Recall on circular saw blades
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, in cooperation with Irwin Industrial Tool Co., has issued a voluntary recall of a promotional 10-inch circular saw blade 3-pack due to laceration hazard posed by defection packaging.
Irwin has received three reports of the saw blades falling out of the bottom of the packaging. No injuries were reported.
The products, manufactured in China, were sold exclusively at Lowe’s stores nationwide from approximately October 2011 through November 2011 for $40. Approximately 55,260 were purchased.
This recall involves Irwin Classic Series 10-inch Circular Saw Blade Limited Promotion 3-Packs. The blister packs contain one 10-inch trim and finish saw blade with 60 teeth (60T) and two 10-inch general purpose saw blades with 40 teeth (40T). The blades are stacked offset in the packs.
Consumers should immediately contact Irwin to receive a free storage container for the saw blades.
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PPG reports increased sales
Paint supplier PPG Industries reported net sales for the first quarter 2012 of $3.8 billion, an increase of 6% versus net sales of $3.5 million during the prior year’s first quarter. Net income for the first fiscal quarter, which ended March 31, 2012, was $13 million, compared to $228 million a year ago.
Adjusted net income for the quarter, excluding nonrecurring charges, was $279 million, allowing CEO Charles Bunch to point to earnings growth momentum. "We have delivered consistently strong earnings over nearly two years despite the prolonged, gradual recovery from the economic crisis and continued raw materials cost inflation.
"In the quarter, we benefited from strengthening demand in the United States in most end-use markets and growth in emerging regions, which offset weaker European activity," Bunch continued. "In aggregate, our core coatings and Optical and Specialty Materials segments delivered nearly 25% year-over-year earnings growth, with each segment delivering fairly equal growth rates. Business results were strong in the aerospace, automotive OEM coatings, industrial coatings and optical products businesses, as well as in the architectural coatings business in the United States.
"Looking ahead, the second quarter is typically our best sales quarter seasonally, and we expect year-over-year growth rates in the United States to be similar to the first quarter coupled with lower regional natural gas input costs," Bunch said. "We anticipate that growth in emerging regions will accelerate, supported by higher Chinese industrial activity. We expect European demand to remain muted, and we are now implementing restructuring actions focused mainly in this region.”
Based in Pittsburgh, Pa., PPG manufacturers architectural coatings, automotive glass, and specialty optics. Its residential lines of paint sell under the brand names Pittsburgh Paints and Manor Hall, among others.
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Providing flex options to older workers yields strategic benefits
A report by the Sloan Center on Aging & Work at Boston College points to wide-ranging flexible workplace options that can retain older workers, tap into the experience of retired workers and help employers fill skills and knowledge gaps. Success is dependent, though, on matching flexibility initiatives with the needs of employers and their older employees.
The report, "Flex Strategies to Attract, Engage & Retain Older Workers," released in March 2012, contains case studies of three employers to show how they use flexibility initiatives strategically. The report cited U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that project that from 2008 to 2018 labor force participation by workers age 55 and older is expected to increase by 43% while participation by those ages 16 to 24 is expected to decrease.
“Now is a critical time for us to understand the issues affecting older workers and their employers,” said Sloan Employer Engagement Specialist Samantha Greenfield. “The leading edge of the Baby Boom generation has already reached traditional retirement age. At the same time, our country’s economic challenges have forced many of these older works to extend their work-retirement horizon.”
The report found that the employers in its case studies used a variety of flexibility initiatives. Offering part-time positions, hiring retirees as consultants and temporary workers and offering flexible work arrangements are among the most commonly used strategies with older or retired workers.
The case studies examine Marriott, Central Baptist Hospital and MITRE Corp.
Among the initiatives at Marriott:
• Redesigning the work process by pairing a younger employee with an older one; teaming up for specific tasks; and categorizing tasks according to the physicality involved, such as reaching and bending to clean under beds.
• Cross-training workers so they can pick up shifts in other areas. This helps older workers develop new skills without a major job change.
• Providing job rotations so that a person working in laundry might cross-train as a lobby attendant and work there two days a week.
• Making downtime without pay available to workers in reservations centers when things are slow. They may take longer breaks, work shorter shifts, leave early or take extra days off. This is offered informally to hotel staff during slow periods, too, according to the report.
Have HR-related questions and concerns? Get access to essential forms, policies and guides, plus a live call center, at ToolkitHR.com, powered by HCN and the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM).
Kathy Gurchiek is associate editor for HR News.
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