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Workplace Safety and Health Law Blog

We have witnessed unsettling global developments in infectious diseases, such as antibiotic-resistant infections, the resurgence of almost eradicated diseases, increasingly nerve-wracking pandemics arising in East Asia, and an expansion of tropical diseases to the U.S. mainland. Not surprisingly, employers are being forced to deal with a variety of workplace infections and illnesses. All employers would be wise to educate and prepare for the occasional odd disease challenge, much as do healthcare employers.

CFOs and CEOS will be the ones held accountable if hurricanes, floods, wild fires and other natural disasters harm shareholder value. California wild fires pushing utility PG&E to bankruptcy and the devastation of Texas chemical plants and Puerto Rican pharmaceutical plants proves that businesses need "What-if" committees to evaluate even the effects of climate change in their business continuity and disaster preparedness planning. 

An accident happens at your workplace, and an employee is injured.  During the hectic response, incorrect information funnels its way up to the safety director or person charged with notifying OSHA of reportable injuries and accidents, and that person is told that it looks like the employee’s finger has been amputated or is admitted for in-patient hospitalization.  Attempting to meet the statutory deadline, the safety director then reports to OSHA that an amputation or in-patient hospitalization has occurred. 

According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), motor vehicle crashes cost employers $60 billion annually in medical care, legal expenses, property damage, and lost productivity. Motor vehicle crashes are responsible for more worker fatalities than any other cause, including machine guarding and lock-out tag-out violations.

The first documentary on the fall of film mogul, Harvey Weinstein appeared at this year's Sundance Film Festival. This documentary and other recent movies can be used to remind employees and leaders on the causes and consequences of sex harassment and gender discrimination, as well as steps to prevent these troubling problems.

This is the first in a series of periodic Posts dealing with lessons in employee relations, supervision, safety, and management that we can learn from popular movies. This post focuses on the recent Apollo 11 movie, First Man, which shows the effects of loss, such as death of a coworker, on employees, and how poorly we respond to employees suffering loss and other events that can affect their performances and safety.

Indiana GOP lawmaker and Chamber of Commerce join forces to support a bill to require a penalty for workplace fatalities of $100,000 per employee killed.  House Bill 1341, authored by GOP lawmaker Martin Carbaugh, was filed on January 14, 2019.  The The new bill reads: “If an employer willfully violates any standard, rule, order, or this chapter and the violation results in the death of an employee, the commissioner shall assess a civil penalty of one hundred thousand dollars ($100,000) for each employee whose death results from the violation.”

An accident happens and an employee is seriously injured and admitted to the hospital.  Not only does the company need to conduct an investigation into what happened, but it must report the injury to OSHA as well.  During its own investigation, the company discovers that its manager or supervisor caused the accident by failing to lock out the machine where the employee was injured—in direct contravention to his training and company policy.  The company fires the manager or supervisor for his actions. 

OSHA has issued a final rule rescinding requirement for companies with 250 or more employees to electronically submit the OSHA 300 log and OSHA Form 301. 

Employers are pleased with today's Final Rule eliminating some of the more burdensome electronic submission requirements for workplace injuries and illness data, but now employers need to meet the existing dates for completion and posting of data, as well as electronic submission of 300A Summary information. But what about states who have not yet adopted Fed-OSHA's electronic submission requirements and California, which has passed its own law?

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