OSHA’s 2022 Year in Review and 2023 Forecast [Webinar Recording]

On Thursday, January 26, 2023, the Partners in Conn Maciel Carey’s national OSHA Practice Group presented a webinar regarding OSHA’s 2022 in Review and 2023 Forecast.

As we approach the midway point of the Biden Administration, it’s time to look back and take stock of what we learned from and about OSHA during another very eventful year. More importantly, it is once again time to look ahead and discuss what employers should expect from OSHA during Year 3 of the Biden/Harris administration. In this webinar, the Partners in Conn Maciel Carey’s national OSHA Practice Group reviewed OSHA enforcement data and trends as well as changes to the SVEP program and new emphasis programs, rulemaking, and personnel developments from 2022. We also discussed the top OSHA issues employers should monitor and prepare for in the New Year.

Participants in this webinar learned: Continue reading

Announcing Conn Maciel Carey LLP’s 2023 MSHA Webinar Series!

Entering MSHA’s third year under the Biden Administration, the mining industry should expect to see a more active and emboldened agency. The past year saw the completion of MSHA political leadership, and a renewed focus on rulemaking and enforcement. In the year to come, operators can expect to see at least two rules from the agency, specifically regarding MSHA’s long-awaited proposed rule on respirable crystalline silica – or respirable quartz as MSHA sometimes refers – and the final form or the Surface Mobile Equipment rule. In conjunction with the anticipated silica rule, MSHA continues to engage in increasingly aggressive enforcement regarding industrial hygiene at the nation’s mines. The coming year will be active from both an enforcement and rulemaking perspective, meaning it is as important as ever for operators to stay attuned to developments at MSHA.

Conn Maciel Carey’s complimentary 2023 MSHA Webinar Series includes free programs put on by the MSHA-focused attorneys in the firm’s national MSHA Practice Group and is designed to give employers insight into the changes and developments at MSHA during this active period for the agency.

To register for an individual webinar in the series, click on the link in the program description below, or to register for the entire 2023 series, click here to send us an email request so we can get you registered.  If you missed any of our past programs from the MSHA Webinar Series, here is a link to a library of webinar recordings.  If your organization or association would benefit from an exclusive program presented by our team on any of the subjects in this year’s webinar series or any other important MSHA-related topic, please do not hesitate to contact us.

MSHA’s 2022 in Review and 2023 Forecast
Tuesday, February 21st

Mid-Year Update and FMSHRC Significant Cases
Wednesday, July 19th

The Mine Act and MSHA Inspection Powers
Thursday, March 23rd

Managing MSHA Complaint & 105(c) Investigations
Tuesday, September 12th

Preparing for Serious Accident and Fatality Investigations
Tuesday, April 18th

Safety-Related Incident Investigations and Audit Reports
Thursday, October 5th

Where Does MSHA’s Authority Begin and OSHA’s End?
Tuesday, May 16th

Best Practices at Multi-Operator MSHA Sites
Wednesday November 15th 


See below for the full schedule with program descriptions,
dates, times and links to register for each webinar event.

Continue reading

[Webinar] OSHA’s 2022 Year in Review and 2023 Forecast

On Thursday, January 26, 2023 at 1 p.m. EST, join the Partners in Conn Maciel Carey’s national OSHA Practice Group for a webinar regarding OSHA’s 2022 in Review and 2023 Forecast.

As we approach the midway point of the Biden Administration, it’s time to look back and take stock of what we learned from and about OSHA during another very eventful year. More importantly, it is once again time to look ahead and discuss what employers should expect from OSHA during Year 3 of the Biden/Harris administration. In this webinar, the Partners in Conn Maciel Carey’s national OSHA Practice Group will review OSHA enforcement data and trends as well as changes to the SVEP program and new emphasis programs, rulemaking, and personnel developments from 2022. We will also discuss the top OSHA issues employers should monitor and prepare for in the New Year.

Participants in this webinar will learn: Continue reading

Join Conn Maciel Carey’s 2023 Cal/OSHA Rulemaking Coalition

For the past two years, Conn Maciel Carey has represented a broad coalition comprised of California and national employers and trade associations from a diverse range of industries in advocating to the Cal/OSHA Standards Board about the roller coaster of COVID-19 emergency and non-emergency rulemaking, in the form of preparing numerous rounds of written comments, testifying in public meetings, and participating by invitation as one of only a small number of management-side representatives on a rulemaking Advisory Committee established by Cal/OSHA for the COVID-19 regulatory process. We have been intrinsically involved in the four iterations of Cal/OSHA’s COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS), and the COVID-19 Non-Emergency Rule that was recently adopted for a two-year term.

