Monthly Archives: November 2020
What are your employer responsibilities in winter weather? Snow days were a highlight of winter when many of us were children, but now winter weather presents a host of difficulties for employers. There are safety concerns, OSHA regulations to comply with, potential liability risks, attendance confusion and pay-related issues to address. It’s important to be prepared for all scenarios associated with inclement weather before the weather arrives, and to make sure employees are properly informed of all relevant policies and procedures.
WORKING IN ADVERSE CONDITIONS
Your biggest concern should be the safety of your employees. This is especially important for any job in which employees work outside or are exposed to the weather conditions throughout the day.
Working in the extreme cold can be dangerous for employees, and precipitation and wind exacerbate that danger. OSHA has issued guidelines offering precautionary measures to prevent cold stress, which can lead to tissue damage, hypothermia, frostbite and trench foot – conditions that can cause serious injury or death. Factors that contribute to cold stress are: cold air temperatures, high velocity air movement, dampness of the air, and contact with cold water or surfaces. Therefore, it is important to remember that even temperatures of 50° F with enough rain and wind can cause cold stress.
PREVENTING COLD STRESS
There are several precautions that employees should take while working in cold or dangerous weather:
• Take breaks to get warm
• Drink plenty of liquids, but avoid caffeine and alcohol
• Avoid smoking, which constricts blood flow to skin
• Be aware of any cold weather related side-effects that their medication may have
• Know and understand symptoms of cold-related illnesses and injuries
• Stretch before physical work to prevent muscle pulls and injuries
Wear protective clothing:
• At least three layers: something close to skin to wick moisture away, an insulation layer, and an outer wind and waterproof layer (outer layers should be loose to allow ventilation and prevent overheating)
• Hat or hood
• Insulated boots
• Gloves – not only can the cold cause injuries to exposed skin, but cold hands also make one more prone to injury when handling machinery or other objects
• (Note: OSHA requires employers to pay only for protective gear that is out of the ordinary; employees are responsible for everyday clothing like those listed above.)
Winter weather can cause unusual conditions and higher risks, so it is important to train employees on safety procedures. They should understand the danger of exposed skin, insufficient protective wear and cold/wet/slippery equipment. Employees also should be trained to recognize cold-weather illnesses and injuries in themselves and co-workers, and should be aware of how to treat such incidents.
DRIVING ON COMPANY TIME
Another concern regarding winter weather is employees who drive a company car or vehicle as part of their workday. Driving in severe weather can be extremely dangerous, so it is important to take precautions. All vehicles should be given a safety check by a mechanic before the bad weather hits, and they should also be equipped with emergency materials such as a snow scraper, blanket, first aid kit and flashlight. In order to protect your company against liability, any employees who may drive in bad weather on company time should be trained in safe, cautious driving techniques and what to do in case of an accident.
All of these cold and inclement weather provisions should be included in your safety plan, and discussed before and during the onset of such weather.
Pay issues arise when weather forces your business to close for any length of time or prevents employees from making it to work even if your business remains open.
For non-exempt (typically hourly) employees, you are only required to pay them for the hours they actually work. Thus, if your business opens late, closes early, closes for an entire day or if they cannot come in, you are not required to pay them for any time missed.
Exempt (typically salaried) employees are a different situation. If an exempt employee works any part of the day, you must pay them for a full day. Similarly, if the business is closed for the day, you must also pay them (unless the business is closed for a week or more). You may, however, require that they use available paid time off or vacation time, if available. If your business remains open but an exempt employee cannot come in due to weather, this is a personal reason and you do not need to pay them.
One option to ease the loss of a business day or any missed productivity is to ask exempt employees to work from home (if you are already paying them for the day).
Employees should be informed of your company policies related to inclement weather — safety, attendance and pay-related. You should have an established communication method to inform your employees of a business closing or delay. When bad weather is coming, address all your policies again, remind employees
of communication channels to address attendance and plan for the worst potential outcome to ensure your company is prepared for the weather.
