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.

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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Flus, Pandemics, Paranoia and Common Sense

January 5, 2015 04:57
by Howard Mavity
I recently read a fictional account of a 1918 flu-like pandemic which shut down basic services for an extended period.  I come from a less conspiratorial perspective, but the Annapolis grad author raised some valid points and painted an all too vivid picture of how badly people might behave. The book prompted me to critically review our library of DHS, CDC, OSHA and Fisher & Phillips materials on seasonal flu precautions and Pandemic Planning.  I’m a “Catastrophe Manag...
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Honesty Never Goes Out of Style

December 28, 2014 04:58
by Howard Mavity
Would you like to see this statement about you and your business in the local papers? "Corporation Sentenced for Safety Violations That Caused Employee Death." I didn't think so. The referenced case reminds us that an employer is unlikely to go to jail for even a fatality associated with willful OSHA violations but lying to the Feds, fabricating evidence and asking employees to lie for you will land you in jail ... and rightly so. Read the excerpts below from the US Attorney's statement: A M...

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The Endless December of Activist Government - Yet More OSHA Recordkeeping Changes

December 19, 2014 23:00
by Howard Mavity
Wow.  In 30 years of practice, I've never seen so many expansive government moves, and certainly I've never seen more changes made by fiat rather than through the legislative or rulemaking processes.  First the January 2015 Recordkeeping changes were announced, and then NLRB change, after change, after change.  And there's a week and a half left!  One's perspective of naughty or nice varies according to whether one is an employer or union or appointed official, but I'm t...

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Is Union Free The Proper Goal for Your Culture?

December 12, 2014 08:13
by Howard Mavity
This week’s NLRB Purple Communications decision about employee emails combine with today’s announcement by the NLRB of the so-called “quickie elections” process (Blog Post), is going to stir up employers. You should expect a bevy of marketing communications trying to sell you seminars and packages on how to remain “union free.”  I want to pose a bit of a contrarian idea. Why would an employer focus on being “union free?”  Do you devi...

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Southeastern Auto Industry In OSHA's Sights?

December 10, 2014 08:37
by Howard Mavity
  Southeastern auto parts manufacturers need to stay on their toes.  OSHA Region IV just announced $68,000 in citations against an Alabama metal stamping company that supplies oil pans, covers and parts for the auto industry.  OSHA’s official press release emphasizes that the inspection was initiated as part of Region IV’s Emphasis Program for Safety Hazards in the Auto Parts Industry.  We have discussed this Emphasis Program before and recommend that you check o...

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