Here is the second of three parts on end-of-the-year changes in OSHA, Labor and Employment Law. As a child, I recall the Disney ride, Mr. Toad's Wild Ride, so I should have entitled this post, "The NLRB's Wild Two-week Ride." A lot of pre-Obama Administration precedent was restored in a flurry of decisions.
OSHA has been neglected by both parties and left rudderless, and now after approval by the Senate Labor Committee, OSHA's proposed new leader, Scott Mugno, has been delayed indefinitely by end-of-the-year partisan politics.
We need some upbeat news as we close out the week before Christmas, so indulge me as I show respect to a 40-year OSHA civil servant as he starts his well-deserved retirement. Ben Ross is retiring as Deputy Regional Administrator, Atlanta Region IV Office, and he leaves a legacy of developing professionals and of brokering difficult deals between employers, employees and unions that made the workplace safer.
Normally December is a calm month for OSHA and Labor Lawyers, but not this year! First, a few OSHA subjects, and then a summary of what we country boys call “a slew” of new NLRB and State Law Developments. Let's start with another short delay in submission of Electronic Injury data, our hopefully soon confirmed Assistant Secretary of Labor - OSHA and top Labor Department Lawyer, and expectations for next.
Why did Employee Workplace Fatalities surge to the highest number since 2010? These deaths occurred during the Obama Administration, so Trump's policies have nothing to do with the increase. And why is the number still stubbornly and unacceptably high. We need to parse these numbers to determine OSHA and employer responsibilities and strategies.
Our California offices reported that local governments are provided N 95 dust masks to citizens because of the wild fires. Such masks may not actually help all users and the smoke and particulate may not exceed permissible levels. Nevertheless, these masks do often provide comfort when exposed to dusty conditions which are uncomfortable but do not present a hazard.
It’s that time of year again: for employers to celebrate the successes of the prior year and make plans and resolutions for the new one. But OSHA and MSHA are making New Year’s resolutions, too, and employers are well-advised to consider what actions these agencies may take in 2018 that could affect their businesses.