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Workplace Safety and Health Law Blog

Posts from October 2014.

It's not that easy for OSHA to make out citations based on musculoskeletal disorder hazards because OSHA does not have an ergonomic standard. OSHA will take a shot at certain industries, especially the poultry industry. Read the OSHA News Release below for an idea of what OSHA looks for when it's on the ergonomic hunt. And of course, this is an OSHA Press Release, so we don't know if the hazards existed or other facts.

A consistent theme of this year’s EHS Today Safety Leadership Conference, and at every safety conference at which I’ve spoken this year, is everyone’s frustration with relying on recordable injuries to evaluate a contractor’s safety program and culture. When we focus on injuries, we’re chasing a lagging indicator … we’re not focusing on the things the site does to prevent workplace injuries. Unfortunately, owner/customers and OSHA ...

Welcome back to our recordkeeping series. Hopefully last week's questions made you stop and think about what goes on your logs and what does not. This week continues to focus on work-relatedness and explores some of the more difficult issues on that subject.

As we expected, the concerns raised by the NYC physician testing positive after returning from aiding West African Ebola sufferers triggered a legal response to more aggressively quarantine certain categories of people rather than waiting until they develop a fever or present other symptoms. New York and New Jersey implemented strict institutional quarantine for individuals returning from providing aide in those countries and applied it to a returning nurse.

As we expected, the NYC doctor who tested positive for Ebola triggered a response demanding more quarantine response for ndividuals returning from providing aid in West Africa. New York and New Jersey have both imposed quarantine obligations upon healthcare personnel returning from affected West African nations. This response was not surprising given the public demands for such an action.

Almost one thousand people attended Thursday’s webinar on Ebola in the workplace. Our platform presented technical challenges, and we appreciated the patience of our listeners. About 700 are scheduled for Friday.

The addition of monitoring efforts of West African travelers entering the U.S. after they leave the airport may relieve some people but concern others. From a labor lawyer's perspective, this approach continues the CDC's releuctance to isolate individuals. If the CDC continues this approach, it becomes more legally risky for an employer to refuse to let such a person return to work absent strong objective concern.

There has been significant focus on recordkeeping since OSHA announced changes to the list of industries that are exempt from the requirement to routinely keep OSHA injury and illness records in September. In light of this focus and the new changes, now is a good time to check your recordkeeping prowess (whether you are new to the list or not) before the new requirements go into effect on January 1, 2015. Deciding what injuries or illnesses get recorded on the OSHA 300 log, and then properly recording them, is deceptively more difficult than some employers realize. We regularly review OSHA 300 logs and it is rare to find one that is completed 100% correctly.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is tightening previous infection control guidance for healthcare workers caring for patients with Ebola, to ensure there is no ambiguity. The guidance focuses on specific personal protective equipment (PPE) health care workers should use and offers detailed step by step instructions for how to put the equipment on and take it off safely.

In addition to my own blogging and interviews, Fisher Phillips is developing more resources to continually update and assist employers in responding to challenges in the workplace caused by Ebola or the fears that the disease engenders. Today, however, we'll again use the F & P Workplace Safety Blog.

First, for backgound, please review my two blogs this weekend; the first which provides an ...

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