OSHA

On Wednesday, May 11, 2016, the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) finalized its controversial workplace injury and illness reporting rules.  The new requirements are effective August 10, 2016, with phased-in data submissions beginning in 2017. So why all the fuss about a rule that’s been around since 1971?  Well, under the new rule, all employers who are covered by the recordkeeping regulation and who have 250 or more employees must electronically submit their recordkeeping forms to OSHA. But OSHA didn’t stop there . . . those electronic records of workplace injuries and illnesses will now be posted on OSHA’s website for all to see and review.
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It seems like an odd place to wage a civil rights war, but right now across the country there is a serious debate over public bathroom use. The LGBT community, backed by the U.S. Department of Labor (OSHA), has taken the position that a person should be able to use the bathroom of the gender to which he/she identifies, regardless of their anatomy. In response, the Minnesota-based retailer Target is now transitioning to gender-neutral restrooms. Not everyone agrees with this position. (more…)

On May 4, 2015, OSHA issued a final rule setting new standards for workers in confined spaces on construction sites.  The new rule requires coordination for multiple employers at the worksite, a competent person to evaluate the worksite and identify confined spaces, continuous atmospheric monitoring and monitoring of engulfment hazards, allowing suspension of a permit in the event of changed conditions, and require employers to (i) prevent exposure to hazards through elimination if a permit system is not in place, (ii) coordinate with emergency personnel in advance of any emergencies and (iii) provide training in a language and vocabulary the worker understands.  Notably, the new rule also imposes responsibilities on controlling contractors and host employers with regards to contractors and subcontractors who work on site.  These standards become effective August 3, 2015. (more…)