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Workplace Safety and Health Law Blog

Lost in all the landscape-altering changes made by OSHA during the last 18 months was its adoption of enforcement procedures for handling retaliation claims under the FDA’s Food Safety Modernization Act (“FSMA”). Employers across many industries should take notice of the far-reaching provisions of the FSMA. It not only applies to food processing employers, but any entity that is involved with the transportation or handling of food products, including trucking companies, distribution centers, warehouses, and cold storage.

Tags: OSHA

Last week Florida public health administrators reported the first locally transmitted Zika virus cases in the continental United States. Officials believe that four individuals in a northern Miami neighborhood contracted the virus directly from mosquitoes.

The Kentucky Labor Cabinet’s Department of Workplace Standards, Division of Occupational Safety and Health Compliance has published its intent to adopt certain Federal OSHA Recordkeeping regulations, including the new electronic reporting and anti-retaliation provisions published in the May 12, 2016 Federal Register (view proposed regulations). States that have their own OSHA plan, such as Kentucky, are required to have OSHA programs that are at least as effective as Federal OSHA, and are consequently required to adopt and implement new federal standards, or a more stringent standard, within six (6) months of the adoption or amendment by Federal OSHA. This new rule in Kentucky is set to take effect on January 1, 2017.

OSHA has issued a new Fact Sheet for Combustible Dust Explosion Hazards. See link:  https://www.osha.gov/Publications/OSHA3878.pdf

Tags: OSHA

OSHA has released details on the penalty increases effective August 1, 2016, but retroactive to ongoing inspections as far back as November 2, 2015 if the citations are issued after August 1.

It has been close to 100° in many southern states and even worse in the West. The Union of Concerned Scientists has warned of a “dangerous heat wave and steps to take. Perhaps I should not be surprised that we have heard of an unusual number of employee deaths where heat was probably not a factor, but the circumstances required determining whether workplace heat contributed to the event. Similarly, was an employee’s illness after work related to the heat and was the hospitalization for treatment or for “observation.” We have also seen a large number of OSHA inspections examining heat outside on construction sites or in manufacturers and foundries. Regardless of these legal issues, one fact is clear … we have to purposefully protect employees during this season.

OSHA Launches a new severe Violators Enforcement program (SVEP) as a pilot effort in Kansas Region. Program is latest step in OSHA's attack on Employer policies and rules.

It’s time to improve your workplace safety program. Fed-OSHA just announced the sweeping new requirement that, beginning in 2017, many employers must electronically provide to the Agency the details concerning the workplace injuries and illnesses kept on their 300 logs. Fed-OSHA will then make this material available for public viewing on its website (read more here).

This August Federal OSHA will increase its penalties for the first time since 1990.

We originally thought maximum fines would increase to $12,500 for serious citations and $125,000 for willful and repeat citations. Based on recent conversations with Fed-OSHA, however, we learned the increases may even be higher, with repeat/willful citations topping out at $128,000. Additional increases reflecting inflation likely will follow on January 15 of each subsequent year beginning in 2017.

Read our May 12 Alert for a basic description of the Rule.

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