Total Articles: 127
Goldberg Segalla LLP • July 30, 2014
In 2013, the communications industry was confronted by an increasing number of fatalities involving worker falls from cell tower sites. Alarmingly, OSHA recorded fourteen fatalities, all of which were determined preventable — either a result of an employer’s failure to provide fall protection or an employee’s failure to use the equipment. In the wake of this statistic, on July 17, 2014, OSHA implemented a new directive governing all work activities on communication towers that involve the use of a hoist to lift personnel to or from their workstations.
Fisher & Phillips LLP • July 03, 2014
Last year, some parts of the country experienced the hottest summer on record. This year may well be record breaking as well, at least in some parts of the country. Keeping employees safe and cool during the next four months should be of paramount importance for all business owners and employers.
Ogletree Deakins • July 03, 2014
On May 22, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) announced that it was bringing back its heat illness prevention campaign for the fourth straight year. The campaign primarily targets industries with workers exposed to the heat, such as agriculture, construction, landscape maintenance, tree trimmers, and oil and gas drilling and servicing. It also targets industries in which work is performed indoors in hot areas, such as the restaurant and dry cleaning industries. The campaign reminds employers to provide employees with plenty of water, shade, and rest during the summer months. OSHA is devoting much attention to the topic, which inspired the agency’s first and only app (available for free online at iTunes and the Google Android store).
Ogletree Deakins • June 24, 2014
At a mining industry safety conference in June, an MSHA Assistant District Manager stated that the agency viewed persons that perform workplace examinations pursuant to 30 C.F.R. § 56.18002 as performing an “agent-like” function that subjects them to the same Mine Act individual liability that can be directed at supervisors and managers. The statement was made while addressing MSHA enforcement efforts and priorities directed at the recent spike in fatal accidents at metal-nonmetal mining operations. The agency believes that some of these fatalities could have been avoided with more effective workplace examinations—a point that MSHA intends to emphasize in upcoming inspections.
Constangy, Brooks & Smith, LLP • June 17, 2014
Thanks to a recent agreement between the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the National Labor Relations Board, safety whistleblowers won't necessarily be defeated by untimely complaints. The agencies have agreed that, whenever a whistleblower tries to file a complaint after the 30-day deadline for such complaints, OSHA will simply refer the complainant to the NLRB, which has a six-month charge-filing period.
Jackson Lewis P.C. • June 16, 2014
Fisher & Phillips LLP • May 28, 2014
In 2013, the Phoenix area experienced the hottest summer on record since 1895. As we launch the official summer season this week, keeping employees safe and cool during the next four months should be of paramount importance for all business owners and employers, Shayna wrote.
Ogletree Deakins • May 28, 2014
With a momentary lapse of attention, any of us can cause a grave accident––at home, in a vehicle, on vacation, or at work. Miners must be ever vigilant for their own safety and the safety of others. The mining industry can reduce fatalities and injuries by encouraging employees to identify, correct, and report hazardous conditions. That is the current message of the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA). Another message is that miners are legally protected for engaging in such safety activities, and retaliation by “any person” will be prosecuted.
Ogletree Deakins • May 28, 2014
In our last Workplace Safety & Health blog post, we discussed proactive steps employers can take should the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) arrive with a union representative or community activist to inspect a nonunion worksite. On May 21, OSHA increased its emphasis on promoting employee rights to union representation when Anne G. Purcell, associate general counsel of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), issued a memorandum announcing a referral program between OSHA and the NLRB. Under the new program, OSHA will notify all complainants who file untimely whistleblower charges pursuant to section 11(c) of the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSH Act) that they may also file unfair labor practice charges with the Board under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA). Purcell’s memorandum follows a March 6, 2014, directive issued by Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health David Michaels, wherein OSHA agreed to notify all complainants who file an untimely whistleblower charge of their right to file a charge with the Board.
Ogletree Deakins • May 27, 2014
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is an arm of the U.S. Department of Labor, and is the federal agency charged with the enforcement of legislation related to the health and safety of workers.
Fisher & Phillips LLP • May 15, 2014
QUESTION: We have a number of employees working off-site. How can we best ensure that they are working safely when we are not able to provide regular supervision?
Ogletree Deakins • May 05, 2014
As we discussed in a previous post, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued an interpretation letter last year stating that non-employee union organizers or community activists could “represent” employees at non-union workplaces during OSHA inspections. OSHA’s interpretation letter caused quite a stir in the employer community, and it has been reported that, OSHA is trying to include non-employee union organizers in some inspections. This post provides practical advice to employers on steps they can take should OSHA arrive with a union representative for an inspection of a nonunion worksite.
Jackson Lewis P.C. • April 21, 2014
Coal Companies’ Constitutional Case against MSHA Employees Fails.
Fisher & Phillips LLP • April 08, 2014
I support OSHA’s temporary worker focus. Employers need to take more steps to ensure that temporary employees don’t fall through the cracks and do not receive adequate safety training, Howard wrote.
Fisher & Phillips LLP • April 08, 2014
Supervisors are supposed to set the tone, provide on-the-job training and consistently enforce safety processes. What happens when the supervisor is the one who breaks the rules? OSHA decisions and OSHA compliance officer training expressly state that the employer’s entire safety program is suspect when its supervisors violate the standards. The higher up the supervisor, the bigger the problem. Not only does the supervisor’s bad conduct negatively frame the inspection and OSHA’s ultimate decisions, but the supervisor’s involvement has legal consequences.
Ogletree Deakins • March 17, 2014
The tragic death of an orca (commonly called killer whales) trainer at SeaWorld of Florida in 2010 has stimulated much debate on whether direct contact between wild animals and humans should be permitted in entertainment contexts, and whether the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) should regulate this activity. Federal OSHA responded to the SeaWorld accident by issuing citations alleging willful violations of its General Duty Clause, which can be applied when no standard addresses a hazard. OSHA has invested significant resources to pursue the case, which is now pending before the District of Columbia Circuit Court of Appeals.
