Total Articles: 16
Fisher Phillips • June 14, 2017
The federal agency that reviews OSHA safety violation cases, also known as the OSH Review Commission, recently adopted the decision of one of its Administrative Law Judges who applied 5th Circuit precedent to reject a safety violation citation against a construction employer working in Texas. The June 1, 2017 decision is no doubt significant for the construction industry, as the Review Commission held that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) could not cite a general construction contractor for an alleged safety violation under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 (OSH Act) when the general contractor’s own employees were not exposed (Secretary of Labor v. Hensel Phelps Construction Co.)
Jackson Lewis P.C. • May 18, 2016
August 1, 2016, is the effective date for imposition of higher fines by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, but violations alleged in inspections occurring as recently as this February may be subject to the increased fees, according to OSHA. That is because OSHA can take as long as six months after the start of an inspection to issue citations and propose penalties.
Jackson Lewis P.C. • April 20, 2016
Under the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015 OSHA is required to increase civil penalties for the first time since 1990 and a one-time catch-up adjustment will occur in August 2016. Penalties are expected to be increased by roughly 80 percent, meaning a serious citation of $7,000 may now be $12,500 and a $70,000 willful violation may now be $125,000. The precise penalty amount will be known when OSHA publishes this information in the Federal Register on or before July 1, 2016.
Fisher Phillips • April 14, 2016
Travis Vance’s Workplace Safety and Health Law Blog post, "Is OSHA Improperly Expanding the Scope of its Inspections?” was picked up by USPOULTRY Wire on April 13, 2016.
Nexsen Pruet • October 28, 2015
In recent months, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) cited several agribusiness employers for alleged violations of its standards, proposing significant penalties against them.
Jackson Lewis P.C. • October 14, 2015
The number of process safety management compliance inspections at oil refineries and chemical plants, as well as inspections involving workplace violence and ergonomics, are likely to increase under a new inspection strategy launched October 1 by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.
Jackson Lewis P.C. • October 05, 2015
OSHA announced this week a shift in how it will evaluate inspections, recognizing that inspections are not all equal and that more-complex inspections deserve more weight. The complexity of an inspection affects the amount of time, manpower and other resources required by OSHA and this new tiered inspection system will reflect this complexity. Under the new system, “Enforcement Units” will be assigned to an inspection; the simplest inspection will be one unit and the most complex inspection could be as many as nine units. Dr. Michaels believes that this will allow OSHA to focus on “more impactful inspections” rather than the number of inspection completed each year.
Goldberg Segalla LLP • June 29, 2015
As announced a few days ago, OSHA is expanding its use of enforcement resources in hospitals and nursing homes to focus on the following recognized hazards: i) musculoskeletal disorders related to patient or resident handling; ii) bloodborne pathogens; iii) workplace violence; iv) tuberculosis; and v) slips, trips, and falls.
Goldberg Segalla LLP • June 01, 2015
OSHA recently investigated a DuPont facility after four workers were killed by the release of a lethal gas. OSHA cited DuPont for 11 safety violations and fined them $99,000. Nine of these violations were classified as “serious” (OSHA defines a serious violation as when the workplace hazard could cause an accident or illness that would most likely result in death or serious physical harm), while one was a repeat violation.
Fisher Phillips • March 02, 2015
Many articles on handling OSHA inspections provide the same basic guidelines and little explanation of why employers should take certain steps. You already know to take photos whenever the Compliance Officer (CO) 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?
Goldberg Segalla LLP • October 15, 2014
Two recent court cases upheld citations that were issued for violations of OSHA’s fall protection standard and a willful citation for exposing workers to excessive heat.
Fisher Phillips • May 29, 2013
In a new letter of interpretation publically released on April 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.
Ogletree Deakins • October 17, 2011
On September 8, 2011, the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued its inaugural written enforcement directive for in-cidents of workplace violence. The directive will be used by district supervisors and area directors in evaluating whether to conduct an investigation into allegations of workplace violence. Moreover, the directive lists inspection procedures to be followed by compliance officers while conducting inspections as well as potential methods of abatement available to employers.
Fisher Phillips • October 08, 2010
On September 29, 2010, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) took the next step in its 22-month effort to increase penalties and more vigorously enforce the OSH Act. OSHA head Dr. David Michaels sent to all of OSHA's Regional Administrators and the State Plan Administrators a memorandum outlining the deployment of the new Administrative Penalty. Effective October 1, 2010, all OSHA Area offices are directed to utilize the new penalty policy and the associated calculation system.
Jones Walker • May 27, 2010
OSHA recognizes that five to ten million workers are exposed to heat-related illnesses each year. Due to the belief
that such illnesses are preventable occupational health hazards, effective March 23, 2010, OSHA established a
Regional Emphasis Program (“REP”) for outdoor heat-related health hazards. The program applies to all worksites in
Region VI, which is comprised of Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Texas, and those worksites in New Mexico that
are under OSHA’s jurisdiction. The REP is designed to prevent employees from developing heat cramps, heat
exhaustion, and heat stroke.
Fisher Phillips • November 19, 2009
According to Occupational Safety and Health Administration statistics, nearly 20 percent of all OSHA inspections are prompted by a complaint, typically from a current or former employee. Pending legislation that proposes dramatic increases in employee involvement in the inspection and citation process threatens to raise this percentage and increase the likelihood of unfavorable inspection results and more severe penalties, as a direct consequence of individual employee input. Proposed whistleblower protections that protect employees from retaliation if they make a complaint or get involved will likely bolster employee confidence to complain and participate in inspections. This increased employee involvement and a change in whistleblower protections, coupled with the anticipated overall swell in OSHA enforcement activity and increased penalties, may potentially expose employers to significantly greater liability for safety infractions than in the past, as well as create substantial employee relations problems.