FCAP Community—April 2024

FCAP Community

Published April 2024

     Florida Community Association Professionals’ (FCAP) training is offered on two levels. Level one consists of courses meeting Florida’s continuing education requirements for CAMs, and level two is the Florida Advanced CAM Studies (FACS) course. For further information about the more than 38 online continuing education classes available or to pursue the Certified Florida Community Association Manager (CFCAM) designation, please visit https://www.fcapgroup.com/managers-2/.   

Betsy Barbieux

Because You Asked
By Betsy Barbieux, CAM, CFCAM, CMCA

     Is the CAM permitted to process and count the election ballots? The chairman says I can’t be involved in the election process. She doesn’t even want me to have the locked ballot box in my office. The DBPR election brochure says only the current board members, candidates, and their spouses cannot be involved in counting.
– Lawrence

     There is no law as to the CAM duties for the election gathering/counting process. As a CAM I want to be in charge of the whole process to make sure it’s done right!
     For other CAMs I would ask, what does your management contract or employment agreement say? What are you contracted to do?
     Both the statutes and Florida Administrative Code give good directions on the process as does the DBPR election brochure. All CAMs and election committees should be thoroughly informed of the correct procedures instead of “this is the way we have always done it.”
There is also a CAM Matters™ show on elections at www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z1bU1Aj57cY&t=35s.
As the CAM you are probably the safest person to handle the incoming ballots and oversee the ballot counters.
– Betsy

     Do you have any “meet the candidates” questions you could share?
– Bryan

     Here are a few questions—
Please state your name and address and how long you have lived at ABC Association. And even though a lot of you know each other, what is something everyone might not know about you?
In a Florida community association, the buck stops with the board, and the board members are managing millions of dollars’ worth of value. That places each of you in a fiduciary relationship with the owners. Have you then become familiar with the laws by which you must operate the association, and have you read and become familiar with your governing documents?
ABC Association board members are active in the operations and maintenance of the association. Have you been an ABC Association volunteer in any capacity, and if so, what did you do?
Because ABC Association board members are actively involved, that includes staying informed and being prepared for the board meetings. Are you willing to devote whatever time is necessary to prepare for board meetings, complete the action items assigned to you, and fulfill the other duties of your position?
In a similar way, ABC Association board members are expected to act as a team so that when decisions are made everyone is on board. Once the decision is made, how difficult will it be for you to set aside your personal opinion about the action taken? Or will you be able to set aside taking credit for the decision?
One of the responsibilities of the board members is to enforce the restrictions on the owners’ use rights of their property. Are you willing to address a violation by your friends or neighbors?
Five or so years ago, ABC Association had almost all of its reserves embezzled. The board members since that time have worked hard to take the community into a stable position by implementing new processes and procedures. How open are you to considering and implementing new ideas for maintaining fiscal responsibility?
Do you realize the statutory mission statement for the board of directors is to protect the value of the property, maintain the common elements, and enforce the restrictions on the owners’ use rights? Board members in a community do not serve the wishes of the people. Yes, you listen to their concerns, but the laws and documents dictate your decisions. Will it be hard for you to stay focused on the mission statement rather than the people?
When an owner asks your opinion about something they want to do, that owner believes your personal opinion is official permission from the board, which it is not. How difficult will it be for you to tell that owner to put the question or request in writing and submit it to the manager?
What do you like best about ABC Association? If you could change one thing, what would it be?
– Betsy

Marcy L. Kravit

Establishing a Safe Haven: OSHA Compliance for Your Community Association

By Marcy Kravit, CMCA, AMS, PCAM, CFCAM, CSM
Director of Community Association Relations, Hotwire Communications
FCAP Education Program Coordinator

     Community association boards of directors and managers should educate themselves about several key aspects of OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) requirements for their properties and people. 

     Here are some important areas to focus on:

     OSHA Standards—Understand the general OSHA standards applicable to community associations, including the requirements for maintaining a safe and healthy work environment for residents, employees, and contractors.

     Hazard Communication—Ensure compliance with OSHA’s Hazard Communication Standard (HCS), which involves properly labeling hazardous chemicals, providing safety data sheets (SDS), and training employees on chemical hazards and safe handling procedures. 

     Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS)—These sheets are documents that provide detailed information about the potential hazards, handling, storage, and emergency procedures for substances or products. MSDSs are typically used in workplaces where hazardous materials are present, such as manufacturing facilities, laboratories, or construction sites.
     MSDSs contain essential information regarding the physical and chemical properties of a substance as well as its potential health effects, fire and explosion hazards, reactivity, and proper handling and storage practices. They also outline appropriate first aid measures and spill response procedures. 
MSDSs are important resources for workers, emergency responders, and those responsible for managing hazardous materials to ensure safety and compliance with regulations.
It’s worth noting that the format and naming of these sheets have been updated in recent years. The newer term for MSDS is SDS (Safety Data Sheet), which is part of the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals (GHS). 
SDSs follow a standardized format and provide comprehensive information on the safe use, handling, and disposal of hazardous substances. All cleaning supplies and chemicals should include these. 

     Contractor Safety—Implement procedures to evaluate the safety performance of contractors and ensure they comply with applicable OSHA standards on your property. 
     This could entail reviewing contractor safety programs, verifying insurance and licenses, and incorporating safety requirements into contracts. It is crucial to ensure that your architectural review board forms clearly outline these requirements. 

     OSHA Inspections and Citations—Understand the rights and responsibilities of community associations during OSHA inspections, including how to respond to citations and penalties. Familiarize yourself with the process of contesting citations if necessary.

     OSHA Resources—Stay updated on OSHA regulations, guidance documents, and resources specific to community associations. 
     OSHA’s website provides valuable information, including compliance assistance materials, e-tools, and training resources.
Remember, it is always advisable to consult legal professionals or safety experts who specialize in OSHA compliance to ensure accurate interpretation and implementation of OSHA requirements for your specific property. 
When performing safety inspections as a community association manager, it is important to comply with the regulations set forth OSHA. There are several key areas and factors to consider, such as the following: 

     Hazardous Conditions—Identify and address any hazardous conditions that may pose a risk to residents, visitors, or workers. This includes potential slip, trip, and fall hazards; unsecured or unstable structures; damaged walkways; or other physical hazards.

     Safety Equipment—Ensure that the appropriate safety equipment is available and properly maintained. This may include fire extinguishers, first aid kits, and personal protective equipment (PPE), such as gloves or safety glasses, as well as signage indicating the location of safety equipment.

     Emergency Preparedness—Evaluate emergency preparedness measures, such as emergency evacuation plans, exit signage, and proper functioning of emergency lighting systems. Also, check that fire alarms and smoke detectors are in working order, and conduct regular drills to ensure residents are familiar with emergency procedures.

     Electrical Safety—Inspect electrical systems for any potential hazards, such as exposed wiring, overloaded circuits, or faulty outlets. Ensure that electrical panels are properly labeled, and electrical equipment is maintained and grounded. You may want to consider conducting a thermal imaging scan of all electrical components. 

     Pool and Recreational Facilities—If your HOA manages amenities like swimming pools, playgrounds, or fitness centers, inspect these areas for compliance with safety regulations. Ensure that pool gates and fences are secure, playground equipment is well maintained and not posing any safety risks, and exercise equipment is in good working order.

     Chemical Storage and Handling—If there are any chemicals stored on the property, ensure they are properly labeled, stored in appropriate containers, and handled according to proper guidelines. This includes cleaning agents, pool chemicals, or any other hazardous substances. 

     Recordkeeping—Maintain thorough records of safety inspections, including the date, findings, corrective actions taken, and any follow-up needed.      
     Keeping accurate records demonstrates compliance with safety regulations and helps track progress over time. Rely on your experts for guidance and information regarding safety for all components on your property. 
It is essential to familiarize yourself with the specific OSHA regulations applicable to your jurisdiction. 
Additionally, consulting with a safety professional or seeking guidance from OSHA directly can provide further assistance in understanding and meeting the necessary compliance requirements. Florida has multiple OSHA area offices located throughout the state. These offices are responsible for enforcing OSHA standards and conducting inspections. You can contact the OSHA area office that covers your location to seek guidance on compliance by visiting www.osha.gov/contactus/bystate/FL/areaoffice
It’s important to note that OSHA compliance and regulatory requirements can vary depending on the nature of your property or operations. Consulting with a professional in the field or reaching out directly to OSHA or their designated representatives can provide you with the most accurate and up-to-date information regarding compliance on your property. 

