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 Road Warrior’s Observations Part 2: Ergonomics and Process Engineering, Safety, Kaizen and Real Leadership.

February 13, 2015 07:36
by Howard Mavity
Ergonomic Analysis Can Make a Business More Profitable and Safer As I finally flew home last week, I sat beside Jeff Smagacz, the owner of an engineering firm, RMG. Jeff explained that RMG spends 75% of its time analyzing manufacturing and distribution processes to make them faster, more efficient, require less employees … and to lessen employee exposure to ergonomic injuries. About 25% of their time is spent in more traditional “ergonomic work” like designing ergonomically ...

A Reminder about the Hazards of Snow Covered Skylights

February 11, 2015 14:25
by Howard Mavity
Every winter, we see contractors or maintenance employees fall to their deaths through skylights concealed by heavy snow fall, as well as possibly inadequately protected.  This post is solely for the purpose of reminding employers of this hazard.  Typically, dealing with snow or related roof damage or leaks is what OSHA refers to as a “non routine hazard.”  Ensure that your employees going on the roof are aware of this hazard and proper safety procedures, and that you ...

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A Road Warrior’s Observations on Responsibility, Civility, Mentorship, and Being a Leader

February 8, 2015 09:36
by Howard Mavity
Measles and Personal Responsibility I’m a conservative free market, individual rights oriented, gun owning, evangelical leaning person who grew up in the hills of North Georgia.  I deal with the Federal and State government every day and I believe that private organizations can better handle many government tasks.  Have I established my credentials so that I can make the following statement? Public Health authorities are correct about the need for the measles vaccination and an...

We Should Not Be Dealing With Measles Concerns in 2015, But We Are.

February 4, 2015 05:56
by Howard Mavity
Crazy as it seems, highly publicized Pandemic, Ebola and now Measles concerns are good for the U.S. Each time our short attention span is directed to the latest disease concern, we briefly recognize the seriousness of such concerns and improve national and individual capacity to respond. As a result of the embarrassing first responses to Ebola, the government and our health care systems are far better prepared for future threats. Similarly, multiple influenza pandemics have raised our awarene...
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Don’t Get Sued Over Your HR and Safety Policies

January 30, 2015 08:28
by Howard Mavity
I have written several recent posts and spoken on the NLRB’s wholesale attack on a wide range of employer policies and procedures. ( Part 1 and Part 2 ) However, I want to step back and discuss broader issues relating to Safety and HR policies, including employee handbooks, employee agreements, and “safety programs.”  As a starting point, some people argue that we should do away with many policies, and especially employee handbooks, or strip them down to almost nothing.&...

Recent OSHA Focus on Beer, Wine and Spirits Distributors

January 28, 2015 06:42
by Howard Mavity
This is the first post of a several part series which will deal with OSHA concerns for distributors, including OSHA ergonomic citation efforts.  The distributor’s biggest OSHA compliance challenges are routine items.  Once the distributor is cited for one of these common violations, this violation may serve as the basis for a “Repeat” OSHA citation of up to $70,000 for five years at any of the employer’s locations in any other Fed-OSHA state.  If the dist...

Don’t tell Me That It Couldn’t Happen at Your Workplace

January 27, 2015 09:26
by Howard Mavity
One of my recurrent themes is that an employer should never assume that its managers and employees will not act foolishly and exercise bad judgment.  Poor judgment results in experienced craft workers skipping a step and getting killed.  Poor judgment results in employees or managers engaging in sex harassment.  Poor judgment results in coworkers teasing an employee so much that he blames the hostile environment on his race, national origin, age or sex.  Sometimes poor j...

2015 Employer Policy and Procedure Review – Confidentiality, Civility, and Other Rules – Part One

January 19, 2015 04:59
by Howard Mavity
  The NLRB has widely attacked employer policies and rules and ordered employees reinstated on the grounds that the rules somehow chilled or prohibited Employee section 7 Rights.  So what are Section 7 Rights?   Section 7 of the National Labor Relations Act states as follows:   Employees shall have the right to self-organization, to form, join, or assist labor organizations, to bargain collectively through representatives of their own choosing, and to engage in oth...

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2015 Policy Review and Revision: Employer Email

January 19, 2015 04:50
by Howard Mavity
We’re going to comment on the numerous policies and rules which must be revised because of the NLRB’s many changes last year; especially during December 2014.  Today, we’ll briefly discuss email.   The NLRB issued its Purple Communications Decision on December 11 and held that if an employer allows employees to use its email system at work, they must presumptively permit use of that employer-provided email system for “statutorily protected communica...
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Temps, OSHA, Construction and Ron Burgundy

January 15, 2015 16:35
by Howard Mavity
I’m attending and speaking at the AGC National Safety Committee meetings in San Diego as I type, the home of the great Ron Burgundy (Anchorman 1 and Anchorman 2).  I’ve participated in these committee meetings for about 12 years, and I enjoy few gatherings more.  The General Contractors attending these meetings are the pick of the litter, and I learn as much from them as they do from me. After speaking about OSHA’s Temporary Employee Initiative as applied to construc...

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