Thursday, December 1, 2016

Cal/OSHA to Change First Aid Kit Requirement

CALIFORNIA EMPLOYERS may have to update and expand their workplace first aid kits next year as Cal/OSHA finalizes new regulations governing what they should contain. The rule-making board for Cal/OSHA has proposed changes that should make it easier to comply as one of the most confusing parts of the regulation is set to be eliminated. A portion of the current rules lays out the requirements for the first aid kit contents, which the employer can deviate from with a note from an employer-authorized licensed physician. The regulations being formulated now would do away with those requirements and instead require employers to have adequate first aid supplies based on the hazards of their workplace, or face a Cal/OSHA citation. The new regulations will essentially be performance standards, since the contents of the kit will be determined by the needs of an employer’s workforce.
Cal/OSHA wants employers to assess the likely injuries in their workplaces and prepare appropriately with supplies and training. The standard is in need of revision as knowledge about first aid has evolved over time. Most small employers are unaware of the consulting provision, but members of Cal/OSHA’s rule-making board say that the provision is unnecessary. Often if there is a note, it is merely a photocopy that has been provided by the manufacturer of the first aid kit.
Many of Cal/OSHA’s board members recommend using the first aid kit contents as recommended by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), and that the contents be checked every three months to ensure all of the required suppliers are there.
One piece of good news is that the requirements will likely not cost employers a lot of money. If a business already has an ANSI-approved kit, it would most likely suffice unless there are workplace dangers that may require additional materials. The new rules are expected to take effect in early 2017.

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Monday, November 28, 2016

State-mandated Retirement Program Starts Jan. 1, 2017

A NEW LAW will take effect on Jan. 1, 2017 that will require California employers with five or more workers to offer their staff a retirement plan or enroll them in a new state-run retirement program.
Employers that already offer their workers a retirement plan, like a 401(k), will not be required to participate, but those that don't will have to enroll their employees in the California Secure Choice Retirement Program (SCRP). Once enrolled, a minimum of 3% will be deducted from employees' paychecks on a pre-tax basis.
The law does not require employers to match the deduction, nor does it require them to pay their own funds into the plans. For the first three years of the program, all assets will be invested in U.S. Treasuries, or IRA accounts – the savings program established by the U.S. Department of Treasury that also invests savings in bonds issued by the federal government.
Enabling regulations still have to be written for the new law, however the law spells out some of the major provisions:
• Workers will be able to opt out of the program.
• The minimum amount employees will be required to divert to the retirement plan is 3%, but the board of directors for SCRP is authorized to set the level between 2 and 5% of salary, depending on the length of time
an individual enrollee has participated in the program.
• Over time, deferrals may automatically escalate up to an 8% threshold.
• Workers will have the option to adjust deferral rates, but must abide by the minimums.
• The program will be administered by an investment board, comprised of nine members and headed by the state treasurer, and will include several members appointed by the governor.

Mandatory enrollment will be phased based on the size of eligible employers:
• Employers with 100 more workers will have 12 months from the time of the program’s launch to enroll them.
• Employers with 50 to 99 workers will have two years from the time of the program’s launch to enroll them.
• All other eligible employers with five or more workers will have three years to enroll them.

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Monday, November 21, 2016

Why Your Business May Need Pollution Coverage

ALMOST ALL businesses have some risk of being sued or cited for pollution, even the most benign, such as a property owner. Pollution exposures for many businesses are obvious – like dry cleaners from the chemicals they use, to printing companies from the ink they use. And any manufacturer would face some type of pollution exposure as well, in addition to warehouse operators and contractors. Think you’re not exposed? Say you own a business property, even an office building for example, you could have pollution exposure such as:
• The existence of lead (paint and pipes) or asbestos.
• Releases of pollutants by tenants from improper or inadequate storage or disposal of lubricant oils, primer or lab waste material.
• Inadequate containment in loading areas that could lead to the release of pollutants.
However, as the risks have grown for pollution liability, most commercial general liability policies now exclude pollution coverage. It’s something to be aware of for most any business, particularly as the list of what is considered to be a pollutant has grown dramatically.

