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 to Refer Time-Barred Whistleblower Claims to the NLRB

On May 21st, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) announced that OSHA will begin referring time-barred whistleblower claims (brought pursuant to Section 11(c) of the OSH Act) to the NLRB, which has a longer limitations period, for investigation and potential prosecution. In order to facilitate this collaborative program, OSHA agents have been provided with talking points briefly describing the NLRB and providing other information to use when referring untimely Section 11(c) complainants. The statute of limitations for a whistleblower claim brought pursuant to Section…
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This Week’s Top OSHA Related News


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23 Citations to Florida Manufacturer Underscore the Importance of Compliance with Respiratory and Toxic and Hazardous Substances Standards

OSHA recently cited a Florida manufacturer for 23 safety and health violations with proposed penalties totaling $106,000 for exposing workers to dangerous welding fumes and other hazards. Of the 23 alleged violations, 19 were classified as “serious violations,” that is, a substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result. The inspection — conducted as part of OSHA’s national emphasis program on amputations — resulted in violations in two main categories: respiratory protection (29 CFR 1910.134) and toxic and hazardous substances –…
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OSHA’s Burden of Proof and Contesting the “Knowledge” Element

In order to establish a violation in any case, OSHA must prove the following four elements: (1) the cited standard applies; (2) the employer failed to comply with the standard; (3) employees had access to the violative condition; and (4) the employer knew, or with the exercise of reasonable diligence, could have known of the violative condition. A recent decision from the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission (OSHRC) (March 7, 2014, Docket No. 12-2152), provides an opportunity to discuss the fourth element, the “knowledge”…
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The Informal Conference: To Settle or Not To Settle

An important right upon receipt of an OSHA citation is to request an informal conference with the OSHA area director. Notably, an informal conference must be held within 15 working days of your receipt of the citation. (This is the same deadline as for contesting the citation. It is also important to keep in mind that requesting and/or appearing at an informal conference will not extend the time you have to contest the citation.) Informal conferences are popular and may be extremely useful because they…
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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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OSHA Related News for April


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Exploring the Limits of OSHA’s Inspection Authority: A Precursor to Exercising Your Rights

If an OSHA inspector, known as a compliance safety and health officer (CSHO), arrives at your door, presents his or her credentials, and asks for you to consent to an inspection of your workplace, what do you do? If you consent, what should you expect to happen next? And if you refuse to consent, then what? Obviously it would be wishful thinking to conclude that the CSHO would simply leave, bid you good day and never come back. These rather elementary questions are among the…
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OSHA Announces National Stand-Down for Fall Prevention

OSHA has announced a national safety stand-down from June 2 to June 6, 2014 to raise awareness about the hazards of falls, which account for the highest number of deaths in the construction industry. In order to conduct a safety stand-down, a construction company should stop working at a specific designated time and provide a focused toolbox talk on a safety topic such as ladder safety, fall protection equipment, or scaffolds safety. The purpose of the meeting is to provide information to workers about hazards,…
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