Archive for September, 2010

Are you interested in telework but have questions about how a work from home program could be successfully implemented at your company? Choose Your Way Bellevue works with telework expert Rick Albiero, CEO of the Telecomuting Advantage Group (TAG). Submit your telework questions to our expert here, or read on for previous Q&A’s requested publicly on the Telework Bellevue Ask an Expert page. And be sure to check back for more telework questions and answers from our expert. The Q&A’s will be featured on the Choose Your Way Bellevue blog on a monthly basis.

Question 1: What are the risks associated with telecommuting in terms of liability, workers’ compensation, illegal activities in the household, etc.?

Rick’s Reply: A quick disclaimer. Telecomuting Advantage Group (TAG) is not a legal firm. You should confirm any information with a Labor attorney. This response is based on TAG’s experiences and information obtained from our Labor attorneys. A link has been included below that provides information about OSHA’s removal of home-based workers from OSHA standards. In effect, the employee becomes responsible for the safety of their work location, cleaning up spills, toys, etc. As an employer it is still important that you provide both home-office safety and ergonomic guidelines and include a location in your telework agreement that indicates that they have read and understand them. There are exceptions, such as employees who work with hazardous materials, in which the employer may still be held liable. Third-parties, whether co-workers, customers or suppliers are not allowed to conduct meetings at a teleworker’s home-location as the liability laws are not the same as those for the teleworker. Workers’ Comp issues have to be dealt with on a case-by-case basis. As you most likely do not have consistent visibility of how and where the employee is working, you cannot ensure that they are following the ergonomic guidelines. Again, the policy should state that they must have a suitable telework site and follow the ergonomic guidelines, but if an employee disregards these and files a complaint for something like Carpal Tunnel Syndrome it is up to the employer to determine how to proceed. This is true for any Worker’s Comp issue that may have occurred in the workplace as a result of conducting everyday work. If an employee is participating in illegal activities not associated with the employer while working from home the employer is not responsible. If an employee is using their employer’s data-files, personal information or other employer data the employer will have to show that they put sufficient safeguards in place, possibly including language in the policy, sufficient data access security, password protections, an office or filing cabinet that can be locked or other measures to allow a teleworker to handle data safely. Tracking data access via a remote terminal server or software such as GoToMyPC will allow eDiscovery tracking. Here is a link to the OSHA ruling: www.computerworld.com/s/article/40989/Telecommuters_Exempt_From_OSHA_Rules.

Tuesday, September 28th, 2010 1:19 PM | by admin | Add a Comment

Contributed by Choose Your Way Bellevue Guest Blogger: Steve Peer, WSDOT I-405 Corridor Program.

100-ton girder being set for the new NE 12th Street bridge

100-ton girder being set for the new NE 12th Street bridge

Chances are you’ve been stuck in northbound I-405 traffic in Bellevue near the SR 520 interchange. Every day about 40,000 vehicles headed north on I-405 exit to SR 520. At the same time about 20,000 vehicles traveling from Bellevue get on to northbound I-405. As a result 60,000 vehicles a day jockey for position between
NE 8th and SR 520 and traffic back-ups are
very common. There’s help on the way.

Last December crews broke ground on the Bellevue Braids, an I-405 project designed to relieve up to eight hours of congestion between Bellevue and Redmond. The $107.5 million project spans from I-405 between NE Eighth Street and SR 520, and SR 520 from I-405 to east of 124th Avenue NE. The project is known as the Bellevue Braids because the ramps linking I-405 to SR 520 look like braids.

The project was recognized as a critical shovel-ready project, initially receiving $30 million from the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) to advance the schedule. Ultimately, the Recovery Act funding, together with the quick response by local and state officials, will result in drivers getting shorter commute times and a safer roadway approximately six months earlier than expected.

Guy F. Atkinson Construction, LLC, the contractor for this project, estimates the project will directly support more than 300 construction jobs. In addition, construction worker spending is expected to provide a boost to the local economy. Also, improved access to and from Bellevue resulting from the project will help support area businesses.

When complete, the project improvements are expected to:

  • Reduce back-ups on the highest volume ramp (northbound I-405 to eastbound SR 520) on the I-405 corridor;
  • Improve traffic flow on eastbound SR 520 near 124th Avenue NE by building a bypass lane over the busy NE 124th Street off-ramp from SR 520;
  • Improve downtown Bellevue access and traffic flow by reducing congestion on NE Eighth Street; and
  • Enhance local pedestrian and bicycle access with a new, longer, wider NE 12th Street bridge.

When WSDOT opens the ramps drivers traveling north will need to make a choice based on their destination:

  • If headed to SR 520, take the NE 10th Street on-ramp
  • If going to northbound I-405, take the NE Eighth Street on-ramp

Crews have been very busy since breaking ground. Most notably, they’ve been working on building a new NE 12th Street bridge that spans I-405. After building three large bridge piers, last month crews set ten large 100 ton bridge girders. The girders are the backbone of a larger, wider bridge and the first major milestone for the project.

Crews recently restriped northbound I-405 to shift the lanes to the west. Doing this gave crews a wider and safer work zone to continue working one of seven new bridges being built or modified.

For more information about this project please contact Steve Peer at steve.peer@i405.wsdot.wa.gov.

Wednesday, September 15th, 2010 11:33 AM | by admin | Add a Comment

Be in the know before you go this Labor Day weekend! Check out these handy holiday weekend travel tips from the Washington State Department of Transportation.

>> Click for Labor Day weekend travel tips 

Thursday, September 2nd, 2010 3:17 PM | by admin | Add a Comment

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