As you may or may not know, OSHA administers the whistleblower portions of about 22 federal statutes. Similar to the recent information from the SEC about problematic language in settlement agreements, OSHA, in its role as administer of the whistleblower program, has recently announced its new guidelines for approving settlement agreements for whistleblower actions.
September has arrived. That can only mean one thing: it’s time for college football!
As many employers know, OSHA has attempted to gain unprecedented power in the inspection process. Indeed, as this article is written, battles are being fought in federal court relative to OSHA’s authority and power in the inspection and rulemaking process.
The Mine Safety and Health Administration (“MSHA”) recently proposed new rules on workplace examinations that may significantly impact mine operators and employers. In recent years, MSHA has been far more willing to use Section 110(c) of the Mine Act – under which monetary penalties and criminal actions can be assessed against individuals - to prosecute matters against lower level employees, increasing the anxiety felt in the mining industry.
An armed gunman just entered the lobby of your hotel. He announces he is taking your front desk employees and nearby guests as hostages. An image on a security camera reveals that the gunman is a former bellman who was fired last week. What is the first thing you and your management team do?
Lost in all the landscape-altering changes made by OSHA during the last 18 months was its adoption of enforcement procedures for handling retaliation claims under the FDA’s Food Safety Modernization Act (“FSMA”). Employers across many industries should take notice of the far-reaching provisions of the FSMA. It not only applies to food processing employers, but any entity that is involved with the transportation or handling of food products, including trucking companies, distribution centers, warehouses, and cold storage.
Last week Florida public health administrators reported the first locally transmitted Zika virus cases in the continental United States. Officials believe that four individuals in a northern Miami neighborhood contracted the virus directly from mosquitoes.
The Kentucky Labor Cabinet’s Department of Workplace Standards, Division of Occupational Safety and Health Compliance has published its intent to adopt certain Federal OSHA Recordkeeping regulations, including the new electronic reporting and anti-retaliation provisions published in the May 12, 2016 Federal Register (view proposed regulations). States that have their own OSHA plan, such as Kentucky, are required to have OSHA programs that are at least as effective as Federal OSHA, and are consequently required to adopt and implement new federal standards, or a more stringent standard, within six (6) months of the adoption or amendment by Federal OSHA. This new rule in Kentucky is set to take effect on January 1, 2017.
OSHA has issued a new Fact Sheet for Combustible Dust Explosion Hazards. See link: https://www.osha.gov/Publications/OSHA3878.pdf
OSHA has released details on the penalty increases effective August 1, 2016, but retroactive to ongoing inspections as far back as November 2, 2015 if the citations are issued after August 1.