My weekly Round Up of OSHA and relevant legal developments, practical insights and news and observations relevant to Risk Managers, Safety and HR professionals, and executives interested n reducing risk and instilling leadership in the workplace. Special emphasis this week on handling OSHA witness statement demands.
Third edition of my effort to summarize certain important employment law, OSHA, and labor developments, news and practical insight. I also include references to books and podcasts that you may find useful in becoming a better manager and addressing labor and employment challenges, as well as personal development. This week's edition has three pages of comments from readers and interviews in Part 2.
I recently met with an international company which has armed security responders at some facilities, guards at others, and nothing at public establishments among its diverse operations. We talked about protecting lone employees working at customers' sites or alone at late hours, as well as how to protect employees working in situations where police are involved in riot or crime scene activities (medical responders, utility workers, and news crews).
Employers quite rightly complain about the sheer number, intrusiveness and plain weirdness of California employment laws. However, Cal-OSHA and its regulatory scheme have not been that different from Federal-OSHA regulation. Yes, California requires the Injury and Illness Prevention Plan (IIPP), but it’s not that burdensome a task. Cal-OSHA does present more exposure to criminal investigation filing a workplace fatality, but other states are following California’s lead. Traditionally, California has been more rational in its analysis of multi-employer worksites than the Feds or most other states. All this is to say, that we are not “Cal-OSHA bashers.”
One would think that we are all desensitized to these terrible workplace shootings, but I find myself wrestling with the “whys” and “what to do next” following the San Bernardino mass murder. We’ll write and post more on the subject of workplace violence and active shooters, but one point stuck out to me in the early coverage.
With depressing regularity, we receive calls asking for guidance in evaluating and responding to potential workplace violence threats. The threats are rarely serious but in this era, one can never ignore concerns. There are no easy formulas to determine if a threat is genuine. If you review the factors that may indicate that someone is ripe for workplace violence, you may decide that you fit the bill about mid-morning on a bad Monday. I’ve written about the signs and factors associated with workplace violence before and that is not today’s topic.
You may access this recorded webinar from last Thursday where industry experts thoughtfully discussed staffing and recruitment challenges, training, cranes, and a host of other safety and labor issues. Not as good as being at the AGC meetings (hint), but a more candid and nuanced discussion than generally available from a webinar or audio presentation.
These are the links I sent to F P attorneys after recently conducting an in-house session on our workplace safety practice. The focus of the links was not on building a safety culture, which is my favorite topic, or on the various labor and employment topics I regularly write upon.
These posts only deal with 2013 OSHA enforcement issues. These posts also do not include other attorneys' posts or great stuff from sites such as TLNT, EHS, etc.
Hopefully you are aware of the continuing escalation of all forms of whistleblower and retaliation claims, including under the 21 Anti-Retaliation laws enforced by special investigators from OSHA’s Whistleblower group. If not, check out the News Room on OSHA’s Whistleblower page.
Ok… I admit to sounding like a British tabloid writer. However, how often can one discuss a Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) case set in an upscale bar, involving allegations of retaliation and threatening social media posts? I suspect that lawyers dream of such cases.