Workplace Safety Occupational Safety and Health Administration

News & Analysis as of

OSHA Issues New Whistleblower Investigations Manual

Following through on its April 2015 “clarification” of the investigative standard in whistleblower matters, OSHA issued a new whistleblower investigations manual overnight restating the mission of its...more

The Zika Virus: Frequently Asked Questions for Employers

The Zika virus is receiving significant press coverage, including reports that it may cause birth defects if pregnant women are exposed.  Employers may wonder if they have obligations to protect or accommodate employees under...more

10 Most Common Workplace Injuries

According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, the number of work related fatalities has declined by more than 65 percent in the last few decades, and work related and illnesses have declined by an impressive...more

DOJ shifts enforcement of worker safety violations to Environmental Crimes Section

Deputy Attorney General Sally Quillian Yates announced in a December 17 memo that the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Department of Labor (DOL) are making a renewed commitment “to utilize criminal prosecution as an...more

A TED Talk’s Roadmap for Staying Calm When an Active Shooter’s at the Door

An armed gunman just entered your workplace. You’re under stress. What is the first thing you and your management team do?...more

New "Worker Endangerment Initiative" May Increase Criminal Prosecutions of Workplace Safety Violations

On December 17, 2015, the Department of Labor (DOL) and the Department of Justice (DOJ) announced a plan to increase the frequency and effectiveness of criminal prosecutions of safety and environmental violations affecting...more

2016 Brings Many Cal-OSHA Changes and Big Changes in Workplace Violence Laws

Employers quite rightly complain about the sheer number, intrusiveness and plain weirdness of California employment laws. However, Cal-OSHA and its regulatory scheme have not been that different from Federal-OSHA regulation....more

DOJ to Increase and Strengthen Criminal Worker Safety Prosecutions

With the new year comes a new focus on increasing criminal prosecutions against employers for worker safety violations. In the end of December, the Department of Justice (“DOJ”) and the Department of Labor (“DOL”) announced...more

OSHA Announces Significant Increases in Civil Penalties, Marking First Time Maximum Fines for Violations Have Risen Since 1990

On November 2, 2015, President Barack Obama signed the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015. Obscured within the lengthy bill is a provision that not only mandates a current increase in the penalties for violations of standards...more

Can I Be Criminally Prosecuted for Violating Federal Safety and Health Regulations?

Earlier this month, a federal jury in West Virginia found Don Blankenship, former Chairman and CEO of the Massey Energy Company, guilty of a misdemeanor charge of conspiring to willfully violate safety and health standards...more

The US Departments of Justice and Labor Announce Expansion of Worker Endangerment Initiative

Just in time for the holidays, the Department of Justice (DOJ) and Department of Labor (DOL) announced a new plan to prosecute crimes that put workers’ health and lives at risk. As explained in the December 17, 2015 press...more

WEBINAR: Protecting Your Patients, Workforce and Visitors from Workplace Violence and Active Shooters

The Ober|Kaler Health Care General Counsel Institute presented this webinar on key considerations for health care facilities in protecting patients, workers and visitors from workplace violence and active shooter situations....more

OSHA and MSHA Criminal Prosecutions – DOJ Announces New Procedures After CEO Verdict

On December 17, 2015, the U.S. Departments of Justice (DOJ) and Labor (DOL) announced a new memorandum of understanding (MOU) to increase the frequency and effectiveness of criminal prosecutions of so-called worker...more

Enhanced Criminal Prosecutions of Worker Safety Violations – Employers Beware

The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Department of Labor (DOL) announced last week an expansion of its worker endangerment initiative to address worker safety violations through the use of enhanced criminal fines and...more

Increased Criminal Enforcement for Worker Safety Violations?

In 2010, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) let employers know there was a new sheriff in town. Now there will be a new police force as well. On December 17, 2015, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ)...more

Careful: New Inspection Guidance for Poultry Processing Facilities

The Occupational Safety & Health Administration recently issued its “Inspection Guidance for Poultry Slaughtering and Poultry Processing Establishments” (October 28, 2015). OSHA explains in the Guidance that workers...more

DOJ Redoubles Efforts to Prosecute Workplace Violations as Environmental Crimes

Reporting that 13 workers in America die each day on the job due to injuries and 150 workers succumb to exposure to carcinogens and other toxic and hazardous substances while working, the United States Department of Justice...more

Criminal Prosecutions and Workplace Safety

On September 15, 2015, we wrote an OSHA Bulletin that summarized a memorandum issued by Deputy Attorney General Yates. You can read the Bulletin here. On December 17, 2015, Yates issued another memorandum that will impact all...more

DOJ and DOL Expand and Promote the Worker Endangerment Initiative

The US Department of Justice (DOJ) has announced an expanded national initiative to pursue criminal charges in cases involving worker endangerment. Deputy Attorney General Sally Quillian Yates directed all 93 United States...more

U.S. Department of Justice Expands Worker Endangerment Initiative

On December 17, 2015, Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates issued a memorandum to all 93 U.S. Attorneys urging federal prosecutors to work with the Department of Justice Environment and Natural Resource Division (ENRD) to...more

New DOJ Prosecutorial Initiative Blends Environmental and Worker Safety

Companies with Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) citations may face criminal charges going beyond those allowed under the OSHA statute, under a new Worker Endangerment Initiative and Memorandum of...more

OSHA Penalties Set to Increase in 2016

OSHA penalties, like death and taxes, are one of the few certainties in life. The last time OSHA raised its maximum penalties, Vanilla Ice and New Kids on the Block dominated the airwaves, Macaulay Culkin was a bona fide...more

"The MESS" - Your Bad Situation Could Only Get Worse: OSHA Plans To Raise Penalty Amounts By As Much As 80% - And Even If They...

"Gee, Sheriff, ain't this a mess?" "If it ain't, it'll do till the mess gets here." (Deputy to Sheriff (played by Tommy Lee Jones) in "No Country for Old Men") In my 28 years practicing law and serving as in-house...more

Workplace Violence Prevention in the Age of the ‘Active Shooter’

The tragic mass shootings in Paris, Colorado Springs, and San Bernardino, in three successive weeks, have had global reverberations. They have also left employers grappling with questions as to what measures they should...more

OSHA Announces New Web Page on Violence Prevention in Health Care

On December 1, 2015, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) launched a new web page in an effort to assist healthcare providers in curtailing violence in their workplaces. The page offers links to excellent...more

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