Jackson Lewis P.C. • March 14, 2014
High Court Holds Time Changing Clothes Is Not Compensable; Barges at Coal Load-out Facility Fall under MSHA, Judge Rules; Ask a Jackson Lewis Attorney
Goldberg Segalla LLP • March 11, 2014
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has been tasked by Congress to enforce the whistleblower provisions of 22 different statutes. These laws protect workers in many industries throughout the country from retaliation when they report unsafe working conditions, fraud or something that would endanger the public.
Jackson Lewis P.C. • February 21, 2014
OSHA Issues Warning to Communications Tower Industry; OSHA Forecasts Nearly 38,000 Inspections This Year; Employment Law Q&A
Jackson Lewis P.C. • February 17, 2014
U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has warned companies involved in the telecommunications tower industry that OSHA sees “an alarming increase in worker deaths” in the industry and will step up its enforcement efforts. All companies involved in tower construction, maintenance, leasing, and operation, therefore, should prepare for more frequent and more intense OSHA inspections. The warning from Assistant Secretary of Labor for OSHA Dr. David Michaels says the agency will pay particular attention to training and fall protection issues and will focus on possible hazards from falling objects, equipment failure, and collapsing towers.
Ogletree Deakins • February 03, 2014
On January 15, 2014, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) launched a new, online compliance assistance tool for hospitals called, “Worker Safety in Hospitals: Caring for our Caregivers.” While OSHA’s stated objective for this resource is commendable—to help hospitals enhance worker safety—the information includes some generalizations that could be initially disconcerting, which may detract from the resource’s general credibility.
Ogletree Deakins • January 27, 2014
According to the Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), hospital workers regularly face serious workplace hazards, including exposure to chemicals, hazardous drugs, and needle-sticks. Those workers often suffer musculoskeletal injuries that come from manually lifting and repositioning patients.
Ogletree Deakins • January 27, 2014
On the afternoon of January 24, 2014, with one-and-a-half business days left to the original deadline of January 27, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) announced a 15-day extension of the comment period to the agency’s proposed rule on occupational exposure to respirable crystalline silica. The new deadline is February 11, 2014.
Littler Mendelson, P.C. • January 22, 2014
Last week, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration launched a web page devoted to hospital worker safety. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2012, U.S. hospitals recorded 250,000 work-related injuries and illnesses, almost 60,000 of them causing employees to miss work. These statistics, according to OSHA, make hospitals one of the most hazardous places to work, even more dangerous for employees than working in construction or manufacturing.
Brody and Associates, LLC • January 09, 2014
Employers in all industries face the problem of training workers and ensuring their safety. Whether it is preventing burns from the hot oil of the french-fry maker or teaching skills to handle a heightened risk of workplace violence, employers need to make sure their employees are appropriately trained so the workplace is safe. Without such measures, as one court has ruled, potential fines and monetary payments may not be enough and prison time may be imposed.
Jackson Lewis P.C. • December 12, 2013
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) are moving ahead with regulatory initiatives that could substantially impact the business community.
Ogletree Deakins • December 09, 2013
The federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) works to ensure safe and healthy conditions for working men and women on a national basis, by both setting and enforcing workplace standards, and by providing training, education and assistance to employers and employees, when necessary or requested. The agency also enforces the whistleblower protection provisions of twenty-two different statutes, protecting employees who report violations of consumer protection laws and against employers engaged in particular industries, including airlines, trucking, rail, and public transportation.
Littler Mendelson, P.C. • December 05, 2013
If you operate a nursing home or residential care facility, it is time to take a hard, critical look at the health and safety risks in your workplace. Failure to correct problems could prove a very expensive mistake – as a nursing home in New Jersey recently discovered.
Jackson Lewis P.C. • November 27, 2013
OSHA’s Recordkeeping Proposal Deserves Attention; Consider a Plan to Address New MSHA Policy on Impeding Inspections; OSHA Recommends New Exposure Limits; Jackson Lewis Lawyers Represent Mine Operators in Lawsuit against MSHA.
Jackson Lewis P.C. • November 22, 2013
OSHA’s Recordkeeping Proposal Deserves Attention; Consider a Plan to Address New MSHA Policy on Impeding Inspections; OSHA Recommends New Exposure Limits; Jackson Lewis Lawyers Represent Mine Operators in Lawsuit against MSHA
Jones Walker • November 15, 2013
Many employers, especially white collar and non-industrial employers, think they are exempt from the requirements of the Occupational Safety and Health Act ("OSH Act") due to the nature of their businesses. However, the jurisdiction of the Occupational Safety & Health Administration ("OSHA"), which enforces the OSH Act, is broad and over-arching. All employers are covered. The following are just some examples of programs or policies that OSHA requires every employer to have in place regardless of the nature of its business.
Littler Mendelson, P.C. • November 15, 2013
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ (BLS) annual Workplace Injury and Illness Summary, private sector employers reported approximately 3 million nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses in 2012, or about 3.4 instances per 100 full-time equivalent workers, down from 3.5 instances per 100 workers reported in 2011. This data is in keeping with the steady decline of reported injury and illness rates over the past five years.
Jackson Lewis P.C. • November 06, 2013
Employers whose employees may be exposed to hazardous chemicals in the workplace must train their employees on the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s new labeling elements and new Safety Data Sheet format by December 1, 2013.
Fisher & Phillips LLP • November 05, 2013
Many articles on handling OSHA inspections provide the same basic guidelines and little explanation of why an employer should take certain steps. Readers already know to take photos whenever the Compliance Officer takes shots and to take notes, but do you know "why" to take those photos and "what" to look for? What do you need to note in order to challenge citations when they are issued six months later?