Those of you whose organizations participated in our California Employers COVID-19 Prevention Coalition know that together we accomplished a great deal, with material improvement for employers to the COVID-19 regulatory landscape in California. Our coalition’s input is reflected in the regulatory text of the Cal/OSHA COVID-19 ETS and now the COVID-19 Non-Emergency Rule, as well as in several batches of FAQs issued by Cal/OSHA attempting to address some of the concerns and recommendations we identified.

With the completion of the non-emergency rule now, we expect the Cal/OSHA Standards Board to transition in 2023 from the COVID-19 related rulemaking to its regulatory priorities that were forced to the backburner because of the pandemic, including work on: Continue reading

Join CMC’s Coalition to Combat the FTC’s Ban of Noncompete Agreements

Earlier this month, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking for its proposed rule that would essentially prohibit employers from entering into noncompete agreements with any employee, as well as with independent contractors, interns, volunteers, and other types of workers. The proposed rule would require employers to withdraw any existing noncompete agreements and inform employees that noncompete agreements no longer apply. The proposed rule would also make it unlawful for an employer to enter into a noncompete agreement with an employee, to attempt to enter into such an agreement with an employee, or to suggest that an employee is bound by a noncompete agreement when the employee is not.

While the FTC may justify this proposed rule as necessary to allow workers to move freely without restrictions, we believe that this rule, if passed, would severely compromise a company’s ability protect its trade secrets and other confidential information, and could negate a company’s significant investment in valuable investments in its employees, including employee training.  Indeed, there are countless reasons why a narrowly tailored noncompete agreement is a necessary tool that has been, and should continue to be, in an employer’s arsenal to protect its significant investment in its employees and the information to which they are privy.

The rule is currently open for comment.  To that end, Conn Maciel Carey LLP is organizing a new fee-based coalition of employers and trade groups to advocate for the most reasonable FTC rule possiblewith the goal of helping to shape any rule that the FTC ultimately promulgates in such a way that the rule is palatable to employers. Continue reading

Inspections Begin Under OSHA’s Local Emphasis Program for Food Manufacturers in Illinois and Ohio

By Aaron R. Gelb and Ashley Mitchell

Inspections have commenced in Illinois and Ohio under the the Local Emphasis Program (LEP) focusing on food manufacturers OSHA announced in October 2022.  This LEP reflects the agency’s ongoing efforts to ramp up targeted enforcement efforts and follows Regional Emphasis Programs (REP) initiated in Region V over the past two years dealing with exposure to noise hazards (June 2021) and transportation tank cleaning operations (August 2021), as well as the National Emphasis Program (NEP) on outdoor and indoor heat-related hazards which started in April 2022.  General industry employers in Region 5 still have to contend with the 2018 Powered Industrial Truck (PIT) Local Emphasis Program as well.  A similar LEP targeting Wisconsin food manufacturers, with the primary difference being the NAICS Codes on which the two LEPs, began last Spring.  To date, OSHA has opened 12 inspections, but citation data is not yet available for those inspections.  Both LEPs mandate an inspection and review of production operations and working conditions; injury and illness records; safety and health programs; and hazardous energy control methods to identify and correct workplace hazards at all applicable inspection sites.

Why Is OSHA Targeting the Food Manufacturing Industry? Continue reading

Conn Maciel Carey LLP Elevates Daniel Deacon to Partner

Conn Maciel Carey LLP (CMC), a boutique law firm with national practices in labor and employment, workplace safety (OSHA and MSHA), and litigation, is pleased to announce that Daniel Deacon has been elevated to Partner.

Mr. Deacon, based in the Washington, DC office, advises and represents employers on a wide range of employment-related issues, including handling wage and hour disputes, claims of discrimination, harassment and retaliation, compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), trade secret matters, as well as inspections, investigations and enforcement actions by OSHA, MSHA, and state OSH agencies.

