Criminal Charges and OSHA–Employers Should Take Care

Any employer in New York is likely aware that OSHA can, and often does, issue monetary penalties for health and safety violations occurring at an employer’s place of business. Employers are also likely aware that in certain instances, they can even face criminal sanctions for certain actions. Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act, OSHA can and does bring criminal charges against employers when an employer’s willful violations cause an employee’s death, when the employer provides false statements on a document required by the Act,…
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Winter is Coming: Tips for Cold Weather Work and Avoiding Hazards

As the seasons begin to change, winter weather creates hazardous worksite conditions. Winter brings snow, ice, wind chills, and persistent temperatures below freezing. Workers, as well as supervisors and employers, need to take winter safety into consideration throughout everyday worksite duties. Injuries that are commonplace at the worksite year-round become more likely during the winter months. These tips are intended to provide employers and workers with the tools to implement safety precautions throughout the cold months. There are no OSHA specific standards concerning work in…
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OSHA and the Roofing Industry: Fall Protection

The duty to have fall protection in construction (OSHA section 1926.501) regularly tops the list of most frequently cited OSHA standards following workplace inspections. When it comes to the roofing industry, however, fall protection—though of paramount importance—is not the only requirement for an effective safety program. This article will address some critical considerations for roofers when it comes to ensuring compliance with applicable OSHA standards and, more generally, keeping their workers safe. COMPLIANCE WITH PROVISIONS In 2016, OSHA published its “Recommended Practices for Safety and…
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Send in the Drones: An Overview of OSHA’s Drone Inspection Policy

In December 2018, it was discovered that OSHA had put procedures in place to allow for the use of unmanned aircraft systems (better known as drones) for compliance inspections. In 2019, OSHA has reportedly conducted drone inspections on at least nine worksites and, with the increased prevalence of drones in day-to-day life, one can only expect that number to increase. This is not entirely new. OSHA has already been using drones throughout 2018 and 2019, with employers’ permission, at worksites where an accident occurred and…
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Construction Sites, Injured Contractors & Workers’ Compensation

In Connecticut, the “traditional” rules of workers’ compensation are relatively well established. A restaurant employee cuts his finger preparing food on shift; a home health aide pulls a muscle in her back while moving a patient on shift; a delivery truck driver gets into a motor vehicle accident while delivering to a customer. But what if you are a contractor or subcontractor on a job/site and get injured? Do you know who your direct employer is? Is there workers’ compensation coverage? For the most part,…
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It’s Summer and I Have Nothing to Wear: Personal Protective Equipment and Summer Dress Codes

Summer is here, and so is the sun. That means many people will try to stay cool while working and many businesses relax dress codes to allow for shorts and sandals. But workplace hazards do not take a summer vacation, and the hot weather also brings its own dangers. A previous blog post addressed steps employers could take to prevent heat illness. Not only should employers implement heat illness prevention programs, but they must continue to make sure workers wear their personal protective equipment (PPE)…
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The Intersection of Workers’ Compensation and OSHA: Look Both Ways Before Crossing

In many ways, Workers’ Compensation (WC) and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) are very different. WC is a statutory compensation scheme designed to limit an employer’s liability in exchange for more expedient payment of medical expenses, wage replacement, and death benefits. Most of these individual state-based compensation acts were in place long before OSHA was created with the OSH Act of 1970. OSHA, on the other hand, is part of the U.S. Department of Labor and was created to assure safe and healthful…
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More than Enforcement: Exploring OSHA’s On-Site Consultation Program

Congress created OSHA to assure safe and healthful working conditions for workers by setting and enforcing standards and by providing training, outreach, education, and assistance. While many employers view OSHA solely as a governmental enforcement agency, and some have adopted the view that it always must be “us versus them,” OSHA does offer no-cost, penalty-free assistance to employers. OSHA’s On-Site Consultation program provides confidential consultation services that target small- to medium-sized businesses in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and several United States territories.…
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The Intersection of Workers’ Compensation and OSHA: Look Both Ways Before Crossing

In many ways, workers’ compensation (WC) and the OSHA are very different. WC is a statutory compensation scheme designed to limit an employer’s liability in exchange for more expedient payment of medical expenses, wage replacement, and death benefits. Most of these individual state-based compensation acts were in place long before OSHA. OSHA compliance and related issues are often marshalled by safety professionals and might be considered the pre-accident or injury prevention piece. WC is often comprised of risk management personnel and takes the stage once…
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OSHA Issues Final Rule to Revise Requirements in Safety and Health Standards; Estimated to Save Employer $6.1 Million Per Year

OSHA issued a final rule on May 13, 2019 that revises 14 provisions in the recordkeeping, general industry, maritime, and construction standards. Citing concerns that the previous iteration of the standards were “confusing, outdated, or unnecessary,” OSHA first proposed the changes in October 2016. The revisions were completed as part of OSHA’s Standards Improvement Project, which began in 1995 in response to Presidential Executive Order 13563, “Improving Regulations and Regulatory Review.” Prior revisions under the improvement project were issued in 1998, 2005, and 2011. Among…
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