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As States Reopen Employers Face Hard Choices on How to Manage Workplace Safety

The coronavirus (“COVID-19”) pandemic has continued to evolve, with COVID-19 cases declining in some areas and vaccinations being rolled out in phases by local public health authorities. Yet widespread vaccinations are not expected to be in place until later in 2021, with many Americans not having access to vaccines until May or June at the … Continue Reading

New and Altered Hazard Communication Requirements Coming Soon

Earlier this month, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“OSHA”) announced proposed amendments to the Hazard Communication Standard (“HCS”) in 29 CFR 1910.1200. The last time OSHA amended the HCS was in 2012 to align the standard with the United Nations’ Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals (“GHS”) and to create consistency with … Continue Reading

A New Chairperson Now Leads the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission

Cynthia L. Attwood was sworn in as Chair of the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission (Review Commission), January 20, 2021, following her designation by President Joseph R. Biden Jr.  Ms. Atwood is very familiar with the role of Chair, having served as Acting Chairman and then Chairman from April 2015 until January 2017.  In … Continue Reading

Additional Guidance for Cal OSHA’s COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standards

In November, California quietly approved the Division of Occupational Safety and Health’s (“Cal OSHA”) COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standard (“ETS”). Almost immediately, Cal OSHA’s ETS caused significant confusion and challenges for employers, who were already struggling with countless federal, state, and local requirements pertaining to COVID-19. Cal OSHA’s ETS also appeared to create new and different notification … Continue Reading

Reminder: OSHA 300A Data Due By March 2, 2021

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“OSHA”) kicked off the new year with a friendly reminder that covered employers must electronically submit Form 300A data for calendar year 2020 between January 2, 2021 and March 2, 2021. A paper copy of the 300A form must also be posted in for each establishment from February 1 … Continue Reading

Washington State Is Developing Wildfire Smoke Worker-Safety Rules

Smoke from Western wildfires caused Washington state to experience some of the worst air quality in the world this year, which increased health risks to outdoor workers. In response, the state’s Department of Labor & Industries’ Division of Occupational Safety and Health (“L&I” or “Division”) announced that it is developing new workplace health and safety … Continue Reading

Federal Appeals Court Deals Blow to OSHA’s Ability to Cite Repeat Violations

On Tuesday, October 27, 2020, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit issued a long- awaited decision in Sec’y of Labor v. Wynnewood Refining Co., LLC. That case originated in 2012 when OSHA inspected the company following a boiler explosion that killed two employees. OSHA issued several repeat citation items under the Process … Continue Reading

Assembly Bill 685 Changes Employer Notification Requirements on COVID-19 and Enhances Cal OSHA Enforcement Abilities

On September 17, 2020, Governor Newsom signed Assembly Bill (“AB”) 685, which requires employers to provide written notifications to employees within one business day of receiving notice of potential exposure to coronavirus (“COVID-19”).  AB 685 also authorizes the Division of Occupational Safety and Health (“Cal OSHA”) to prohibit operations, processes, and prevent entry into workplaces that … Continue Reading

More Guidance on COVID-19 Response Measures for FDA Regulated Human and Animal Food Operations

To help employers in regulated human and animal food operations navigate ongoing challenges from the coronavirus (“COVID-19”) pandemic, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (“FDA”), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (“CDC”), and Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“OSHA”) have joined in publishing the sixteen page “Employee Health and Food Safety Checklist for Human and … Continue Reading

Wildfires Present Challenges for California Employers

As fire season starts and some areas of California and several other states are attempting to contain wildfires, employers need to consider their obligations to employees. In some circumstances, employers must implement a variety of controls to protect employees from wildfire smoke, including engineering and administrative controls, or require the use of personal protective equipment … Continue Reading

