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An accident happens at your workplace, and an employee is injured.  During the hectic response, incorrect information funnels its way up to the safety director or person charged with notifying OSHA of reportable injuries and accidents, and that person is told that it looks like the employee’s finger has been amputated or is admitted for in-patient hospitalization.  Attempting to meet the statutory deadline, the safety director then reports to OSHA that an amputation or in-patient hospitalization has occurred. 

According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), motor vehicle crashes cost employers $60 billion annually in medical care, legal expenses, property damage, and lost productivity. Motor vehicle crashes are responsible for more worker fatalities than any other cause, including machine guarding and lock-out tag-out violations.

An accident happens and an employee is seriously injured and admitted to the hospital.  Not only does the company need to conduct an investigation into what happened, but it must report the injury to OSHA as well.  During its own investigation, the company discovers that its manager or supervisor caused the accident by failing to lock out the machine where the employee was injured—in direct contravention to his training and company policy.  The company fires the manager or supervisor for his actions. 

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.

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