The exclusion
The easiest way to think of a pollution exclusion is that it can apply to a contaminant. Virtually every commercial general liability policy includes a pollution exclusion. These policies used to cover pollution but as the risk for being sued for pollution has grown, so then has the exclusion. The standard policy has two pollution liability coverage forms. It also has a special form for underground storage tanks. The current version of the Insurance Services Offi ce (ISO) commercial general liability form has pollution coverage narrowed down to a few covered occurrences, typically including:
• Certain off-premises exposures
• Certain product-completed operations
• Smoke, fumes, soot, vapors from your heating equipment or from a fire in your building
• Gas or fumes from materials you bring into a work site.

The solution
What are the possible answers when it comes to the pollution insurance question? You can have a specific commercial liability form or a separate pollution liability policy. Pollution liability insurance is designed to address claims and suits involving pollution losses in which it is alleged that the insured is responsible, as well as property losses related to pollution on owned or occupied property. 

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Tuesday, October 25, 2016

How to Increase Sales With a Point-of-Sale System

As a business owner, the goal of any business is to increase its net income. There are two ways to address this: 1) Reduce operating costs, and/or 2) Increase sales. Traditionally, point of sale systems have concentrated on the first method by reducing operating costs....Next generation POS systems offer some or all of the following features to help retailers increase their sales:
  1. Integrated eCommerce – a new storefront not limited by geography or time
  2. Auctions – new sales channel and marketing channel
  3. Sales Order & Telephone Order modules
  4. CRM (Customer Relationship Management) – improved customer service
  5. Integrated mass email – low cost promotions
  6. Club pricing – improves customer loyalty
  7. Revolving A/R (Accounts Receivable) – improves customer loyalty through credit
  8. Customer loyalty points reward programs
  9. Gift card sales and redemptions built into the software
  10. Suggestive selling prompts for cashiers
  11. Receipt printers produce marketing messages
  12. New Signature Capture devices display marketing messages at the checkout line. Read more here
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Thursday, October 13, 2016

Should You Add Old Data to a New POS System?

Should you start your new point of sale system/barcode application by entering your existing customers?  This question gets asked all the time.    The answer is definitely… maybe.   Let’s take a look at what kinds of businesses really need customer data and just how much it costs (in time and money) to enter data into a POS system.    
Customer data is dynamic, fluid and changing.  Every day, every minute, your customers are moving to new homes, getting new phone numbers, buying new cars and leaving town.  New customers are showing up all the time.    Should a business owner even bother to put in old data? Read more here

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Thursday, September 29, 2016

How to resolve thermal printer inconsistent/poor image quality and paper jams.

Thermal printer cleaning cards and swabs extend the life of your printer head and improve overall image quality. Regular use of these printer cleaning supplies will:
  • - Help maintain good printer performance and reliability
  • - Prolong the life of vital printer heads, transport rollers and magnetic encoder parts
  • - Give you improved quality on all of your printed materials
  • - Resolve problem with paper jams

Clean thermal printer head twice a year by:
  • - Head Cleaning cards
  • - Q-tips saturated with alcohol applied to the printer head and roller (puller)

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Monday, September 12, 2016

Case Study: Chinese Restaurant Upgrades Its Point of Sale System

For decades, things at Jeng Chi didn’t change. The owner and patriarch of the company, Mr. Yuan Teng, stood guard at the counter with an old-school electronic cash register (ECR) and an abacus by its side. “For decades, he ran that cash register, and sometimes used an abacus to calculate the bill,” said Janelle Teng, daughter-in-law and restaurant manager. “I playfully refer to it as a doughnut register, like the old ones you see in doughnut shops. It was basically a glorified calculator, but people loved paying him that way. I think it was fun for the customers.” But it wasn’t working for the business...
“Being a Chinese restaurant, we get a lot of big parties. They will split their checks a hundred different ways under the sun. With the Lavu system I can split checks and print a dozen separate receipts without batting an eye,” Janelle explained. With the first POS system, Janelle said they were limited to splitting checks just eight ways. “And let me tell you, when you’ve got a party of twelve and they want to split their check a dozen ways, you’d better have a flexible system to meet your customers’ needs. You want the dumplings split ten different ways, and everyone to pay for individual dishes? I got it.”.. Read more here

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