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COVID-19 Safety Plans: What Employers Need to Know

COVID-19 safety plans are a way for employers to demonstrate to their employees, the public and, in certain cases, state governments that they have considered the risks associated with COVID-19 in their workplaces and have developed a response to these concerns. The plans establish and explain the policies, practices and conditions necessary to meet the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) standards relating to worker and customer exposure to COVID-19. These plans may also incorporate guidance from the state department of health and industry specific guidelines issued via state executive orders. Access the article.

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Can Companies Be Held Liable When Their Employees Fall Ill with Coronavirus?

While the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has not released specific standards covering COVID-19, Michelle Strowhiro, a partner in the Los Angeles office of McDermott Will & Emery, is quoted in a recent ABA Journal article saying that employers could face risks under Occupational Safety and Health Act’s general duty clause if they don’t take steps to protect their workplace and ensure it is not exposed to individuals who may have contracted the virus. Access the full article.

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Open for Business: How ‘Essential’ Businesses Can Keep Their Workplace Healthy and Safe

Most states have issued some form of 'shelter in place' or 'stay at home' order to flatten the curve of COVID-19. As a result, many business operations have been temporarily suspended, unless the business is engaged in essential or critical infrastructure functions or supports businesses engaged in such functions. For businesses that are considered 'essential' and have employees still reporting to work, what steps can employers take to keep their workplace healthy and safe? Access the full article.

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Affordable Care Act Whistleblower Complaint Procedures

On October 11, 2016, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration published a final rule that establishes procedures and time frames for handling whistleblower complaints under the Affordable Care Act (ACA); for hearings before US Department of Labor (DOL) administrative law judges in ACA retaliation cases; review of those decisions by the DOL Administrative Review Board; and judicial review of final decisions. Read the full article here.

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OSHA and MSHA Increase Penalties for Workplace Safety Violations

On July 1, 2016, Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) increased the maximum penalties under the Occupational Safety and Health Act by about 78 percent to account for inflation. Acting under authority conferred by the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act Improvements Act of 2015, Pub. L. 114-74, 701 (part of the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015), OSHA published an interim final rule that will on August 1, 2016, increase penalties for OSHA violations as follows: Other-than-serious violations: From $7,000 to $12,471 Serious violations: From $7,000 to $12,471 Repeated violations: From $70,000 to $124,709 Willful violations minimum: From $5,000 to $8,908 maximum: From $70,000 to $124,709 Failure to abate: From $7,000 per day to $12,471 per day Penalties under the Federal Mine Safety and Health Act of 1977 were also changed to account for inflation, as follows: The maximum penalty for most violations will now be $68,300. The minimum penalty...

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Workplace Violence

by Heather Egan Sussman, Arthur G. Sapper and Bethany K. Hatef During the holiday season, stress can run high.  Holidays can bring less sleep, increased pressures and even family tension.  This can affect the workplace and increase the risk of confrontation or even violence.  The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recently issued its first guidance directive regarding how OSHA will enforce the Occupational Safety and Health Act against workplace violence hazards.  Over the past 15 years, OSHA notes, workplace violence has remained among the top four causes of occupational death.  According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, workplace homicide was responsible for more than 3,000 occupational deaths between 2006-2010. The directive defines “workplace violence” as “violent acts (including physical assaults and threats of assaults) directed toward persons at work or on duty.”  OSHA states...

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