Mr. Deacon joined the firm in 2015, one year after CMC was founded. “With the exception of a judicial clerkship for the 18th Judicial Circuit of Virginia, Dan has been with our team since he was a summer associate, so in a very real sense, he is one of the founders of this firm and has always been an important part of our success,” says Eric Conn, a co-founding partner and Chair of the firm’s national OSHA Practice. “It has been such a joy to watch Dan grow as an attorney into one of the rising stars of the OSHA defense bar.”

“I am so proud to have witnessed Dan advance from a Continue reading

Happy Holidays and Happy New Year from Conn Maciel Carey!

From all of us here in the national OSHA Practice Group at Conn Maciel Carey, to all of you, happy holidays and happy New Year.  We wish you a joyful and safe holiday season.

Please enjoy this holiday greeting from the CMC family to your family:

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We have so much to be thankful for at Conn Maciel Carey, but most of all, we thank you all for continuing to turn to us for counsel and legal services.  Please contact us if you have questions about any of the topics we have covered here on the OSHA Defense Report blog, or if you have ideas for other subjects we should be covering.  And of course, contact any of us if there is ever anything our national OSHA Practice Group at Conn Maciel Carey can do to help you or your company with OSHA law issues.

Process Safety Update: The Latest with OSHA PSM & EPA RMP [Webinar Recording]

On Tuesday, December 13, 2022, the attorneys in Conn Maciel Carey’s national OSHA Workplace Safety Practice Group presented a webinar in the 2022 OSHA Webinar Series regarding a Process Safety Update: The Latest with OSHA PSM & EPA RMP.

Presented by:
Eric ConnMicah Smith, and Beeta Lashkari
of Conn Maciel Carey’s OSHA Practice Group

And Special Guest Clyde Trombettas
(former head of Cal/OSHA’s PSM Unit)

Nearly two full years in, and the Biden Administration has been making its mark in the process safety arena, rolling back the rollbacks of the RMP Rule promulgated during the Obama Administration, and dusting off the PSM reform rulemaking that had begun at that same time. The CSB has also been changing the process safety landscape with new guidance about its Accidental Release Reporting Rule and other investigation activities.

We are also pleased to announce that we were joined by a special guest co-presenter, Mr. Clyde Trombettas. Mr. Trombettas recently-retired from Cal/OSHA as the Program Manager for Cal/OSHA’s Process Safety Management Unit. He provided an update regarding Cal/OSHA’s PSM team, enforcement trends, and other PSM regulatory developments.

This process safety regulatory update: Continue reading

OSHA’s Heat Illness Rulemaking – Recent NACOSH Work Group Meeting

By Beeta B. Lashkari and Eric J. Conn

With the winter holidays upon us, heat illness may not be front and center on your minds, but OSHA continues to be push full steam ahead on its rulemaking for a Heat Injury and Illness Prevention Standard in Outdoor and Indoor Work Settings, so we wanted to provide you a quick update.

In September, OSHA had drafted but not yet released a summary document of all of the 1,078 comments the agency had received in response to the ANPRM.  That summary document is now publicly available, posted on December 16, 2022 on the National Advisory Committee on Occupational Safety and Health (“NACOSH”) docket for its Heat Injury and Illness Prevention Work Group.  Below are some highlights from the summary document.

Notably, our Coalition’s written comments were referenced 14 times in the summary document, including for the following propositions: Continue reading

Cal/OSHA COVID-19 Non-Emergency Rule Is Adopted

By Megan S. Shaked and Andrew J. Sommer

On December 15, the California Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board voted 6-1 to adopt the COVID-19 Prevention Non-Emergency Regulations. The Non-Emergency Rule was proposed to replace the Cal/OSHA COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standard, which has been in effect in four different versions since November 30, 2020 and is set to expire on December 31, 2022.

The Office of Administrative Law will now review the new regulation, which is expected to be formally approved, effective January 1, 2023.

Discussion from the Standards Board Meeting

During the meeting, stakeholders provided public comments on the proposed Non-Emergency Rule.  During the public comment period, Conn Maciel Carey spoke on behalf of the California Employers COVID-19 Prevention Coalition, composed of a broad array of California employers and trade groups substantially impacted by Cal/OSHA’s COVID-19 rulemaking. We urged the Board to vote “no” on the proposal, highlighting the availability of vaccinations, testing and treatment and the inflexibility of the two-year fixed term. We also Continue reading

Announcing Conn Maciel Carey LLP’s 2023 OSHA Webinar Series!

