Category Archives: OSHA

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California Wildfires Are Heating Up Employer Concerns

As employers continue to address the COVID-19 pandemic, they now face a new set of workforce challenges related to extreme weather and wildfires. Both are creating a challenging remote work environment due to: (1) recent evacuations; and (2) heat exposure risks linked to employees now forced to work in their homes with closed windows (and … Continue Reading

Don’t Forget to Check, and Re-Check, the California Reopening Guidelines

Just one week after its release on July 24, California has already issued an updated version of its COVID-19 Employer Playbook for a Safe Reopening, which is intended to offer employers clear and practical guidance on how to safely reopen their businesses during the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. In the latest update, employers are … Continue Reading

Virginia Becomes First State to Adopt COVID-19-Related Workplace Health and Safety Standard

On July 15, 2020, Virginia’s Safety and Health Codes Board (Board), the body that establishes Virginia Occupational Safety and Health regulations and standards, approved workplace safety regulations related to Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19). Virginia is the first state in the country to enact such a standard or regulation, though other states, like Oregon, may follow … Continue Reading

Workplace Safety Review Podcast: Episode 1 | Interview with NIOSH Director John Howard on COVID-19’s Impact on Workplace Safety

Host Michael Taylor, Chair of Greenberg Traurig’s OSHA Group, interviews John Howard, Director at the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health for episode one of the Work Place Safety Review, a Greenberg Traurig podcast. Taylor asks Howard questions regarding the realities of workplace safety in the face of COVID-19, including the difficulty of determining … Continue Reading

OSHA Will Examine If Employers Determined Whether Employee COVID-19 Cases Are Work-Related For Purposes of Recording Workplace Injury and Illnesses

On May 19, 2020, OSHA issued another enforcement guidance memorandum regarding recording COVID-19 cases that rescinds the prior guidance and obligates employers to make at least some work-related determinations regarding employees who contract COVID-19. The new memorandum goes into effect May 26, 2020, and will remain in effect until further notice. By way of background, … Continue Reading

Coronavirus and the Occupational Safety and Health Act: What Employers Need to Know

As the novel coronavirus (Coronavirus) continues to spread in China and around the world, employers may want to consider steps to take in addressing the Coronavirus in the workplace. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recently published a webpage that provides workers and employers with interim guidance and resources for preventing exposure to the … Continue Reading

D.C. Circuit to Take on OSHA Authority to Regulate Workplace Violence

On Jan. 9, 2020, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia heard oral argument in BHC Nw. Psychiatric Hosp. LLC v. Sec’y of Labor, a case that asks the court to decide how far the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) can go when directing a hospital to put in place measures to … Continue Reading

OSHA Is Raising Its Maximum Penalty Amounts, Again!

On Jan. 10, 2020, the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) announced another increase in the maximum civil monetary penalties for violations of federal Occupational Safety and Health standards and regulations. The new monetary penalties will be nearly 2% higher than the current maximum penalty amounts. Effective Jan. 15, 2020, the maximum penalty for … Continue Reading

Violating OSHA’s Anti-Retaliation Provision Can Be Costly!

On Aug. 23, 2019, a federal judge in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania awarded over a million dollars in lost wages and punitive damages to two former employees of Lloyd Industries after a jury found the company and its owner fired them in retaliation for their participation in a … Continue Reading

California Adopts Emergency Regulation to Protect Outdoor Workers From Wildfire Smoke

Last year was the most destructive fire season in California’s history. Over 7,600 wildfires burned nearly two million acres. As a result, on July 18, the California Department of Industrial Relations (DIR) Occupational Safety Health Standards Board adopted an emergency regulation to protect workers from hazards associated with wildfire smoke. The regulation is now in … Continue Reading

House Zeros in on Workplace Violence in Health Care and Social Service Industries

House Democrats have set their sights on workplace violence in health care and social service industries. According to congressional findings, the health care and social service industries suffer the highest rates of injuries caused by workplace violence. Health care and social service workers made up 69 percent of all workplace violence injuries in 2017 and … Continue Reading

OSHA Continues to Increase the Maximum Penalty Amounts for Citations

On Jan. 15, 2019, the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration issued a notice announcing another increase in the maximum penalty amounts for violations of federal Occupational Safety and Health standards and regulations. Under the new structure, the maximum penalty for “Willful” or “Repeated” violations is $132,598. Moreover, the maximum penalty for “Failure to Abate” violations is … Continue Reading

