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The Occupational Safety and Health Administration recently announced that OSHA area offices will begin to increase in-person inspections in some parts of the country as the agency released a revised response plan on how it will handle COVID-19-related complaints, referrals, and severe illness reports. The previous COVID-19 enforcement guidance sent to the area offices in April 2020, which had relaxed recordkeeping standards and otherwise eased off typical enforcement activity, has been rescinded.

Tags: OSHA

Kentucky OSHA (KOSH) has been tasked with enforcing Governor Beshear’s Executive Orders (EO) regarding essential businesses and social distancing.

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The Kentucky Labor Cabinet’s Department of Workplace Standards released its proposed amendments to its injury and illness recordkeeping and reporting requirements on February 11, 2020.  A public hearing on these amendments was set to be heard today at the Kentucky Labor Cabinet.  Due to the COVID 19 pandemic, however, the public hearing has been cancelled and employers are encouraged to submit written comments on the proposed rule change by April 30, 2020.  Until then, here’s what employers need to know about these proposed changes and how they could potentially affect injury and illness reporting in Kentucky.

Tags: OSHA

As you may have seen in the news, an anticipated first all-female astronaut spacewalk had to be cancelled because the International Space Station did not have the appropriate sized space suits for both of the female astronauts (Anne McClain and Christina Koch) to conduct the spacewalk together.  Ultimately, Koch conducted the space walk with the male astronaut (Nick Hague).  According to NASA, the astronauts trained with various sized space suits, but the effect of microgravity changed the sizing preferences once in space.  An ill-fitting space suit would make the job more difficult, but could also present safety concerns. 

Update: The bill was signed on April 24th.  The penalty is now $132,598.

Indiana GOP lawmaker and Chamber of Commerce join forces to support a bill to require a penalty for workplace fatalities of $100,000 per employee killed.  House Bill 1341, authored by GOP lawmaker Martin Carbaugh, was filed on January 14, 2019.  The The new bill reads: “If an employer willfully violates any standard, rule, order, or this chapter and the violation results in the death of an employee, the commissioner shall assess a civil penalty of one hundred thousand dollars ($100,000) for each employee whose death results from the violation.”

OSHA has issued a final rule rescinding requirement for companies with 250 or more employees to electronically submit the OSHA 300 log and OSHA Form 301. 

OSHA issued a new Site Specific Targeting (SST) Plan effective October 16, 2018.  Unlike prior versions, this new SST Plan utilizes the 2016 300A data that many employers electronically submitted in December 2017.  The new SST Plan is, therefore, dubbed the SST-16.

House Bill 2 (“HB2”) was signed into law by Governor Matt Bevin and became effective in July 2018. Through HB2, the legislature enacted significant changes to multiple provisions of the Workers’ Compensation Act. One of the most significant changes in the statute is the portion related to injuries resulting from illegal, non-prescribed substances or prescribed substances in excess of prescribed amounts. Previously, if an employee underwent a drug test after an injury, the employer had to prove that the use of non-prescribed substances (illegal drugs or alcohol) was the proximate cause of the injury. The new workers’ compensation law shifts the burden of proof to the injured worker to prove such illegal substances or prescribed substances was not the proximate cause of the injury. This is a significant difference because the illegal or prescribed substance is now presumed to be the cause of the injury until rebutted by the employee.

Today, the U.S. Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) issued a standard interpretation clarifying its position on the new recordkeeping rule’s anti-retaliation provisions. OSHA’s memorandum essentially “rolls back” its enforcement of the anti-retaliation provisions, particularly concerning safety incentive programs and post-accident drug testing. Why is this important? Mainly because many employers struggled to understand the anti-retaliation provisions since they were published, in guidance materials accompanying the new regulations, in May 2016. Indeed, OSHA has gone to great lengths to explain the anti-retaliation provisions in the new rule’s preamble, with OSHA guidance and several memorandums. To be blunt, OSHA’s explanations have been extremely vague and confusing. But alas, the struggle to understand the anti-retaliation provisions is over … hopefully. Today’s interpretation states supersedes all the prior guidance on this topic.

Today, OSHA posted a press release announcing two week reprieve for employers to submit the 300As (only the 300As this year regardless of size if more than 20 employees) from December 1 to December 15, 2017. 

Tags: OSHA

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