ANNOUNCING CONN MACIEL CAREY LLP’S
2023 OSHA WEBINAR SERIES

Two years into the Biden Administration, with senior political leadership now firmly entrenched at federal OSHA, the agency is making good on its promise to “use all of the tools available” in its regulatory and enforcement toolbox to protect workers.  In part, that has taken the form of increasingly aggressive enforcement (more inspections, more significant penalties, etc.), hiring more compliance officers, launching new special emphasis enforcement programs, and expanding its enforcement policies like its Severe Violator Enforcement Program.  It has also taken the form of a broad-based rulemaking agenda that includes work on a new heat illness rule, pushing out a permanent COVID-19 standard for healthcare, expanding its E-Recordkeeping requirements, among other high priority rulemakings.

Accordingly, it is more important now than ever before for employers to stay attuned to developments at OSHA.  To help you do so, ​Conn Maciel Carey LLP is pleased to present our complimentary 2023 OSHA Webinar Series, which includes monthly programs (sometimes more often, if events warrant) put on by the OSHA-specialist attorneys in the firm’s national OSHA Practice Group.  The webinar series is designed to arm employers with the insight into developments at OSHA that they need during this period of unpredictability and significant change.

​To register for an individual webinar in the series, click on the link in the program description below, or to register for the entire 2023 series, click here to send us an email request so we can get you registered.  If you missed any of our programs over the past eight years of our annual OSHA Webinar Series, here is a link to a library of webinar recordings.  If your organization or association would benefit from an exclusive program presented by our team on any of the subjects in this year’s webinar series or any other important OSHA-related topic, please do not hesitate to contact us.

2022 Year in Review and 2023 Forecast

Thursday, January 26th

MidYear Review of OSHA Developments

Thursday, July 20th

Annual Cal/OSHA Update

Thursday, February 16th

OSH State Plan Update

Thursday, August 10th

Responding to Whistleblower Complaints

Tuesday, March 21st

Powered Industrial Trucks

Thursday, September 14th

Repeat, Willful, Egregious and SVEP

Thursday, April 13th

Investigations and Audit Reports

Thursday, October 5th

OSHA Rulemaking Update

Thursday, May 18th

OSHA’s PSM Standard & EPA’s RMP Rule

Tuesday, November 14th

Preparing for OSHA Inspections

Thursday, June 8th

Combustible Dust

Thursday, December 7th

See below for the full schedule with program descriptions,
dates, times and links to register for each webinar event.

Continue reading

[Webinar] Process Safety Update: The Latest with OSHA PSM & EPA RMP

On Tuesday, December 13, 2022 at 1 p.m. EST, join us for a webinar in Conn Maciel Carey’s 2022 OSHA Webinar Series regarding a Process Safety Update: The Latest with OSHA PSM & EPA RMP.

Presented by:
Eric ConnMicah Smith, and Beeta Lashkari
of Conn Maciel Carey’s OSHA Practice Group

And Special Guest Clyde Trombettas
(former head of Cal/OSHA’s PSM Unit)

Nearly two full years in, and the Biden Administration has been making its mark in the process safety arena, rolling back the rollbacks of the RMP Rule promulgated during the Obama Administration, and dusting off the PSM reform rulemaking that had begun at that same time. The CSB has also been changing the process safety landscape with new guidance about its Accidental Release Reporting Rule and other investigation activities.

We are also pleased to announce that we will be joined by a special guest co-presenter, Mr. Clyde Trombettas. Mr. Trombettas recently-retired from Cal/OSHA as the Program Manager for Cal/OSHA’s Process Safety Management Unit. He will be providing an update regarding Cal/OSHA’s PSM team, enforcement trends, and other PSM regulatory developments.

This process safety regulatory update will: Continue reading

Michigan OSHA Enforcement and Regulatory Update [Webinar Recording]

On Wednesday, November 30, 2022, Anthony Casaletta and Eric Conn presented a special bonus webinar in Conn Maciel Carey’s 2022 OSHA Webinar Series regarding a Michigan OSHA Enforcement and Regulatory Update.