OSHA’s Regional Emphasis Program on Reducing Exposure to Ammonium

On Oct. 1, 2018, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) launched a new Regional Emphasis Program (REP) to address hazards from exposure to fertilizer-grade ammonium nitrate (FGAN) and agricultural anhydrous ammonia. The REP will be effective in the states of Arkansas, Kansas, Louisiana, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma, and Texas. It is aimed at … Continue Reading

California Supreme Court: Civil Penalties for Employers Accused of Violating California’s Occupational Safety and Health Act

On Feb. 8, 2017, the California Supreme Court ruled that California law allows local prosecutors to pursue civil penalties against employers accused of workplace-safety violations under California’s Occupational Safety and Health Act (Cal OSHA).  Solus Indus. Innovations, LLC v. Superior Court, No. S222314, 2018 WL 771814 (Cal. Feb. 8, 2018).  This means that California employers … Continue Reading

The Eleventh Circuit Expands the Definition of ‘Machine’ Under the OSHA Lockout/Tag-out Standard

On July 13, 2017, the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals was tasked with deciding what constitutes a “machine” under OSHA’s lockout/tag-out (LOTO) standard (29 C.F.R. § 1910.147). Sec’y of Labor v. Action Elec. Co., 868 F.3d 1324 (11th Cir. 2017). Specifically, the court had to decide under what circumstances different pieces of equipment are considered one … Continue Reading

California Adopts New Regulations for Refineries

On August 7, 2017, the California Department of Industrial Relations and the California Environmental Protection Agency amended the California’s Occupational Safety and Health Process Safety Management (PSM) standard to improve workplace safety and hazard prevention and management at the 15 refineries in California. The new standards are more stringent than federal OSHA’s process safety management … Continue Reading

OSHA Rescinds Fairfax Memo – OSHA No Longer Required to Permit Union Reps to Represent Non-Union Employees in Walkaround Inspections

On April 25, 2017, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) rescinded a Feb. 21, 2013 letter from former Deputy Assistant Secretary Richard E. Fairfax to Mr. Steve Sallman (Fairfax Memo) that permitted workers at a worksite without a collective bargaining agreement to designate a person affiliated with a union or community organization to act … Continue Reading

The Senate Narrows Employers’ Obligation to Accurately Record Work-Related Injury and Illness Records

On March 22, 2017, the Senate passed H.J. Resolution 83, a Congressional Review Act (CRA) resolution (Resolution) that cuts the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) ability to cite an employer for failing to accurately record work-related injuries and illnesses from five years to six months.1 The resolution blocks and eliminates OSHA’s “Volks” final rule, also … Continue Reading

OSHA Gets a Green Light: Court Refuses to Stop OSHA from Enforcing its New Anti-Retaliation Standards

On Nov. 28, 2016, the United States District Court for the Northern District of Texas declined to grant a nationwide preliminary injunction enjoining the Department of Labor (DOL) and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) from enforcing subparagraphs 1904.35(b)(1)(i), (iii), and (iv) of the final rule issued by OSHA titled “Improve Tracking Workplace Injuries … Continue Reading

OSHA’s Final Rule on ‘Improving Tracking of Workplace Injuries and Illnesses’

Employers’ Injury and Illness Information Becomes Public and Expanded Protections for Employees that Report Injuries and Illnesses On May 11, 2016, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued its much anticipated final rule on recordkeeping and reporting. The final rule requires employers in certain industries to electronically submit information about workplace injuries and illnesses … Continue Reading

OSHA Continues to Make Changes to Its Enforcement Procedures for Reporting Requirements

Hey employer, remember that workplace injury that you reported to OSHA a few months ago? You remember, right? The one where after you gave OSHA information about the workplace injury, like the root cause of the incident, and a few days later OSHA informed you that it considered the matter “closed.” Well guess what? OSHA … Continue Reading

Secretary of Labor v. U.S. Steel Corporation, Inc. and OSHA’s Continued Stand Against Employer Retaliation

Employers, do your safety policies and procedures require employees to immediately report their injuries? Do you discipline employees for failing to follow your safety policies and procedures? Most employers with safety programs in place probably answered “yes” to both of those questions and probably believe that both of those propositions are central to managing their … Continue Reading

OSHA Updates Recording and Reporting Requirements for Injuries and Illnesses

Written by Michael G. Murphy, P.E. Esq. Two changes to the OSHA Standard for Recording and Reporting Occupational Injuries and Illnesses went into effect Jan. 1, 2015. First, businesses that were previously exempt from the recording requirements now must record occupational injuries and illnesses shortly after they happen. Second, OSHA has added to the type … Continue Reading
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