Federal Mine Safety and Health Review Commissioners Confirmed

The Federal Mine Safety and Health Review Commission is back in business as it will soon have a quorum again to decide cases. The Commission plays an important role in mine safety and health law. The Commission establishes precedential case law when it decides appeals of administrative law judge decisions in Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) cases, including citation contests and discrimination cases.

Dig This! OSHA Renews Its Focus on Trenching and Excavation

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) officially kicked off its National Emphasis Program (NEP) on Trenching and Excavation on October 1, 2018. With the NEP comes enhanced enforcement, education, and a new OSHA instruction related to OSHA’s trenching and excavation standards in Subpart P of the Construction Standards.

DOL Proposes Rule to Allow Younger Workers to Operate Patient Lifts in Healthcare Settings

On September 27, 2018, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) published a notice of proposed rulemaking expanding the employment, training, and apprenticeship opportunities for 16- and 17-year-olds in healthcare occupations by removing the prohibition on teen employees operating patient lifts.

Tennessee Gives Employers Option to Allow Limited Carrying of Concealed Firearms at Work

Tennessee property owners, including employers, are generally authorized to prohibit the possession of weapons by any person at meetings conducted by an employer or on property owned, operated, managed, or under the control of an employer. Tennessee has adopted very specific requirements for how employers and other property owners must notify employees and visitors when they seek to prohibit firearms on their properties.

OSHA Proposes Amending Electronic Recordkeeping Requirements

On July 30, 2018, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) published a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) in the Federal Register seeking comments on a proposed measure that would partially rescind the 2016 amendments to its recordkeeping rule. The 2016 amendments required establishments with at least 250 employees, or with at least 20 employees in a high-risk industry, to electronically submit their illness and injury records to OSHA annually, beginning in 2017.

OSHA Announces 30-Day Grace Period for Enforcement of Silica Standard for General Industry

Employers that are worried about whether their new or upgraded programs for silica protection will pass regulatory muster under the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) general industry standard for respirable crsytalline silica, for which enforcement begins on Saturday, June 23, 2018, can breathe a small sigh of relief.

What the White House 2019 Budget Proposals Tell Us About Future Labor and Employment Policy Reforms

On February 12, 2018, the White House released its fiscal year 2019 (FY 2019) budget plan and sent it to Capitol Hill just a week after signing a two-year budget deal lifting the spending caps for 2018 and reopening the federal government, which had been temporarily shut down. For that reason, the budget cuts in the FY 2019 proposal have little chance of enactment by Congress which is loath to give back money already approved. So, while the proposed 2019 cuts are needed to fund higher spending for the military, as well as to fund the construction of a border wall and infrastructure repairs—and the administration now has more money to spend—there were few surprises in the FY 2019 budget plan for cutting the budgets of federal labor and employment agencies. Every labor and employment agency was cut, but not as drastically as expected.

Process Safety Management, Union Style

If you’ve ever wondered what a process safety standard drafted by a union would look like, the State of Washington’s recent draft Process Safety Requirements for Petroleum Refineries provides a glimpse. Using California’s 2017 Process Safety Management for Petroleum Refineries as its baseline, Washington’s Department of Labor and Industries released a draft of a process safety management standard that would apply to the state’s 5 petroleum refineries.