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Workplace Safety and Health Law Blog

Posts in Washington.

OSHA has announced Rulemaking to eliminate the requirement that covered employers electronically submit the detailed OSHA Forms 300 and 301 and announced Rulemaking to so change the current Obama era rule. However, litigation has also been commenced to compel OSHA to follow the current Rule. We break down the Proposed Rulemaking and status of litigation, and actions employers should take.

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.

Last week I was honored to be named a Top Author in J.D. Supra Readers’ Choice Awards. I write a great deal when I should probably be billing, but you guys seem to enjoy my stuff, so thanks! However, I often read an article or have an experience which merits discussion, but I don’t have the time to prepare my preferred detailed analysis.

It may be more entertaining to describe heated disagreement between employers, OSHA and unions, but areas of tacit agreement are more significant, at least when it comes to guaranteeing worker safety.

OSHA has limited resources and needs data to effectively target the use of those resources, so attendees were generally positive about the results of the first year of the Severe Injury Reporting requirements, 1904.39.

Solicitor Smith did not announce any positions that we have not discussed, but she confirmed our opinions on the Administration’s priorities and their intentions as they energetically finish their term.

I prefer meeting with business leaders and safety professionals more than spending time with fellow attorneys. I enjoy my profession but 35 years ago my dad challenged me to “be a business person who is also a lawyer,” so I spend my time with my clients. The ABA OSHA Committee is a marked exception to that predilection.

We updated you about OSHA’s new Weighted Inspection Program in our October 3 post, “What’s the Real Effect of OSHA’s Revamped Inspection Process, the Enforcement Weighing System?” A Bloomberg BNA piece tonight summed up the processes’ effect:

The new measurement method—the “enforcement weighting system”—has replaced the OSHA practice of simply counting inspections and assigning each inspection the same degree of importance when measuring enforcement activities. The new system ranks inspections based on the time and resources needed to conduct evaluations, with complicated inspections receiving more points than those requiring no assistance from additional OSHA staff.

Note: This series was prompted by the DOJ’s September 9 “Yates Memo” focusing on increased executive prosecutions and renewed interest by OSHA in criminal actions.

We don’t see many employee or consumer safety criminal prosecutions, but when we do see one, people of all political persuasions tend to agree with bringing down the hammer. Anyone disagree with yesterday’s announcement of groundbreaking 28 year sentence for the peanut company CEO whose actions caused nine deaths and numerous cases of salmonella.

I don’t believe in coincidences, so when in the same day, I see pronouncements from OSHA, EHS-Today and BNA about why Texas is experiencing “so many” fatalities, I assume that Fed-OSHA is sighting on Texas contractors. Let’s be clear, I agree with a serious self-critical analysis of workplace fatalities in Texas. One is too many. However, politics always affects regulatory and enforcement efforts and Texas is not one of the Administration’s ...

The annual ABA Midwinter OSHA Committee Meeting always provides insight into where OSHA, MSHA, the DOL Solicitors and other agencies will be heading. As a frequent speaker and longtime member of this group, I’ll tweet updates throughout this week’s sessions, including the Asst. Secretary of Labor for OSHA and others.

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