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Posts from June 2013.

At some point we shifted the discussion from employee “involvement” to employee “engagement.”

Safety “apps” are a hot topic. Even techno-challenged souls use apps to spot check noise, avoid heat stress, or conduct basic safety inspections. OSHA announced in January, “Winners of an OSHA App Challenge.”

While recently teaching in the AGC’s Advanced Safety Management Training classes, I discussed safety “apps” with three recognized safety professionals: Experts and Safety Consultants Bob Emmerich and Jim Goss, and AGC safety head, Kevin Cannon. We did not critique or recommend apps, we simply discussed their effective use and impact on safety management.

OSHA enforces more whistleblower laws than any other agency and has made whistleblower protection one of its principal goals. So it grabs your attention when you read “Whistleblower Wins $820,000 Settlement Against OSHA.”

After several years of received employer’s requests, OSHA’s Directorate of Enforcement Programs (DEP) issued a memorandum detailing the removal criteria for those employers currently under OSHA’s Severe Violator Enforcement Program (SVEP). This memorandum provides employers guidance on how to be removed from the SVEP, a process that has been unclear since the program was first implemented.

Breaking news out of the SE M/NM District of MSHA - Don Collier will no longer be handling informal conferences under 30 C.F.R. Part 100.6. Beginning next Monday, June 17, 2013, requests for an informal conference must be directed to the issuing Inspector's Field Office Supervisor. As usual, the request must be submitted within 10 days of issuance of the citation or order, must be in writing, by email, or fax, and must include the specific reason(s) that each citation or order is being conferenced. Contact information for the Field Office Supervisors can be found here.

This post is not a “guide” to handling OSHA Inspections, but rather are a few observations about reoccurring issues we see in OSHA inspections. These comments are most appropriate to a fatality or more involved OSHA inspection.

Some mining industry professionals would say that this hearing is long overdue, but let's all focus on the old adage, better late than never. On Friday, June 21, U.S. House of Representatives Member Mark Meadows (NC) is hosting a field hearing in Mitchell County, North Carolina entitled "Building a Better Partnership: Exploring the Mine Safety and Health Administration's Regulaiton of Southern Appalachian Mining." This important field hearing is being conducted through the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform's Subcommittee on Government Operations.

This from BLR Workplace Safety News ...
June 11, 2013

Employers Hesitate to Discipline Workers for Safety
A labor lawyer says discipline is essential for safety, but employers just aren’t doing it. Fisher Phillips partner Howard Mavity cites a firm study that found 56 percent of large general contractors were unsatisfied with how often supervisors disciplined employees for unsafe actions. (READ FULL ARTICLE).

I have been surprised to see so little commentary on the outgoing Deputy Assistant Secretary’s April 29 announcement of OSHA ramping up its focus on Temporary Workers. Ed talked a bit earlier this week about OSHA's new initiative and I'll provide additional practical observations.

I’m on my 16 hour flight back from South Africa to Atlanta and processing my experiences. Surely such a varied and unusual adventure will provide me with fodder for some philosophical musings which lead to my usual practical “Action Points” on safety and employment law.

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