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Coronavirus Concerns in the Workplace

News of an outbreak of a new coronavirus first identified in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China raises issues for employers and employees about the appropriate workplace responses.

Coronavirus Guide For Employers: Be Proactive, But Don’t Panic

Although news outlets may be preoccupied with alarming updates about the spread of coronavirus – including several cases identified in the United States – employers don’t need to panic quite yet. As of today, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has labeled the current coronavirus outbreak as a serious public health threat but one where the immediate health risk to the general American public is considered low.

Coronavirus Raises Privacy Concerns for Healthcare Providers and their Workers

The outbreak of a new coronavirus that is believed to have began in central Chinese city of Wuhan and now appears to be spreading to the United States is driving concerns for organizations around preparedness regarding their operations, their customers, and their employees. Both the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the State Department have issued travel advisories, and the CDC asks everyone who traveled to Wuhan in the last 14 days and experiences symptoms to seek medical care immediately.

Bureau of Labor Statistics Releases Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries Report

On December 17, 2019, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) released its Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries Report for 2018.

Review Commission Gains Quorum After Senate Confirmations

Since April of 2019, the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission (“Commission”) has been a panel of one. After Chairwoman Heather MacDougall resigned from the Commission on March 31, 2019 and Commission Cynthia Attwood’s term ended in April of 2019, the Commission was left with one member, Commissioner James Sullivan, Jr. In July 2019, Mr. Sullivan was elevated to Chairman of the Commission and has sat in that position without a quorum since then. But that will soon change as the Senate has confirmed two appointees, both familiar faces to the Commission.

OSHA Tweets Reminder of March 2 Deadline for OSHA 300A Summaries

On January 7, 2020 OSHA used its Twitter account to remind covered employers to electronically submit the OSHA 300A summary for 2019 by no later than March 2, 2020. Covered employers for this purpose are those with establishments employing 250 or more workers and/or establishments employing 20 to 249 workers in certain industries with historically high rates of injury, including the construction, manufacturing, transportation, and healthcare industries.

OSHA Penalty Increase Effective Tomorrow

The Inflation Adjustment Act requires the Department of Labor to annually adjust its civil monetary penalties to adjust for inflation no later than January 15 of each year. Today, the Federal Register published the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act Annual Adjustments for 2020. This final rule increases civil penalties the Department of Labor assesses including those issued by OSHA based on workplace inspections and potential violations of safety and health standards. The rule is effective today and the increased penalty rates will apply to any penalties assessed after the effective date of the rule. So beginning tomorrow, OSHA civil penalties will increase.

OSHA Collecting Final Input as it Considers Rule on Occupational Exposure to Beryllium in the Construction and Shipyard Industries

On October 8, 2019, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued a new Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on Occupational Exposure to Beryllium and Beryllium Compounds in Construction and Shipyard Sectors, 84 Fed. Reg. 53902 (Oct. 8, 2019). The proposed rule represents the latest in OSHA’s multi-year effort to attempt to regulate beryllium outside of general industry workplaces, where exposure to beryllium primarily exists. OSHA provided the public a 30-day period to submit written comments on the proposal, which ended on November 7, 2019. OSHA also held an informal public hearing on the proposed rule on December 3, 2019. Hearing participants have until January 16, 2020 to submit additional evidence and data on the proposal and until January 31, 2020 to submit final briefs and summations.

OSHA Doubles Down on National Emphasis Program on Amputations in Manufacturing Industries

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recently released an updated National Emphasis Program (NEP) to focus enforcement efforts on amputation hazards in manufacturing industries. It replaces the previous NEP, released in August 2015, which had expired on September 30, 2019. The new NEP will expire on December 10, 2024.

How to Prepare for an OSHA Inspection

As the complexity of OSHA inspections increase and penalties rise, employers need to ensure that they are fully prepared for such site visits. In this podcast, Littler’s Brad Hammock, co-chair of the firm’s Workplace Safety and Health practice group, discusses steps employers can take to prepare their worksites for when OSHA “comes knocking.” From initial compliance to developing a written protocol for managing the inspection process, this podcast describes the key components for navigating an OSHA inspection.
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