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.

New Emphasis On Whistleblower Claims Against Auto/Parts Manufacturers and Dealers.

April 4, 2014 08:26
by Howard Mavity
During this week’s discussion about GM’s auto recalls, OSHA also released a Fact Sheet and guidance on “Filing Whistleblower Complaints Under The Moving Ahead For Progress In The 21st Century Act (MAP21).”  I’m willing to bet that most of you have never heard of this relatively new retaliation law, and when I recently polled a number of my competitors, as well as various OSHA retaliation supervisors, I learned that most of them had not yet seen complaints under...

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Is OSHA’s Temporary Worker Initiative A Foretaste Of Things To Come?

April 2, 2014 09:32
by Howard Mavity
I support OSHA’s temporary worker focus.  Employers need to take more steps to ensure that temporary employees don’t fall through the cracks and do not receive adequate safety training. However, employers should also make long term plans based on what the initiative tells us more broadly about where workplace enforcement is heading. Let’s break our discussion into two subjects: 1. The helpful new OSHA Bulletin On Temporary Worker Injury and Illness Recordkeeping Re...

OSHA Goes After Automobile and Parts Manufacturers

March 28, 2014 06:16
by Howard Mavity
You have probably heard lawyers grump that “bad facts make bad law.”  This growl means that unusually egregious facts may cause a jury to rule for a plaintiff where the law does not actually favor them.  Similarly, it only takes a few unusual workplace fatalities or a recalcitrant employer to bring an industry to the top of OSHA’s list.  As an example, while I believe that OSHA’s focus on temporary employees was appropriate, this interest was triggered by s...

Avoiding Discrimination Claims in Construction

March 26, 2014 08:38
by Howard Mavity
Should construction employers worry less about employee discrimination claims than employers in other industries?Construction employees come and go, depending on the jobs and may not stay with the company long enough to develop an attachment. With such regular turnover, employees may not associate a termination with race, age, sex, national origin, etc. And with a predominantly male workforce, one would logically assume that there would be less opportunity for sex-related claims.However, some ch...

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Keep Up With What MSHA and OSHA Are Saying At the ABA OSHA Midwinter Meetings

March 12, 2014 07:10
by Howard Mavity
The ABA-OSHA annual Committee Meeting is always one of the best occasions to learn where Fed-OSHA and the State-OSHA Plans are heading.  As I type, Jordan Barab, Deputy Assistant Secretary - OSHA is discussing and sort of defending the Fed-OSHA increasing authority over State-Plans, including the recent CASPA against Indiana OSHA.  Good stuff comes out of our annual meetings and various articles will be published by publications.  If you want brief play-by-play updates as they occ...
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Something Positive Today: NAWIC National Women In Construction Week

March 6, 2014 08:41
by Howard Mavity
NAWIC observes Women in Construction Week March 2-8 The focus of WIC Week is to highlight women as a visible component of the construction industry. It is also a time for local chapters to give back to their communities. WIC Week provides an occasion for NAWIC’s thousands of members across the country to raise awareness of the opportunities available for women in the construction industry and to emphasize the growing role of women in the industry. “The latest industry research indi...

Companies That Share Information Build the Culture They Want

March 5, 2014 06:24
by Howard Mavity
Leadership lessons from the military do not necessarily translate to the private sector.  I am uncomfortable with business books which continually analogize the workplace to the battlefield.  It’s not the same thing.  However, there is an enormous amount of wisdom to be gleaned from those who have served.  As an example, Forbes ran a piece by Kevin Kruse discussing the need to be open and authentic with employees, "How One former Navy SEAL Modulates Authentic Leadership...

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Get Caught “Again” By A Snow Apocalypse And You'll Have No One To Blame But Yourself

March 3, 2014 08:22
by Howard Mavity
Laura Stack posted an excellent INC. article, “You Can’t Stop A Polar Vortex, But You Can Be Ready For The Next One.”  While I travel constantly, I live in Atlanta, so this is a visceral subject to me both as a “Catastrophe Manager” and as an Atlanta employer.  When Atlanta businesses, government, and schools all decided to release everybody at the same time, I had a first hand seat to witness poor planning and decisions.  My secretary got home at 2:0...

Unsupported Assumption About Accomodating Epilepsy Costs Hospital $215,000

February 27, 2014 09:34
by Howard Mavity
Periodically, I blog on the need to avoid knee jerk decisions about whether employees with a disability can perform the essential functions of the job.  The employee may or may not be able to perform the essential functions of the job, but if the employer fails to engage in their individualized analysis and document their consideration of accommodation options, how will they defend their decision if challenged?  According to the EEOC’s Complaint, the hospital terminated the physi...
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In California ( and elsewhere) the Wrong Shoes Can Cost You Thousands

February 14, 2014 14:43
by Howard Mavity
Warehouses and distribution centers (DC’s) are not OSHA’s most frequently inspected workplaces and do not present the complex compliance issues presented by some manufacturers or refineries.  But that does not mean that an OSHA inspection will not result in citations and dangerous Repeat exposure, or costly abatement actions.  DC's are a great example of employers who may not realize that OSHA’s evolving enforcement positions have upped their legal exposure and may ca...

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