Jackson Lewis P.C. • November 01, 2013
California Governor Signs Three Occupational Safety and Health Bills, but Nixes Mandating Abatement
Littler Mendelson, P.C. • October 28, 2013
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has created two online resources aimed at reducing chemical hazards in the workplace. The first is an online toolkit to help employers identify chemicals that can be used as alternatives to more hazardous substances, or eliminate them altogether. According to OSHA, the toolkit is appropriate for manufacturers that use chemicals in their production processes and businesses that use products containing chemicals in their everyday operations. The webpage includes seven linkable steps to make the workplace safer, as well as an introductory video.
Jones Walker • October 11, 2013
OSHA has regulated occupational exposures to airborne silica since 1971 and has recently proposed significant revisions to its regulations limiting workers' exposure to airborne silica. These revisions are explicitly intended to extend the scope of the regulation to additional workers, employers and occupations. Because silica is present in virtually all sand, cement, stone and glass products, it is important for all employers, particularly those not subject to the original silica standard, to determine whether the proposed amendments will subject them to regulation and possible fines and penalties.
Ogletree Deakins • October 11, 2013
Granting complete summary judgment to BNSF Railway Co., Chief Judge Michael Davis of the U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota interpreted and provided the railroad industry with guidance pertaining to the parameters of a non-injury based retaliation claim under 49 U.S.C. § 20109 of the Federal Railroad Safety Act (FRSA)—an issue of first impression in the district, and one of only a few such decisions nationwide. Kuduk v. BNSF Railway Co., No. 12-cv-00276 (September 26, 2013).
Jackson Lewis P.C. • September 12, 2013
In the wake of the West, Texas fertilizer plant explosion, three federal agencies have issued an advisory on how to store, handle and manage ammonium nitrate (AN) safely. The 19-page advisory from the EPA, OSHA and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) focuses on high density, solid AN pellets and beads (prills) used in fertilizers, and details lessons learned from previous AN disasters.
Littler Mendelson, P.C. • August 27, 2013
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has released its long-awaited proposed rule that sets new workplace permissible exposure limits (PELs) for respirable crystalline silica, and outlines methods to control exposure, conduct medical exams for workers with high silica exposure, train workers about silica-related hazards, and keep records related to crystalline silica amounts. The proposal includes one exposure limit standard for general industry and maritime employment, and another for construction.
Ogletree Deakins • August 26, 2013
In the mining industry MSHA enforcement of “pattern of violations” sanctions can be devastating to a mine operator’s business. Every operator is potentially subject to a “pattern of violations” notice from the U.S. Department of Labor’s Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA). Mine records are reviewed by MSHA every year to determine if there is a pattern of violations that could “significantly and substantially contribute to the cause and effect of a mine safety or health hazard.” This terminology from the Federal Mine Safety and Health Act of 1977 is liberally construed to include any violation that an MSHA inspector concludes is “reasonably likely” to cause a reasonably serious injury—even a sprain in some cases.
Jackson Lewis P.C. • August 23, 2013
An employer may not be held liable for a violation of the Occupational Safety and Health Act (“OSHA”) based solely on a supervisor’s knowledge of his own misconduct, the U.S. Court of Appeal for the Eleventh Circuit in Atlanta has ruled in a case of first impression for the circuit. ComTran Group v. U.S. Dep’t of Labor, No. 12-10275 (11th Cir. Jul. 24, 2013). Reversing the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission’s decision that the employer violated OSHA, the Court concluded the Commission erroneously had relieved the Secretary of Labor of her burden to prove the employer’s knowledge of the violation by holding that the supervisor’s knowledge of his own misconduct could be imputed to the employer.
Fisher & Phillips LLP • August 23, 2013
Employers are not guilty until proven innocent. Napoleonic justice is not the law of the land. To make out an OSHA citation, OSHA has the burden to prove four (4) elements: an applicable standard, that a hazard existed, an employee was exposed, and that the employer knew, or should have known of the violation.
Ogletree Deakins • August 22, 2013
“Congress has given . . . MSHA powerful tools to protect miners. Those tools include demands to inspect documents.” That is what the United States Court of Appeals for Seventh Circuit recently held in Big Ridge vs. Federal Mine Safety and Health Review Commission.
Jackson Lewis P.C. • July 23, 2013
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s proposal to comprehensively regulate silica (quartz) in general industry, maritime, and construction is anticipated by Labor Day. Publication of the proposal to extensively regulate one of the most common minerals on Earth, like arsenic and lead, will trigger a public comment period and hearings.
Fisher & Phillips LLP • June 07, 2013
An effective safety process requires consistent discipline to support other company safety efforts, but it doesn’t always happen.
Ogletree Deakins • June 03, 2013
With private sector union density steadily declining, unions will take help anywhere they can get it. The most recent case in point: the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued an interpretation letter on February 21, 2013, stating that non-union employees can select anyone—including outside, non-employee union representatives—to accompany OSHA compliance officers during safety and health inspections of an employer’s work site.
Ogletree Deakins • June 03, 2013
Section 103 of the Federal Mine Safety Act requires the Secretary of Labor to conduct frequent inspections and investigations at mines. It further states: “In carrying out the requirements of this subsection, no advance notice of an inspection shall be provided to any person.” Section 110(e) provides: “Unless otherwise authorized by this Act, any person who gives advance notice of any inspection to be conducted under this Act shall, upon conviction, be punished by [fine, imprisonment, or both].” A recent Senate bill would extend penalties to federal and state inspectors as well as all private persons.
Fisher & Phillips LLP • May 28, 2013
In a new letter of interpretation publically released on April 5, 2013 (originally dated February 5, 2013), the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) announced for the first time that during an OSHA inspection of non-union worksites, employees can be represented by anyone selected by the employees including outside union agents.
