Happy New Year! A New Year means increased maximum penalties for OSHA citations. As of January 16, 2021, the maximum penalties for serious, other-than-serious and posting requirements is now $13,653 per violation; $13,653 per day for failure to abate; and $136,532 for willful or repeat violations.(more…)
It is that time of year again where many businesses provide their employees with the opportunity to participate in various charitable events in the spirit of giving. Doing so may raise a number of employment-related issues including whether such time is compensable or whether an injury during such an event is covered by Workers’ Compensation. The answer to these questions may turn on facts such as whether employees are required to participate, does it occur during normal business hours, or whether employees are incentivized or otherwise encouraged to attend.(more…)
On April 10, 2020, OSHA issued additional guidance for employers on their obligations to record COVID-19 cases which can be found here.
Prior to this guidance, OSHA made clear that COVID-19 cases may be recordable if a worker is infected as a result of performing work-related duties. Thus, employers would need to record COVID-19 cases if all of the following conditions are met:(more…)
Many businesses are permitting employees to work from home in response to COVID-19 and many more will do so particularly as states like New York have and/or will be restricting the number of employees at the worksite.
Does this mean the employer must inspect an employee’s home to ensure that it is a safe and healthy work environment under OSHA? The answer is generally no. In 2002, OSHA provided guidance regarding telecommuting available here.(more…)
It is not unusual for OSHA to request “enhanced abatements” when resolving citations. Enhanced abatement is when an employer agrees to perform certain abatement actions beyond the recognized hazard in the specifically cited standard. For example, if an employer receives a machine guarding citation for failure to guard machine A, OSHA may request the employer perform a corporate-wide guarding audit for all equipment in addition to guarding machine A. Other common examples of enhanced abatement include committing to performing future employee training at all facilities in applicable areas or agreeing to conduct safety and health audits with OSHA’s consultation branch or an independent safety and health firm.(more…)
As the evolving coronavirus virus (COVID-19) first discovered in China continues to grow in both China and other countries including the United States, businesses here need to consider a number of factors in preparing a response plan. One of the most challenging issues in dealing with any epidemic affecting the workplace is that there is no one-size-fits-all approach. A multitude of factors needs to be considering in formulating an appropriate response plan including but not limited to the nature of the epidemic, size of the business, the specific industry, the demographics of the workforce, and operational needs. In addition, there are numerous laws which must be carefully considered in any response plan such as OSHA, Title VII, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) to name just a few.(more…)
As mentioned in our last blog, the time for covered employers to post the OSHA 300A Summary is from February 1 to April 30. It is also a good time to revisit the issue of what kinds of injuries and illnesses should be recorded as employers sometimes struggle with this fact-sensitive question. OSHA has several sources that can assist with this determination. The OSHA recordkeeping forms themselves provide guidance on this issue.(more…)
As we start the new year, following the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act which Congress passed in 2015, OSHA announced revised increased maximum penalty levels effective January 15, 2020:(more…)
OSHA recently announced it redesigned the website for its Whistleblower Protection Program which is found at https://www.whistleblowers.gov/
The website now includes a video that highlights the industries the program covers and provides essential information about the rights and responsibilities of employers and employees such as filing deadlines. (more…)
Although there is no specific standard generally covering distracted driving, OSHA has made clear that the general duty clause may apply. Indeed, OSHA has stated that more workers are killed each year in motor vehicle crashes than any other cause. However, despite this finding, many businesses do not have formal distracted driving policies. (more…)