OSHA Issues New COVID-19 Guidance for All Industries Not Covered by Its ETS for Healthcare

On June 10, 2021, simultaneous with the issuance of its Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) for COVID-19 focusing on healthcare employers, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) released its new COVID-19 guidance for all industries not covered by the ETS.

Virginia Issues COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standard

On July 15, 2020, the Virginia Department of Labor and Industry’s Safety and Health Codes Board approved an Emergency Temporary Standard for COVID-19 to be enforced by the Virginia Occupational Safety and Health program (VOSH). Virginia is the first state to adopt a specific standard intended to protect workers and “to control, prevent, and mitigate the spread of [COVID-19]” in the workplace.

CDC and OSHA Issue Guidance for Meat and Poultry Processing Workers and Employers

On April 26, 2020, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued guidance on COVID-19 for “Meat and Poultry Processing Workers and Employers” that is intended to supplement general guidance previously provided by OSHA and the CDC. The guidance was issued following news accounts of COVID-19 at multiple meat and poultry facilities as well as a lawsuit seeking to close a pork processing facility in Missouri.

State COVID-19 Orders Regulating Worker Safety—Are They Preempted?

Almost every state has issued closure orders designating certain businesses as “essential” and allowing them to continue to operate during the COVID-19 pandemic. Some states have recently issued orders expressly or implicitly regulating the safety and health of workers at those essential businesses. Are some or all of the provisions in these orders preempted by the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 (OSH Act)? It depends.

Retail FAQs During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Retail employers are facing challenges unique to their workforces due to the spread of COVID-19. Retailers must keep abreast of federal laws such as the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, in addition to guidance from federal agencies on these new laws. Below are answers to the most frequently asked questions perplexing retailers confronting issues such as health and safety, unions and employee relations, and employee benefits.

OSHA’s New COVID-19 Inspection Plan: What Employers Should Expect

On April 13, 2020, the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued its Interim Enforcement Response Plan for Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19), which provides a blueprint for the agency’s Area Directors and inspectors to follow when considering opening and conducting a COVID-19-related inspection. The plan gives employers a glimpse into what to expect from OSHA during the pandemic.

OSHA Issues Interim Enforcement Guidance on the Meaning of “Work Related” for Recording Cases of COVID-19

On April 10, 2020, the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued interim enforcement guidance for recording cases of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) under the agency’s recordkeeping regulation at 29 C.F.R. § 1904, affecting what employers are required to record in their OSHA 300 logs. The guidance clarifies which cases of COVID-19 are considered “work-related” under 29 C.F.R. § 1904, which means it also affects employer obligations for cases that must be reported to OSHA (e.g., in-patient hospitalizations).

COVID-19: FAQs on Federal Labor and Employment Laws

The recent spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) in the United States has caused employers to be increasingly concerned and uncertain regarding the future of their workforces. Here are some answers to frequently asked questions (FAQs) about the latest developments on the virus and guidance from federal agencies.

OSHA Allows Healthcare Employers to Suspend N95 Annual Fit-Testing During Coronavirus “Outbreak”

On March 14, 2020, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued temporary enforcement guidance addressing the fit-testing requirements in the agency’s respiratory protection standard (29 C.F.R. § 1910.134). The guidance applies to healthcare workers using N95 respirators to protect them from the novel coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19).

OSHA Anticipates More Changes to the Electronic Recordkeeping Rule: What Does It Mean for Employers?

The Trump administration continues to look for ways to lessen the regulatory burden on employers. As a result, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) electronic recordkeeping regulation continues to be whittled down. OSHA’s latest Regulatory Agenda sets out new changes to the already beleaguered rule. Specifically, OSHA intends to propose to amend the Electronic Recordkeeping rule to eliminate the requirement that establishments with 250 or more employees submit OSHA 300 Logs and 301 forms. Instead, two types of establishments would continue to submit 300A summary forms: (1) establishments of 250 or more employees; and (2) establishments with between 20 and 249 employees in the high-hazard industries listed in Appendix A to the regulation.

How to Survive the Dog Days of Summer: OSHA’s Yearly Heat Campaign Sizzles

On June 26, 2017, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) announced the return of its heat illness prevention campaign: “Water. Rest. Shade.” As part of the seventh annual heat illness prevention campaign, OSHA’s website outlines the dangers of working in heat, employers’ responsibilities, and additional resources.

Could Your OSHA 300 Logs Lead to a Chemical National Emphasis Program Inspection?