OSHA Issues New Enforcement Guidance on Respiratory Protection

Earlier today, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (“OSHA”) Directorate of Enforcement Programs issued a new memorandum and interim guidance (“Enforcement Guidance”) on enforcement of the respiratory protection standard, 29 CFR § 1910.134, and certain other health standards, in light of the severe shortages in respirator availability. Consistent with the agency’s March 14, 2020 enforcement … Continue Reading

Review Commission Gains Quorum After Senate Confirmations

Since April of 2019, the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission (“Commission”) has been a panel of one. After Chairwoman Heather MacDougall resigned from the Commission on March 31, 2019 and Commission Cynthia Attwood’s term ended in April of 2019, the Commission was left with one member, Commissioner James Sullivan, Jr. In July 2019, Mr. … Continue Reading

OSHA Penalty Increase Effective Tomorrow

The Inflation Adjustment Act requires the Department of Labor to annually adjust its civil monetary penalties to adjust for inflation no later than January 15 of each year. Today, the Federal Register published the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act Annual Adjustments for 2020. This final rule increases civil penalties the Department of Labor assesses including those issued by … Continue Reading

California Employers May Soon Have to Share Safety Plans

Since 1991, California employers with 10 employees or more have been required to develop written workplace injury and illness prevention plans (“IIPP”). But there is no requirement that employers share those plans with employees. That could be changing soon. In an upcoming meeting, California’s Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board (“Standards Board”) will be considering … Continue Reading

Federal OSHA Assumes Jurisdiction Over Cabin Crews Onboard Aircrafts

In 2013, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) issued a final policy statement outlining three areas that OSHA could regulate for cabin crewmembers on aircraft in operation. 78 Fed. Reg. 52848. This policy statement allows OSHA to apply its hearing conservation standard (29 C.F.R. § 1910.95), bloodborne pathogen standard (29 C.F.R. § 1910.1030), and hazard communication … Continue Reading

OSHA Signals Its Regulatory Priorities in Fall Agenda

Twice a year, once in the spring and once in the fall, federal executive agencies, including OSHA, publish their expected rulemaking activity. Last week the Fall 2019 Unified Agenda of Regulatory and Deregulatory Actions was released. This agenda lays out the regulatory priorities of over 60 federal agencies, departments, and commissions for the next 12 … Continue Reading

NACOSH To Meet in December

The National Advisory Committee on Occupational Safety and Health (NACOSH) will hold a meeting in Washington D.C. on December 12 starting at 9:30 am. NACOSH is comprised of 12 members appointed by the Secretary of Labor who advise, consult with, and make recommendations to the Secretary of Labor on matters relating to safety and health in the workplace. The Committee meets at least … Continue Reading

Injury and Illness Rates Unchanged in 2018

Each year, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (“BLS”) conducts the Survey of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses (“SOII”), collecting a sample of data from select employers to represent all industries and sizes of establishments. From that sample, BLS calculates national injury and illnesses rates for certain industries. In 2003, the injury and illness rate for private … Continue Reading

Finally…OSHA Focuses on Leading Indicators in Safety & Health

Recently, OSHA announced its intention to hold a stakeholder meeting in Washington D.C. next month to obtain information to create tools to help employers with developing and using leading indicators for safety and  health.  OSHA has long focused on “OSHA recordables” (number of recorded work-related injuries on an employer’s OSHA 300 Log) as a way … Continue Reading

Senate Confirms Scalia as Secretary of Labor

Earlier today the Senate confirmed, 53-to-44 , Eugene Scalia, son of late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, as the next Secretary of Labor. Scalia replaces former Alexander Acosta who resigned in July under mounting pressure due to his involvement in a 2008 plea deal involving Jeffrey Epstein.  Scalia has prior experience with the Department of Labor where … Continue Reading

Scalia Nomination Clears Senate HELP Committee

This morning the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee voted 12-11 along party lines to approve Eugene Scalia’s nomination as Secretary of Labor.  The vote came five days after his confirmation hearing before the HELP Committee on September 19, 2019. This vote advances his nomination to the full Senate where it is expected to … Continue Reading
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