According to the IRS, businesses can’t deduct the eligible expenses paid with the proceeds of PPP loans. Businesses now face the choice of a greater tax burden or foregoing forgiveness of their PPP loans.
Small businesses who received PPP loans and used those funds to incur otherwise deductible eligible expenses cannot deduct the expenses if they reasonably expect to receive forgiveness of the PPP loan, even if they have not yet received or applied for forgiveness.
Wolf Commercial Real Estate (WCRE) wrapped up its seventh annual WCRE Thanksgiving Food Drive today by delivering over 150 bags of food and $2,100 in supermarket gift cards and donations to the Samost Jewish Family and Children’s Service food pantry.
As in previous years, the firm spent the past several weeks collecting food and grocery store gift cards from friends, clients, and colleagues throughout the region. More than thirty area businesses contributed to the effort.
“Over the past seven plus years, WCRE has become an integral charitable partner in our efforts and this year, due to the pandemic, our needs have grown exponentially. Partners like WCRE are crucial to us!” said Marla Meyers, MSW, executive director of Samost Jewish Family and Children’s Services of Southern New Jersey. “We thank the entire WCRE team for their generosity and leadership today and throughout the year.”
The food drive is part of WCRE’s Community Commitment program, which also includes donating a portion of the proceeds from transactions to one of several local charities.
In 2016, WCRE formed The WCRE Foundation to manage and oversee our community fundraising efforts and donations. To date, The WCRE Foundation has successfully raised approximately $400,000 from its community commitment efforts.
Currently, WCRE and The WCRE Foundation support Bancroft, CARES Institute at Rowan University, the American Cancer Society, Susan G. Komen Foundation, Samaritan Healthcare & Hospice and the Jewish Federation of Southern New Jersey. We also offer our clients the option to designate the charitable portion of their transaction to a charity of their choice.
WCRE is a full-service commercial real estate brokerage and advisory firm specializing in office, retail, medical, industrial and investment properties in Southern New Jersey and the Philadelphia region. We provide a complete range of real estate services to commercial property owners, companies, banks, commercial loan servicers, and investors seeking the highest quality of service, proven expertise, and a total commitment to client-focused relationships. Through our intensive focus on our clients’ business goals, our commitment to the community, and our highly personal approach to client service, WCRE is creating a new culture and a higher standard. We go well beyond helping with property transactions and serve as a strategic partner invested in your long term growth and success.
Learn more about WCRE at www.wolfcre.com, on Twitter & Instagram @WCRE1, and on Facebook at Wolf Commercial Real Estate, LLC. Visit our blog pages at www.southjerseyofficespace.com, www.southjerseyindustrialspace.com, www.southjerseymedicalspace.com, www.southjerseyretailspace.com, www.phillyofficespace.com, www.phillyindustrialspace.com, www.phillymedicalspace.com and www.phillyretailspace.com.
To learn more about JFCS’ efforts, visit https://jfcssnj.org/
Let’s look at improving Indoor air quality in commercial buildings during Winter. There’s this expression about “going out for some fresh air” that we’ve been using for ages, and it suggests — correctly at that — that the quality of indoor air these days leaves so much to be desired, particularly during the winter months.
Nowhere is the idea of diminished indoor air quality during winter truer than in commercial buildings. Buildings these days typically have excellent insulation to ensure the cold stays out in winter. Commercial buildings nowadays also aim to reduce their energy costs by installing extremely efficient windows and doors. They also keep up with their commercial heating repair and maintenance requirements to sustain that efficiency for the duration of the season.
However, there is a downside to all that efficiency. With warm air hardly ever getting out and cold air from the outside barely getting in, commercial buildings often become a repository of recirculated air. The people inside these buildings end up breathing mostly stale air, which would typically bring along contaminants as it gets cycled through the commercial building all winter long.