Constangy, Brooks & Smith, LLP • May 08, 2013
website these days, the Agency issued a doozy last month. In an interpretation letter publicly released on April 5, 2013, the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration stated a new interpretation of its regulations that now will permit employees at non-union workplaces to designate non-employees, including “outsider” union officials and/or community representatives (i.e., organizers), as their representatives for what are commonly known as OSHA “walkaround” inspections.
Constangy, Brooks & Smith, LLP • May 08, 2013
In an interpretation letter publicly released on April 5, 2013, the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration issued a new interpretation of its regulations that now will permit employees at non-union workplaces to designate non-employees, including “outsider” union officials or community representatives (that is, organizers), as their representatives for what are commonly known as OSHA “walkaround” inspections.
Littler Mendelson, P.C. • May 03, 2013
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has directed its Compliance Safety and Health Officers (CSHO) to take additional steps during inspections to determine whether employers are adequately protecting temporary workers. Pursuant to a memo issued to OSHA regional administrators, CSHOs are directed to use a new code to document when temporary workers are exposed to health and safety hazards. For this information collection, OSHA will consider “temporary workers” to include those who “work under a host employer/staffing agency employment structure.”
Jackson Lewis P.C. • April 29, 2013
As a cold winter finally comes to an end, many of us look forward to summertime warmth. But while sun and heat may make for a fun day at the beach, they can spell danger for workers who are exposed to soaring temperatures and a rising heat index. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“OSHA”), thousands of workers in the United States get sick from excessive heat exposure while working outdoors each year and more than 30 workers died in 2012 from heat-related illnesses.
Littler Mendelson, P.C. • April 05, 2013
A recently released Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Interpretation Letter outlines the division of responsibility between a temporary staffing agency and the client employer to provide worker safety training, perform hazard communication, and maintain OSHA-related records. Although agency Interpretation letters are limited to the circumstances presented by the person or organization requesting guidance, they shed light on how OSHA would apply its laws and regulations in similar scenarios. The instant Interpretation letter is helpful for any employer that provides temporary personnel to other businesses, as well as one that uses the services of a temporary staffing agency.
Fisher & Phillips LLP • April 03, 2013
Hopefully you're already aware of the continuing escalation of all forms of whistleblower and retaliation claims, including under the 20+ Anti-Retaliation laws enforced by special investigators from OSHA's Whistleblower group. If not, check out the Whistleblower Protection Program website.
Littler Mendelson, P.C. • March 15, 2013
A recent U.S. Supreme Court decision will give employers facing certain Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) citations a powerful new defense. In a rare unanimous decision issued on February 27, 2013, the Court held that the Securities and Exchange Commission could not take advantage of the “discovery rule” to avoid the statute of limitations applicable to its enforcement action against investment advisors.
Fisher & Phillips LLP • March 04, 2013
The Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) recently released a Final Rule that significantly changes the way the Agency charged with protecting America’s miners enforces one of its most powerful enforcement tools: pattern of violations (POV).
Jackson Lewis P.C. • February 04, 2013
Employers are well aware that just one work-related accident or illness can result in medical expenses, rehabilitation services, and liability compensation. A recent Nebraska Supreme Court decision is a reminder that undocumented aliens, as well as legal workers, may bring workers’ compensation claims. In Moyera v. Quality Pork Int’l, 284 Neb. 963 (Jan. 4, 2013), the Nebraska Supreme Court held that the Nebraska Workers’ Compensation Act applies to undocumented aliens and these employees could be entitled to permanent total disability benefits (“PTD benefits”) for work-related injuries. Courts in other states also have found that undocumented employees are covered by their state workers’ compensation systems, including: (1) Florida, (2) Kansas, (3) Kentucky, (4) Maryland, (5) New Jersey, (6) North Carolina, (7) Ohio, (8) Oklahoma, and (9) Pennsylvania. Such liability can be avoided by carefully managing the hiring process to ensure that you do not employ aliens who are not authorized to work.
Jackson Lewis P.C. • January 23, 2013
As President Barack Obama officially begins his second term in office, it is appropriate to look ahead at what a “second-term” Occupational Safety and Health Administration will mean for employers. To be sure, the future of the Department of Labor is uncertain, with Secretary Hilda Solis stepping down and her successor yet to be named. However, at this time, the leadership at OSHA during the first term of President Obama is still in place. Therefore, at least for now, employers can expect continuity in terms of enforcement and regulatory policy and priorities.
ManpowerGroup • October 25, 2012
Everything you need to know about OSHA in one handy post.
Littler Mendelson, P.C. • October 05, 2012
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has announced that it will begin offering early resolution and mediation instead of investigations in two OSHA regions to address complaints filed with the agency’s Whistleblower Protection Program. OSHA is charged with enforcing the whistleblower provisions in 22 separate statutes, including the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010, Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX), Affordable Care Act, and the Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) Act. OSHA reports that it receives approximately 2,500 whistleblower complaints each year.
Fisher & Phillips LLP • October 01, 2012
After two years of uncertainty, employers have finally been given some guidance on how to be removed from OSHA's Severe Violator Enforcement Program (SVEP). On August 16, 2012, the Directorate of Enforcement Programs (DEP) issued a memorandum detailing the removal criteria for the SVEP, clarifying a process that has not been clear since the implementation of the program in June 2010.
Jackson Lewis P.C. • September 06, 2012
An update on safety and health issues relevant to employers and their worksites.
Littler Mendelson, P.C. • August 27, 2012
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has issued a memorandum to its regional administrators informing them of the criteria employers must meet to be removed from the agency's Severe Violator Enforcement Program (SVEP). The SVEP – which took effect in June 2010 – is a program that subjects employers to more significant enforcement measures and penalties for willful, repeat, and failure-to-abate violations of the Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) Act.
