join our network! affiliate login  
Custom Search
GET OUR FREE EMAIL NEWSLETTERS!
Daily and Weekly Editions • Articles • Alerts • Expert Advice • Learn More

Total Articles: 149

Mine Safety Commission Overturns, Remands Parts of Judge’s Ruling

Citing its 1994 legal decision holding that the “wholesale incorporation of a litigant’s brief is a questionable judicial practice,” the Federal Mine Safety and Health Review Commission has remanded for further analysis a judge’s determinations regarding enforcement actions taken against a Virginia coal operator and vacated others.

OSHA Updates Its National Emphasis Program on Amputations

Noting that the manufacturing sector experienced more than twice the rate of amputations as that of the entire private sector in 2013, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration has updated its nine-year-old National Emphasis Program (NEP) on amputations.

OSHA Cites Newly Released Beryllium Proposal as Collaborative Effort

In what the Occupational Safety and Health Administration described as a collaboration among government, industry, and organized labor, the safety agency has proposed a comprehensive rule to reduce exposure to beryllium among employees in general industry.

Undaunted by Lawsuit, MSHA Boasts POV Reforms are ‘Real Game Changers’

Facing a lawsuit by the mining industry over a an amended rule targeting “pattern” violators of the Mine Safety and Health Administration’s (MSHA’s) safety standards, the agency has announced the revised rule is “a law that now works.”

OSHA Cites Newly Released Beryllium Proposal as Collaborative Effort

In what the Occupational Safety and Health Administration described as a collaboration among government, industry, and organized labor, the safety agency has proposed a comprehensive rule to reduce exposure to beryllium among employees in general industry.

MSHA Kicks Off Third Initiative in 14 Months to Stem Fatality Trend

After two failed attempts to stop a trend showing an increased number of fatalities in the Metal/Non-Metal (M/NM) sector of mining, the Mine Safety and Health Administration has launched a third initiative — this time, clearly intending a different outcome.

Judge Reproaches OSHA for 'Affirmative Misconduct' over Enforcement Action

Vacating citations against a Texas company, an administrative judge has lambasted the Occupational Safety and Health Administration for having “fallen short of any standard of decency, honor, or reliability” by citing the company for alleged violations occurring during a period in which OSHA had agreed in a written settlement the company could establish a program to prevent such violations.

OSHA Updates the National Emphasis Program on Amputations

OSHA’s National Emphasis Program (“NEP”) on Amputations has been in effect since 2006 but on August 13th the Agency issued an updated NEP (CPL 03-00-019) that significantly expands the industries targeted for inspections. The updated NEP applies to general industry workplaces in which any machinery or equipment likely to cause amputations is present. According to the NEP, targeted inspections will include an evaluation of employee exposures during operations such as normal operations; clearing jams; making adjustments while machinery is running; cleaning, oiling or greasing machines or machine pans; and locking out machinery to prevent accidental start-up.

OSHA Proposes New Rules Revising Recordkeeping Requirements

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has proposed new rules intended to clarify its recordkeeping obligations. If finalized, the new rules will allow OSHA to fine an employer for failing to record an injury or illness even outside of its six-month inspection time frame.

MSHA Launches Two New Safety and Health Initiatives

The Mine Safety and Health Administration has introduced a pair of initiatives, one in response to a recent increase in fatalities in the metal/nonmetal (M/NM) sector of mining, and the other following a report by an agency watchdog, which concluded MSHA could do more to address alleged

OSHA Moves to Enforce Workplace Violence Incidents in Healthcare

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s efforts to address workplace violence in the healthcare industry have received a boost from a recent administrative law judge’s decision affirming OSHA citations following an employee’s death at work and, in another case, from an OSHA settlement calling upon a healthcare provider to implement an employee workplace violence prevention program nationwide.

OSHA Issues Extensive Hazard Communication Directive

On July 20, 2015, OSHA published a long awaited Directive on the revised Hazard Communication Standard (“HCS”), Inspection Procedures for the Hazard Communication Standard (HCS 2012), CPL 02-02-079. The Directive is intended to provide inspection and enforcement guidance to compliance officers regarding the final Hazard Communication Standard published in March 2012. However, the Directive also serves as a valuable tool to employers implementing the requirements on the revised Hazard Communication Standard. The 124-page Directive provides guidance in the areas of Hazard Classification, Labels, Safety Data Sheets (“SDSs”) and Employee Training.

