Wednesday, January 21, 2015 at 1 PM ET
The crystal ball has dropped, the confetti has been swept out of Times Square, and 2014 is in the books. So what did we learn from OSHA enforcement and rulemaking in 2014? More importantly, where is OSHA headed in 2015? In this webinar event, attorneys from the national OSHA Practice Group at Conn Maciel Carey PLLC reviewed the most important OSHA enforcement issues, data, trends and revelations from 2014, and identified the Top 5 OSHA Issues Employers should look out for in the New Year.
- OSHA enforcement trends from 2014, including inspection, citation and industry targeting data
- A review of major rulemaking developments that occurred this past year
- A forecast of the Top 5 most important OSHA issues to track in 2015
Temporary Workers: Who Are They? What Are Their Employment and Safety Rights in the Workplace? And What Are the OSHA Risks to You?
Tuesday, February 17, 2015 at 1 PM ET
Employers are expected to utilize a great deal more temporary workers as the Affordable Care Act is fully implemented, particularly after the “Employer Mandate” kicks in, which dictates health insurance coverage by employers if they employ a certain number of “full time” employees. With an anticipated surge in the temporary workforce, along with recent emphasis on the classification of independent contractors, recent ACA regulations related to seasonal workers, and high profile incidents of temporary workers suffering fatal workplace injuries, legal issues regarding temporary workers are a top priority for DOL and OSHA in 2015.
The first part of this webinar identified the various temporary and part time work relationships, summarized the enforcement issues and data from the first part of OSHA’s Temporary Worker Initiative, and recommended strategies for managing the safety and health responsibilities between host employers, staffing agencies, and temporary workers.
The second part discussed employment related regulations impacting temporary workers, explained the potential implications of misclassification of temporary workers, and recommended strategies to properly classify temporary workers.
- Background about the nation’s temporary workforce – Who are they and what distinguishes them from employees
- Recent data and trends related to temporary workers – Where and how they are used and relevant safety metrics
- Relationship to the employer – Treatment of employer and staffing agency as joint employers
- Summary of OSHA’s Temporary Worker Initiative and Best Practices for managing temporary worker safety and avoiding OSHA enforcement exposure
- Recent ACA Regulations – How the ACA defines temporary/seasonal workers and calculating the “look-back” period to determine employment status
- DOL’s initiatives to address worker misclassification as an independent contractor and Best Practices to ensure proper classification of workers
Tuesday, April 14, 2015 at 1 PM ET
Perhaps the most significant safety related regulatory reform during the Obama Administration has been the amended Hazard Communication Standard, bringing OSHA’s chemical Right-to-Know regulation more in line with the United Nation’s Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals (“GHS”). The new GHS HazCom standard fundamentally changes how employers must classify chemicals in the workplace and requires all new chemical labels and Safety Data Sheets (formerly MSDSs).
The new GHS HazCom Standard had a seemingly long roll-out period, but time has flown by, and the key deadlines under the new rule are upon us. This webinar explained the new Hazard Communication standard, identified the key deadlines and explained what employers need to do to come into compliance.
- Background about OSHA’s new GHS Hazard Communication Standard
- The most important elements of the new rule that employers need to know
- Key implementation deadlines that are coming up this year
- Best practices for coming into compliance with the new GHS HazCom Standard
Tuesday, May 19, 2015 at 1 PM ET
Presented by Eric J. Conn
The most significant OSHA enforcement trend impacting employers is OSHA’s extreme focus on follow-up inspections and Repeat citations. Since Repeat violations carry 10x higher penalties than Serious violations, OSHA has deliberately and actively pursued more Repeat violations. They have done so by changing enforcement policies to:
- Treat related workplaces within a corporate family as a common workplace;
- Look back further in time for past violations to form the basis for Repeats; and
- Proactively target certain industries or certain employers. As a result, the percentage of OSHA’s citations that have been characterized as Repeat has risen every year under the current Administration.
This webinar explained what a Repeat violation is, how OSHA’s enforcement policies have resulted in a significant increase in the frequency of Repeat violations, and what employer’s should do to protect themselves against Repeat OSHA citations.
- The legal standard OSHA must meet to establish a Repeat violation
- OSHA’s enforcement policy changes that have resulted in more Repeat violations
- Data and trends regarding Repeat violations, including the industries and types of inspections most susceptible
- Best practices for how to avoid being cited by OSHA for Repeat violations
Tuesday, June 16, 2015 at 1 PM ET
Under the Obama Administration, OSHA has increased enforcement to levels never seen before, from huge increases in the number of enforcement inspections to higher civil penalties, more citations characterized as “willful” or “repeat,” and more criminal referrals. OSHA has also introduced more aggressive strategies during inspections, creating a minefield for employers across all industries. The consequences for employers being caught ill prepared for an OSHA inspection, therefore, are more dire now than ever.
This webinar provided employers with the knowledge and tools they need to prepare in advance for an OSHA inspection, and once an OSHA inspection begins, to manage it to a successful outcome.
