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Hello June, Hello National Safety Month!

Posted by on June 2, 2016


It's time to clean out medicine cabinets, install lighting over outdoor walkways, and repair handrails on steps. That's right-- June is National Safety Month. It's time to bring your safety A-game to an event bringing awareness to accident prevention, sponsored by the National Safety Council (NSC). Throughout the month, NSC helps Americans to prevent injuries and accidental deaths by bringing attention to common safety and health risks. With more than 75 percent of all unintentional injuries occurring in the home and community, this year’s National Safety Month theme – SafeForLife – emphasizes the importance of safety both on and off the job. 

NSC will be highlighting the following weekly topics throughout June:

  • Week 1: Stand Ready to Respond
  • Week 2: Be Healthy
  • Week 3: Watch Out for Dangers
  • Week 4: Share the Roads Safely 

For each week, participants have access to free downloadable materials including posters, tips sheets and games. You can also sign up to receive the Council’s free NSM materials here

The following are examples of the free materials on the NSM available to you:





Webinars begin at 11:00 AM Central Standard Time unless otherwise indicated. Click the link to register and include Cobbs Allen as the BAN firm that invited you. 

Affordable Care Act and Cadillac Tax - An Overview (HRCI Credit Available)

June 8, Stacy Barrow, Esq.

Click to register (Password: CTW0608)

Overtime Regulations: A Human Resources Perspective (HRCI Credit Available)

June 14, Bobbi Kloss

Click to register

A Wellness Program on a Limited Budget (HRCI Credit Available)

June 22, Will Clower, Mediterranean Wellness

Click to register (Password: WPB2206) 

Self-funding Strategies (HRCI Credit Available)

June 29, Pat Campola

Click to register


Free webinar series aimed at helping companies more effectively manage their risk exposures and safety concerns 

Risk Management Center Overview

Learn more about the Risk Management Center, a unique web-based software suite of safety and risk management tools designed to empower your organization's risk prevention efforts. The Risk Management Center is right for any organization that wants to:

  • Proactively manage risk exposures
  • Develop effective workplace safety programs
  • Reduce claims, losses, and associated costs

The risk management platform has recently been upgraded to enhance and streamline your risk management and occupational health and safety strategy. Attend this webinar to learn "what's new" and how to utilize the new features to enable maximum productivity.

June 8, 3:00 PM CT
June 16, 11:00 AM CT
June 23, 3:00 PM CT
June 30, 1:00 PM CT

Click here to register 

Injury and Illness Prevention (IIPP) Development Using the Risk Management Center

Creating a comprehensive IIPP is an essential step to stay compliant, reduce costs associated with injuries, and create a safety culture at your workplace. IIPP's are required in 15 states, and are recommended as a best practice by OSHA. 

This webinar will cover the basic areas that need to be addressed in a written IIPP. It will describe how to write and implement an IIPP specific to your workplace. It will also describe how to find sample written forms in the Risk Management Center, plus which applications can help you successfully implement an IIPP.

June 9, 11:00 AM CT

Click here to register

Staying on Your Feet: Preventing Slips, Trips, and Falls

According to OSHA, slips, trips and falls constitute the majority of general industry accidents. Employees can incur back injuries, strains and sprains, contusions, and fractures resulting from unsafe workplace conditions. Learn the common exposures and how to minimize the risk of accidents and injuries associated with slips, trips, and falls. 

Trainees will learn how to employ the resources of the Risk Management Center to assist with the development and implementation of solid prevention tools for the prevention of slip, trips, and falls. This webinar will be delivered by a certified safety and health expert.

June 2, 11:00 AM CT

Click here to register 

Safety Data Sheet and Hazard Communication Plan Management

Join us for a Safety Data Sheet (SDS) management webinar to train you on the key elements for successful administration of your hazardous substances. Learn about the new format for SDSs, which is part of OSHA's revised Hazard Communication Standard, and how to easily maintain your hazardous materials database.

This 30-minute awareness-level overview webinar highlights the importance of SDSs and how to effectively implement a Hazard Communication Plan.

June 14, 11:00 AM CT

Click here to register 

Assisted Living & the Nurse's Role in Infection Control

Dr. Ogundimu provides an overview of the changing populations in long-term care settings and an introduction to the problem of healthcare-associated infections (HAIs) in these settings. In addition, Dr. Ogundimu defines safe injection practices and provides examples of recent outbreaks in long-term care settings associated with unsafe injection practices.This 30-minute awareness-level overview webinar highlights the importance of SDSs and how to effectively implement a Hazard Communication Plan.