Littler Mendelson, P.C. • August 24, 2012
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has released a report (pdf) that evaluates its Voluntary Protection Program (VPP) and makes 34 recommendations for changes and improvement. The report was issued by a VPP Review Team, comprised of OSHA regional and national office members. This team was created in April 2011, and tasked with conducting a review of the VPP and issuing recommendations, largely in response to a critical 2009 Government Accountability Office (GAO) report that called for improved VPP oversight and controls.
Ogletree Deakins • August 21, 2012
OSHA’s Oil & Gas Flame Resistant Clothing Memo Held to Be Improper Rulemaking;
Final Electric Power Transmission and Distribution and Electrical Protective Equipment Rule Goes to OMB.
Ogletree Deakins • July 31, 2012
Under pressure to respond to the risks to employees created by the nationwide heat wave this summer, the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recently instructed its field enforcement staff, “to expedite heat-related inspections and to issue citations, where appropriate, as soon as possible.” Heat-related inspections are to occur on days when the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA) issues a heat advisory forecasting a heat index at or above the “danger zone” for a particular area. OSHA investigators have been instructed to determine whether employers are, at the very least, providing employees with adequate access to water, rest periods, and shade. These directions are contained in a Memorandum issued on July 19, 2012 by OSHA’s Director of Enforcement and signed by the agency’s second-in-command, Deputy Assistant Secretary Richard Fairfax.
Constangy, Brooks & Smith, LLP • July 10, 2012
Recent record-breaking temperatures in parts of the country are a reminder of the importance of heat safety for outdoor as well as indoor workers, particularly those who perform strenuous job tasks or who are required to wear heavy protective gear. Employees who are new to the job site or are returning from vacation are often more prone to heat-related illnesses since they are not acclimated to the higher temperatures. Effective heat safety programs should include an acclimation period for new or returning workers, frequent water and rest breaks for all workers, and training on the signs and symptoms of heat-related illnesses. It is essential that employees also understand who they should contact within the Company in the event that they are experiencing the signs and symptoms of heat-related stress.
Fisher & Phillips LLP • July 06, 2012
The Labor Department recently strengthened its Occupational Safety and Health Act Whistleblower Program by dedicating additional funds to training its investigators, performing more thorough investigations, and reassigning responsibility for the Whistleblower Program directly to the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Labor for greater oversight of the program. Schools are covered by the OSH Act, and like most industries, should expect to see an increase in whistleblower claims under the newly-fortified program.
Littler Mendelson, P.C. • June 22, 2012
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has issued a direct final rule and request for comments (pdf) on the agency’s update of its Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) standards related to head protection. Specifically, OSHA is issuing the direct final rule to revise the PPE head protection requirements of its general industry, shipyard employment, longshoring, and marine terminals standards to conform those standards to the requirements recognized in the 2009 edition of the American National Standard for Industrial Head Protection.
Littler Mendelson, P.C. • June 13, 2012
On June 6, 2012, a decision much anticipated by the oil and gas industry was rendered (the Decision). The Decision has clarified whether fire/flame retardant/resistant clothing (FRC) is always required to be worn by workers in the oil and gas drilling, production, and well-servicing industries. The answer is, "No, not always."
Littler Mendelson, P.C. • May 15, 2012
The Department of Labor has submitted to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) a proposed information collection request (ICR) that would determine the degree of employee knowledge concerning their rights governed by the DOL’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD) and Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).
Fisher & Phillips LLP • May 07, 2012
Following up on the discussion in our last issue of the Healthcare Update, this month we are examining one of the most rigorous and demanding areas of OSHA compliance – failure to meet the information and training requirements of the Bloodborne Pathogens Standard (BBP).
Ogletree Deakins • April 30, 2012
The District of Columbia Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that an independent contractor may be held liable for a violation on mine property even if the contractor was not at fault. This unprecedented ruling affirms a decision of the federal Mine Safety Review Commission in Ames Construction, Inc. v. Federal Mine Safety and Health Review Commission and Secretary of Labor.
Jones Walker • April 27, 2012
On March 26, 2012, OSHA revised its Hazard Communication Standard (“HazCom”), aligning it with the United Nations’ Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals (“GHS”). The revised Standard is intended to help workers better understand chemical hazards in the workplace and to improve safety training related to those hazards. The revisions to the Standard include: (1) changes to the criteria for classifying chemicals according to their hazard level; (2) changes to the labeling system to ensure consistency in labels and Safety Data Sheets; and (3) changes to the training requirements on the new labels and Safety Data Sheets. Non-compliance with the updated Standard can result in OSHA citations and fines.
Jackson Lewis P.C. • April 27, 2012
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has finalized a rule revising its hazard communication standard to align it with the United Nations’ Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals (GHS). This is one of the agency’s most significant rulemaking efforts in over a decade. The rule, released March 26, 2012, will affect more than 5 million businesses across the country and more than 40 million employees will need to be retrained on hazard communication. OSHA estimates the annualized compliance costs will be more than $200 million for employers. Annualized net monetized benefits are estimated at approximately $550 million.
Littler Mendelson, P.C. • April 23, 2012
The same day the Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a study finding that it takes an average of nearly 8 years for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to finalize safety standards, the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) held a hearing to address why this process takes so long. HELP Committee Chairman Tom Harkin (D-IA) began the hearing by claiming that the agency "is broken" and that its rulemaking process is "mired in bureaucracy." Citing the GAO study, Harkin noted that in the 1980s and 1990s OSHA issued 47 safety standards, but has finalized only 11 since that time. OSHA's silica standard, he highlighted, has been in development since 1974. While hearing panelists offered different proposals to solve the rulemaking delay, most agreed that the agency needs to set priorities and focus on those rules instead of continually shifting gears and getting "mired" in its own processes.
