OSHA

As many employers know, OSHA published a Final Rule on May 12, 2016 that amended the Code of Federal Regulations to add additional provisions regarding proper reporting and retaliation for workplace reporting. OSHA took the position that certain workplace policies may deter or discourage proper workplace reporting, including disciplinary policies, incentive policies, and post-accident drug testing policies. In other words, OSHA asserted that a blanket policy that requires drug-testing of any employee after a workplace accident is likely to discourage employees from reporting workplace injuries. Therefore, if an employee is drug-tested after an accident under a blanket policy and disciplined for violation of the policy, OSHA may later determine that the discipline was unlawful retaliation because the employer had no reasonable basis to conclude that drug use may have contributed to the accident. (more…)

As we previously reported, during the last year of President Obama’s Administration, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) published an amendment to its illness/injury recording keeping rule, which would have significantly changed employers’ obligations regarding reporting. In brief, among other controversial provisions, the new rule would require employers, beginning July 1, to submit their employee injury/illness data to OSHA so that the data can be published for all to see.

In an expected move, OSHA has announced that it has suspended its electronic injury and illness data submission requirement, which was set take effect on July 1. OSHA’s website now states:

OSHA is not accepting electronic submissions of injury and illness logs at this time, and intends to propose extending the July 1, 2017 date by which certain employers are required to submit the information from their completed 2016 Form 300A electronically. Updates will be posted to this webpage when they are available.

Employers may rejoice that OSHA has not indicated when or if a new deadline would be set for electronic submissions, or whether it will reverse the rule that established this public reporting of injury/illness records. OSHA may indicate its stance on the rule after a new head of OSHA is appointed.

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.
(more…)

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…)