Eventually, there will be a buildup of dust, mold spores, pollen, and odors, which will lead to polluted indoor air that can exacerbate health problems such as asthma and increase the risk of developing serious respiratory illnesses like pneumonia among commercial building occupants.
It’s a good thing that there is no shortage of ways to clean the air in commercial buildings when temperatures drop. Here are tips on improving indoor air quality in commercial buildings for the winter.
6 Steps to improving Indoor air quality in commercial buildings
(1) REPLACE AIR FILTERS PERIODICALLY
The air filters of a building’s HVAC system play a crucial role in keeping the air clean. To help air filters do their jobs properly, you have to make sure that they are cleaned or replaced regularly, as dust and other pollutants will surely accumulate over time and cause them to clog and affect airflow.
By maintaining the air filters, you can minimize the circulation of contaminants in your building’s indoor air.
(2) INSTALL AIR PURIFIERS
Air purifiers are proving to be great at removing particulates from the air, with some types even capable of killing bacteria, viruses, and other pathogens. With an air purifier doing its job, building occupants can breathe cleaner, healthier air even at the height of winter.
When installing air purifiers in a commercial building, always take factors such as room size, pollutant levels, and sensitivity into consideration to ensure that they perform as expected.
(3) IMPROVE VENTILATION
For commercial buildings sealed tightly for the winter, it would seem counterintuitive to let outdoor air in from time to time. However, increasing ventilation is the only way to keep indoor air fresh while letting the bad stuff out.
Opening a window or door periodically in certain areas can be a temporary solution, but for commercial buildings, the top option would be a heat-recovery ventilation system.
Also referred to as air-heat exchangers, heat-recovery ventilation systems are designed to extract stale air and replace it with fresher air from the outside.
(4) MANAGE SOURCES OF INDOOR AIR POLLUTION
A commercial building has myriad sources of indoor air pollution, from cigarette-smoking occupants to emissions from products used in the building, like paint and cleaning products.
Managing these indoor pollution sources can help your campaign for better indoor air quality in your building. Banning tobacco use and implementing strict rules about the use and proper ventilation of harsh chemicals within the building would be a good start.
(5) KEEP THE BUILDING CLEAN
Something as simple as keeping all areas of a building clean can already contribute to improved indoor air quality.
To keep dust and other pollutants from recirculating into the air, the use of vacuum cleaners equipped with HEPA filters would be an excellent idea.
As much as possible, refrain from using cleaning products that contain harsh chemicals. Only use such products if they’re necessary for the cleaning job and if the target area has proper ventilation.
(6) PERFORM REGULAR HVAC MAINTENANCE
A commercial building’s HVAC system is primarily responsible for producing and distributing heated air during the winter. Without regular preventative maintenance, that same HVAC system will perform poorly and contribute to the building’s poor indoor air quality.
When an HVAC system is maintained regularly, all its parts will be thoroughly inspected and repaired, if necessary. HVAC professionals can also pinpoint duct leaks, improper venting, and other possible sources of indoor air quality contamination and fix them right away.
These are just some of the things you can do to improve indoor air quality in winter, but they’re great places to start cleaning up the air in your building. If you have more concerns about indoor air quality, a consultation with your trusted commercial HVAC contractor should be able to help you address all of them.
It was a busy week for the commercial property market in downtown Allentown, Pennsylvania.
For those tracking the growth and development occurring within the unique tax-incentive program contained entirely within Pennsylvania’s third largest city, the past 10 days have offered plenty of reasons for optimism.
The biggest news is the Jaindl Group’s announcement that it will be proceeding with construction on a 125,000-square-foot Class A office on Allentown’s riverfront before the end of the year.
Last week, the local developer told the Neighborhood Improvement Zone authority it would soon break ground on the first project on its long-planned Riverfront development.
Jaindl, one of the region’s largest land owners, has long had big plans for the riverfront, but redevelopment proved trickier than anticipated. It has put more than $18 million into getting the infrastructure set in the 26-acre site, which sits alongside the Leigh River.