OSHA Attempts to Overturn AKM-Volks Decision through Proposed Rule

In 2012, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia held that OSHA could not issue citations for failing to record an injury or illness beyond the six-month statute of limitations set out in the statute. AKM LLC d/b/a Volks Constructors v. Sec’y of Labor, 675 F.3d 752 (D.C. Cir. 2012).

Refusal to Cooperate With OSHA Leads to Federal Criminal Contempt

For what is believed to be the first time in OSHA history, a company recently was found in criminal contempt for refusal to comply with a warrant obtained by OSHA inspectors to conduct an inspection. A Missouri foundry, its owner, and three representatives of an independent safety-consulting company were found in criminal contempt by a federal judge for refusing access to the site by OSHA inspectors. The U.S. District Court in Kansas City ordered Martin Foundry Co., Inc., owner Darrell Stone, and representatives of Compliance Professionals, Inc. to jointly pay $10,778 to reimburse departmental costs. In addition, Martin Foundry and Darrell Stone were fined $1,000 for their failure to cooperate. Each of the three consultants were fined $2,000 for willfully impeding OSHA’s investigation and refused to comply with the warrant.

OSHA Issues New Interpretations of its Process Safety Management Standard

OSHA has recently issued several memoranda updating guidance on its Process Safety Management (“PSM”) standard. On June 5, 2015, OSHA issued a memorandum to Regional Administrators explaining how inspectors should enforce recognized and generally accepted good engineering practices (“RAGAGEP”) requirements. Among other things, OSHA explained that when an employer’s internal standards are more stringent than the relevant published RAGAGEP and the employer fails to follow its own more stringent internal requirements, OSHA may cite the employer under the relevant section of the PSM standard. A copy of the June 5, 2015 memorandum can be found online.

MSHA Workplace Examination "Clarification" Places Enforcement Target Squarely on Operators

Over the years, the Mine Safety Health Administration (MSHA) has tried on two different occasions to overhaul the workplace examination standard at 30 CFR §56/57.18002 by issuing program policy letters. The agency’s primary goal in each of those efforts was to expand the recordkeeping requirement in the regulation to require operators to record conditions identified in the examination. In each case, following industry challenges, the agency was forced to withdraw its new policy and concede that the regulation does not contain such a requirement. These concessions were ultimately based on the recognition that such substantive changes to the regulatory requirements of the standard would necessitate notice and comment rulemaking that afforded stakeholders appropriate input.

Citing ‘Questionable Practices,’ Judge Raises Coal Contractor’s Fine

An administrative law judge for the Federal Mine Safety and Health Commission raised a proposed fine against a West Virginia trucking company by nearly $10,000 after questioning the credibility of a company supervisor and its mechanic and determining the firm had either misplaced or destroyed potentially compromising pre-operational (pre-op) examination records about the condition of brakes on a haul truck. Secretary of Labor v. Lincoln Leasing Co., Inc., No. WEVA 2012-1783 (FMSHRC July 13, 2015).

OSHA Enforcement Directive on HazCom Compliance a Mixed Blessing

A new directive from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration on enforcing the agency’s Hazard Communication (HazCom) standard describes requirements that appear to impose new, unforeseen paperwork and compliance burdens on employers even while providing useful clarifications on some issues for employers and enforcement personnel.

Workplace Safety and Health Update - Week of July 20, 2015

We are pleased to bring you our Workplace Safety and Health Update. With experienced OSHA and MSHA attorneys located strategically throughout the nation, Jackson Lewis is uniquely positioned to serve all of an employer’s workplace safety and health needs.

Expansion of Mine Safety Workplace Exam Requirements Likely to be Announced

The Mine Safety and Health Administration appears to be readying a new policy that could significantly expand and re-interpret mine operator responsibilities in conducting workplace examinations.

Here We Go Again—The Robert C. Byrd Mine Safety Protection Act

For the fourth time since the Upper Big Branch coal mine explosion in April 2010, a Congressional bill proposes to further amend the Federal Mine Safety and Health Act of 1977. The Robert C. Byrd Mine Safety Protection Act was first introduced on December 3, 2010, and again on April 15, 2011, and March 21, 2013, without variation in the proposed law and without success.

