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Workplace Safety and Health Law Blog

FP has prepared Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) since Hurricane Katrina. Each year, we learn new things or of new problems and revise the FAQs further. We cover more than safety, although safety may be the longest section. Employees are injured and killed performing nonroutine clean-up and maintenance activities, including falls, carbon monoxide poisoning from portable generators, electrical, and bloodborne pathogens illnesses from filthy flood waters. We discuss leave, unemployment comp, wage-hour  and a host of other issues. Please don't be caught unprepared.

As we remember and honor those that fell on 9/11 and in the years since, we should also commit ourselves and our businesses to better plan for disasters. Indeed, in recognition of the beginning of the storm season, September is National Preparedness Month, with OSHA, FEMA and others mounting campaigns to get businesses (and individuals) to pause, do a What-if Analysis, and then take steps to protect employees, maintain business operations, or restore them.

At a recent national safety conference for the industry, the acting head of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) remarked that the agency is focusing on the use of peracetic acid in the poultry industry. 

NIOSH's 2016 study showing that 25% of construction deaths result from traumatic brain injury generated about a year of public discussion and articles about switching to helmets instead of traditional hardhats. These helmets look like sports climbers' hats, and are usually manufactured by sports-related companies. And then, we heard no more .... It turns out that interest did not wane. Contractors simply stopped talking and some notable players started switching to safety helmets. So let's review these safety helmets a bit.

Elaine Benes loved poppy seed muffins. That is, until she failed a drug test at work for opium. That’s right. As Peterman said, “White Lotus. Yam-yam. Shanghai-Sally.” Elaine did not lose her job, but she was not allowed to accompany Peterman on his trip to Africa.

OSHA Area Offices do not yet have the crucial Directive to replace the Interim Directive (Guidance) on Construction Silica enforcement, so enforcement is not yet aggressive. However, with the recent release of OSHA Construction Silica Training Videos and the new Construction Silica FAQs, OSHA is putting employers on notice of their expectations. Don't be caught unaware.

It’s August, and it’s hot outside. Even Congress, which has a high tolerance for hot air, is taking a month’s long recess to avoid the hot and humid DC swamp. This has not stopped the lobbying process, however, as Public Citizen and dozens of other advocacy groups filed a petition to OSHA to initiate the rulemaking process to develop a federal heat exposure standard. Representative Judy Chu (D-CA) has stated she plans to introduce related legislation soon.

Your employees could be at a heightened risk for developing an addiction to opioids after a workplace injury. Now is the time to take measures to minimize the risk of this happening to them.

Tags: Opioid

After the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals’ decision in Jones Brothers, Inc. v. Sec’y of Labor, citations upheld by administrative law judges within the Federal Mine Safety and Health Review Commission (“FMSHRC”) may be suspect. We discussed the implications of the Jones Brothers on Mine Safety and Health Administration (“MSHA”) cases here. But does the case also have any ramifications for ALJ decisions regarding Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“OSHA”) citations? After all, ALJs with the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission (“OSHRC”) are appointed not by the full OSHRC, but by its Chairman. Is that sufficient under the Appointments Clause?

A recent blockbuster decision by the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals has called into question the validity of citations under the Mine Act that were upheld by Federal Mine Safety and Health Review Commission (“FMSHRC” or “Commission”) administrative law judges (“ALJs”) prior to April 3, 2018.

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