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Workplace Safety and Health Law Blog

Posts from May 2013.

I’m not talking about kindergarten playtime or its “adult” equivalent … politics.

Any time multiple employers are involved, labor and employment matters becomes much more complicated. The classic example is a construction site. OSHA refers to such settings as “multi-employer worksites.” Multi-employer sites are not limited to construction sites. Do you use temps? Have contractors or consultants performing work onsite? Maintain locations in malls, resorts, or arenas? Host trade shows? Build autos, aircraft or ships? On occasion, every worksite becomes a “multi-employer site.

When Jordan Barab famously admitted that OSHA was utilizing large penalties accompanied by harsh press releases to “motivate” employers to comply, I had mixed feelings. Fear is a great motivator. Aggressive publication of legitimate noteworthy OSHA citations has a role in the “carrot and stick” process of safety enforcement. Moreover, I understand that the former OSHA Region IV Administrator first used the phrase, and frankly, I doubt that she misused the approach. However, I was concerned that OSHA might issue more harsh penalties and press releases than deserved, in order to “motivate” employers. Those concerns may have been valid, and Corporate entities would do well to consider this increasingly common “approach.”

I have linked to an Interview by the good folks at Chem.Info.com, an excellent publication and provider, especially for food processors and related businesses.

We represented construction employers at the 2008 Port Wentworth Sugar Plant (Imperial Sugar) explosion and both before and since that explosion, we have handled many combustible dust matters in food processing, wood and paper, coal products, plastics, foundries and for numerous other manufacturers. Combustible Dust compliance remains one of the most understood and most dangerous of safety compliance areas. For more information on the Imperial Sugar explosion, which remains highly instructional, go to the Savannah Daily News archived special coverage

A few days ago, I ended my analysis of “why workers choose to get injured or killed,” by proposing that as a possible first step to learn the answer, employers should determine their unique safety “culture.” Attorneys like us can analyze an employer’s safety management processes, but an often overlooked tool is to conduct an employee safety attitude survey.

Former Clinton official Webb Hubbell summed it up well…

There is an old adage in politics and the law that “Bad Facts, Lead to Bad Law.” In law, a horrible fact situation full of sympathy for one side can lead to a Judge or a jury making a poor decision or bad precedent.

In politics a bad or terrible tragedy may lead to sympathetic legislators making a law that seems to redress one inequity, but it has terrible consequences for society.

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