An appeal pending before the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals (U.S. v. Mar-Jac Poultry, Inc., No. 16-17745, 11th Cir.) reveals a novel approach the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is taking to expand inspections resulting from reported injuries or complaints into wall-to-wall inspections conducted under national, regional, and local emphasis programs targeting specific hazards or industries.

Court Denies Temporary Injunction on OSHA’s Electronic Reporting Regulation

On November 28, 2016, a federal district judge rejected several industry groups’ attempt to halt certain aspects of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) Improve Tracking of Workplace Injuries and Illnesses final rule. In particular, the groups were targeting the new “anti-retaliation” provisions under 29 C.F.R. Sections 1904.35 and 1904.36, which would effectively prohibit employers from utilizing certain safety incentive programs and mandatory post-accident drug testing policies.

OSHA Clarifies Limits on Post-Accident Drug Testing and Safety Incentive Programs

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recently released a memorandum explaining “in more detail” two provisions added to the recordkeeping regulation: Section 1904.35(b)(1)(i) requiring “employers to have a reasonable procedure for employees to report work-related injuries and illnesses”; and Section 1904.35(b)(1)(iv) prohibiting retaliation for reporting work-related injuries and illnesses.

OSHA Pushes Back Enforcement Date for Anti-Retaliation Provisions Again

The Occupation Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) again delayed enforcement of the anti-retaliation provisions included in the revised recordkeeping regulation, 29 CFR Part 1904, until December 1, 2016. OSHA delayed enforcement at the request of Northern District of Texas Judge Sam Lindsay. Judge Lindsay is considering the complaint and motion for preliminary injunction filed by several industry groups challenging the anti-retaliation provisions to the extent that OSHA seeks to limit routine post-accident drug testing and incident-based safety incentive and recognition plans.

OSHA Issues New Electronic Recordkeeping Requirements and Creates a New Cause of Action for Employees

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has amended its recordkeeping regulation, 29 CFR Part 1904, to require many employers to submit OSHA 300 Logs, OSHA 301 forms, and OSHA 300A summaries to the agency electronically. The amendments, which will be published in the Federal Register on May 12, also include provisions designed to prevent employers from retaliating against employees for reporting work-related injuries or illnesses. To abate alleged violations of these provisions, OSHA may order employers to reinstate employees or pay them back pay. The changes will allow OSHA and other stakeholders—including labor unions and plaintiffs’ attorneys—to access injury and illness data and also create a new cause of action for employees who claim their employer retaliated against them for reporting a work-related injury or illness.

OSHA Ups the Ante for Employers That Fail to Report Workplace Injuries

On March 4, 2016, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued new procedures for enforcing revised injury and illness reporting requirements in 29 C.F.R. § 1904.39. Many of the 2014 interim procedures remain unchanged, but now employers will face a minimum penalty of $5,000 for failing to report. The new procedures also include a so-called “safe harbor” provision that OSHA claims will prevent the agency from using root cause reports that employers submit as the basis for citations.

OSHA’s Delay in Launching Its Web Portal Raises Concerns for the Proposed Recordkeeping Rule

At the start of 2015, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) made several changes to its regulations requiring employers to report certain work-related injuries and illnesses. Under the previous rule, employers had to report all work-related fatalities, as well as hospitalizations of three or more employees, within eight hours. With the new changes, in addition to reporting fatalities within eight hours, employers must report all work-related hospitalizations, amputations, and losses of an eye within 24 hours.

OSHA’s Latest Regulatory Agenda: Silica, Tree Care, Powered Industrial Trucks, Lockout/Tagout . . . and Much More

The U. S. Department of Labor (DOL) recently released its Fall 2015 Regulatory Agenda, its semi-annual status report of all regulatory actions underway or being contemplated by the DOL’s agencies. Included in the agenda were the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) announcement that many of its standards nearing final rule status, such as Silica and Walking Working Surfaces, will have delayed deadlines. A few new surprises were included in the agenda, such as OSHA’s announcement to begin rulemaking on new standards for Tree Care, Powered Industrial Trucks, and Revocation of Obsolete Permissible Exposure Limits (PELs).

Get Ready for Monday-Morning Quarterbacking: OSHA Releases Compliance Guidance and Will Soon Finalize Electronic Recordkeeping Proposal

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recently sent its proposal to amend the recordkeeping regulation, 29 CFR Part 1904, to the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA)—a necessary step in the process of finalizing the proposal. OSHA proposes requiring some employers to submit injury and illness data electronically.