- Employers’ Goals for managing an OSHA inspection
- Steps employers can take before OSHA begins an inspection
- Employers’, employees’, and OSHA’s rights during OSHA inspections
- Stages of OSHA inspections, with tips and strategies to manage each stage
Tuesday, August 18, 2015 at 1 PM ET
The single biggest factor affecting safety and health in America’s workplaces today is our rapidly aging workforce. Older workers offer valuable experience and job knowledge, but with that value also comes an increased risk of serious workplace injuries due to physiological changes affecting flexibility, strength, vision, hearing, and balance. Although older workers experience fewer total injuries than their junior counterparts, the injuries they do have are more severe and require longer recovery times.
With more than 30 million workers 55 years or older expected to be in the U.S. labor force by 2025, and huge numbers of workers remaining in the workforce well past traditional retirement age, employers and OSHA face unique challenges in keeping employees safe and healthy. This webinar reviewed the realities of our nation’s aging workforce and how employers must carefully address these realities without running afoul of OSHA regulations and federal and state anti-discrimination laws, such as Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, and the Americans With Disabilities Act.
- Data and trends driving America’s aging workforce
- Impact the aging workforce has on workplace safety and health
- OSHA regulatory issues employers must monitor
- Title VII, and other age and disability discrimination pitfalls
Tuesday, October 20, 2015 at 1 PM ET
OSHA’s Severe Violator Enforcement Program (SVEP) is an enforcement program intended by OSHA to direct its enforcement resources at employers whom OSHA believes are “indifferent to their OSH Act obligations.” Employers who “qualify” for SVEP by being accused of committing Willful or Repeat violations in certain categories face a heavy dose of public shaming, but more importantly, will receive a heavy dose of OSHA inspections at the same and related facilities throughout the organization. The SVEP also includes a harsh and unrealistic “exit criteria,” so once you check in, you may never leave. To make matters worse, OSHA qualifies employers into SVEP just based on allegations, not proven violations.
The webinar explained what SVEP is, reviewed how employers qualify, described the types of companies that are being ensnared and in what circumstances, and provided recommendations for how to avoid SVEP and how to get removed if you do qualify.
- Background about the Severe Violator Enforcement Program
- Qualifying criteria and timing issues
- Consequences of qualifying for SVEP
- Data and trends about SVEP and SVEP employers
- Best practices to avoid or get out of SVEP
Here is a link to a recording of the webinar, which includes the full audio with slides.
Tuesday, November 10, 2015 at 1 PM ET
Every year, approximately 10% of workplace fatalities result from intentional violent acts. The prevalence of workplace violence is even more alarming when you take into account non-fatal assaults and threats of violence. This particular workplace hazard is uniquely challenging because the threat is often from outside the workplace, including non-employee third parties. Regardless, workplace violence has also become a hot button enforcement issue for OSHA, citing employers under the OSH Act’s catch-all General Duty Clause for employers who do not do enough to protect their employees from violent acts. Beyond OSHA, workplace violence can also implicate other employment laws. For example, if violent acts or threats occur because of symptoms of an employee’s disability, the handling of discipline and termination gets tricky under the ADA. Likewise, HR issues related background checks and negligent hiring could also contribute to civil liability.
Therefore, it is important for employers to develop and implement an effective Workplace Violence Prevention Program and appropriate hiring practices. This webinar advised employers about their legal obligations to address workplace violence and the implications if they fail to do so. It also provided employers with the knowledge and tools they need to develop a workplace violence prevention policy and training for employees to ensure they know what steps to take if an incident of workplace violence occurs.
Specific topics included:
- OSHA’s enforcement philosophy about workplace violence and enforcement under the General Duty Clause;
- When injuries that result from workplace violence must be reported to OSHA;
- Reference checking, negligent hiring and supervision obligations to avoid liability to employees or third parties injured from workplace violence;
- Employer obligations under the ADA, Title VII and state workers compensation laws; and
- Recommendations for a compliant workplace violence prevention policy and employee training.
Here is a link to a recording of the webinar, which includes the full audio with slides.
Privileged Investigations and Report Writing: Conduct Better Investigations and Protect the Findings
Tuesday, December 15, 2015 at 1 PM ET
An incident, accident, injury or near miss has just occurred in your workplace; what do you do now? After the emergency is addressed, one of the most important steps to take is to conduct an investigation, identify the root causes of the incident, and document your lessons learned and recommendations to prevent a similar incident in the future. However, there may be lots of interested parties who want to get their hands on your investigation report, from OSHA inspectors to plaintiffs’ attorneys, from your competitors to the media, and that report could be used against you in enforcement proceedings, personal injury or wrongful death civil suits, or even criminal investigations and prosecutions. Accordingly, it is critical that incident investigations be thorough, and that investigation reports be prepared carefully and thoughtfully. Likewise, whenever possible, investigations and investigation reports should be done under the protection of the attorney-client privilege.
This webinar provided employers with the knowledge and tools they need to conduct better incident investigations, draft better investigation reports, initiate investigations under attorney-client privilege, and maintain privilege to avoid disclosure of investigation reports to third parties.
- Why and how to initiate incident investigations under the protection of attorney-client privilege;
- How to conduct an effective incident investigation;
- Best practices for incident report writing; and
- Steps to take to maintain privilege over incident reports.
Here is a link to a recording of the webinar.