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Workplace Safety and Health Law Blog

Posts from January 2015.

I have written several recent posts and spoken on the NLRB’s wholesale attack on a wide range of employer policies and procedures. ( Part 1 and Part 2 ) However, I want to step back and discuss broader issues relating to Safety and HR policies, including employee handbooks, employee agreements, and “safety programs.” As a starting point, some people argue that we should do away with many policies, and especially employee handbooks, or strip them ...

This is the first post of a several part series which will deal with OSHA concerns for distributors, including OSHA ergonomic citation efforts. The distributor’s biggest OSHA compliance challenges are routine items. Once the distributor is cited for one of these common violations, this violation may serve as the basis for a “Repeat” OSHA citation of up to $70,000 for five years at any of the employer’s locations in any other Fed-OSHA state. If the distributor has multiple locations, there is a substantial risk that a common error may occur in this five year period. That’s why many relatively safe retailer chains have recently been receiving six-figure OSHA citations.

One of my recurrent themes is that an employer should never assume that its managers and employees will not act foolishly and exercise bad judgment. Poor judgment results in experienced craft workers skipping a step and getting killed. Poor judgment results in employees or managers engaging in sex harassment. Poor judgment results in coworkers teasing an employee so much that he blames the hostile environment on his race, national origin, age or sex. Sometimes poor judgment results in a manger doing something stupid, rude and inappropriate that isn’t unlawful but gets the company sued.

The NLRB has widely attacked employer policies and rules and ordered employees reinstated on the grounds that the rules somehow chilled or prohibited Employee section 7 Rights. So what are Section 7 Rights?

We’re going to comment on the numerous policies and rules which must be revised because of the NLRB’s many changes last year; especially during December 2014. Today, we’ll briefly discuss email.

I’m attending and speaking at the AGC National Safety Committee meetings in San Diego as I type, the home of the great Ron Burgundy (Anchorman 1 and Anchorman 2). I’ve participated in these committee meetings for about 12 years, and I enjoy few gatherings more. The General Contractors attending these meetings are the pick of the litter, and I learn as much from them as they do from me.

I recently read a fictional account of a 1918 flu-like pandemic which shut down basic services for an extended period. I come from a less conspiratorial perspective, but the Annapolis grad author raised some valid points and painted an all too vivid picture of how badly people might behave.

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