OSHA Offers Free On-Site Consultations to Improve Workplace Safety

Through its On-Site Consultation program, OSHA wants to help small to medium-sized businesses improve and maintain workplace safety standards. In most cases, OSHA representatives will travel directly to your workplace and conduct a detailed inspection. The OSHA representative will identify potential hazards, discuss potential solutions, and review and improve injury prevention programs. This free service is confidential and operates separately from OSHA’s inspection branch. Neither identifying information nor discovered hazards will be routinely reported to OSHA inspection staff. Additionally, no citations are issued during the consultation.

Workplace Safety and Health Update - Week of July 13, 2015

We are pleased to bring you our Workplace Safety and Health Update. With experienced OSHA and MSHA attorneys located strategically throughout the nation, Jackson Lewis is uniquely positioned to serve all of an employer’s workplace safety and health needs.

Summer is Coming. And OSHA Wants to Help Workers to Beat the Heat

It may not be officially summer just yet, but with the rising temperatures and bright sunny days, it is just around the corner. And while the summer heat means days spent at the beach and backyard barbeques, it also means an increased risk of heat-related illness and death. According to OSHA, each year, dozens of workers die and thousands more become ill due to working in the heat. While the majority of these incidents are from the construction industry, this issue affects all industries that involve outdoor work. To raise awareness and help protect workers, OSHA has partnered with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the National Weather Service. This is the fifth year these organizations have joined together to raise awareness in the prevention of heat-related injury and death at the workplace.

OSHA Rule Regarding Confined Spaces "Hooked" In Texas

Recently, the Texas Association of Builders (“TAB”) filed a petition in the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals seeking a review of a newly finalized OSHA rule, which was aimed at reducing confined space risks in construction activities. The TAB petition potentially hinders the rule’s implementation, delaying years’ worth of the rule’s development by the Bush and Obama Administrations.

OSHA Issues Guidance on Restroom Access for Transgender Workers

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has published guidance for employers on best practices regarding restroom access for transgender workers. Employers must abide by OSHA's sanitation standard, which requires that all covered employers provide employees with sanitary and available toilet facilities. The guidance clarifies that imposing unreasonable restrictions on a transgender employee's use of toilet facilities violates the sanitation standard.

Despite Fewer Citations Issued Since 2008, the Percentage of "Significant and Substantial" Citations Is Holding Steady

The Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) recently released mining industry and enforcement data that reflects noteworthy changes the industry has experienced over the last six years. Of particular significance in the data from an enforcement perspective is the fact that, while the overall number of mines has decreased and there has been a reduction in numbers of citations and total civil penalties, the percentage of citations marked “significant and substantial” (S&S) has held steady across the industry. In sum, the number of S&S citations has not decreased at the rate one would expect given the overall reduction in alleged violations.

OSHA Issues Guidelines for Providing Restroom Access to Transgender Employees

Continuing the trend by federal agencies toward greater protections for transgender employees, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) released “A Guide to Restroom Access for Transgender Workers” on June 1, 2015.

So you've reported an accident to OSHA: what happens next, and how do you respond?

OSHA’s “Interim Enforcement Procedures” Prioritize Its Responses to Reported Accidents, Calling for Inspections in Some Cases and Submission of the Employer’s Own Accident Investigation Report in Others

OSHA Issues Final Rule to Increase Protections Afforded to Construction Workers in Confined Spaces

Working in confined spaces exposes construction workers to many hazards, including asphyxiation, explosions, electrocutions and toxic substances. Until recently OSHA had one provision in its construction standards setting forth a general training requirement when employees worked in confined spaces. This provision (29 CFR 1926.21(b)(6)) provided limited guidance, instructing employers to train employees as to the nature of the hazards involved, the necessary precautions to be taken and in the use of required protective emergency equipment.

OSHA Announces Final Rule for Confined Spaces in Construction

On May 1, 2015, Dr. David Michaels, the head of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), and Deputy Secretary of Labor Christopher P. Lu announced the issuance of OSHA’s long-awaited Confined Spaces in Construction standard. Prior to issuing this new standard, OSHA had one existing provision in its construction standards for a general training requirement applicable to employees working in confined spaces. The new standard was published in the Federal Register on May 4, 2015, and becomes effective on August 3, 2015.