Fisher & Phillips LLP • April 13, 2012
The U.S. Chemical Safety Board (CSB) announced that it has developed a new policy on employee participation in investigations. The Board hopes to greatly expand the role played by employees in determining the root cause of incidents and promoting facility safety as a part of every CSB Investigation. The policy was approved by a unanimous vote of the Board after a roundtable convened by the CSB in 2011 involving accident victims, family members, and employee representatives.
Littler Mendelson, P.C. • April 09, 2012
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has announced a new National Emphasis Program (NEP) (pdf) that sets forth the policies and procedures for targeting and addressing occupational illnesses and injuries most commonly experienced in nursing and residential care facilities. As described in the NEP, these hazards include ergonomic stressors relating to resident handling; exposure to blood and other potentially infectious materials; exposure to tuberculosis; workplace violence; and slips, trips, and falls.
Fisher & Phillips LLP • April 04, 2012
Strategic changes at the Occupational Safety and Health Review Agency in the last several years have resulted in stricter enforcement, larger penalties, greater compliance requirements and new regulations. This year we expect to see many of the proposed rules and initiatives that OSHA has been pushing make significant progress within the regulatory process, and maybe even come to life.
Constangy, Brooks & Smith, LLP • March 27, 2012
In its September 28, 2010 Directive on the Injury and Illness Recordkeeping National Emphasis Program (NEP), OSHA announced its intention to investigate "company policies that may have the effect of discouraging recording on the injury and illness records . . . . "
ManpowerGroup • March 23, 2012
The what, when and why of the new OSHA Hazardous Communication standard
Littler Mendelson, P.C. • March 22, 2012
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has issued its much-anticipated final rule (pdf) revising the agencyâ€™s Hazard Communication Standard (HCS) to better align it with the United Nations' Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals.
Ogletree Deakins • March 22, 2012
In a much anticipated move, on March 20, 2012, the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) released the final revised Hazard Communication Standard. The final standard will be published in the Federal Register on March 26, 2012, and will become effective, in part, on June 26, 2012, with a built-in transition period and a fully effective date of June 1, 2016.
Fisher & Phillips LLP • March 02, 2012
You would be hard-pressed to find someone who has not heard of OSHA. OSHA's presence is felt by employers across broad segments of American industry, from construction to food service. What many people don't realize, however, is the pervasiveness of OSHA's (older) sister agency, the Mine Safety and Health Administration, or MSHA.
Ogletree Deakins • March 01, 2012
Criminal Conspiracy Charged; OSHA Releases Videos on Respirators;Posting Injury and Illness Summary.
Fisher & Phillips LLP • February 10, 2012
Each year the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issues hundreds of citations to employers in the healthcare industry. While medical centers, doctors' offices, and clinics must all comply with a significant number of standards, the citations issued to hospitals remain relatively constant from year to year.
Ogletree Deakins • January 24, 2012
Mine Safety Disclosures Required in SEC Reports; OSHA Issues I2P2 White Paper and Moves Forward with Small Business Review.
Fisher & Phillips LLP • January 18, 2012
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has recently announced three new focus areas targeting hazards in certain specified work environments. These include: winter storm months, chemical facilities, and formaldehyde exposure in the hair product/salon industry.
Jackson Lewis P.C. • January 18, 2012
An update on safety and health issues relevant to employers and their worksites.
Jackson Lewis P.C. • January 04, 2012
As the winter storm season approaches, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration has focused on protecting workers from hazards during winter storm response and recovery operations. OSHAâ€™s new webpage, entitled â€œWinter Storms,â€ provides employers with information on preparing for winter storms and identifying and controlling hazards associated with winter storm conditions.
Ogletree Deakins • December 22, 2011
MSHA Flagrant Violation Policy for $220,000 Penalties Rejected;
New Rim Wheel Service Guidance;
OSHA Expands National Emphasis Program (NEP) for Hazardous Chemicals.
Fisher & Phillips LLP • December 06, 2011
Restaurants and their trade associations are justifiably proud of their food safety efforts as shown by the July 27, 2011 announcement by the National Restaurant Association celebrating over one million classes of restaurant industry training. But inspections by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) continue to turn up significant shortcomings in restaurant OSHA compliance â€“ and these issues are not limited to the large institutional setting.
Fisher & Phillips LLP • December 02, 2011
Recent temperatures in the northeast were near record lows, meaning employees working in cold temperatures could face serious health risks. Cold weather is particularly dangerous to employees spending long hours outside, such as construction workers. Prolonged exposure to freezing or cold temperatures can result in serious health problems like trench foot, frostbite, hypothermia, and in extreme cases death. With winter bearing down upon us, it is a good time to familiarize yourself and your employees with the danger signs and important tips to protect them from the cold weather and potentially serious health threats.
Ogletree Deakins • November 23, 2011
Call for Felony Prosecution Power for MSHA Violations; Call for Public Hearings for Accident Investigations â€“ Subpoena Power; OSHA Update - Recordkeeping Enforcement; OSHA Update - BLS Workplace Injury Data for 2010.
Ogletree Deakins • October 27, 2011
By law, civil penalties can become final only when approved by the Federal Mine Safety and Health Review Commission. Thus, penalty assessments issued by MSHA are â€œproposedâ€ only. By a legal fiction, they can become final orders of the Federal Mine Safety and Health Review Commission, if not timely contested. Final penalties are to be based on consideration of six criteria in the Federal Mine Safety and Health Act: 1) history of violations; 2) size of business; 3) negligence; 4) ability to continue in business; 5) gravity; and 6) good faith in abatement. Operator contests typically dispute all or some of these findings.
Ogletree Deakins • October 27, 2011
Each year, OSHA revises its Site-Specific Targeting Directive based on the previous yearâ€™s data relating to workplace injuries and illnesses. OSHA â€œuses these data to calculate establishment-specific injury/illness rates, and in combination with other data sources, to target enforcement and compliance assistance activities.â€ Based on the results, locations with higher incident rates are scheduled for comprehensive inspections, including review of OSHA 300 logs for at least three of the past four years.
