. The federal WARN Act and many similar state laws require employers comply with procedural requirements, including notice to employees in the event of layoffs. California Governor Gavin Newsom issued an executive order on March 17, 2020 that suspended some requirements under California’s WARN Act and ordered the state’s labor agency to issue guidance on the suspension. Policymakers should implement similar statutory and/or regulatory changes designed to limit the application of the WARN Act for COVID-19 related layoffs.
 

Exposure Liability

This is perhaps the largest area of concern for the overall business community. It encompasses multiple types of claims that could be brought against business that have been designated as “essential” as well as large swaths of the remaining business community once the economy is reopened. The core component of claims in this category is that a customer/employee/patient/member of the public/etc. was exposed to COVID-19 in a business facility or as the result of a business’ particular action, or failure to act, and then that claimant became sick. The legal theories underlying these claims may range from simple negligence to strict liability to public nuisance, which the plaintiffs’ bar could try to pursue through contingency fee arrangements with cash-strapped states and municipalities. Depending on the legal theory underlying the claim, proving causation may be a challenge for plaintiffs. If enough claims are brought, the scope and magnitude of the litigation still may exert enough pressure to threaten businesses or industries with bankruptcy. The threat of exposure-related lawsuits also will deter some businesses from reopening even after it is determined that they could safely operate by following the guidance of appropriate health authorities.

Reforms to address these types of claims are largely dependent on which legal theory underlies a particular claim. For example, in the negligence space, providing a safe harbor for companies following CDC or state/local health department guidance could be helpful so long as the companies’ actions do not amount to gross negligence, recklessness, or willful misconduct. Procedural reforms such as channeling certain claims into federal court rather than allowing them to remain in various state courts could be helpful. Prohibiting or tightly circumscribing public nuisance claims also could be useful. Finally, policymakers should look to the reforms contained in prior economy-wide federal legal reform laws, such as the Y2K Act for guidance.
 

Product Liability

Makers of certain products/devices/equipment to either protect against, treat, or test for COVID-19 may not have sufficient protection against speculative litigation. While the PREP Act currently provides protection against some types of liability for some categories of key “countermeasures,” it does not cover others. For example, while respirators are now covered by the Act, hand sanitizers, soaps and other key cleaning supplies are not. Furthermore, the Act does not provide protection outside key healthcare-related spaces. For example, a non-healthcare provider business that provides PPE to its employees or uses recommended cleaning products does not receive any protections under the PREP Act. The list of product types covered by the PREP Act should be expanded to include widely recommended protective products such as hand sanitizers and cleaning supplies. In addition, the Act could be expanded to cover additional categories of users and providers of essential countermeasures.
 

Medical Liability

There is increasing concern about medical liability claims being brought against healthcare providers and facilities caring for COVID-19 patients. For example, the plaintiffs’ bar could try to bring medical liability/malpractice claims arising from care decisions, lack of care due to equipment shortages, as well as mistakes due to long hours or staff shortages. Also of concern are lawsuits brought against nursing homes and assisted living facilities for allegedly failing to protect residents/patients from contracting COVID-19. Healthcare facilities could be forced to ration care and make difficult decisions about who does and does not receive specific types of treatments, and each of those decisions has the potential of becoming a lawsuit. In addition, there are liability concerns about claims brought by non-COVID-19 patients who allege that they did not receive the appropriate standard of care due to the influx of COVID-19 patients that a healthcare facility or provider was required to treat.

At the federal level, the CARES Act provides some liability protections for volunteer healthcare providers caring for COVID-19 patients. The CARES Act language should be expanded to include all healthcare providers and facilities (not just volunteers). In addition, significant state-level COVID-19 medical liability statutes, such as one New York recently enacted, could serve as a model for a preemptive federal fix in this area.
 