Death On the Job: Not Quite as Bad as it Sounds

I was shocked this morning on one of the business news summaries I get to see a report that 150 Americans die from hazardous working conditions each day. To me that was a shocking figure.

OSHA Citation to General Contractor Underscores the Need for Proper Equipment and Safety and Health Programs

OSHA recently cited a Florida general contractor – retained to restore the concrete finish on high-rise apartment buildings – for 17 “serious” safety and health violations and proposed penalties of $119,000. (A “serious” violation occurs when there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.)

OSHA Announces Request for Information on Communication Tower Safety

On April 15, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) published in the Federal Register a Request for Information (RFI) on Communication Tower Safety. The agency requests that the communication tower industry and the general public send in comments and information by June 15, 2015, about the hazards and safety issues for employees working on communication towers.

OSHA Updates its Guidelines for Protecting Workers from Workplace Violence

Healthcare and social service workers face significant risks of job-related violence and it is OSHA’s stated mission to help employers address these serious hazards. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, more than 23,000 significant injuries due to assault at work occurred in 2013. Notably, more than 70 percent of these assaults were in the healthcare and social service sectors. Workers in these areas are reportedly more than 4 times as likely to be injured due to violence in the workplace than the average private sector worker.

Updates and Studies: Top OSHA-Related News for the Week

The following are highlights of the OSHA-related news for the week

U.S. Department of Labor Files OSHA Whistleblower Suit in New York Federal Court

OSHA is responsible for enforcing the whistleblower provisions of the Occupational Safety and Health Act and twenty-one other statutes which are designed to protect employees who report violations of various laws in a broad variety of areas. Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act, the U.S. Department of Labor is authorized to file suit against employers who retaliate against whistleblower employees.

OSHA To Host Second Annual Fall Safety Stand-Down in May 2015

From May 4-15, 2015, OSHA will be hosting its second annual National Safety Stand-Down to prevent falls in construction. According to OSHA, jobsite fatalities caused by falls from elevation accounted for 279 of the 806 construction fatalities recorded in 2012. Additionally, fall prevention safety standard violations were among the top 10 citations issued by OSHA in fiscal year 2014.

Tip of the Month: Are You Aware of the New OSHA Reporting Requirements?

OSHA’s new reporting rules expand the list of workplace-related incidents which must be reported to OSHA. Employers should be aware that incidents which in the past did not warrant contacting OSHA must now be reported to the agency.

Lead Exposure Brings $287,440 in Fines from OSHA

Lead exposure can cause long term damage to the central nervous system, urinary, blood and reproductive systems. Without proper protection, employees who encounter lead in the work place can bring this toxic metal home on their clothes, hair and hands. Family members, including pregnant women and children, are put at risk for lead poisoning as a result.

Mine Safety eAuthority (March 2015)

MSHA Tackles Rising Metal/Nonmetal Fatalities.

OSHA's New Reporting Rules Are in Effect—What Will OSHA Do With the Data?

On January 1, 2015, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) revised regulation for reporting work-related injuries went into effect. Employers are now required to report fatalities as well as the following types of incidents:

OSHA Tweets New Year’s Reporting Resolutions

As of January 1, 2015, OSHA is setting forth new reporting requirements for employers. According to a recent OSHA “Tweet”, employers will be required to report all work-related fatalities within eight hours and all in-patient hospitalizations, amputations and losses of an eye within 24 hours of learning of the aforementioned accidents. Employers are advised that reporting to OSHA may be performed through the OSHA website or by contacting OSHA via telephone.

OSHA Standards Protect Workers from Exposure to Ebola

Can an employer receive an OSHA citation for failing to protect its employees from exposure to the Ebola virus? Surprisingly, the answer is yes. While most workers in the United States are unlikely to encounter the Ebola virus, workers whose jobs involve healthcare, airline and other transportation operations, cleaning, and environmental services, may be at higher risk for exposure. Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act (“OSH Act”), employers are responsible for ensuring that workers are protected from exposure to the virus.