Presented by
Anthony M. Casaletta and Eric J. Conn

We are pleased to announce that CMC’s newest addition, Tony Casaletta, a former Michigan OSHA (MIOSHA) Official who has just joined the firm as Of Counsel, led our very first MIOSHA update. Prior to joining the firm, Tony spent 18 years with MIOSHA in various roles, working his way up to Health Supervisor for the MIOSHA Construction Safety and Health Division.  Through his tenure at MIOSHA, Tony specialized in industrial hygiene enforcement in both general industry and construction, managed the MIOSHA Asbestos Program, and oversaw the enforcement activities of MIOSHA’s Construction field industrial hygienists throughout the state of Michigan. In addition, Tony worked as an adjunct professor at Wayne State University where he taught in the University’s Industrial Hygiene graduate program.

Tony was joined by the firm’s OSHA Chair, Eric J. Conn, also a proud member of the Michigan Bar. The two OSHA-specialist attorneys provided an overview of MIOSHA’s enforcement program, the latest data and trends in MIOSHA enforcement, and other MIOSHA issues for employers to monitor.

During this webinar, participants learned about: Continue reading

Cal/OSHA Advisory Committee Offers Updates on Enforcement, Rulemaking and More

By Megan Shaked

The Cal/OSHA Advisory Committee holds meetings throughout the year to provide information regarding its programs and activities.  At the most recent meeting, held on November 10, 2022, the public heard updates from DOSH, the Standards Board, and the Appeals Board.

Here are some highlights from the meeting.  A full video and audio recording of the meeting is available here.

Cal/OSHA Chief Jeff Killip noted his goal to try to shift the Advisory Committee meetings to balance providing meaningful data with discussion for a collaborative approach to workplace safety and health.  He also shared:

    • Cal/OSHA is hiring to fill vacancies.
    • Cal/OSHA’s heat/wildfire smoke campaigns included: 250 high heat targeted inspections this season; 299 consultations; 8 bi-weekly calls with Heat & Agriculture Coordination Program; an update to the Heat Special Emphasis Program to address Indoor Heat Hazards; an expansion of the DIR/DOSH Multimedia Heat Illness Prevention media campaign to include indoor heat; bilingual community engagement liaisons and bilingual trainers meeting with community based organizations, advocacy groups and others.
    • California had 245 events around 2022 Safe & Sound Campaign in collaboration with Washington and Oregon (week of August 15-21)
    • Cal/OSHA also participated in 2 agricultural worker events, a 4-day health symposium, and a 2-day conference for consultation.

Cal/OSHA Deputy Chief of Health and Research and Standards, Eric Berg, provided an update on the status of rulemaking: Continue reading

[Bonus Webinar] Michigan OSHA Enforcement and Regulatory Update

On Wednesday, November 30, 2022, at 1 p.m. EST, join us for a special bonus webinar in Conn Maciel Carey’s 2022 OSHA Webinar Series regarding a Michigan OSHA Enforcement and Regulatory Update.

Presented by
Anthony M. Casaletta and Eric J. Conn

We are pleased to announce that CMC’s newest addition, Tony Casaletta, a former Michigan OSHA (MIOSHA) Official who has just joined the firm as Of Counsel, will be leading our very first MIOSHA update. Prior to joining the firm, Tony spent 18 years with MIOSHA in various roles, working his way up to Health Supervisor for the MIOSHA Construction Safety and Health Division.  Through his tenure at MIOSHA, Tony specialized in industrial hygiene enforcement in both general industry and construction, managed the MIOSHA Asbestos Program, and oversaw the enforcement activities of MIOSHA’s Construction field industrial hygienists throughout the state of Michigan. In addition, Tony worked as an adjunct professor at Wayne State University where he taught in the University’s Industrial Hygiene graduate program.

Tony will be joined by the firm’s OSHA Chair, Eric J. Conn, also a proud member of the Michigan Bar. The two OSHA-specialist attorneys will provide an overview of MIOSHA’s enforcement program, the latest data and trends in MIOSHA enforcement, and other MIOSHA issues for employers to monitor.

During this webinar, participants will learn about: Continue reading

Conn Maciel Carey Adds the Former Top Workplace Safety and Employment Attorney for North Carolina

Conn Maciel Carey LLP, a Washington, D.C.-based boutique law firm with a national focus on OSHA/MSHA • Workplace Safety and Labor • Employment, is pleased to announce that Victoria Voight is now with the firm as an Of Counsel attorney in both the firm’s OSHA and Employment law practices.

