July 1, 2018 Electronic Submission Deadline

As a reminder to establishments with 250 or more employees that are currently required to keep OSHA injury and illness records and establishments with 20-249 employees that are classified in specific industries with historically high rates of occupational injuries and illnesses that the deadline to electronically submit their 2017 Form, 300A data is July 1, 2018. (more…)

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Top 10 Things to Know About the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“OSHA”) in the United States

This article was originally written for the Fasken law firm which is based in Canada.  However, it has some helpful reminders about OSHA that I thought worth sharing here.

For Canadian businesses expanding into the United States whether by opening a new facility or a merger and acquisition, there are a whole host of employment law and related issues that need to be considered in the due diligence process including workplace safety and health issues. As a starting point, here are the Top 10 things these businesses should know about OSHA. (more…)

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Top 10 Things To Know About Health And Safety Legal Compliance In Canada

The OSHA Chronicle is pleased to publish the following guest article written by Norman A. Keith, J.D., LL.M. CRSP, a partner at Fasken Martineau DuMoulin LLP who specializes in Canadian workplace safety and health issues.

For American businesses expanding into Canada, whether opening a new facility or acquiring by a merger or acquisition, there are a number of Canadian Occupational Health and Safety (“OHS”) legal compliance requirements. This article provides 10 things that an American or multi-national business needs to know to ensure OHS legal compliance in Canada. (more…)

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The Value of the Non-Recordable Injury / Illness as a Safety Tool

Most employers are required to keep OSHA injury and illness records for each of its covered establishments. To meet these obligations, it is prudent for employers to have well-written policies that require employees to report all workplace injuries and illnesses and to foster a culture that encourages reporting. Indeed, OSHA’s electronic recordkeeping rule specifically prohibits employers from discouraging workers from reporting an injury or illness and requires employers to inform employees of their right to report work-related injuries and illnesses free from retaliation. For example, OSHA would generally consider a policy that requires employees to immediately, without exception, report an injury or illness as retaliatory. (more…)

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OSHA’s Electronic Recordkeeping Rule Revisited

As previously mentioned in this blog, all covered employers under the new electronic recordkeeping regulation were required to electronically file their 2016 300A form by December 30, 2017. As of January 1, 2018, OSHA no longer accepted the 2016 data. During the filing period, OSHA indicated approximately one-third of the establishments that were required to file did not do so. (more…)

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Workplace Violence Fatalities Up in 2016

The Bureau of Labor Statistics recently published workplace fatality statistics for 2016 showing a 7-percent increase from 2015.  Within this increase, workplace violence and other injuries by persons or animals increased 23 percent to become the second-most common fatal event in 2016.  This increase represents an additional 163 cases to 866 in 2016.  Workplace homicides increased by 83 cases to 500 in 2016, and workplace suicides increased by 62 to 291.  This is the highest homicide figure since 2010.  These statistics are a grim reminder that employers need to be proactive about workplace violence issues.  In an earlier blog, we discussed OSHA guidance on workplace violence which can be accessed at: http://oshachronicle.com/2017/06/06/osha-and-workplace-violence

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Baby It’s Cold Outside…So Remember OSHA’s Cold Stress Guide

As much of the country is experiencing record low temperatures, it is a good reminder that failing to take appropriate measures to protect employees working in such environments and avoiding other hazards associated with the cold such as preventing slips on snow and ice could provide the basis for a general duty violation under OSHA.  OSHA’s tagline for employers to prevent cold stress-related injuries and illnesses is “Plan, Equip, Train.”  (more…)

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Sexual Harassment and Workplace Safety and Health: An OSHA Issue?

It would not surprise most people to know that OSHA does not have a specific standard governing sexual harassment in the workplace.  However, is there a link between sexual harassment and workplace safety and health issues?  Yes.  For example, sexual harassment could lead to increased stress for the victim which could manifest itself in a number of physical and mental ways.  If the victim is employed in a safety-sensitive position, this might also compromise the employee’s ability to perform the job safely.  Sexual harassment could make victims less likely to report legitimate safety issues or to report accidents particularly if the harasser is part of the reporting process.  Of course, if sexual harassment includes actual or threatened physical conduct, we move into potential workplace violence issues.

Furthermore, although not a strict sexual harassment issue, OSHA has recognized that women in certain industries sometimes have unique safety and health issues.  For example, OSHA has a webpage dedicated to women working in construction which can be accessed at https://www.osha.gov/doc/topics/women/index.html.  In addition, an OSHA Advisory Committee published a Study and Recommendation (“Study”) in 1999 called, “Women in the Construction Workplace: Providing Equitable Safety and Health Protection.”  A copy can be accessed at https://www.osha.gov/doc/accsh/haswicformal.html.

The Study is divided into seven areas where distinct safety and health issues for women have been identified in construction:  workplace culture, sanitary facilities, personal protective equipment, ergonomics, reproductive hazards, health and safety training, and injury and illness data and research. The Study concludes with certain recommendations in each of these areas.  Although the Study is now almost twenty years ago, it remains a good reminder that effective safety and health programs may need to consider gender depending on the work environment.

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OSHA’s 2017 Top Ten List

OSHA recently announced its top 10 most cited violations for fiscal year ending 2017. Although the order may change from year to year, it usually reflects the usual suspects of violations and this year’s list is no different. Because the top ten list is so consistent, it remains an excellent starting point for businesses that want to review safety practices and policies and may not be sure where to start. It can also serve as a helpful tool for safety committees to periodically review along with the OSHA logs. The top ten list appears below with some common examples of each violation. (more…)

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