Contesting an OSHA Citation – Some Basics

An OSHA citation usually comes at the worst time. Actually, is there ever a good time? Probably not. But, what if after receiving a citation you realize you do not agree with it? Or, perhaps, you cannot deny that the violative conduct occurred, but you believe certain mitigating factors should be taken into account that might warrant dismissal of the citation or a reduction of the penalty. If these thoughts are coming to mind, you may have a basis to challenge the citation.

Expect the Best, Prepare for the Worst: OSHA Enforcement Looms Over Black Friday

“Black Friday” is the day after Thanksgiving and considered by many to be the start of the holiday shopping season. In recent times, the term “Black Friday” has been associated with the concept that retailers’ shift from operating at a loss (or in the “red”) to operating with a profit (in the “black”). The term, however, originated in the 1960s to describe the increased traffic and crowds caused by the combination of shoppers and football fans descending on Philadelphia to attend the annual Army-Navy football game that was traditionally played on the Saturday following Thanksgiving.

‘Tis the (Retail) Season, Part I: OSHA’s Tips for a Safe Black Friday

In advance of the holiday season, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is reminding retail employers to take precautions to prevent workplace injuries during major sales events, including Black Friday. According to a news release issued by OSHA on November 17, 2014, “[t]ragic consequences and risk to workers can occur if the proper safety procedures are ignored.” The release also reminds retailers about the 2008 trampling death of a retail worker when shoppers rushed through the store to take advantage of Black Friday sales. “During the hectic shopping season, retail workers should not be put at risk of injury or death,” said Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Dr. David Michaels. “OSHA urges retailers to take the time to adopt a crowd management plan and follow a few simple guidelines to prevent unnecessary harm to retail employees.”

Mine Fatalities: Causes, Prevention, and MSHA Enforcement

A number of fatal mine accidents occurred in the United States between January 1 and September 22, 2014.

Ebola Preparedness

How should an employer respond when it learns that an employee is planning a trip to West Africa to visit family? What if other employees refuse to come to work because they fear that the returning employee may have been exposed to Ebola Virus Disease? Recognizing that the healthcare setting presents special challenges related to infection control and clinical care, how can any employer prepare in advance for situations like those described above?

Tower Talks: DOL, FCC, Telecommunications Industry Join Forces to Prevent Tower Worker Fatalities

In the words of U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez, “[t]he cell phones in our pockets can’t come at the cost of a worker’s life.” On October 14, 2014, the Department of Labor, Federal Communications Commission, and telecommunications industry leaders joined forces to discuss solutions to the surging trend of tragic deaths among cellular phone tower workers.

Ebola Update: CDC to Implement Post-Travel Monitoring Program

On October 22, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a press release indicating that, effective Monday, October 27, a new program will be in place through which federal and state health authorities will monitor— for a period of 21 days—all travelers returning from the West African countries affected by Ebola. This active post-arrival monitoring program “is an approach in which state and local health officials maintain daily contact with all travelers from the three affected countries for the entire 21 days following their last possible date of exposure to Ebola virus.” The CDC will provide travelers whose travel originates in Liberia, Sierra Leone, or Guinea with a kit upon arrival to the United States that contains a thermometer, education materials, a symptom log, and health authority contact information.

Ebola Virus: Frequently Asked Questions

Ebola virus disease (formerly known as Ebola haemorrhagic fever) is a severe, often fatal illness, with a death rate of up to 90%. The illness affects humans and nonhuman primates (monkeys, gorillas, and chimpanzees).

Ebola Resource Center

Fisher & Phillips is monitoring the Ebola situation and will be updating the resource center on a regular basis. The materials on this page have been generated from Fisher & Phillips attorneys and other reliable sources to address the rising concerns of employers regarding the Ebola outbreak. Click on any of the links below to learn more.

OSHA Guidance on Ebola in the Workplace

OSHA has just released guidelines on protecting workers from Ebola in the workplace. Noting that employers are responsible for protecting workers from exposure to Ebola and chemicals used for cleaning and disinfecting, OSHA’s guidelines address cleaning and disinfecting surfaces, areas, and or materials possibly contaminated from blood, urine, feces, vomit, and other bodily fluids that may contain Ebola. In addition, OSHA’s guidelines address the proper waste disposal of potentially contaminated objects. (See OSHA’s Fact Sheet: Cleaning and Decontamination of Ebola on Surfaces.)

