The Intersection of EPA’s New TSCA Chemical Exposure Limits and OSHA Enforcement of Workplace Chemical Exposure – Employers Better Look Both Ways

By Kate M. McMahon and Darius Rohani-Shukla

This is the OSHA Defense Report blog, but today we are blogging about the Environmental Protection Agency’s TSCA regulations.  What do EPA’s TSCA regulation have to do with OSHA and workplace safety?  More specifically, what impact might EPA’s actions under TSCA have on OSHA’s enforcement landscape? Read further to find out what is happening that causes us to be writing about EPA and TSCA!

Over the last year, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has taken several actions under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) demonstrating the agency’s avid interest in regulating chemicals in the workplace, an area traditionally considered within the jurisdictional authority and purview of this Blog’s beloved agency, OSHA.  EPA seems to be stretching its statutory authority under TSCA to muscle its way into a preeminent role in workplace safety and effectively leapfrog over OSHA in setting more stringent limits than OSHA has established with its Table Z limits for air contaminants in the workplace, found primarily at 29 CFR 1910.1000.  In fact, EPA is now proposing to 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