Littler Mendelson, P.C. • October 24, 2011
According to information released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the number of reported cases of private sector nonfatal occupational injuries and illnesses that occurred in 2010 declined once again from the prior year, continuing an 8-year trend. The BLS reports that in 2010, 3.5 injury and illness cases per 100 equivalent full-time workers were reported, down from 3.6 per 100 in 2009. The incident rate of injuries incurred only in the private sector remained unchanged between 2009 and 2010, with 3.4 reported cases per 100 full-time employees. Illness-only cases remained relatively unchanged as well. The only private industry sector that experienced an increase in its injury and illness incidence rate was manufacturing, which the BLS attributes to a larger decline in hours worked rather than the corresponding decline in reported injury and illness cases in that sector.
Ogletree Deakins • September 23, 2011
There are basically two types of civil penalty deadlines. There is a statutory deadline for operators to file notices of contest challenging the civil penalty and related citation and findings. There is also a deadline under the rules of the Federal Mine Safety and Health Review Commission for the Secretary of Labor (MSHA) to respond to operator contests by filing a petition for assessment of civil penalty with the Commission within 45 days. (The law actually calls for the Secretary to notify the Commission â€œimmediatelyâ€ upon receipt of an operator contest, but no consequences were established by Congress if this does not happen.)
Ogletree Deakins • September 23, 2011
Earlier this month, OSHA issued Enforcement Procedures for Investigating or Inspecting Workplace Violence Incidents. This new Directive is aimed at providing compliance officers guidance for responding to, and inspecting, allegations and incidents of workplace violence. In conjunction with the Directive, OSHA launched a new webpage focused on preventing workplace violence.
Constangy, Brooks & Smith, LLP • September 16, 2011
Last week OSHA announced its 2011 Site-Specific Targeting (SST) plan, the Agency's annual inspection program for general industry establishments with high numbers of injuries and illnesses. Whereas prior SSTs included only establishments with 40 or more employees, this year's SST has been expanded to include establishments with as few as 20 employees. The SST does not apply to employers in states with their own state occupational safety and health agency, although state agencies may choose to adopt the federal program in lieu of creating their own. Construction worksites are also excluded from the SST.
Jackson Lewis P.C. • September 15, 2011
In a case of first impression, the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission has established a three-part test for employers claiming third-party safety and health audits protected from disclosure by the attorney-client privilege. Applying underlying legal principles of privilege to the technical area of safety and health assessments, the Commission has set forth steps that all employers need to consider taking before conducting any safety and health audits of their operations. The case, Secretary of Labor v. Delek Refining, Ltd., OSHRC No. 09-0844, was decided on July 11, 2011.
Fisher & Phillips LLP • September 06, 2011
Retail jobs almost all require certain physical capabilities. These can include physical work such as moving heavy inventory, pushing a mop, bending to assist a customer in getting a product off the bottom shelf, or handling merchandise at the cash register. Employees with physical limitations that prevent them from performing all the functions of their job can be difficult to manage.
Ogletree Deakins • August 29, 2011
Large Rock Leaving Mine After a Blast is Declared an â€œAccidentâ€; OSHA Update.
Ogletree Deakins • August 01, 2011
New issues have prompted noteworthy rulings by administrative law judges. While judgeâ€™s decisions are not binding precedent, they can influence other judges and are sometimes cited by the Federal Mine Safety and Health Review Commission.
Ogletree Deakins • August 01, 2011
As part of the rulemaking process and pursuant to the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act (SBREFA), OSHA will soon convene a panel of small business members to review and comment on a draft of the Injury and Illness Prevention Program (I2P2) regulatory text it anticipates publishing as a proposed rule. The agency recently announced that it expects to provide SBREFA members this draft by mid-August. The I2P2 rule remains one of the agencyâ€™s top priorities. Agency officials have indicated that they want to issue a final I2P2 rule in the next four years.
Ogletree Deakins • June 21, 2011
MSHA Enforcement - Document Demands; OSHA Document Demands; OSHA Update - Confined Spaces; OMB Review of Silica Rule Extended; National Survey on Employer Safety and Health Practices; OSHA Takes Aim at the Primary Metals Industry.
Ogletree Deakins • May 25, 2011
MSHA Enforcement Update; OSHA Update - Heat Related Illnesses; I2P2 Remains on OSHA's Agenda for 2011; OSHA Enforcement Update.
Jackson Lewis P.C. • April 20, 2011
An Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) compliance directive requiring contractors performing residential construction to comply with the residential fall protection standard will take effect as scheduled on June 16, 2011. The Standard (29 C.F.R. Â§ 1926.501(b)(13), Duty to Have Fall Protection) generally requires that guardrails, safety nets or personal fall arrest systems be used on residential jobsites that are more than six feet off the ground.
Ogletree Deakins • April 15, 2011
MSHA Enforcement â€“ Whose Employees Are These?; OSHA Enforcement.
Ogletree Deakins • March 11, 2011
MSHA Budgetâ€”Oversightâ€”Internal Review; Air Contaminant Survey Requirements; Workplace Examinations; OSHA Budgetâ€”OSHA Enforcement; New Guidance for PPE.
Fisher & Phillips LLP • December 03, 2010
In 2008, an employee of a major retailer was trampled to death by a stampede of customers surging into the store looking for Black Friday deals. On the same day, two customers in another chain had a shooting match resulting in both dying, although it does not appear to have been a shopping-related incident.
