Latest Articles

By Mark A. Lies, II, Brent I. Clark, and Craig B. Simonsen The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals recently found, in AKM LLC v. Secretary of Labor, — F.3d —-, 2012 WL 1142273 (DC Cir., April 06, 2012), that where the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) had issued certain recordkeeping citations and penalties for alleged errors on the OSHA 300 log more than six months after the alleged erroneous entries were…
By Mark A. Lies, II, Brent I. Clark, James L. Curtis and Craig B. Simonsen In 1994, then Secretary of Labor, Robert Reich, personally served Dayton Tire (Dayton) with a citation alleging over one hundred willful violations of the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSH Act). Dayton contested the citation, and by 1997, an appeal was before the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission (OSHRC). The appeal then sat there, with the OSHRC,…
By Mark A. Lies, II and James L. Curtis In this recent case the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission (OSHRC) found that the Secretary had not established employee exposure because, although the cited standard applied to the electrical adaptor at issue, “grounding is not necessarily required for all equipment that could be plugged into it.” The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) had issued a serious citation alleging that Shaw Areva Mox Services, LLC…
By Mark A. Lies, II and Meagan Newman The 10th Circuit Court of Appeals recently issued a decision that effectively and measurably lowers OSHA’s burden of proof to establish an OSHA violation to “what a reasonably prudent employer would do.” Compass Environmental, Inc. v. Occupational Safety and Health Commission; Department of Labor, No. 10-9541 (Dec. 19, 2011). The decision is contrary to the Review Commission’s long-standing four-part Atlantic Battery test and establishes no measurable…
By Mark A. Lies II and Elizabeth Leifel Ash On August 17, 2009, three journeymen electricians from M. C. Dean (Dean), an outside contractor, were servicing electrical installations at a warehouse owned by Ryder Transportation Services (Ryder).  One of the journeymen electricians fell through a skylight on the warehouse roof and suffered fatal injuries.  Following this accident, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued citations to Ryder under the Agency’s multi-employer worksite doctrine as the…
By Mark A. Lies II and Elizabeth Leifel Ash Under the Obama Administration, many federal agencies, including the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have redoubled their efforts to enforce existing laws and regulations.  OSHA and EPA, in particular, have seen significant increases in their inspection and enforcement budgets, including the hiring of more inspectors and a call for more inspections.  Accordingly, it is more important than ever…
By Mark A. Lies II and Timothy R. Gerlach[1] It is a fact of everyday business life that many employers will, from time to time, be required to  engage outside contractors to perform a variety of services at the employer’s facility that the employer cannot perform with its own employees.  Recently, OSHA has begun to expand the employer’s liability for OSHA compliance for employees of the outside contractor under its multi-employer workplace liability.  A recent…
By Mark A. Lies II and Elizabeth Leifel Ash In July 2010, OSHA began an inspection of Haasbach, LLC following the death of two teenage workers at a Mt. Carroll, Illinois grain elevator.  The employees became entrapped in corn more than 30 feet deep in the elevator and suffocated.  During the OSHA investigation, OSHA issued a document subpoena to Haasbach’s workers’ compensation insurer, Grinnell Mutual Reinsurance Co., seeking inspection reports and other documents related to…
By Mark A. Lies II and Elizabeth Leifel Ash In the universe of complex OSHA regulations that govern day-to-day operations and have a direct effect on employee safety, it is easy for OSHA’s more prosaic recordkeeping and reporting requirements to get lost in the shuffle.  However, OSHA can issue citations to employers for failing to follow recordkeeping and reporting rules just as it can for machine guarding or lockout/tagout violations.  In fact, in 2009, OSHA…