Securities Litigation

Securities class actions already have been filed against businesses impacted by the coronavirus—such as those in the cruise line and pharmaceutical sectors—based on stock-price drops resulting from the impact of the virus and claims that companies should have been warning investors about the potential consequences if the world was faced with an unprecedented pandemic. In addition, securities litigation also has been filed related to data privacy concerns for certain video conferencing platforms that have increased in popularity due to the increased use of teleworking because of COVID-19 stay-at-home orders. An automatic stay should be placed on securities litigation cases arising out of or related to the COVID-19 emergency until after the President’s declaration of a public emergency has been rescinded. In addition, these types of securities cases could be consolidated into one or a few federal district courts for efficiency purposes. Also, defendants in these cases should be allowed to have interlocutory appeal rights for the denial of a motion to dismiss and plaintiffs should have to plead with particularity all the elements of their claim in these cases; and all discovery should be stayed until after the motion to dismiss stage of the litigation. Finally, it is worth considering a cap on damages in COVID-19 related securities lawsuits.
 

Customer Communications

Businesses have an enhanced need during the COVID-19 emergency to communicate to customers via telephone and text messages regarding operating status, restricted access, and other issues. However, the threat of litigation under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) can cause a business to limit the use of the important informational phone calls and texts. Approval of a pending petition at the FCC to expand the type of communications subject to an emergency exemption due to the COVID-19 situation would be helpful.
 

False Claims Act

Cases brought under the federal False Claims Act (FCA) can impose significant liability on entities receiving federal funding or contracts and these types of liability concerns have the potential of slowing down relief under the CARES Act and any future relief measures. In the FCA space, the Small Business Administration’s Interim Final Rule implementing the paycheck protection loan program under the CARES Act does contain very helpful hold harmless language for financial services providers; to more fully effectuate that language a memorandum of understanding between the SBA and the Department of Justice (DOJ) regarding how DOJ will approach FCA litigation under the CARES Act loan program would be extremely valuable and similar reforms also should be implemented for any future relief measures.

Support for Businesses and Individuals
 

The federal government took unprecedented steps to support employers and individuals during the current shutdown. These programs will need to be modified and to some extent extended and targeted to assist those businesses and individuals who will remain under distress during a phased or gradual reopening.
 

Businesses Dependent on High-Density Gatherings or Travel

Entertainment venues, restaurants, bars, companies that host meetings and events, and many other businesses are only profitable when they achieve the type of occupancy and density that is not possible during social distancing. In addition, many businesses rely on business, trade show, and personal travel that may be greatly reduced based on social distancing guidance. A gradual or phased reopening that restricts the size of gatherings or limits travel may technically permit these businesses to reopen but this will mean operating at a significant loss. During the period where occupancy and gatherings are numerically restricted, these businesses should be provided with bridge assistance to enable them to remain viable.
 

Individuals Delayed in Returning to Work

Until there is a widely available vaccine, or at least a widely available effective treatment for those who fall ill, not everyone will be able to resume normal work activities. High risk populations will need to engage in social distancing or even remain at home entirely. Individuals, including independent contractors, who must stay home because of their risk profile will need ongoing financial support if they cannot work remotely. This may require an extension of regular unemployment insurance or the creation of a new “high risk” unemployment insurance system.

Questions

  1. What additional essential services do you see as necessary to support a phased reopening?
     
  2. What additional resources do you anticipate needing to operationalize a phased reopening?
     
  3. What additional guidance, including specific regulatory guidance, from the federal government would be beneficial for a phased reopening?
     
  4. What additional legal liability issues are you concerned about during a phased reopening?
     
  5. Do you anticipate your businesses needing additional financial support to bridge a phased reopening? If so, what form should that take?
     
  6. How have you changed how you operate your business as a result of COVID-19 and what changes do you anticipate continuing after the pandemic?
     
  7. Have you benefitted from any of the federal support, including the SBA’s Paycheck Protection Program, implemented since the onset of the pandemic? If so, which support programs and do you have feedback on these programs and the federal response? Are there any changes you would recommend?
     