Over four decades, Ms. Voight served the State of North Carolina in the Attorney General’s Office, ultimately as the Head of the Labor Section for eighteen years. In that role, Ms. Voight supervised all legal services provided to the North Carolina Department of Labor, principally in the areas of occupational safety and health (for North Carolina OSHA), wage and hour, retaliation, and employment discrimination. With that background, Ms. Voight brings to private practice a unique perspective, unparalleled experience, and key relationships with officials in North Carolina state government.

Ms. Voight is based in Raleigh, North Carolina, where she now provides the full range of workplace safety and health regulatory and employment law services for employers in North Carolina and around the country. She advises clients in relation to inspections, investigations and enforcement actions involving the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and State OSH Plans, particularly NCOSHA. She also counsels employers in all aspects of the employer-employee relationship, including wage and hour disputes and claims of employment discrimination and retaliation.

“From the other side of the table, I was always impressed with the attorneys at Conn Maciel Carey when they were advocating for employers in disputes with NCOSHA. They brought credibility, creativity, and a safety-focused approach to every case we had opposite each other, and that was so refreshing and effective for their clients.” said Ms. Voight. She added, Continue reading

Biden Administration Signals that the Federal Contractor Vaccine Mandate May Go Into Effect, But Not Yet

By Conn Maciel Carey’s COVID-19 Task Force

On Friday, October 14th, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and the Safer Federal Workforce Task Force (Task Force) issued some “clarifications” about the expected next steps for Executive Order 14042 – the federal contractor vaccine mandate – now that the longstanding nationwide injunction restricting enforcement of the E.O. has been narrowed by order of the Eleventh Circuit.  That narrowing (to just the six States that were named parties to the legal challenge in Georgia v. Biden) took effect on October 18th.  OMB and the Task Force suggested that we would see at least three new guidance documents now that the injunction is narrowed, including:

    1. OMB would give notice to federal agencies about compliance with applicable injunctions, and also whether, where and when the new clause implementing Executive Order 14042 should be included in new solicitations and contracts.
    2. The Safer Federal Workforce Task Force would update its COVID-19 guidance for covered contractor workplaces, including a timeline for implementation.  Last week’s clarification specified that this “updated guidance [by the Task Force] will be issued following development and review by the Task Force, subject to the OMB Director’s approval and determination published in the Federal Register that the updated guidance promotes economy and efficiency in Federal contracting, in accordance with Executive Order 14042.”
    3. After the updated Task Force guidance issues, and if the OMB Director makes a determination that implementation of the E.O. in some form continues to promote economy and efficiency in federal contracting , then OMB would provide additional guidance to agencies on timing and considerations for provision of written notice from agencies to contractors regarding enforcement.

On October 19th (the day after the 11th Circuit’s narrowing of the nationwide injunction took effect), OMB did issue one of the notices we were expecting. Continue reading

[CMC Spotlight Series] Meet Trevor Thompson!

In honor of National Paralegal Day this week, we are proud to feature one of our stellar paralegals for today’s CMC Spotlight Series — Trevor Thompson!  Trevor is a Cal/OSHA Paralegal in Conn Maciel Carey’s San Francisco office.  He has more than a decade of experience in the legal field and supports the attorneys in the OSHA • Workplace Safety Group as well as the Labor • Employment, and Litigation groups.

Trevor is particularly skilled in the organization and analysis of legal documentation. Prior to joining the firm, he was a Legal Document Specialist providing legal, trial and administrative support for several national law firms.

Get to Know Trevor!

Continue reading

Preventing and Responding to Workplace Violence [Webinar Recording]

On Tuesday, October 11, 2022, Kara M. MacielLindsay A. DiSalvo, and special guest Terri D. Patterson, Ph.D., a Principal at Control Risks and threat management expert with over two decades of experience, presented a webinar on Preventing and Responding to Workplace Violence.

In 2020, physical assault was identified as the 4th leading cause of workplace deaths. Nearly 2 million American workers experience violent acts at work annually. As the COVID-19 pandemic appears to be entering the endemic phase and workers begin to transition back into the workplace, experts predict even more of an increase in workplace violence. Thus, employers will want to be prepared to prevent these types of incidents and protect their employees to the extent possible, as well as ensure they are doing all that’s required from a regulatory standpoint.

