OSHA Law Blog

Insight & Commentary on Occupational Safety & Health Issues

On February 7, 2019  the Cranes and Derricks in Construction: Operator Qualifications final rule became effective, requiring employers using cranes in the construction industry to document their evaluation of their crane operators.  That same day OSHA issued temporary enforcement guidance indicating that while it will still enforce the requirement that employers evaluate their operators before allowing them to operate cranes it is going to provide additional time for employers to begin to document the evaluations. According to…
Congress took employers by surprise when it increased Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“OSHA”) penalties nearly 80 percent in 2016. Today, a Serious violation can fetch a maximum penalty of $13,260, and a Willful or Repeat violation can cost up to $132,598. Citations often include multiple items, which can multiply these figures. When construction companies or other industrial employers receive Serious citations, they often rush into an informal conference with OSHA, without considering potential legal…
On January 30th the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee announced that it would hold a hearing on February 6th for several of President Trump’s nominees, including Scott Mugno, the President’s nominee for Assistant Secretary of Labor for OSHA. Mugno was first nominated in 2017 and a confirmation hearing was held before the HELP Committee in December 2017.  After failing to bring his nomination to a vote before the expiration of the Senate…
Today OSHA published the final rule revising the Improve Tracking of Workplace Injuries and Illnesses regulation promulgated under the Obama administration.  The final rule aligns with the proposed rule and rescinds the requirements for establishments with 250 or more employees to electronically file information from OSHA Forms 300 and 301. As is currently the requirement, these establishments will continue to submit information from their Form 300A.  The final rule now requires all covered employers to electronically file…
Signaling a renewed emphasis on workforce protections at the opening of the 116th Congress, the U.S. House of Representatives has changed the name of its committee with jurisdiction over labor matters back to the Committee on Education and Labor. It was called the Committee on Education and the Workforce when Republicans held the majority in the House. The Committee is headed by Chairman Robert C. Scott (D-Va.). Click here to read the full article.…
Despite no federal funding, it appears that the Office of Federal Register is operational.  Today, the Federal Register published the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act Annual Adjustments for 2019. This final rule increases civil penalties the Department of Labor assesses including those assessed by OSHA.  The rule is effective today and the increased penalty rates will apply to any penalties assessed after the effective date of the rule.  So beginning tomorrow, OSHA civil…
For employers who are required to maintain work-related injury and illness records, its that time of year again. Employers covered by OSHA’s recordkeeping rule are required to prepare and post the OSHA Form 300A, “Summary of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses,” beginning February 1 and keep the form posted until April 30.  The form must be posted at each establishment covered, in a conspicuous place where notices to employees are customarily posted. Prior to posting, a company executive must…
While much of the rest of the government is shutdown, the Department of Labor (“DOL”) is hard at work.  OSHA which is an agency within DOL is one of the few agencies that is fully funded and operational.  On January 15th, OSHA issued a pre-published version of its Federal Register notice for the increase in civil penalties for violations of OSHA standards and regulations to adjust for inflation. The Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act…
In September, the Office of Inspector General (OIG) issued a draft report criticizing OSHA for not having appropriate controls in place to ensure employers report severe injuries and abate hazards. The September OIG report recommended to OSHA that the agency develop formal guidance and train staff on how to detect and prevent underreporting, consistently issue citations for late reporting, clarify some of its guidance and emphasize the need to conduct inspections for all incidents classified…
Workplace safety is moving in the right direction, according to employers and the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Based on an annual survey, BLS estimates that private industry employers had 45,800 fewer cases of nonfatal injuries and illnesses among full-time employees in 2017 as compared to the year before. All measures – – including missed workdays, OSHA recordable incidents, injury-caused work restrictions – – have declined steadily this century. Employers had 2.8 total recordable cases…