  8. What new support do you envision needing going forward? For example, some types of standing support for business interruption in the case of a pandemic? How concerned are you about the potential costs of such support?
     
  9. While restoring the economy will be a matter of private sector employers being able to resume activity, what other role should the private sector be playing, and what hindrances do you see in the way of any of these efforts?
  10. What did we forget to ask?
    From:  Suzanne Clark, President, U.S. Chamber of Commerce
    Date:  April 13, 2020

    US CHAMBER

Economic Injury Disaster Loan Advance from the SBA

Changes have been made to the CARES Act passed on March 27, 2020. We realize there have been several delays in the loan processes and this has been very trying for you, our valued small business owners. We are sending this update in an effort to keep you informed.

  • EIDL Loans will be capped at $15,000
  • EIDL Advance will be limited to $1,000 per employee
  • Source: SBA Columbus District Office

If you have applied for an EIDL and EIDL Advance, we are hearing of some clients who have received the money in their bank account(s) as of last night.

On Thursday, April 9, 2020, the Senate blocked efforts to expand the $349 billion small business stimulus lending program by an additional $250 billion. The Senate is adjourned until Monday. The expansion of the PPP small business loan program may still occur at a later date.
Source: Coleman Report 4/10/2020

The SBA said nearly four million businesses have applied for funding under this program—seeking $383 billion—while Congress has allocated far less, $17 billion.
Source: Wall Street Journal 4/10/2020

The PPP just opened applications on April 10, 2020,  for Sole Proprietors and Independent Contractors.

There is a PowerPoint presentation available on our website at www.rhodesstate.edu/sbdc if you would like to learn the details of the programs.

Stay well and together, we will get through this!

Kathy Keller, Director
Rhodes State College
Small Business Development Center
4240 Campus Drive, KH 133
Lima, OH  45804
(419) 995-8184
Keller.K@RhodesState.edu

Anthem Covid-19 FAQS

anthemcovidfaqs

Anthem cover member out-of-pocket costs for testing and related
visits for COVID-19?

Out-of-pocket expenses—inclusive of copays, coinsurance, and deductibles for COVID-19—are waived for tests and related visits, including visits to determine if testing is needed. Test samples may be obtained in many settings including a doctor’s office, urgent care, ER or even drive-thru testing once available. While a test sample cannot be obtained through a telehealth visit, the telehealth provider 4 can help you get to a provider who can do so. The waivers apply to members who have individual, employer-sponsored, Medicare and Medicaid plans.

Also, Anthem will waive member cost share for telehealth visits, including visits for behavioral health, for our fully-insured employer, individual, and Medicare Advantage plans, and where permissible, Medicaid plans. Self-insured plan sponsors will have the choice to participate.  Cost-sharing will be waived for members using Anthem’s telemedicine service, LiveHealth Online, as well as care received from other providers delivering virtual
care will be waived for 90 days, beginning March 17. Co-pays for acute and
behavioral telehealth visits for health conditions will be waived.
For additional services, members will pay any out-of-pocket expenses their plan requires unless otherwise determined by state law or regulation. Members can call the number on the back of their identification card to confirm coverage.  Providers should continue to verify eligibility and benefits for all members prior to rendering services.  Self-insured plans no longer have the option not to waive out-of-pocket member expenses for the diagnostic test and the visit associated with the test, as laid out in the federal mandate.

READ MORE HERE

Message from the Lima/Allen County Chamber President

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March 17, 2020
 
Dear Members,
 
We are going through an unprecedented disruption together. But we have been tested before in different ways, and always emerge stronger – and we have no doubt this will prove true once again. 
 
The Lima/Allen County Chamber of Commerce in collaboration with the Ohio Chamber of Commerce and various other business organizations commends the Governor for making the difficult decisions to protect Ohio residents from the COVID 19 virus.
 
