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The Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) has launched a pilot program for Part 100 conferencing in the hopes of reducing the number of contested citations.  Under the pilot program, which will run from April 1 – June 30, 2019, MSHA will hold conferences with operators with the understanding that the goal of the conference is to reach a negotiated settlement before the contest process begins.  During the conference, the operator and MSHA would negotiate both paper changes and penalty amounts for all citations conferenced.  If a resolution is reached, both parties would sign an agreement indicating the terms of the settlement and that the operator agrees not to contest the citations or assessments before the Federal Mine Safety and Health Review Commission (“FMSHRC”).  If a settlement is not reached, the operator would retain its contest rights before the FMSHRC.  The pilot program applies only to 104(a) citations that are not subject to a special assessment.

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. 

The popular new Podcast series, Dr. Death, provides employers an opportunity to analyze how they would handle problematic reference requests and embarrassing public information. The fascinating podcast series follows a Dallas area neurosurgeon who may have killed or maimed 33 of his 38 patients. The series focuses on why various parties did not candidly share information about the surgeon and is critical of almost every aspect of the organizations' public and internal responses. Listen and ask yourself, "could you have done better?"

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has conducted an inspection of your plant after one of your employees amputated part of his finger trying to clean around a sprocket with the machine still running.  OSHA issues a serious citation to your company for a machine guarding violation. 

We have witnessed unsettling global developments in infectious diseases, such as antibiotic-resistant infections, the resurgence of almost eradicated diseases, increasingly nerve-wracking pandemics arising in East Asia, and an expansion of tropical diseases to the U.S. mainland. Not surprisingly, employers are being forced to deal with a variety of workplace infections and illnesses. All employers would be wise to educate and prepare for the occasional odd disease challenge, much as do healthcare employers.

CFOs and CEOS will be the ones held accountable if hurricanes, floods, wild fires and other natural disasters harm shareholder value. California wild fires pushing utility PG&E to bankruptcy and the devastation of Texas chemical plants and Puerto Rican pharmaceutical plants proves that businesses need "What-if" committees to evaluate even the effects of climate change in their business continuity and disaster preparedness planning. 

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.

The first documentary on the fall of film mogul, Harvey Weinstein appeared at this year's Sundance Film Festival. This documentary and other recent movies can be used to remind employees and leaders on the causes and consequences of sex harassment and gender discrimination, as well as steps to prevent these troubling problems.

This is the first in a series of periodic Posts dealing with lessons in employee relations, supervision, safety, and management that we can learn from popular movies. This post focuses on the recent Apollo 11 movie, First Man, which shows the effects of loss, such as death of a coworker, on employees, and how poorly we respond to employees suffering loss and other events that can affect their performances and safety.

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