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Employers will be facing higher penalties from the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“Fed-OSHA”) in 2019. On January 15, 2019, Fed-OSHA announced that it plans to increase the maximum penalty an employer can be issued for serious and other than serious citations to $13,260, and the highest amount that can be issued for repeat and willful violations to $132,598. Fed-OSHA’s announcement regarding the increases can be found here: https://www.osha.gov/penalties/2019InflationAdjustments.pdf and a chart containing all increases by the agency is below:

With the threat of a partial government shutdown looming on December 21, employers are left wondering which government agencies will be impacted if the shutdown occurs. Presently, departments in the following areas will be impacted by a partial government shutdown: Agriculture, Commerce, Justice, Homeland Security, Interior, State, Transportation and Housing and Urban Development. Independent agencies like NASA and the Food and Drug Administration will also be restricted to essential personnel.

While it is not comparable to David Letterman’s Top 10 lists, at a recent industry gathering, OSHA announced its annual top 10 violations for fiscal year 2018 (October 1, 2017 through September 30, 2018).  For those who have followed these lists in past years, there is a substantial amount of overlap but also new standards that have not made the list in the past. 

At a recent national safety conference for the industry, the acting head of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) remarked that the agency is focusing on the use of peracetic acid in the poultry industry. 

Elaine Benes loved poppy seed muffins. That is, until she failed a drug test at work for opium. That’s right. As Peterman said, “White Lotus. Yam-yam. Shanghai-Sally.” Elaine did not lose her job, but she was not allowed to accompany Peterman on his trip to Africa.

It’s August, and it’s hot outside. Even Congress, which has a high tolerance for hot air, is taking a month’s long recess to avoid the hot and humid DC swamp. This has not stopped the lobbying process, however, as Public Citizen and dozens of other advocacy groups filed a petition to OSHA to initiate the rulemaking process to develop a federal heat exposure standard. Representative Judy Chu (D-CA) has stated she plans to introduce related legislation soon.

Your employees could be at a heightened risk for developing an addiction to opioids after a workplace injury. Now is the time to take measures to minimize the risk of this happening to them.

Tags: Opioid

After the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals’ decision in Jones Brothers, Inc. v. Sec’y of Labor, citations upheld by administrative law judges within the Federal Mine Safety and Health Review Commission (“FMSHRC”) may be suspect. We discussed the implications of the Jones Brothers on Mine Safety and Health Administration (“MSHA”) cases here. But does the case also have any ramifications for ALJ decisions regarding Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“OSHA”) citations? After all, ALJs with the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission (“OSHRC”) are appointed not by the full OSHRC, but by its Chairman. Is that sufficient under the Appointments Clause?

A recent blockbuster decision by the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals has called into question the validity of citations under the Mine Act that were upheld by Federal Mine Safety and Health Review Commission (“FMSHRC” or “Commission”) administrative law judges (“ALJs”) prior to April 3, 2018.

On October 27, 2017, Scott Mugno was nominated by President Donald Trump to lead the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) as the agency’s assistant secretary of labor. Mugno is the former head of Federal Express’ Safety, Health and Fire Protection division, a strong believer in employee safety, and is extremely qualified for this post. Unfortunately, however, Mugno has not yet been confirmed by Congress to take the position and OSHA remains without a leader.

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