We realize that these decisions will impact our businesses and the residents of our community and throughout the State of Ohio. The Ohio Chamber of Commerce President CEO Andrew E. Doehrel stated “We know this difficult decision was made in consultation with leading health experts, including Dr. Amy Acton, who are recommending actions to keep Ohioans safe during this unprecedented time. We support Governor DeWine’s decision because we believe taking steps now to confront the coronavirus will ultimately benefit our state by limiting the spread of the disease and enable Ohio to get back to normal sooner”.
 
We are writing today with some important updates on things that have been announced over the last few days:
 
Small Business Support
The President announced loans through the Small Business Administration on Thursday evening. The Lt. Governor also talked about those in Sunday’s State press conference. Here is a great resource page that gives some highlights on this program.
 
Here in Ohio, the Development Services Agency is helping to take the lead and they have asked that any small business owners who have been affected please send your contact information to the following email address: BusinessHelp@Development.Ohio.Gov and they will follow up with you. 
 
Impacted Employee Support
Your employees may be affected by the temporary restrictions put in place. The Governor’s office also announced several initiatives to help:
·        They are broadening current state policy to clarify that individuals that are quarantined by a health professional or by their employer are unemployed and will not be subject to requirements to actively seek work during the period of emergency.
·        This also applies to companies that determine it is necessary to temporarily shut down operations due to the current emergency.
·        Ohio currently has a 1-week waiting period before an individual can receive unemployment.  In order to expedite the payments to impacted Ohioans, they are waiving the waiting week so that workers eligible for unemployment benefits will receive them for the first week of unemployment.
These points were taken from the Governor’s Twitter page, but as soon as more detail is available, I will share it with you.
 
Unemployment & Businesses
The Governor also announced some relief for businesses regarding unemployment:
·        Because they do not want to penalize individual employers for the impact of this outbreak by increasing future taxes, the costs of these additional benefits will be mutualized.
·        ODJFS will also waive employer penalties for late reporting and payments for the next quarter to assist employers impacted by a lack of staff availability.
*We will also share more information on these, when available.
 
Bar/Restaurant Owner Support
The Lt. Governor announced a temporary buy-back of high proof liquor products purchased within the last 30 days. The goal of this is to ease cash flow for bar/restaurant owners. Here is a release by the Department of Commerce that shares more. It should be returned to the Agency where it was purchased. If you have questions you may call 1-877-812-0013 or email ohioliquorinfo@com.ohio.gov
 
Federal Response
Additionally, Congress acted late last week to pass legislation to support businesses and families affected by the disruption. Here is a great overview by the US Chamber which breaks down what is included.
 
How do you respond?
The Governor strongly urged business leaders today to consider your response to this urgent situation. Can your employees work remotely? How many? They issued the strongest call yet to have businesses encourage that. I understand that many businesses cannot do that. If that is your case, what steps can you take to ensure the maximum protection of your teams and customers, and ultimately our community? There are no easy answers here.
 
If you are in the service industry please send us your altered carry out/take out operations so we can assist in publicizing them to the community. 
 
Effective March 17, 2020, the Center for Business Services building will not be open to the public. the LIMA/ALLEN COUNTY CHAMBER OF COMMERCE, ALLEN ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT GROUP, GREATER LIMA REGION, INC, DOWNTOWN LIMA, INC., ACTIVATE ALLEN COUNTY AND ALLEN LIMA LEADERSHIP has limited the chamber building to only essential meetings of 10 or less people.  most of our meetings will be held by conference calls.

Please note all chamber events have been canceled until we feel it is safe to hold them again.  We have rescheduled the Awards Gala event for June of 2020 unless it will still be unsafe to hold the event.
 
As always, our team is working behind the scenes to figure out how we can pivot and better serve you during this time. We are interested in hearing from you, how you’re being affected, and especially any ideas that you may have to help!
 
Let’s rally, keep families safe and continue to support each other!