If Jaindl fully follows through with its current plans, it will put more than $425 million into the Waterfront development before it’s all said and done. That would bring 690,000 square feet of premium office space, 165,000 square feet of retail and more than 550 units of four-star multifamily to Allentown’s 6th Ward.
Jaindl will have some help from the state of Pennsylvania. The entirety of the Waterfront is contained within Allentown’s “Neighborhood Improvement Zone,” which incentivizes developers to build within the city by offsetting the financial risk of doing so.
So far, only one group has taken advantage of this plan. City Center, another local developer, has put more than $700 million building modern offices, apartments, and retail in the Hamilton District. These projects have been largely successful at lease-up, and the firm recently notched up another pair of wins.
In the past 10 days, the group has filled nearly 20,000 square feet at Five City Center, its newest four-star office. One of those firms to take space, Raymond James and Associates, consolidated three regional offices across the Lehigh Valley for city space.
For more information about Allentown office space, Allentown retail space, and Allentown industrial space or other Allentown commercial properties, please call 215-799-6900 to speak with Jason Wolf (firstname.lastname@example.org) at Wolf Commercial Real Estate, a leading Allentown commercial real estate broker that specializes in Allentown office space, Allentown retail space, and Allentown industrial space.
Wolf Commercial Real Estate, a full-service CORFAC International brokerage and advisory firm, is a premier Allentown commercial real estate brokerage firm that provides a full range of Allentown commercial real estate listings and services, property management services, and marketing commercial offices, medical properties, industrial properties, land properties, retail buildings and other Allentown commercial properties for buyers, tenants, investors, and sellers.
An Allentown commercial real estate broker with expertise in Allentown commercial real estate listings, Wolf Commercial Real Estate provides unparalleled expertise in matching companies and individuals seeking new Allentown office space, Allentown retail space, or Allentown industrial space with the Allentown commercial properties that best meets their needs.
As experts in Allentown commercial real estate listings and services, the team at our Allentown commercial real estate brokerage firm provides ongoing detailed information about Philadelphia commercial properties to our clients and prospects to help them achieve their real estate goals. If you are looking for Allentown office space, Allentown retail space, or Allentown industrial space for sale or lease, Wolf Commercial Real Estate is the Allentown commercial real estate broker you need – a strategic partner who is fully invested in your long-term growth and success.
Please visit our websites for a full listing of South Jersey, Philadelphia, and Allentown commercial properties for lease or sale through our Philadelphia commercial real estate brokerage firm.
As Philadelphia Health Commissioner Dr. Tom Farley says, “We may be tired of COVID, but COVID’s not tired of us.”
In response to rising COVID-19 cases in Philadelphia, the City and Department of Public Health have announced changes to restrictions on businesses, events and gatherings, and other activities to help flatten the epidemic curve, prevent hospitals from becoming overwhelmed, and reduce the number of COVID-19 deaths.
First-time claims for unemployment insurance continued their decline last week, hitting another pandemic-era low in a sign that the labor market is gradually improving.
The Labor Department reported Thursday that jobless claims hit 709,000 for the week ended Nov. 7, down from 757,000 the week before. Economists surveyed by Dow Jones had been looking for 740,000 new claims.
Let’s explore some winter weather liabilities. The winter months bring more than just cold weather and shorter days; they bring the possibility for winter weather and storms that may result in a snow and ice-covered landscape. While it may be a winter wonderland for some, as a property manager, snow and ice buildup means a hazard with the potential for costly liability.
If you deal with either commercial or residential property, you are responsible for the side effects of winter. In legal terms, snow and ice are the same as any other hazard presented on a property, and just like any other hazard, property managers can be held liable if they cause injury. To avoid litigation resulting from winter injuries, it is important that you are vigilant in your snow and ice removal efforts.
