Workplace Safety and Health Law Blog

Latest from Workplace Safety and Health Law Blog

Will OSHA Pay Your Attorney’s Fees for Fighting an Improper Citation Under the Equal Access to Justice Act? The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) conducted an inspection of your facility.  OSHA issues a serious citation to your company for a machine guarding violation, despite the fact the OSHA investigator did not actually observe a plausible infraction.  Your company would like to contest the citation because it was not justified.  However, your company is not…
Are North Carolina Employers Required to Have a Written Safety and Health Program? North Carolina law requires employers with a workers’ compensation experience rate modifier (“ERM”) of 1.5 or higher to “establish and carry out a safety and health program to reduce or eliminate hazards and to prevent injuries and illnesses to employees.”  Not just any program, however, will comply with the statutory requirements.  What Is an ERM? ERMs provide a comparison of an employer’s…
D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals Provides Little Guidance on MSHA 105(c) Interference Test Section 105(c)(1) of the Federal Mine Safety and Health Act (“Mine Act”) provides “No person shall discharge or in any manner discriminate against . . . or otherwise interfere with the exercise of the statutory rights of any miner.”  30 U.S.C. § 815(c)(1).  In Secretary on behalf of McGary et al. v. Marshall County Coal Co. et al., 38 FMSHRC 2006(Rev. Comm.…
April 28, 2019 is World Day for Safety and Health at Work. Fisher Phillips proudly celebrates the safety of all workers with our clients. Here’s a short video – Fisher Phillips Safety – regarding our shared commitment to employee safety. As we pause to reflect this week on worker safety, keep in mind these simple tips to improve your safety and health program. Fully train all employees prior to starting work. Conduct refresher training every…
The legal basis of interference is in Section 105(c)(1) of the Federal Mine Safety and Health Act (“Mine Act”) –  “No person shall discharge or in any manner discriminate against . . . or otherwise interfere with the exercise of the statutory rights of any miner.”  30 U.S.C. §815(c)(1).  The interference test has developed into a two-part evaluation of an operator’s reaction to protected activity or treatment of miners’ rights.  The real question is whether…
“Walk This Way”: What are Employers’ Walk-Around Rights During OSHA Inspections? Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 (OSH Act), employers have a right to be given the opportunity to accompany an OSHA compliance safety and health officer (CSHO) during an inspection of the workplace. In most cases, there is no issue with compliance: when a CSHO shows up to conduct an inspection and presents his credentials to the employer, the employer knows…
The Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) has launched a pilot program for Part 100 conferencing in the hopes of reducing the number of contested citations.  Under the pilot program, which will run from April 1 – June 30, 2019, MSHA will hold conferences with operators with the understanding that the goal of the conference is to reach a negotiated settlement before the contest process begins.  During the conference, the operator and MSHA would negotiate…
As you may have seen in the news, an anticipated first all-female astronaut spacewalk had to be cancelled because the International Space Station did not have the appropriate sized space suits for both of the female astronauts (Anne McClain and Christina Koch) to conduct the spacewalk together.  Ultimately, Koch conducted the space walk with the male astronaut (Nick Hague).  According to NASA, the astronauts trained with various sized space suits, but the effect of microgravity…
Don’t Be Bringin’ on the Heartbreak:  Are Statements Made During OSHA Informal Conferences Admissible? The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has conducted an inspection of your plant after one of your employees amputated part of his finger trying to clean around a sprocket with the machine still running.  OSHA issues a serious citation to your company for a machine guarding violation.  Your company contests the citation because no one works around the sprocket when…
If I Could Turn Back Time: Can Employers Find a Way to Correct an Erroneous Accident or Injury Report to OSHA and Avoid an Inspection? An accident happens at your workplace, and an employee is injured.  During the hectic response, incorrect information funnels its way up to the safety director or person charged with notifying OSHA of reportable injuries and accidents, and that person is told that it looks like the employee’s finger has been…