Please feel free to contact me if you have questions at cell-419-234-2600 or email at jmetzger@limachamber.com
 
Sincerely,
 
Jed E. Metzger
President/CEO

BWC Increases Safety Grants Funding to $70 million – Deadline for Safety Grant Approaches

BWC Increases Safety Grants Funding to $70 million – Deadline for Safety Grant

Ohio BWC secured approval to spend $70 million in fiscal years 2020 and 2021 on grants for Ohio employers to improve workplace safety. BWC increased the funding to $35 million a year, a 75% increase over the agency’s current two-year budget for the program.  This increase comes just in time as Ohio employers seek grants from the BWC to invest in safety measures. Employers now have until March 31, 2020 to apply for funds in this year’s fiscal budget.

Employers who miss that deadline must wait until July 1st, the first day to apply for fiscal 2021 funding, under BWC’s popular program.  Funded by employer premiums, the Safety Grants program has already reached its 2020 appropriation of $20 million.   However, the BWC’s Board of Directors approved the increase at its January 31st meeting to distribute the additional funds to Ohio employers.  Applications for fiscal 2020 funds via U.S. mail must be postmarked no later than March 31st. The online
application service will close after March 31st and not re-open until July 1, 2020 the first day of fiscal year 2021.

The March 31st deadline applies to the following grants:
• Safety Intervention
• Employers Working with Persons with Developmental Disabilities
• Firefighter Exposure to Environmental Elements
• School Safety and Security
• Workplace Wellness
The Safety Grants, providing up to $40,000 per employer and supporting a range of employer types, are available to all Ohio state-fund, private and public taxing district employers to purchase equipment to eliminate or reduce workplace hazards. Find more information on the Safety Grants program.
BWC Expands Worker Recovery Program

The Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC) joined the Mental Health & Recovery Board of Clark, Greene, and Madison counties on February 4, 2020, to announce the board’s participation in BWC’s Substance Use Recovery and Workplace Safety Program (SUR-WSP).  Among its features, BWC’s program incentivizes local employers to hire, better manage, and retain workers in recovery from substance use disorder by funding drug screenings and special training for managers who work with those in recovery.

SUR-WSP launched in October, 2018 in three pilot counties: Montgomery, Ross, and Scioto. Other counties participating in the program are Pike, Adams, Lawrence, Scioto, Mahoning, Lorain, CrawfordMarion, and Paint Valley.
BWC funds cover the following:
• Reimbursement for pre-employment, random and reasonable suspicion drug testing.
• Training for managers/supervisors to help them better manage a workforce that includes individuals in recovery.

More information about the program can be found on the BWC Website.

 

BWC unveils new trenching safety grants and website

BWC recently launched a new $2 million safety grant program to assist employers in purchasing equipment to protect their workers while working in trenching and excavating situations.

BWC’s Trench Safety Grant Program provides 4-to-1 matching funds, up to $12,000, to Ohio private and public employers covered by the State Insurance Fund who wish to purchase equipment to substantially reduce or eliminate injuries and illnesses associated with trenching and excavation. The grant funds can assist employers in purchasing safety equipment, such as trench boxes and hydraulic shoring. Along with the grant, BWC will provide training and educational materials for employers to share with their employees on basic requirements of trench safety.

Visit trenchsafetyohio.com for links to trenching safety information and tips, training, and publications.

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HCF, a family-owned and operated healthcare organization

HCF Blog post


HCF Blog post

HCF, a family-owned and operated healthcare organization in Lima, recently held its annual Platinum Club celebration across the company. Platinum Club members are those HCF Family of Company employees who have been employed for 20 years or more. Each year the Platinum Club meets to celebrate their impressive length of service and to recognize their
loyalty and dedication to HCF. However, most importantly, to appreciate and respect the many years each member has devoted to providing outstanding care to our residents.

