Workplace Safety and Health Law Blog | Fisher & Phillips LLP
News, commentary and legal updates from Fisher & Phillips attorneys who
assist employers with workplace safety and health matters.

A TED Talk’s Roadmap for Staying Calm When an Active Shooter’s at the Door

January 21, 2016 01:10
by Travis Vance
An armed gunman just entered your workplace. You’re under stress. What is the first thing you and your management team do? Does someone call the police? Do you run? Fight? Hide? Is there a security guard? What does he or she do? What do your employees do? Do you know the precise, step-by-step actions that you would take? Do you have a system in place to minimize the likelihood of a catastrophe? How do you handle the stress? Several recent terrorist attacks shocked the U.S. and t...

2016 Brings Many Cal-OSHA Changes and Big Changes in Workplace Violence Laws

January 8, 2016 10:00
by Howard Mavity
    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 Cali...

My Labor and OSHA Recommendatins for 2016 Resolutions

January 2, 2016 03:34
by Howard Mavity
I try not to rely on “the sky is falling” marketing.  So please seriously consider my following “New Year’s Resolutions”.  I prefer to prevent problems.  I’ve linked to Rich Meneghello’s excellent Article and list, which includes additional subjects and recommendations.  With no further ado, here are my recommended 2016 Labor, OSHA, and Employment Law Resolutions: 1.       Revise all Employee Handbooks...

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Judge Says OSHA Can Seek Hazard Abatement at Worksites it Never Inspected

December 29, 2015 03:32
by Howard Mavity  & Travis Vance
We saw more OSHA changes in 2015 than in any time in the last 30 odd years. Nevertheless, an OSHA Administrative Judge issued a decision a few weeks ago that could eclipse OSHA’s 2015 pronouncements on temporary employees, ergonomics and inspection weighing process. The judge ruled that OSHA can seek abatement measures beyond the site inspected. In other words, OSHA can attempt to require an employer to abate hazards allegedly present at worksites it never inspected. Many of our readers ...
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OSHA Ramps Up Focus On the Poultry Industry

December 15, 2015 10:15
by Howard Mavity
OSHA RAMPS UP FOCUS ON THE POULTRY INDUSTRY   In October, OSHA announced an Emphasis Program on poultry processing in Regions IV and VI in states with Federal OSHA programs.  Region IV Federal OSHA states are Alabama, Florida, Georgia and Mississippi.  The Region VI Federal OSHA states are Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma and Texas, plus employers in New Mexico who come under the Federal-OSHA and not the State Plan.  State Plans such as North and South Carolina OSHA are encour...
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Consider this OSHA: Eliminate Many Penalties and Create Safer Workplaces

December 7, 2015 00:28
by Travis Vance
OSHA recently surprised us with the announcement it had authority to increase penalties for the first time since 1990. Given this development, we expect OSHA to increase the maximum fine for serious citations to $12,500 and willful/repeat citations to $125,000 in August 2016. Additional increases reflecting inflation likely will follow on January 15 of each subsequent year. On the heels of this news, OSHA has touted a recent study finding that the risk of increased penalties leads to lower illn...
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If There Is a Workplace Shooting, Don't Just Lie Down and Be a Target

December 3, 2015 08:46
by Howard Mavity
   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.   Party attendees laid down and were shot while on the floor.   Human nature seems to be to drop to the f...

More Dope On OSHA's New Weighted Inspection Process

November 18, 2015 13:16
by Howard Mavity
We updated you about OSHA’s new Weighted Inspection Program in our October 3 post, “What’s the Real Effect of OSHA’s Revamped Inspection Process, the Enforcement Weighing System?”   A Bloomberg BNA piece tonight summed up the processes’ effect: The new measurement method—the “enforcement weighting system”—has replaced the OSHA practice of simply counting inspections and assigning each inspection the same degree of importance ...

There’s More Enforcement Overlap Between Federal OSHA and State Plans Than You Think

November 17, 2015 01:12
by Travis Vance
One of the fascinating things about an OSHA citation defense practice is the distinctions you see in prosecution by Federal OSHA versus state plans. It is very unusual in the legal world to have the same laws enforced by different governing bodies. OSHA litigation is just that. Our workplace safety group’s time is split evenly between defending clients against citations in one of the 24 or so approved state plans and the Federal OSHA states. I really don’t have a favorite between th...
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So How Does OSHA Raise Penalties 82% and We Don’t Notice?

November 3, 2015 15:00
by Howard Mavity
A lot of us woke up on November 3 and exclaimed, “What the heck!  How did that happen?”  The Budget Agreement signed on November 2, which was worked out behind closed doors, includes provisions authorizing OSHA to increase penalties for the first time since Bush I, fifteen years ago, by as much as 50% to 82%.  Yep.  50% to 82%. It’s not clear whether OSHA will choose to increase penalties to the full extent allowed, but the Agreement authorizes OSHA to ma...

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