RECOGNIZING AND PREVENTING HAZARDS
Winter brings a variety of hazards that you need to prepare for; slips and falls are by far the most common injury associated with winter weather conditions. Diligent snow and ice removal can go far in keeping walkways and parking lots safe. Remove snow quickly after snowfalls, and salt regularly to keep ice from building up.
Not all winter hazards are under foot, however, icicles, along with other accumulations of frozen or heavy snow above walkways and building entrances, can cause serious injury if they fall on those below. Remove icicles and other buildup as soon as possible. If it still appears to present a hazard, consider rerouting foot traffic around the area.
Performing preventative maintenance in the summer and fall can also keep you prepared for winter storms. Make sure eaves are properly installed, and check that downspouts are aimed away from walkways. If eaves leak or downspouts direct water onto walkways, snow that melts in the heat of the day has the potential to freeze and create a hazard with cooler nighttime temperatures.
TRANSFERRING RESPONSIBILITIES TO TENANTS
For smaller residential rentals, such as single family homes or duplexes, the responsibility for snow and ice removal is commonly accepted by the tenant. To make sure responsibility is clearly established in this situation, the lease should include a provision citing the tenants as responsible for any snow and ice removal. This section of the lease should also establish how long after a snowfall the tenant has to clear public areas such as sidewalks, as most municipalities have laws requiring prompt snow removal. It is important to be as specific as possible to avoid any unnecessary liability or disputes after heavy storms.
CONTRACTING SNOW REMOVAL
Based on the size and number of properties you manage and the average snowfall in your area, you may be inclined to contract out snow removal to an independent company. While this can save you the time and costs associated with managing snow removal yourself, it is important that you choose wisely to avoid complicating matters.
First, make sure the contractor has sufficient resources to meet your demands. It is important that they can be onsite quickly after, or even during, a snowfall to make sure walkways and parking areas are cleared. It is also important that they have the equipment and manpower to finish the task quickly to reduce any disruption to tenants’ lives or businesses.
Second, make sure the company you hire carries the proper insurance, covering both its operations and its employees. The last thing you want is to end up being liable for a worker’s injury when liability for injury is the very thing you were trying to avoid. Also, much like the lease agreement with a residential tenant, it is important to specify the conditions and time constraints for removal in writing. When contracting any type of service, it is essential to have a written contract that will guarantee you receive the services you pay for.
It should be noted that hiring a removal service does not absolve you of liability. If the company you hire provides poor service, or simple does not show up at all, you are still the party responsible for any injury resulting from a winter hazard. Make sure to pick a reputable company that you can trust to do a good job, and always have a plan of action for removal if they are unable to complete the work as quickly or effectively as you require.
For additional questions on your risks and exposures, or on appropriate coverages to protect you from liability or costly disputes, contact Hardenbergh Insurance Group today.
For more information, contact:
Commercial Lines – Manager
Hardenbergh Insurance Group
phone: 856.489.9100 x 139
Bars and restaurants will have to close early under a new set of restrictions to be announced by Gov. Phil Murphy later today in an effort to curb rising cases of COVID-19.
The new restrictions, which take effect later this week, means bars and restaurants must close inside by 10 p.m. as they head into what is typically one of the busiest times of the year for holiday parties, banquets and weddings, said Marilou Halvorsen, president of the New Jersey Restaurant & Hospitality Association (NJRHA).
Gov. Phil Murphy warned that New Jersey would need to put “broader restrictions” in place to combat a second wave of COVID-19 surges across the state.
Data from the New Jersey Department of Health on Friday show that the state logged more than 2,000 new cases of COVID-19 for the third day in a row, and the fourth day this past week.Read On NJBIZ
The Federal Reserve held short-term borrowing rates near zero in a decision Thursday that characterized the economy as growing but not near where it was before the coronavirus pandemic hit.Read On CNBC
Employment growth was better than expected in October and the unemployment rate fell sharply even as the U.S. faces the challenge of surging coronavirus cases and the impact they could have on the nascent economic recovery.Read On CNBC