The event is celebrated with a nice meal, a pin, a ribbon for their name tag, a gift, and recognition. During our first Platinum Club celebration in 1998, we celebrated 80 employees with 20 years or more of dedicated service. This year in 2019, we celebrated 368 employees with 20 years or more of service. A handful of employees are now even “double Platinum,” with 40 or more years of commitment to the organization. HCF is recognized as a leader in longterm care and is proud of its distinguished record of quality care. This is made possible through the hard work of a large group of caring and dedicated employees who believe in the company’s mission. Loyalty, dedication and certainly persistence describe the members of HCF’s Platinum Club. We are family and through dedication to duties, we show devotion to the ones we love.

Our sincere appreciation goes out to all employees and especially Platinum Club members for the many years of compassion and loving care is shown to our residents.

View Photos

The Met

The Met Lima OH

Now in our 6th year, The Met has become a staple for downtown Lima. Since its humble beginning as a wine bar, The Met has transformed itself time and time again by continually expanding and evolving to meet the needs of Lima and the surrounding communities. We’re at a point now where we offer a full range of culinary, drink, and event options for both lunch and dinner. In a short 6 years, The Met has more than doubled its indoor seating, added outdoor seating, increased the size of its kitchen, and added private event/large party rooms to our historic building on the corner of Main and North.

Thanks to the overwhelming response from the Lima community, The Met has its sights on further growth as we’re set to open a brand-new space in the Summer of 2019 in what was previously Nitza’s. In this space, we’ll offer another full kitchen, full bar, indoor and outdoor seating to give the community even more dining options. But don’t think we’re going to stop there! We will continue to grow in Downtown Lima as we have our sights set on the opening of Lima’s first brewery in 2020!

Of course, we could never have done all of this if it wasn’t for the one of a kind atmosphere that our employees and staff have cultivated over the years. The Met strives to be that great third place. The Met has ushered in the renewal of the neighborhood gathering establishment that, to many, is a nostalgic remnant of time too long ago to remember. Here, we celebrate our history, diversity and the people of the City of Lima, Allen County and the surrounding counties that play, live and work in our City. We’re a restaurant that strives to bring well-paying jobs back to the city of Lima and fosters a sense of wonder and creativity that attracts some of the brightest and forward-thinking people that the region has to offer. We pride ourselves on being at the forefront of the revitalization of Downtown Lima and hope that the surrounding community continues to drink the same “Kool-Aid” as we do in believing that Downtown Lima is truly a great place to live, work, play, and of course, dine!

Check out this video!  

Learn more about The Met

 

Quality Construction…90 years and going strong

Tuttle Services, Inc. is the parent company to Tuttle Construction and Touchstone CPM. Tuttle Construction’s beginnings date back to 1928 as a general contractor and has continued to evolve and grown to provide general contracting and specialty self-perform services to diverse industry markets.  Touchstone CPM (sister company to Tuttle Construction) is a professional construction planning and management firm with experience in a variety of project delivery methods including design-build, construction manager, and construction manager at risk. Both Tuttle Construction and Touchstone CPM bring proven experience delivering on budget and on schedule solutions for clients in various markets including: industrial, commercial, faith-based, institutional, government, educational, and healthcare.

We believe in continuous quality standards and hold ourselves to a higher level than most construction companies.  Tuttle is ISO 9001:2008 certified which means quality management systems are implemented within the organization, resulting in increased productivity, reducing unnecessary costs, and ensuring quality processes and end products. These business efficiencies result in our clients receiving high quality construction solutions that consistently exceed customer’s expectations.

Protecting our environment and utilizing sustainable materials in building projects is important to Tuttle. Proof of this are the six LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environment Design) professionals on staff who go above and beyond to ensure each project evaluates the use of energy efficient and green building materials for building projects.

Operating on a philosophy based on professional ethics and high standards, Tuttle Services, Tuttle Construction and Touchstone CPM is driven to deliver successful projects that surpass our customer’s expectations and foster long-term business relationships.

An owner’s power to determine the success of a project depends largely upon the selected type of project delivery system (PDS). Owners are encouraged to gain as much understanding as possible in order to select the project delivery system most appropriate to their project’s needs.