Workplace violence has been a focus for both the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“OSHA”) and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) well before the pandemic and remains so now. While OSHA has no specific standard for workplace violence, the OSH Act’s General Duty Clause requires employers to provide a workplace free from recognized serious hazards, and OSHA has instituted enforcement actions under its General Duty Clause after incidents of workplace violence. OSHA has also initiated a rulemaking to address workplace violence in specific industries. For its part, the EEOC has also prioritized ways to effectively prevent and address workplace violence, particularly in the form of workplace harassment. And outside of OSHA and the EEOC, employers can also be held liable for workplace violence through other claims such as negligent hiring and supervision.

In this webinar, attendees learned: Continue reading

Conn Maciel Carey LLP Expands Midwest Workplace Safety Practice With Addition of OSHA Defense Attorney Anthony Casaletta – a Former Michigan OSHA Official

Detroit, MI (September 29, 2022) – Conn Maciel Carey LLP, a Washington, D.C.-based boutique law firm with a national focus on OSHA/MSHA • Workplace Safety and Labor & Employment, is pleased to announce that Anthony Casaletta has become an Of Counsel attorney with the firm.

Mr. Casaletta, an OSHA defense attorney, is based in the Detroit area in Michigan, where he counsels and defends employers in a wide range of workplace health and safety matters conducted by Federal OSHA and State OSH Plans, including particularly, the Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“MIOSHA”). He also supports employers in all aspects of OSHA and MIOSHA enforcement, from managing on-site inspections and investigations, to litigating contested citations through ALJ hearings and appeals, and counseling on compliance with OSHA rules and standards.

“I am thrilled to have this opportunity to join Conn Maciel Carey’s deep bench of talented attorneys,” said Mr. Casaletta. “I was drawn to the firm by their stellar reputation as go-to legal advisors for OSHA workplace safety matters. I look forward to collaborating with the team on industrial hygiene, safety, and all manner of OSHA regulatory matters.”

Prior to entering private practice as an OSHA defense attorney, Mr. Casaletta spent 18 years with Michigan OSHA (“MIOSHA”) in various roles, Continue reading

Process Safety Update: The Latest on EPA’s RMP and OSHA’s PSM Rulemakings

By Eric J. Conn, Micah Smith, and Beeta Lashkari

EPA RMP Public Hearing

This week, on September 26-28, 2022, EPA has been hosting virtual public hearings related to its Risk Management Program (RMP) rulemaking.  Specifically, the hearings are addressing the RMP Safer Communities by Chemical Accident Prevention (SCCAP) proposed rule, which was signed by EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan on August 18, 2022, and proposes revisions to the RMP Rule to further protect vulnerable communities from chemical accidents, especially those living near facilities with high accident rates.  Per the EPA, “The proposed rule would strengthen the existing program and includes new safeguards that have not been addressed in prior RMP rules.”

The virtual public hearings will provide the opportunity to present information, comments or views pertaining to the SCCAP proposed rule.  In addition, EPA is accepting written comments during the public comment period, which closes on October 31, 2022.

For background, the RMP Rule has had a long and tortured rulemaking and litigation history.  EPA amended the RMP Rule on January 13, 2017, in the final days of the Obama Administration, following President Obama’s Executive Order (EO) 13650, “Improving Chemical Facility Safety and Security,” which directed EPA and other federal agencies to modernize policies, regulations, and standards to enhance safety and security in chemical facilities.  More details on the EO in the “OSHA PSM Stakeholder Meeting” section below.

EPA then received three petitions for reconsideration of the 2017 rule, and in December 2019, EPA issued a final rule reconsidering the changes made in January 2017.  There are petitions for judicial review of both the 2017 amendments and the 2019 reconsideration rules.  Specifically, the 2019 reconsideration rule challenges are being held in abeyance until October 3, 2022, by which time the parties must submit motions to govern, and the case against the 2017 amendments rule is in abeyance pending resolution of the 2019 reconsideration rule case.

So far as the SCCAP proposed rule is concerned, EPA issued a Continue reading

OSHA’s Recordkeeping, Reporting, and E-Recordkeeping Rules [Webinar Recording]

On September 13, 2022, Lindsay A. DiSalvo and Ashley D. Mitchell presented a webinar regarding Important Nuances of OSHA’s Recordkeeping, Reporting, and E-Recordkeeping Rules.

