Workplace Safety and Health Law Blog

One of President-elect Biden’s first actions when he assumes office may be creating an emergency standard for COVID-19 through the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). As Fisher Phillips noted in November when analyzing the workplace safety actions his administration was likely to take, Biden would be most likely to work with unions and worker advocacy groups to create this standard.…
In what could be one of the more significant redirections of a government agency, the Biden administration’s transition team will almost certainly appoint a union-supported candidate to replace the current Assistant Secretary of Labor, Mine Safety and Health Administration, David Zatezalo. Biden’s candidacy revolved around a pro-labor agenda, and his transition team remains focused on expanding workers’ rights in the workplace.…
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is a finalizing rule to shorten the quarantine period for people exposed to COVID-19 from 14 days to seven to 10 days, according to an exclusive report in yesterday’s Wall Street Journal. Henry Walke, the CDC’s coronavirus incident manager, indicated that a shortened quarantine period would include a requirement that the person receive a negative test before ending their quarantine period.…
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) just issued guidance and an accompanying one-page summary outlining which standards are most frequently cited during coronavirus-related inspections. OSHA based these documents on data gleaned from citations issued as the result of complaints, referrals, and fatalities related to COVID-19. According to OSHA, most of these citations were issued to industries such as hospitals and healthcare, nursing homes and long-term care facilities, and meat/poultry processing plants. However, all employers…
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration enforces the Hazardous Materials Regulations on our nation’s highways, requiring anyone who offers, ships, or transports a hazardous material to include shipping papers that describe the hazardous materials. Shipping paper regulations are some of the most frequently violated hazardous materials regulations because they apply so broadly.…
Cal/OSHA recently cited 11 employers in the food processing, meatpacking, health care, agriculture, and retail industries for not protecting employees from potential exposure to COVID-19. The state safety enforcement agency targeted these industries after several employee complaints and a spike in infection rates. It then initiated a number of strategic enforcement efforts to ensure all employers have adequate workplace safety plans to address COVID-19-specific hazards. …
Think of the typical office employee who commutes to their job by driving to and from work every day. Say this unfortunate employee gets into a motor vehicle accident on the way to or from work. Is this a compensable workers’ compensation claim? Typically, the answer is no because of the generally recognized “coming and going” rule. Under workers’ compensation law, employees who have a “fixed situs” workplace and are injured coming from work or…
Responding to several points of concern regarding the use of face coverings in the workplace, OSHA issued detailed policy guidance supporting their use. Adding to its COVID-19 FAQs, OSHA posted an answer to the question, “Does wearing a medical/surgical mask or cloth face covering cause unsafe oxygen levels or harmful carbon dioxide levels to the wearer?” OSHA’s answer attests to both the safety of wearing face coverings and that it does not, by itself…
Fall protection in construction is one of the most cited OSHA standards across all industries, with fall protection training in construction being the eighth most-cited.  More importantly, falls constitute more than a third of construction deaths, dwarfing the next three causes combined. Outside of construction industries, falls remain a leading cause of citations and fatalities.  Falls are the most dangerous hazard for American workers, which means that fall protection is the most important safety consideration…