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Criminal Charges For OSHA Violations? State Prosecutors Are Taking Increased Interest

Most employers are aware that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration can issue monetary penalties for health and safety violations occurring in the workplace. Many employers also know that in particular circumstances, OSHA can issue criminal sanctions. However, what employers may not know is that OSHA has also been referring workplace safety violations to state district attorney offices in fatality cases. A district attorney then reviews the case to determine if a company owner should be individually charged with manslaughter or other state criminal violations.

Former OSHA Head Says Contractor Should be Blacklisted For Safety Violations: Can the Government Do That?

Harkening back to the “Blacklists” imposed by the Obama administration, Dr. David Michaels, former Assistant Secretary of Labor for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, urged the government to ban a construction contractor from work on public lands in a tweet this week after the company pleaded guilty on charges related to the death of a worker. But can the government even do that?

Trump Officially Nominates Scalia to Head DOL

On Tuesday, President Trump formally nominated Eugene Scalia to serve as Secretary of Labor. Gene Scalia is the son of late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. Scalia has prior experience with the Department of Labor where he served as solicitor (chief attorney) under an appointment by former President George W. Bush.

OSHA Warns Fines Must Be Paid Or You (Individually) May Face “18 And Life”

Ever wonder what the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) would do if an employer refused to pay a fine? We just found out, and it’s not just the employer that needs to be concerned. After a New Jersey-based construction company failed for four years to pay $412,000 in penalties that the OSHA assessed against it, the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals recently found the President – and only board member – of the company in contempt and therefore liable to pay the company’s penalty.

Turning up the Heat on Employers

It’s hot outside. The rising temperature has implications for employers, specifically the responsibility to monitor employee health.

Next Generation Robotics and Workplace Health and Safety – How Businesses Safely Adopt Through Assessment and Prevention of Related Hazards

Natalie Pierce, co-chair of Littler’s Robotics, AI and Automation Practice group, and Alka Ramchandani Raj, Of Counsel member of the Workplace Safety and Health practice group, discuss how the use of robotics is affecting workplace safety and health. Natalie and Alka explain that while workplace repetitive stress injuries cost employers billions of dollars each year, OSHA has predicted that the integration of robotics will drastically reduce these injuries and associated costs. On the other hand, there are four types of injuries that OSHA has identified as greater risks as more robots enter the workplace. Alka reviews guidance to help employers mitigate those risks, describes the process used to evaluate safety controls, and explains how virtual reality safety training environments can help employees stay safe.

It’s Summer and I Have Nothing to Wear: Personal Protective Equipment and Summer Dress Codes

Summer is ghere, and so is the sun. That means many people will try to stay cool while working and many businesses relax dress codes to allow for shorts and sandals. But workplace hazards do not take a summer vacation, and the hot weather also brings its own dangers.

House Democrats Propose Bill Requiring Workplace Heat Standard

On July 10, 2019, U.S. House of Representatives Democrats released a bill that, if passed, would require OSHA to develop a federal standard on workplace heat stress. Under the proposed bill, OSHA would have two years to propose a heat protection standard to protect both indoor and outdoor workers.

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.
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