Category Archives: Workplace Safety & OSHA

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Disasters and the Workforce: Navigating Stormy Waters

Thousands of Florida coastal residents were ordered to evacuate last week in anticipation of Hurricane Irma, even as their employers remained open. A pizza restaurant manager made headlines when he threatened action against employees who chose to miss shifts to evacuate. Other employers instructed employees not to report and planned to close their offices part of this week. What are … Continue Reading

Medical Marijuana and the Workplace

With the growing list of states legalizing marijuana, are workplace drug policies up in smoke? As the new year begins, Arkansas, Florida and North Dakota join the growing list of states that have legalized medical marijuana. Currently, 28 states* and Washington, D.C., have legalized marijuana use for certain medicinal purposes, and eight states** and the District of Columbia have legalized … Continue Reading

OSHA Clarifies Its “Just Say No” to Automatic Post-Accident Drug-Testing Position

How do employers reconcile automatic drug-testing required by workers’ compensation laws with the provisions of OSHA’s new Rule saying that automatic testing could be retaliatory? Following our recent blog on that issue, many of our readers had questions. They were not alone; in fact, there was so much debate that OSHA issued a Memorandum on October 19, 2016 clarifying its … Continue Reading

Just Say No to Automatic Post-Accident Drug-Testing?

(**Edited as of October 26, 2017.** See updated blog.**)

Do you automatically drug-test after all work-related injuries or accidents? If so, you may want to consider changing your policy in light of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s new reporting Rule. The Rule was initially effective August 10, 2016, but enforcement has been delayed while a legal challenge works … Continue Reading

OSHA Publishes Guide to Restroom Access for Transgender Workers

All employees, including transgender employees, should have access to restrooms that correspond to their gender identity. That’s the takeaway from the Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (“OSHA”) recently published guidance to employers on best practices regarding restroom access for transgender workers.… Continue Reading

Employers’ Safety Records Will Soon Be a Click Away

Employers should be aware of a proposed OSHA recordkeeping rule that is expected to be issued as a final rule this year. The proposed rule requires employers to electronically report to OSHA data on serious workplace injuries and illnesses that the employers already collect on OSHA injury logs. OSHA will provide a secure web site for the data collection, and … Continue Reading

Court Grants Deference to Secretary of Labor’s Interpretation of OSHA Regulation

When the Secretary of the Department of Labor and the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission offer competing but reasonable interpretations of a worker safety regulation, the Secretary’s interpretation is entitled to deference, according to a recent decision by the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals, Perez v. Lorenz Cook Co., Case No. 13-1310 (8th Cir., May 9, 2014).

The … Continue Reading

OSHA Proposes Major Recordkeeping Change

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has proposed a major change to its rules regarding the way that employers report injury and illness data to the agency.

On November 7, 2013, the OSHA Assistant Secretary Dr. David Michaels announced a new proposed rule that would require establishments with more than 250 employees, which are already required to keep injury … Continue Reading

Healthcare Employers Beware: OSHA Campaign Is Targeting You

On July 16, 2013, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) announced that it is launching a campaign that aims to protect healthcare workers from musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs).  While this campaign expressly targets the District of Columbia and three nearby states, it is part of a broader campaign by OSHA, unions, and health worker advocates to put increased pressure on … Continue Reading

Supervisor Misconduct Alone is Insufficient to Impute Employer Liability Under the OSH Act

On July 24, 2013, in Comtran Group, Inc. v. U.S. Department of Labor, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit overturned a final decision of the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission (“Review Commission”) and issued an important decision affecting employer liability under the Occupational Safety and Health Act (“OSH Act”) in a case involving supervisor misconduct.… Continue Reading

OSHA Has Been Hard at Work – Will You Be Ready if OSHA Knocks at Your Door?

A look at a recent speech given by OSHA’s Assistant Secretary, David Michaels, Ph.D., provides employers with insight into what agency touts as successes over the past several years and its vision for the year ahead.  Addressing OSHA’s employees at its “All-Hands Meeting” in February 2013, Dr. Michaels noted that in recent years, the agency has:

  • Launched the new Severe
Continue Reading

OSHA Releases Regulatory Agenda and Projects that Final Action Will Be Taken on 10 Regulations in 2013

The federal government, including agencies such as OSHA, are required to give notice of significant regulatory activity by publishing a “semi-annual” regulatory agenda that outlines the status of on-going and planned regulatory activity.  Apparently, OSHA doesn’t understand the meaning of “semi-annual” because it long delayed the publication of a regulatory agenda for 2012, waiting to the final days of the … Continue Reading

OSHA Elevates Priority for Whistleblower Enforcement Under 21 Federal Statutes

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration announced last week a “major restructuring” of its Office of the Whistleblower Protection Program that reflects an increased priority for federal whistleblower protections.

The program will now report directly to the agency’s Office of the Assistant Secretary instead of to its Directorate of Enforcement Programs, according to OSHA’s press release.

So what’s the big … Continue Reading

Serious and Willful OSHA Violations: What’s the Difference?

It’s never good news when the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) cites your business for violations. But there’s bad news, and really bad news, and a recent case in South Florida illustrates the difference.

On February 8, 2012, OSHA announced that it cited Hialeah-based Bennett Electrical Services Co. Inc. for three safety violations after an … Continue Reading

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