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Workplace Safety And Summer Heat

Summer temperatures can create hazards for workers, and employers can be liable for not addressing conditions that could lead to injuries and illnesses, such as heat exhaustion and heat stroke. Liability can arise whether work is being done outside in construction, landscaping, and agriculture, or inside in non-air conditioned manufacturing plants and warehouses.

OSHA Issues Long-Awaited Standards Improvement Project IV Final Rule

On May 14, 2019, OSHA issued a final rule as part of its ongoing Standards Improvement Project (SIP). The final rule is set to go into effect on July 15, 2019. Consistent with the project’s rationale of reducing regulatory burdens while maintaining or enhancing worker safety and health, the updated regulations encompassed in the final rule generally simplify employer efforts both to comply with the agency’s requirements as well as to determine how compliance can be achieved. For example, the rule replaces 31 pages of regulatory text on how to manage hazardous chemicals in the construction industry with a cross reference to an identical standard for general industry. Even with OSHA’s emphasis on regulatory simplification, however, there are several key requirements that employers should closely consider to ensure continued compliance with OSHA standards.

Court: Employers Can’t Stall Subpoenas to Run Out OSHA’s Enforcement Clock

Employers consider many factors when choosing whether to challenge investigatory subpoenas. They now have an additional consideration: whether a court might grant the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) more time to issue a citation if the employer challenges a subpoena. So said the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas in Secretary of Labor v. Ben E. Keith Company, No. SA-19-CV-527-XR (June 18, 2019).

Don’t Know What You Got (Till It’s Gone): Is OSHA Required to Give Managers and Supervisors Their Rights Before Interviewing Them?

When an inspector from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) shows up at your workplace, know this: everything—and we mean everything—that a manager or supervisor says at any point to the inspector will bind the company and may be used against the company to support a citation.

Workplace Violence: What Does OSHA Require of Employers?

Franczek recently hosted an at capacity seminar on preventing workplace violence. As a follow-up to that event, and as further introduction to Tracey Truesdale and Jason Patterson who frequently counsel employers on this issue, we would like to share what the law, and more specifically the Occupational Safety and Health Act, says about violence in the workplace.

The Cult of Personality? Decline in OSHA Inspectors under President Trump

Every presidential administration has its priorities, and President Trump’s is no different. President Trump has put his stamp on the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) by stalling, delaying, or modifying Obama Administration policies (think the anti-retaliation rule and the e-file accident report regulation).

Federal Court Reworks MSHA Workplace Exam Standard

On June 11, 2019, a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit issued an opinion vacating the Mine Safety and Health Administration’s (“MSHA”) 2018 rule (“2018 Amendment”) entitled, Examinations of Working Places in Metal and Nonmetal Mines, codified at 30 C.F.R. § 56/57.18002, see 83 Fed. Reg. 15,055 (Apr. 9, 2018). In so doing, the D.C. Circuit ordered the reinstatement of MSHA’s January 23, 2017 version of the rule (“2017 Standard”), which revised the previously existing workplace examination standard at 30 C.F.R. § 56/57.18002.

Show Me the Money! Have You Reviewed Your Incentive and Bonus Programs Lately?

Over the last couple of years, employee incentive programs have been under attack from the Department of Labor. However, OSHA and MSHA have undertaken their efforts against incentive programs in different ways. In the preamble to the 2016 proposed amendments to 29 CFR § 1904.35, OSHA discussed how it could issue citations to employers based on workplace safety incentive programs should the program be found to discourage reporting of injuries. MSHA has been battling the issue through litigation with appeals still currently pending as explained more fully below.

The Intersection of Workers’ Compensation and OSHA: Look Both Ways Before Crossing

In many ways, workers’ compensation (WC) and the OSHA are very different. WC is a statutory compensation scheme designed to limit an employer’s liability in exchange for more expedient payment of medical expenses, wage replacement, and death benefits.

Will OSHA Bring The Heat This Summer? Groups Continue To Press For Heat Standards

This past Memorial Day weekend, the southeastern region of the United States experienced a historic heatwave that set all-time records. It’s only going to get hotter, and temperatures throughout the summer can create hazards for workers working both outside and inside. You could be held liable for creating conditions that lead to heat-related injuries and illnesses that may occur during these warm months, so you should take steps now to keep your employees safe and limit your legal exposure.