Jackson Lewis P.C. • November 15, 2010
No, “I2P2” is not the cute little robot in the Star Wars movies. It is the moniker given by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration to its expected Injury and Illness Prevention Program. The agency is working on new regulatory requirements that may affect nearly every employer. The agency wants employers everywhere to undertake an overarching, programmatic approach to occupational safety and health, a framework for their businesses to incorporate hazard investigation, identification, remediation and prevention into workplace culture. OSHA Administrator Dr. David Michaels describes the program rule as a “risk-based system to address hazards” in which workers will play “an important role.” OSHA, he said, is “trying to get away from [a] ‘catch-me-if-you-can’” approach to dealing with workplace safety and health issues.
Jackson Lewis P.C. • September 17, 2010
Bedbug infestations reported recently in major cities, including New York, Detroit and Cincinnati, have again drawn public attention to this growing pestilential nuisance. A casual observer might assume that bedbugs would not concern a human resources professional, in-house counsel or office administrator. He would be wrong. Bedbugs are invading workplaces, too. Offices, retail stores and other establishments have reported their presence. As with any other issue that may affect the workplace, employers need to understand the nature of the problem and their responsibility for addressing it. Left unchecked, it can become the focal point of any number of workplace complaints, grievances and charges.
Fisher & Phillips LLP • September 03, 2010
13 Strategies To Improve Safety, Reduce Exposure, And Improve Profits
The new administration's focus at OSHA, and other government agencies, focuses less on compliance and increasingly more on enforcement. That means more inspections, more audits, and more fines. Here are some ways you can help your company stay out of trouble.
Krukowski & Costello, S.C. • August 20, 2010
In what some have characterized as a foundational step to returning to OSHA's broad-based ergonomics regulation rejected by Congress in 2001, OSHA has moved forward with its new final regulation for "musculoskeletal disorder" injury and illness recordkeeping, submitted to the White House Office of Management and Budget on July 14, 2010, for projected release by OSHA no later than next month.
Under the new regulation, 29 C.F.R. 1904.12, effective January 1, 2011, all covered non-partially exempt employers will be required to record musculoskeletal disorder injuries and illnesses in the new musculoskeletal disorder ("MSD") column added to the OSHA 300 Log and 300A Form.
Ogletree Deakins • August 03, 2010
Miner Safety and Health Act of 2010 Clears Committee on Party-Line Vote – Most Surface Mines and Non-Gassy Metal/Nonmetal Mines Excluded
Ogletree Deakins • August 03, 2010
On July 21, the House Committee on Education and Labor approved the Robert C. Byrd Miner Safety and Health Act of 2010 (H.R. 5663). The name of the bill is misleading, because in addition to addressing mine safety, the bill also proposes comprehensive revisions to the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 (OSH Act).
Ogletree Deakins • July 20, 2010
The House Education and Labor Committee, chaired by Representative George Miller of California, recently drafted a bill (H.R. 5663) entitled the “Miner Safety and Health Act of 2010.” The measure’s stated purpose is to improve safety compliance, “empower workers to raise safety concerns,” prevent tragedies and establish victims’ rights.
Fisher & Phillips LLP • June 02, 2010
As summer approaches, companies begin preparing for morale-building activities such as company-sponsored picnics, amusement park outings and other activities meant to build camaraderie and reduce stress. But employers should remember that any injuries sustained during such company-sponsored activities may need to be recorded on their Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) injury and illness logs.
Fisher & Phillips LLP • May 18, 2010
Arizona leads the nation in heat-related deaths, nearly all of which occur during the hot summer months. Companies with outdoor workers need to review their policies regarding the protection of workers from the elements.
Ogletree Deakins • May 18, 2010
The federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recently announced that it has, for the first time ever, opened an office in Nevada. The new office, which opened in early May, is located in Las Vegas.
Fisher & Phillips LLP • February 15, 2010
In the midst of finding childcare for children unexpectedly home from school, coping with business disruption, power outages, and dangerous streets, we often forget that winter storms, like hurricanes, pose special workplace hazards especially when employers begin to clean up and restore business. Many fatalities, injuries, and OSHA citations occur as employees perform non-routine tasks after the storm eases.
Constangy, Brooks & Smith, LLP • July 29, 2009
On July 20, 2009, OSHA announced its new Site-Specific Targeting (SST) Plan for General Industry worksites with 40 or more employees. The SST Plan is OSHA’s primary tool for targeting employers with high numbers of serious injuries and illnesses for on-site inspections. This Plan does not apply to Construction worksites or to states with their own state OSHA agency. The 2009 SST Plan is based on employers’ OSHA 300 Logs and the OSHA 300A Annual Summary information for calendar year 2007.
Fisher & Phillips LLP • June 01, 2009
Throughout his campaign, Sen. Barack Obama continually promised change if he was elected President, and he is now making good on that promise. If you read the safety-activist blogs and media reports, many seem to believe that OSHA is broken and the Obama Administration has to fix it. They cite the decrease in OSHA funding (adjusted for inflation) and a decrease in the number of OSHA inspectors as proof positive that this is not the OSHA that should be.
Fisher & Phillips LLP • November 05, 2008
Regardless of the outcome of the November Presidential election, an emboldened Congress will demand passage of numerous workplace-safety laws already introduced, including the radical Protecting American Workers Act. Observers also expect a shift in OSHA efforts from some cooperative programs to a more punitive and politicized enforcement effort, coupled with the departure of many evenhanded career professionals from OSHA and other agencies. Next to preparation for the possible passage of the Employee Free Choice Act (see Cute Titles for Bad Laws in May, 2008 Labor Letter) no area should receive more employer attention as 2008 comes to an end.
Ogletree Deakins • February 08, 2008
Most employers are required under the federal Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 to maintain an ongoing record of occupational injuries and illnesses. Employers must use the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) Form 300, the “Log of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses” to classify work-related injuries and illnesses. The OSHA Form 300 is also used to note the extent and severity of each case.