Easing Ebola Fears in the Workplace

Howard Mavity was quoted in the Employee Benefit News article "Easing Ebola Fears in the Workplace" on October 17, 2014. The article addressed the rising concerns of employers regarding the Ebola outbreak and reinforced the importance of re-examining workplace travel policies and pandemic plans.

Ebola, Meet The ADA: Advice For Employers On Handling The Outbreak

Kevin Troutman and Matthew Korn’s article “Ebola, Meet The ADA: Advice For Employers On Handling The Outbreak” was featured in Forbes on October 16, 2014.

Are You Prepared to Deal with Potential Exposure to Ebola in the Workplace?

Executive Summary: With the diagnosis of the second Ebola case in the United States on October 12, 2014 – one in which a healthcare worker contracted the lethal disease while performing her job duties – U.S. employers are examining what necessary precautions should be taken to control and prevent the spread of the disease. Perhaps the most important step for employers right now is to become educated and stay informed.

The Employer’s Reference Guide to Information About Ebola

Concerns related to the Ebola outbreak are increasing among both employers and employees in the United States. The outbreak is currently most active in the West African nations of Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria, and Sierra Leone. However, there has been at least one confirmed death from the disease in the United States, and it has recently been reported that an American nurse in Texas who assisted in treating the patient who passed away also recently tested positive for Ebola. The key to preventing the spread of Ebola—as with many communicable diseases—is identifying and isolating potential cases as quickly as possible.

Is your workforce knowledgeable about Ebola . . . and should it be?

Concerns related to the Ebola outbreak are increasing on the part of both employers and employees in the U.S.. While the outbreak is most active in the West African nations of Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria, and Sierra Leone, there has been at least one confirmed case in the United States. The key to preventing the spread of Ebola – as with many communicable diseases – is identifying and isolating potential cases as quickly as possible.

Ebola: Emerging Concerns for Healthcare Facilities and Employers

Recent months have been filled with news reports about the Ebola virus outbreak in West Africa. On August 8, 2014, the World Health Organization (WHO) stated that the spread of the Ebola virus in West Africa had become an “international health emergency,” and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) declared the outbreak the “first Ebola epidemic the world has ever known.” Over 3,300 people have perished from the virus so far, and the virus continues to spread in West Africa at an alarming rate. The BBC reported earlier this week that five people are now being infected every hour in Sierra Leone.

Court of Appeal: Federal OSHA preempts Unfair Competition Claims

California's unfair competition law, Business and Professions Code section 17200, is quite broad. Plaintiffs can bring claims for injunctive relief and restitution for just about anything they can prove is unlawful, unfair, or fraudulent.

Federal OSHA Proposes to Take Over Enforcement of Construction Standards in Arizona

On August 21, 2014, the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) proposed to revoke its approval of Arizona’s state occupational health and safety plan with respect to construction. If OSHA follows through on this proposal, Arizona employers that are engaged in construction work and now are subject only to regulation by the Arizona Department of Occupational Safety and Health (ADOSH) will become subject to federal OSHA enforcement and regulation.

Transportation employers, can you survive the federal audit “tag team”?

The federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration are tag-teaming transportation employers. They’ve signed a Memorandum of Understanding in which they agree to share information about allegations of safety, coercion, and retaliation.

Comment Period Extended on Proposed Rule to Improve Tracking of Workplace Injuries and Illnesses

OSHA has announced that it will extend the comment period on the proposed rule to improve the tracking of workplace injuries and illnesses to Oct. 14, 2014. The proposal, published on Nov. 8, 2013, would amend OSHA’s recordkeeping regulation to add requirements for the electronic submission of injury and illness information that employers are already required to keep.

Brooklyn Medical Facility Cited by OSHA for Inadequate Workplace Violence Safeguards

Employees of a Brooklyn medical facility were allegedly exposed to head, eye, face and groin injuries and intimidation and threats during routine interactions with patients and visitors. An inspection by OSHA reportedly found approximately 40 incidents of workplace violence between February 7 and April 12, 2014. These incidents involved employees who were threatened or physically and verbally assaulted by patients and visitors, or when breaking up altercations between patients. The most serious incident was an assault of a nurse, who sustained severe brain injuries when she was attacked while working. As a result of its alleged failure to adequately protect its employees against workplace violence, the medical center faces $78,000 in fines.