Although OSHA’s injury and illness recordkeeping and reporting rules may seem clear on their face, there are many nuances in the applicable standards that can create challenges to accurately making and maintaining those required records and reports. And the accuracy of injury and illness records could be becoming even more essential in light of the changes OSHA has proposed to the current e-recordkeeping rule, which would increase the availability and use of injury and illness data.

Already, e-recordkeeping data is collected by OSHA and used in developing and executing its Site-Specific Targeting (“SST”) Program based on an employer’s 300A Summary. Per the changes proposed in the current rulemaking effort, OSHA intends to expand who is required to submit recordkeeping data, what data is collected, and what data is shared with the public. This would result in more employers’ injury and illness data being under the microscope and incorporated into OSHA’s enforcement efforts. Indeed, as COVID-19 recordkeeping continues to drive up DART rates for a number of employers due to the need for COVID-19 positive employees to isolate, more may be pulled in OSHA’s SST Program. Thus, it is important for employers to understand the changes possibly to come in e-recordkeeping, as well as what those changes could mean in the context of evaluating and recording/reporting injuries and illnesses.

Participants in this webinar learned about: Continue reading

U.S. Chemical Safety Board Issues Guidance to Clarify its Accidental Release Reporting Rule

By Beeta Lashkari, Eric J. Conn, and Micah Smith

Earlier this month, on September 1, 2022, the U.S. Chemical Safety Board (CSB) announced the release of a new guidance document about the agency’s still-relatively new Accidental Release Reporting Rule.  The Accidental Release Reporting Rule, which went into effect in March 2020, requires owners and operators of stationary sources to report accidental releases that result in a fatality, a serious injury, or substantial property damage to the CSB within eight hours. Just a few months ago, the CSB published its first list of incidents that had been reported to the agency pursuant to the rule.

Of the new guidance document, CSB Interim Executive Steve Owens said:

“Our goal is to make sure that owners and operators report chemical releases to the CSB as required by law. While many companies already have been complying with the rule and submitting their required reports, this guidance should help resolve any uncertainties about the reporting requirement. If someone is unsure about what to do, they should report, rather than risk violating the rule.”

The new guidance has been a long time coming. Indeed, the agency Continue reading

OSHA Updates Its Severe Violator Enforcement Program to Sweep In Exponentially More Employers

By Eric J. Conn and Ashley D. Mitchell

On September 15, 2022, OSHA announced a significant set of updates to its dreaded Severe Violator Enforcement Program (“SVEP”), the first update to the program in over a decade. In a Press Release accompanying the update, Doug Parker, the Assistant Secretary of Labor for OSHA, explained:

The Severe Violator Enforcement Program empowers OSHA to sharpen its focus on employers who – even after receiving citations for exposing workers to hazardous conditions and serious dangers – fail to mitigate these hazards . . . . Today’s expanded criteria reflect the Biden-Harris administration’s commitment to ensuring OSHA has the tools it needs to ensure employers protect their workers or hold them accountable when they fail to provide safe and healthy workplaces.

Two of the three SVEP-qualifying criteria have not changed, and they are:

  1. Fatality/Catastrophe Criterion – A fatality/catastrophe inspection where OSHA finds at least one willful or repeated violation or issues a failure-to-abate notice based on a serious violation directly related either to an employee death or three or more employee hospitalizations.
  2. Egregious Criterion – All egregious enforcement actions (i.e., per-instance citations).

But historically, the principal way that employers “qualified” into SVEP was by enforcement actions that included 2+ willful or repeat violations related to a particular set of standards that represented “high emphasis hazards.” Indeed, that criteria has accounted for more than 70% of all SVEP-qualifying citations. Those “high emphasis hazards” essentially reflected the subjects of OSHA’s active enforcement National Emphasis Programs, including:

  • Fall Hazards in all industries
  • Amputation Hazards covered by Lockout/Tagout and Machine Guarding standards
  • Combustible Dust Hazards
  • Crystalline Silica Hazards
  • Lead Hazards
  • Grain Handling Hazards
  • Excavation/Trenching Hazards

The most important change in the updated SVEP is that Continue reading