We are still learning about the novel coronavirus; however, there is some evidence indicating that a person may be infectious before symptoms. As a result, the US DHS has imposed strict restrictions on travelers returning from China and discouraged travel to the Country. These developments require employers to continue to adapt, but are manageable if thoughtfully handled.
People are increasingly concerned about the Novel Coronavirus 2019-nCoV, but past Coronavirus outbreaks such as SARS caused 774 reported fatalities versus 60,000 due to Seasonal Flu. Equally importantly, most of the steps to prevent the spread of flu apply to the 2019-nCoV. Be creative and robust in your efforts. We have a few suggestions.
No penalty is a good penalty, but many Department of Labor fines just got worse – including those that can be assessed against mining employers. The agency published a final rule that increases the maximum civil penalties that federal agencies can assess against employers. The Federal Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act of 2015 mandates this automatic increase based upon inflation.
The Federal Mine Safety and Health Review Commission just concluded that an employer was being untruthful when it claimed that it did not provide advance warning to fellow workers about an imminent mine inspection, taking the extraordinary step of overturning an administrative law judge’s credibility determination and sending a warning to all employers. Yesterday’s decision in Secretary v. KenAmerican Resources upheld a violation of Section 103(a) of the Mine Act, which prohibits any person from giving advance notice of inspections, and offers a lesson about the proper way you should handle such inspections should an investigator descend on your workplace.
The Department of Labor just published its increases to the maximum civil penalties that can be assessed against employers by federal agencies, and it includes some moderate increases in the area of workplace safety. Following an inspection of your workplace, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) may issue citations and penalties for alleged violations of the OSH Act. With yesterday’s news, the amount of these penalties you may face will slightly increase from the previous level.
During the final months of 2019, the Mine Safety and Health Administration (“MSHA”) advised the mining community that it would pay attention to issues involving contractors working at mine sites, noting a disproportionate number of accidents involving contractor employees. According to information distributed by MSHA, 48% of mining fatalities in 2019 involved employees of contractors even though contractors made up only 25% of the mining workforce. As the New Year begins, MSHA has unveiled an initiative aimed at contractor safety and compliance. That initiative has consequences for both mine operators and contractors.
Scott Prange, an attorney in our Seattle office, recently wrote the feature story in the November 2019 edition of the Hawaii Bar Journal entitled, “The Gig Economy and Occupational Safety and Health.”
On Thursday, November 15, 2019, the Mine Safety and Health Administration (“MSHA”) held the fourth of five stakeholder meetings to discuss the implementation of the revised Workplace Examination standard for metal/non-metal mines, 30 C.F.R. §§ 56/57.18002 (“Rule”). Similar to prior meetings, the meeting focused on discussion of the two provisions from the January 2017 version of the Rule that were reinstated following the D.C. Circuit’s decision on June 11, 2019. A discussion of the reinstatement of the January 2017 version of the Rule can be found here. The two provisions that were reinstated related to timing of the examination and record keeping.
On Thursday, November 7, 2019, the Mine Safety and Health Administration (“MSHA”) held the second of five stakeholder meetings to discuss the implementation of the revised Workplace Examination standard for metal/non-metal mines, 30 C.F.R. §§ 56/57.18002 (“Rule”). The meeting focused on discussion of the two provisions from the January 2017 version of the Rule that were reinstated following the D.C. Circuit’s decision on June 11, 2019.
OSHA announced today that registration is open for an upcoming open informal public meeting to discuss proposals in preparation for the 38th session of the United Nations Sub-Committee of Experts on the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (UNSCEGHS).