OSHA Communicates New Instruction for Communication Tower Personnel Hoists

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.

Keep Your (Employees) Cool This Summer

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.

If You Can’t Stand the Heat . . .You’re Not Alone: OSHA Kicks Off its Annual Heat Illness Campaign

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).

MSHA Assistant District Manager Asserts That Competent Persons Performing Workplace Exams Are Agents of the Operator

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.

OSHA Agrees To Refer Untimely Whistleblowers to the NLRB

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.

Tips For Keeping Your Employees Safe And Cool During The Summer

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.

Miners Can Prevent Fatal Accidents

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.

OSHA and the NLRB Offer Safety Whistleblower Plaintiffs a Second Bite of the Apple by Resurrecting Untimely Whistleblower Claims

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.

OSHA and NLRB referral agreement could extend NLRB’s reach into workplace safety issues.

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.

How to Manage Your Off-Site Employees' Safety

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?

How to Be Prepared if a Non-Employee Union Agent Shows Up with OSHA at an Inspection

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.

Is OSHA's Temp Worker Initiative Foreshadowing Things To Come?

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.

My Supervisor Violated the OSHA Standard. What Do I Do Now?

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.

The Lion Bite Case Sleeps in Nevada, But It’s a Whale of a Story

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.

OSHA Tasked by Congress to Protect Whistleblowers

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.

OSHA Signals an Increased Focus on Hospital Industry

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.

OSHA creates new on-line resource for hospitals and healthcare entities.

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.

OSHA Extends Silica Rule Comment Deadline to February 11

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.

Are Your Employees Properly Trained to Ensure Their Safety at Work? If Not, Employer Penalties May Not Simply be Fines, but Imprisonment

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.

OSHA's new online form provides an easy method to workers for filing whistleblower retaliation claims.

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.

So You Think OSHA Doesn't Apply? ... Here Are Four Ways It Does

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.

How To Manage An OSHA Inspection

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?

OSHA Proposes Further Restriction of Silica Exposures

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.

Federal Court in Minnesota Provides Guidance on Non-Injury Retaliation Claims Under FRSA

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).

Tracking Patterns of Violations in Mines

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.

Even When Supervisors Foul Up, OSHA Has to Prove Their Case

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.

MSHA Demands for Company Files Upheld by Federal Appellate Court

“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.

Why Safety Requires Consistent Discipline

An effective safety process requires consistent discipline to support other company safety efforts, but it doesn’t always happen.

Non-Union Employees at Worksite Safety Inspections Contradicts OSHA Regulation and Creates Host of Issues for Employers

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.

Escalating Enforcement by MSHA of Prohibition against Advance Notice of Inspection

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.

OSHA Opens Worksites to Allow Union Representatives to Participate in Walk-around Inspections of Non-Union Companies

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.

OSHA Says In A New Interpretation Letter That Outside Union Representatives Can Participate In OSHA Inspections At Non-Union Facilities

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.

Union Reps Have Access to Non-Union Workplaces During OSHA "Walkaround" Inspections, Agency Says

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.

Cussing Out Your Employee May Get You Sued...By OSHA?

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.

MSHA's Still Making Its POV List, But No Longer Checking it Twice

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).

Employment Law Made Un-Scary: OSHA

Everything you need to know about OSHA in one handy post.

Getting Off OSHA's "Black List"

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.

MSHA/OSHA Report (August 21, 2012)

MSHA Update; 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.

OSHA Ratchets Up Heat-Related Inspections; Expect State Plans Like Nevada to Follow

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.

OSHA's New Heat Safety Tool for Smartphones

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.

OSHA Whistleblower Protections In Schools

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.

Top 10 OSHA Citations In The Healthcare Industry, Part 2

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).

Mine Operators: No-Fault Liability Extended to Independent Contractors

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.

Employers Need to Be Aware of New Modifications to OSHA's Hazard Communication Standard

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.

New Rules On Chemical Safety Board Investigations

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.

OSHA Forecast For 2012: Cloudy With Possible Storms

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.

OSHA Issues a New Guidance Memo on Safety Incentive Programs

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 . . . . "

New OSHA HazCom Rule: What It Means for Employers

The what, when and why of the new OSHA Hazardous Communication standard

The Wait Is Over – OSHA Publishes Final Hazard Communication Standard

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.

