Donna Pryor

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A member of Husch Blackwell’s Energy & Natural Resources group, Donna focuses on commercial and administrative litigation related to mine safety and occupational safety and health. She also assists clients in crisis management and strategic communications related to workplace health and safety issues.

 

Donna has extensive experience in the production of precious metals, aggregates, cement, industrial minerals, coal, salt, potash, phosphate, granite, limestone, and oil and gas. She combines her legal skills and government knowledge with her litigation prowess for clients facing complex problems.

Latest Articles

As of the end of last month, OSHA citations will cost you more. The Department of Labor published the official version of the Final Rule for the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act Annual Adjustment for 2019, which adjusts civil penalties for inflation. Federal law requires the annual adjustment to occur each year by January 15th. This year’s publication was delayed due to the partial government shutdown.…
Some cannabis cultivators and manufacturers believe they are exempt from OSHA visits because the Federal government does not recognize cannabis as a legal drug. On June 19, 2018, a worker in a California cannabis manufacturing facility was using propane to extract oil from cannabis flowers. The propane ignited and exploded, leaving the employee with serious injuries.  The incident was followed by an investigation by California OSHA.  According to a California Department of Industrial Relations press release,…
On October 17, 2018, OIRA published the fall regulatory agenda for MSHA. The major regulatory priority on MSHA’s agenda continues to be an examination of the protections provided to reduce underground miners’ exposure to diesel exhaust and refuge alternatives for underground coal mines. The MSHA/NIOSH Diesel Health Effects Partnership convened its third meeting in July 2018 and attracted 50 stakeholders from across the industry spectrum to chart an effective path for change.…
One unique challenge on mine sites is the rule requiring a phone call to MSHA within 15 minutes of certain serious accidents. Operators otherwise consumed with emergency response must make quick, on-the-scene judgments about whether a miner’s medical condition is life threatening. With 20/20 hindsight, MSHA often disagrees with their decisions and issues citations. A recent case vacating a 15-minute reporting citation is a reminder that there are often good grounds to contest such allegations.…
As the Trump Administration pursues its agenda of de-regulation, OSHA issued a policy memo recently, reversing course on a key part of its approach to the Voluntary Protection Program (VPP). According to a May 30th memo, which revised a 2013 policy (“Memorandum #7”), OSHA will no longer automatically issue an Intent to Terminate Notice (ITT) to companies on VPP when certain events occur. Instead, the agency will take a more deferential and conciliatory approach…
Here’s an all-too-familiar story with an all-too-uncommon ending. An MSHA inspector saw equipment positioned a certain way, assumed that someone had used it unsafely in that position, and issued a citation. A judge then upheld the citation by giving more weight to the inspector’s assumption than to the worker’s sworn testimony about how he acted safely. But, in this case, the mine operator refused to accept that unfair result. They appealed… and won.…
Yesterday we attended one of the last MSHA Stakeholders Meetings regarding the new Metal/Nonmetal workplace exam rule. In case you were unable to attend any of the meetings, the PowerPoint presented at the sessions can be found here. The Inspector training and Frequently Asked Questions document prepared by the agency are also available on the MSHA website. The new rule requires that mine operators: Designate a competent person to examine each working place at least once…