Workplace Hazards

News & Analysis as of

Employer Concerns Regarding the Spread of Measles and Other Infectious Diseases

Action Item: Based on the rising number of issues related to highly communicable diseases like measles, mumps, flu, and Ebola, employers should be proactive rather than reactive in preparing and implementing an infectious...more

Broader Regulation of Offshore Contractors on Horizon

On November 12, 2014 the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) strongly signaled a forthcoming review of its offshore facility decommissioning regulations and regulatory authority over contactors. While the...more

Federal government announces changes to WHMIS Legislation

The federal government has announced certain amendments to the federal Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System (WHMIS) legislation which covers suppliers of hazardous chemicals in Canada. The purpose of the...more

Workplace Violence: Keeping Employees Safe

Cartoonists shot at work in Paris. Teachers killed while trying to protect their students in Newtown, Connecticut. A CEO shot in the head and stomach by a recently demoted employee in Illinois. News reports are filled with...more

Roses Are Red, Violets Are Blue, I'm Prepared to Deal with Office Romances, How 'Bout You?

Valentine’s Day is a day of love and romance for many, often times between co-workers. For employers, it provides a fitting opportunity to re-examine workplace romance and sexual harassment policies. Indeed, there is no...more

Maine Court Upholds Award Of Workers’ Comp - Cautionary Case For Employers That Allow Employees To Work At Home

Presumption of Causation – In Estate of Sullwold v Salvation Army, the court confirmed that in case of death – even when working at home – there is a rebuttable presumption that the death was caused by work, provided...more

Supervisor fined after workers exposed to asbestos dust

A supervisor with an asbestos abatement company, and his employer, have pleaded guilty to charges under the Occupational Health and Safety Act and were fined, after workers were exposed to asbestos dust on a job site....more

Toxins and the workplace: What you should know

Many Illinois employees face considerable health risks from toxins in the workplace. Common workplace toxins, including solvents, pesticides, fuels and chemical reagents, can cause lasting physical damage....more

West Virginia Legislature May Put the "Deliberate" Back In Deliberate Intent Claims

House Bill 2011 was introduced in the West Virginia legislature by the new Republican majority on the first day of the legislative session. This same bill was introduced in the Senate as Senate Bill No. 11. The purpose of HB...more

OSHA Hands Down Record Award Under Federal Railroad Safety Act

The Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) gave a MTA Metro-North railroad employee a record award under the Federal Railroad Safety Act after they suffered an injury in 2011. The $250,000 in punitive damages...more

Fighting The Flu - Don't Forget To Wash Your Hands!

You can’t open the newspaper, turn on the television, or visit a website without seeing some alarming statistic about the flu. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the flu is already “widespread”...more

OSHA Ups the Ante: Changes to Your Injury Reporting Obligations in 2015

The Occupational Safety and Hazard Administration ("OSHA") is the federal agency within the Department of Labor that is tasked with reducing workplace hazards and implementing worker health and safety protections. To that...more

Can I claim workers’ compensation for cancer in Illinois?

According to the American Cancer Society, more than 1,600,000 new cases of cancer were diagnosed in the U.S. in 2014. Thousands of workers in Illinois are temporarily or permanently disabled by cancer each year. In many...more

Hospitals can be risky places to work

The notion that it could be more dangerous to work in a hospital than to work on a construction site might sound absurd. Hospitals exist in order to counteract the effects of injury and disease, so the fact that they are a...more

What is the Illinois Public Employee Disability Act?

The Illinois Public Employee Disability Act was passed in 1997 to protect public employees who face dangerous conditions in the line of duty. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 5.6 out of 100 public employees...more

No Smoking = No Vaping?

The days of lighting up at the office are making a comeback in some workplaces, thanks to the growing popularity of electronic cigarettes. According to the Centers for Disease Control, in 2013, one in five adult smokers...more

Global HR Hot Topic—December 2014: Overseas Business Travel Liability and the Duty of Care in Times of Ebola

As of late 2014, the United States faced no Ebola pandemic whatsoever. The odds of catching Ebola in an American workplace remained statistically zero. Only a handful of Ebola cases had made their way to the United States,...more

Responding to West-African Employees who Travel to Ebola-Affected Countries - Employee Rights vs. Public Health Concerns

Buried near the end of articles in the New York Times and The Washington Post about the first United States Ebola patient, Thomas Eric Duncan, was the observation that the quarantine being imposed on Mr. Duncan’s fiancée, her...more

Manufacturers Are Building Occupants, too – EHS Issues Related to Building Occupancy

Obviously, our blog focuses on issues that affect manufacturers. Specifically, my posts deal with environmental or health and safety issues manufacturers face. Sometimes, though, it’s good to step back and remember that...more

Expect the Best, Prepare for the Worst: OSHA Enforcement Looms Over Black Friday

“Black Friday” is the day after Thanksgiving and considered by many to be the start of the holiday shopping season. In recent times, the term “Black Friday” has been associated with the concept that retailers’ shift from...more

“Zero tolerance”, automatic suspension approach to safety violations criticized, written warning substituted

Employers are increasingly taking a “zero tolerance” approach in which a minimum level of discipline – whether a suspension or dismissal – is imposed for certain serious safety violations. In a recent case, an arbitrator...more

New South Wales Supreme Court Clarifies Inspectors' Powers Under Sections 155 and 171 of the WHS Act

The recent decision of Hunter Quarries Pty Ltd v New South Wales (Hunter Quarries Decision), as provided welcome clarification regarding the operation of an inspector's powers under sections 155 and 171 of the Work Health and...more

Will Ebola Drive a New OSHA Infectious Disease Standard?

If asked, most safety directors, human resource professionals and others involved regularly with OSHA would probably cite construction as the industry most associated with employee injury and illness. Yet, according to OSHA...more

OSHA Strengthens Local Emphasis on Hazardous Chemical Compliance

Omaha Area Director of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recently announced a brand-new local emphasis program that will introduce regular health inspections at funeral homes, product and chemical...more

Ontario MOL consulting on extending noise protection to all Ontario workers

The Ontario Ministry of Labour is proposing that all Ontario workers be protected from excess noise in the workplace. Currently, the regulations for Industrial Establishments, Mines and Mining Plants and Oil and...more

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