OSHA's Twin Sister Is In Your Backyard

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.

MSHA/OSHA Report (February 2012)

Criminal Conspiracy Charged; OSHA Releases Videos on Respirators;Posting Injury and Illness Summary.

Top 10 OSHA Citations In The Healthcare Industry

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.

MSHA/OSHA Report (January 2012)

Mine Safety Disclosures Required in SEC Reports; OSHA Issues I2P2 White Paper and Moves Forward with Small Business Review.

OSHA Announces New Focus Areas

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.

MSHA/OSHA Report (December 2011)

MSHA Flagrant Violation Policy for $220,000 Penalties Rejected; New Rim Wheel Service Guidance; OSHA Expands National Emphasis Program (NEP) for Hazardous Chemicals.

OSHA Compliance For Restaurants

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 – and these issues are not limited to the large institutional setting.

Tips For Protecting Your Workers From The Cold

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.

MSHA/OSHA Report

Call for Felony Prosecution Power for MSHA Violations; Call for Public Hearings for Accident Investigations – Subpoena Power; OSHA Update - Recordkeeping Enforcement; OSHA Update - BLS Workplace Injury Data for 2010.

MSHA Update - Issues of Fairness with Regular and Special Assessments Review

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 “proposed” 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.

OSHA 2011 Site-Specific Targeting Directive

Each year, OSHA revises its Site-Specific Targeting Directive based on the previous year’s data relating to workplace injuries and illnesses. OSHA “uses these data to calculate establishment-specific injury/illness rates, and in combination with other data sources, to target enforcement and compliance assistance activities.” 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.

MSHA Update - Civil Penalty Deadlines

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 “immediately” upon receipt of an operator contest, but no consequences were established by Congress if this does not happen.)

OSHA Update - Employers as Guardians Against Violence

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.

OSHA'S 2011 Site-Specific Targeting Plan

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.

Retail Industry - The Injured Worker: Practical Approaches For Avoiding Lawsuits

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.

MSHA/OSHA Report (August 2011).

Large Rock Leaving Mine After a Blast is Declared an “Accident”; OSHA Update.

MSHA Update

New issues have prompted noteworthy rulings by administrative law judges. While judge’s decisions are not binding precedent, they can influence other judges and are sometimes cited by the Federal Mine Safety and Health Review Commission.

OSHA Update - Draft Proposed I2P2 Regulation Is Expected by Mid-August

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 agency’s top priorities. Agency officials have indicated that they want to issue a final I2P2 rule in the next four years.

MSHA/OSHA Report (June 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.

MSHA/OSHA Report

MSHA Enforcement Update; OSHA Update - Heat Related Illnesses; I2P2 Remains on OSHA's Agenda for 2011; OSHA Enforcement Update.

MSHA/OSHA Report (April 2011)

MSHA Enforcement – Whose Employees Are These?; OSHA Enforcement.

MSHA/OSHA Report (March 2011).

MSHA Budget—Oversight—Internal Review; Air Contaminant Survey Requirements; Workplace Examinations; OSHA Budget—OSHA Enforcement; New Guidance for PPE.

Crowd Control Tips From OSHA

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.

The Lucky 13.

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.

Mine Safety eAuthority (July 2010).

Miner Safety and Health Act of 2010 Clears Committee on Party-Line Vote – Most Surface Mines and Non-Gassy Metal/Nonmetal Mines Excluded

New Legislation Proposes Sweeping Changes to OSH Act

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).

Miner Act 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.

Don't Let OSHA Spoil Your Summer Fun.

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.

Shelter From The Sun: Heat Protection for Employees in Arizona.

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.

Federal Government Announces A New Nevada OSHA Office: What This Means To You.

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.

Don't Let Employees Get Hurt As You Dig Out.

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.

OSHA’s 2009 Site-Specific Targeting Plan.

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.

Retail Industry Update: There's A New Sheriff In Town - President Obama's Enforcement-Driven OSHA.

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.

Disciplining Unsafe Behavior: Cornerstone of an Effective Safety Program.

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.

OSHA Form 300A Must Be Posted By February 1, 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.
    SORT ARTICLES
  • No Subtopics.