Tuttle offers a range of delivery services to meet any project’s needs, including:

  • General Construction
  • Construction Management
  • Design-Build

One of the ways we continue to deliver greater value to our customers is through our dedication and ability to self-perform certain critical trades. By performing fundamental scopes of work, we are able to offer you more control, as well as set the tone and pace of the project. While we believe strongly in the benefits of self-perform work for our customers, we always remain flexible and committed to doing what is best for you and your project.

Tuttle operates a highly skilled and capable workforce. Over the years, the experience gathered by Tuttle’s trade professionals has led to a heritage of high-quality workmanship. Tuttle self-performs the following work:

  • Concrete
  • Carpentry
  • Masonry
  • Steel Erection Our team has helped our clients achieve their facility needs through open and honest communication and continue providing high-quality construction services. Tuttle’s client base is very diverse and spans a wide range of business sectors including:
  • Commercial
  • Education
  • Faith-Based
  • Government
  • Healthcare
  • Industrial When you partner with Tuttle, you’ll find the experience, expertise, and integrity necessary to manage and complete your next project on time and within budget.

Tuttle Services is more than just builders and construction managers… We are your construction partners.

880 Shawnee Road, Lima, OH 45805           
www.Tuttlenet.com             
419-228-6262

Data Security is a problem for the Small and Medium sized business. Don’t be naïve in thinking it’s not a threat to your business and ignore it.

Data Security is a problem for the Small and Medium sized business. Don’t be naïve in thinking it’s not a threat to your business and ignore it.

Small/medium businesses are the target of cyber theft at unprecedented levels. This targeting is the direct result of the lack of awareness of their individual threat and the proper preparation and safeguards to ensure that they are not another negative statistic.

While having the proper IT/MSP support is very important, this will not by itself result in averting the number one cause of cyber intrusion and theft; EMPLOYEE ERROR! Over 90% of cyber theft and breaches is the direct result of employee error. It is vital that employees understand that their behavior is critical to the protection of theirs and their client’s information. It’s important for owners and managers to make their employees assets in this area at protecting theirs as well as their client’s information.

When owners and managers are made aware of the employee error problems and that the IT/MSP industry cannot successfully address human behavior, they want to make the improvements necessary to change the outcome.

The IT industry is now spending over $100 billion annually. In the face of this historic spending to prevent intrusion by cyber bad actors; the number of incidents grew over 412% in 2018 over 2017. In 2017 it was estimated that there were over 4000 daily incidents of cyber intrusion. A few statistics:

1. $188,000 is the cost to SMB’s of a cyber breach.

2. 90% of all SMB’s are out of business within 24 months of a data breach/loss

3. 60% are closed within six months.

4. 63% (and climbing as the cost go ever higher) of SMB’s lack the resources to combat the negative effects of a breach or data loss.

5. 67% of all cyber threat is now directed at the SMB

6. 90% of all breaches are the result of human error.

The solution: ensure that all measures are implemented to educate and train employees in their behavior in properly handling information, but digital and nondigital alike, including what they say or work they take home in the form of files or phone conversation they have. Of course, the errors that are caused by phishing emails, ransomware, and other digital threats must be understood to act appropriately as well. It is important that employees know why their individual role and activity are important to the safety and health of their company and clients. When they understand the ‘Why” they will let the IT person take care of it.

All programs to accomplish behavioral change must be simple, affordable and effective. It should have the right education and balance of training that results in the reduction of employee error to reduce the risk that they face every day. The program should map all education and training for the industry they are in and serve to the appropriate and up to date policy and procedures. This is critical to be able to show that the company has acted responsibly based on their size scope and complexity.

Working together we can reduce the number of incidents resulting in employee error and keep more SMB’s succeeding and doing what they love and enjoy which is building their business successfully and serving their client’s needs knowing that they have done all that they can do to protect their information.

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