     When it comes to safety precautions and hazards, community association managers may consider the following precautions. The following are a few examples of best practices:

     Educate and Train—Provide comprehensive training programs and workshops to residents and staff members regarding OSHA regulations, environmental hazards, and safety protocols. This will help raise awareness and ensure everyone understands their responsibilities and how to prevent and mitigate any hazards or risks.

     Conduct Risk Assessments—Regularly assess potential hazards within the community, including physical infrastructure, common areas, storage facilities, and residents’ storage lockers and all workspaces. Identify areas where OSHA regulations or environmental hazards may be relevant, such as chemical exposure, ergonomic concerns, electrical safety, or slip-and-fall risks.

     Develop Safety Policies—Establish written safety policies and procedures that comply with OSHA standards and address environmental hazards. These policies should cover topics such as emergency response plans, personal protective equipment (PPE), hazardous material handling, and incident reporting protocols.

     Provide Adequate PPE—Ensure that appropriate PPE is available and accessible to all members and staff. This may include items such as gloves, safety glasses, hard hats, respirators, vests, or hearing protection, depending on the specific hazards present in the community.
     Ensure all eye wash stations on the property are equipped and filled. Have a well-stocked, commercial-grade first-aid kit on hand. 

     Perform Regular Inspections—Conduct routine inspections of community facilities, equipment, and work areas to identify any potential hazards or safety violations. Walk the property regularly. Promptly address any issues that are discovered, and document corrective actions taken.

     Establish Communication Channels—Implement effective communication channels to disseminate safety information, updates, and reminders to all members and staff. This could include newsletters, bulletin boards, websites, email notifications, or digital platforms.

     Encourage Reporting—Encourage members and staff to report hazards, incidents, or near misses promptly. Establish a confidential and non-punitive reporting system that allows individuals to raise concerns without fear of reprisal. Investigate reported incidents thoroughly and take appropriate corrective actions.

     Engage Professionals—Seek guidance from OSHA consultants, environmental experts, or safety professionals to conduct audits, provide training, or offer recommendations for improvement. These experts can help identify potential hazards and suggest effective control measures.

     Stay Updated with Regulations—Regularly monitor OSHA and environmental regulations to ensure compliance. OSHA frequently updates its standards, so it’s crucial to stay informed about any changes that may affect the community association.

     Foster a Safety Culture—Promote a culture of safety within the community association by encouraging active participation, recognizing safety achievements, and rewarding adherence to safety protocols. Regularly reinforce the importance of safety through meetings, training sessions, and reminders.
     Community associations can take several steps to protect their members and staff from occupational and environmental hazards. It is critical to consult with legal and safety professionals who specialize in OSHA and environmental regulations to ensure that your community association meets all legal requirements and best practices to protect the health, safety, and welfare of your community.

Virginia Hertel, CFCAM—A Desire to Gain Knowledge

     Virginia Hertel was born in Denver, Colorado, and grew up in Cleveland, Ohio. Having later moved to South Florida, she attended Broward College for her associate in science degree in nursing. After three years of working as a private duty nurse, she decided to change her career after witnessing a fire at a condominium complex. The devastating event made her realize that she could be more impactful by helping to prevent these tragedies from happening in the first place. On January 21, 2019, she received her CAM license. Shortly thereafter she was hired to manage a 280-unit condominium in Broward County, which has been her home for the past five years.

     Seeking the CFCAM designation was important to her because of her desire to gain knowledge, advance her career, and stay up to date on Florida industry-specific information.

     She sees a couple of challenges to the community association industry. The first major issue or challenge facing community association managers in 2024 is proper budget preparation considering new State statute requirements. Many associations in Florida are quickly learning that they are going to have to fund reserves, which is leading to rising costs for homeowners and antagonism toward the management team. The second major issue is safety.

     The professional achievement that she is most proud of is having a direct impact on leading several electrical modernization projects, which have reduced the risk of fires. All the hardworking volunteer board members who make this career possible have had the biggest influence on her.

     During her free time, she can usually be found with her 11-year-old daughter, her spouse, and their dog Sadie enjoying life in Coconut Creek, FL.