June 21, 2:00 PM CT

Click here to register

Compliance Corner: 2017 ACA Affordability Standard

Posted by Tracy Leeth on May 24, 2016


The IRS adjusted the affordability standard for the Affordable Care Act’s Employer Shared Responsibility provision. Affordability for plan years beginning in 2017 is based on 9.69% of income. As a reminder, under ACA, applicable large employers (generally with 50 or more employees) must offer affordable, minimum value health coverage or be subject to potential penalties. Employers may meet affordability standards applying 9.69% to any of the following three safe harbors:

  1. Federal Poverty Level
  2. Rate of Pay
  3. W-2

View Summary of Employer Shared Responsibility Rules
View Summary of Affordability rules, including Safe Harbors
View Rev Proc 2016-24 for official guidance
WHAT DOES THIS MEAN TO EMPLOYERS: Employers who are subject to these rules can slightly increase employee contributions for health plan coverage in 2017 and maintain affordability. Be sure to use the indexed standard of 9.69% when planning for plan years beginning in 2017.

Compliance Corner: DOL Issues New Overtime Payment Rules

Posted by Katie Langley on May 19, 2016


On May 18, 2016, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) announced a final rule regarding overtime wage payment qualifications for the “white collar exemptions” under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).
The final rule increases the salary an employee must be paid in order to qualify for a white collar exemption. The required salary level is increased from $23,660 per year ($455/week) to $47,476 per year ($913/week) and will be automatically updated every three years. The final rule does not modify the job-duties related test employees must meet to qualify for a white collar exemption.
Under the final rule, the highly compensated exemption is also being changed from $100,000 to $134,000.

In addition, because of the short implementation deadline, employers should not delay becoming familiar with the new requirements and implementing any necessary changes into their timekeeping and payroll systems. Employers should also determine whether additional training on modifications is necessary for their managers and supervisors.
Finally, employers should also consider communicating with employees to inform them of how their wages, hours of work and timekeeping practices will be affected.
Employers will need to comply with this rule by Dec. 1, 2016.
What does this mean for employers?

  • Employers must become familiar with the new rule and identify which employees will be affected. Employers should reclassify employees as exempt or non-exempt, as necessary, by Dec. 1, 2016.
  • Employers should also consider communicating any work schedule changes to affected employees before the date mentioned above.
  • Finally, employers should evaluate whether implementing new timekeeping practices and training for managers and supervisors on the new requirements is necessary.

Click here for more information. 


Last week, I gave you a brief synopsis of my “love affair” with motorcycles and riding, as well a few sobering statistics about motorcycle safety in honor of Motorcycle Safety Month. This week, I want to take you through steps that will help to mitigate the risks and enjoy the rewards of closeness to the world around you.

Two of the most important things that will add to your safety are: 1) taking advantage of training courses offered by the Motorcycle Safety Foundation or other reputable training vendors and 2) wearing full protective gear when you ride. 

The Motorcycle Safety Foundation training information can be accessed here and protective gear can be purchased at most motorcycle dealerships and online. Look for certification by the safety institutes and read reviews by other riders to help you make the best choices for your needs and type of riding. Protective gear can help in a crash but is not a panacea. Avoiding the crash is preferable and that requires mindful riding.

Most motorbike accidents involve other vehicles. Drivers in cars and trucks are looking for large vehicles and often say they “didn’t even see the motorcycle” they just hit. Unfortunately, a rider cannot force drivers to see him or her, but we can do our best to make ourselves as visible as possible with our protective gear choices. Most importantly, we must constantly anticipate the potential “bad moves” by others on the road.


The IRS released the 2017 inflation-adjusted annual guidelines for health savings accounts (HSA) and high deductible health plans (HDHP):

  • HSA Contribution (maximum): $3,400 single / $6,750 family
  • HDHP Deductible (minimum): $1,300 single / $2,600 family
  • HDHP Out-of-Pocket (maximum): $6,550 single / $13,100 family

The only change from 2016 was the increase for single HSA contributions from $3,350 to $3,400.

View Rev Proc 2016-28 for official guidance.

WHAT DOES THIS MEAN TO EMPLOYERS:  Employers who offer HSA benefits along with the required HDHP or are considering offering those benefits should take into account the change when planning for 2017.  That is, eligible individuals with single coverage can contribute an additional $50 in their HSA next year.

Contact your Cobbs Allen team to learn more about HSAs and how they can fit in your health plan offerings. 

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