Author Archives: David E. Leach

Lead Exposure Brings $287,440 in Fines from OSHA

Lead exposure can cause long term damage to the central nervous system, urinary, blood and reproductive systems. Without proper protection, employees who encounter lead in the work place can bring this toxic metal home on their clothes, hair and hands. Family members, including pregnant women and children, are put at risk for lead poisoning as a result. Employees of Chicago-based Era Valdivia Contractors, Inc. and their families were exposed to dangerous lead hazards while workers were sandblasting the steel structure of the Francisco Avenue Bridge…

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OSHA Orders Employer to Reinstate Whistleblower and Pay More Than $166,000 in Damages

On July 30, 2013, a pilot refused to fly a medical transport helicopter over mountainous terrain due to a faulty emergency locator transmitter. The employee was placed on administrative leave the next day and was eventually terminated on August 5, 2013. This termination was reported to OSHA and an investigation followed. OSHA found that the pilot’s employer terminated the employee in retaliation for refusing to fly the helicopter. OSHA not only ordered that the pilot be reinstated, but also levied fines totaling $158,000 in back…

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OSHA Standards Protect Workers from Exposure to Ebola

Can an employer receive an OSHA citation for failing to protect its employees from exposure to the Ebola virus? Surprisingly, the answer is yes. While most workers in the United States are unlikely to encounter the Ebola virus, workers whose jobs involve healthcare, airline and other transportation operations, cleaning, and environmental services, may be at higher risk for exposure. Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act (“OSH Act”), employers are responsible for ensuring that workers are protected from exposure to the virus. OSHA actually has…

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OSHA Announces New Rule for Reporting Severe Injuries

On September 11, 2014, OSHA announced a new final rule requiring employers to notify OSHA when an employee is killed on the job or suffers a work-related hospitalization, amputation or loss of an eye. The rule, which also updates the list of employers partially exempt from OSHA record-keeping requirements, goes into effect on January 1, 2015. Under the rule, employers will be required to notify OSHA of work-related fatalities within eight hours, and work-related in-patient hospitalizations, amputations or losses of an eye within 24 hours. …

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President Obama Signs Executive Order Requiring Prospective Federal Contractors to Disclose Labor Violations

President Obama recently signed an Executive Order mandating that companies seeking federal contracts must disclose all labor law violations from the previous three years in order to be eligible for such contracts. The Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces Executive Order will govern new federal procurement contracts valued at more than $500,000 and provide information on companies’ compliance with federal labor laws for agencies. The Executive Order is expected to be implemented on new contracts in stages, on a prioritized basis, during 2016. The goal of…

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OSHA Helps Workers and Employers Beat the Heat with Smart Phone App and Other Resources

Every year, dozens of workers are killed by heat, and thousands more experience heat-related illnesses. With summer heat on the rise across the nation, workers and employers are turning to OSHA’s Heat Safety Tool for help staying safe in the heat. The App allows workers and supervisors to calculate the heat index for their worksite, and, based on the heat index, displays a risk level to outdoor workers. In addition, it provides reminders about protective measures that should be taken at that risk level to…

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OSHA Announces Interactive Training Webtool to Assist Small Businesses Identify Workplace Hazards

On June 22, 2014, OSHA announced a new interactive training tool to help small businesses effectively identify hazards in the workplace. According to the announcement, employers and workers can “virtually” explore how to identify common workplace hazards in the manufacturing and construction industries. Users of the new training tool will learn not only hazard identification skills but also about hazard abatement and control. Through the hazard identification tool, users reportedly learn to identify realistic, common hazards from the perspective of either a business owner or…

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$7 Million in Grant Money Available for Safety Training from OSHA

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration is soliciting applications from nonprofit organizations, including employer associations, labor unions, and joint labor/management associations, under a program called the Susan Harwood Training Grant Program. The $7 million in grant money will fund training and education for workers and employers to identify and prevent workplace safety and health hazards. Two types of safety and health training grants will be awarded: Targeted Topic Training and Capacity Building; approximately $3.5 million will be available in each grant…

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OSHA’S Fall Prevention Campaign Includes a National-Stand Down for Fall Safety

Falls are the leading cause of death in the construction industry. In 2012, 279 construction workers lost their lives in falls from heights and more than 8,800 construction workers were seriously injured by falls. From June 2 through June 6, 2014 employers and workers are voluntarily stopping work to talk about saving lives and preventing fatal falls. More than 1 million workers and tens of thousands of businesses across the country are expected to participate in this national stand-down for fall safety. This national stand-down…

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OSHA Emphasizes Safe Patient Handling Programs for Healthcare Workers

Nurses and other healthcare workers face many safety and health hazards in their work environments. In fact, healthcare workers experience some of the highest rates of non-fatal occupational injuries and illnesses of any industry sector. In 2012, injuries and illnesses reported for nursing and residential care workers were significantly higher than those in construction, and 2-3 times higher than in retail or manufacturing. Almost half of the injuries and illnesses reported for nurses and nursing support staffs were musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs).  Reducing the number of…

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