Dr. David Michaels, the Assistant Secretary for OSHA, announced that today, January 10th, would be his last day with the agency.  He will be returning to academia at George Washington University beginning January 17th.  And, on this last day, he continued what has been a very aggressive regulatory agenda by announcing that he was accepting

By April 1, 2017, all employers in California operating in the following areas will be required to comply with Section 3342, the Workplace Violence Prevention in Health Care rule:  health care facilities; home health care programs; drug treatment programs; emergency medical services; and outpatient medical services to correctional and detention settings.  This rule is far

OSHA first proposed a rule on Slips, Trips and Falls in 1990.  Since that time, many employers have taken advantage of this proposed rule in making certain arguments related to Citations issued under Subpart D, the Walking-Working Surfaces regulations.  If you never used this argument, you may be wondering how a proposed rule could help

OSHA recently launched an initiative that focuses on protecting temporary employees from recognized workplace hazards.  Under this initiative, OSHA is directing all OSHA compliance officers to assess whether employers who use temporary workers are complying with their responsibilities under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970.  For purposes of this initiative, temporary workers are

As a cold winter finally comes to an end, many of us look forward to summertime warmth. But while sun and heat may make for a fun day at the beach, they  can spell  danger for workers who are exposed to soaring temperatures and a rising heat index. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“OSHA”), thousands of workers in the United States get sick from excessive heat exposure while working outdoors each year and more than 30 workers died in 2012 from heat-related illnesses.

Although OSHA  has no heat illness prevention standard, Section 5(a)(1) of the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 (“OSH Act”), known as the General Duty Clause, requires employers to provide their employees with a workplace free from recognized hazards likely to cause death or serious physical harm.  That includes protecting them from heat stroke and other serious heat-related illness.   Of the “State-plan” states running their own  safety programs under agreements with OSHA,   only California and Washington currently have  heat-related illness prevention standards.  However, other State-plan states also have general duty clauses in their statutes which may be invoked to address these issues.

Continue Reading The Heat is On: What Employers Can Do to Protect Employees from Heat-Related Illness

Representative George Miller (D-CA) recently reintroduced a bill (H.R. 1649) that would provide whistleblower protections to certain workers in the offshore oil and gas industry.  The bill was first introduced in 2010 and again in 2011. 

Continue Reading Offshore Oil and Gas Worker Whistleblower Protection Act of 2013 Introduced Into the House

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“OSHA”) released a new interpretation letter on April 5, 2013, clarifying that non-union employees may select a non-employee who is “affiliated with a union” or with a “community organization” to act as their walk-around representative during OSHA inspections of their employer’s worksite.  In reaching this conclusion, OSHA concluded that

The Department of Health and Human Services (“HHS”) issued a proposed rule on respirator certification fees on March 27, 2013.  HHS proposed increasing the fees for respirator certifications issued by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (“NIOSH”), and proposed creating a mechanism for routinely updating the fees in the future.  The proposed fee structure is designed to enable NIOSH to fully recover its costs in certifying, testing and inspecting respirators. The current fees have remained unchanged since 1972.
 

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“OSHA”) and the Mine Safety and Health Administration (“MSHA”) require employers to supply NIOSH-certified respirators to their employees whenever the use of respirators is required.  A NIOSH certificate of approval allows a respirator manufacturer the ability to sell its NIOSH-approved respirators to businesses or industries that require the use of respirators by their employees. 

Continue Reading Department of Health and Human Services Proposes to Increase Respirator Certification Fees