Employment Law Blog

News, trends and analysis in employment law and HR

Showing posts for: Safety and Health

Photo of Karen Davis
Nov 13 2019
Safety and Health  

New hire fatality from wood chipper results in $67k penalty

A sole proprietor of a tree-trimming business was ordered to pay $66,986 in penalties after an employee was killed by a wood chipper on his first day on the job. A crew of four workers, including the new employee, met in the morning at the owner’s house. Two of the workers were…

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Photo of Karen Davis
Oct 23 2019
Safety and Health  

OSHA cites employers for poor emergency procedures after two fatalities

In two separate cases, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued six-figure citations against employers that failed to plan ahead for foreseeable emergency situations. The employers have 15 business days to comply with the citations, request an informal conference with OSHA’s area director, or challenge the findings before the Occupational…

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Photo of Karen Davis
Sep 25 2019
Safety and Health  

Employer sentenced after welder’s death

In the aftermath of a welder’s death on the job, an oilfield company pled guilty to a willful violation of federal safety standards requiring tanks to be cleaned before welding. The welder was 28 years old and had recently moved to North Dakota to work in the oil industry after serving in…

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Photo of Karen Davis
Aug 29 2019
Safety and Health  

Electronic injury & illness reporting to start in 2020 in Washington

Washington’s Department of Labor and Industries (L&I) has finally issued regulations requiring covered Washington employers to follow federal requirements and file annual injury and illness reports electronically with federal OSHA starting in 2020. As explained on OSHA’s Injury Tracking Application web page, the reporting portal will open again on January 2, 2020, and the…

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Photo of Matt Norris
Aug 14 2019
Safety and HealthTermination & Resignation  

Oregon employers may be liable if they retaliate without knowing it

If an employer disciplines or terminates an employee on the advice of a supervisor, without knowing the supervisor is actually retaliating against the employee, the employer can still be liable, ruled the Oregon Supreme Court. Sometimes, the people with authority to make employment decisions don’t really make decisions alone, but instead rely…

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Photo of Matt Norris
Aug 14 2019
Safety and Health  

New app calculates heat index and illness risks for outdoor workers

The federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) have created a “Heat Safety Tool” app for Android and iPhone to help workers and supervisors calculate the heat index for their worksites and determine risk levels for outdoor workers. The app also includes…

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Photo of Kara Craig
Jul 30 2019
Safety and Health  

Employer can’t blame worker for preventable on-the-job injury

A federal appeals court recently affirmed three citations for serious safety violations following the partial amputation of an employee’s thumb at a poultry processing plant. The company had challenged the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)’s citations in federal court, arguing that the injured employee engaged in unpreventable employee misconduct by violating…

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Photo of Manish Gooneratne
Jul 16 2019
Safety and Health  

Q&A: Keep exit routes clear and unobstructed

Question: How many exit routes should we have? Also, is it okay to temporarily block an exit route?   Answer: Generally, you’ll need to have at least two solid exit routes for your employees and your operation, but more exit routes may be required depending on the number of people onsite and/or the size of…

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Photo of Kara Craig
Jul 01 2019
DisabilityHarassment & DiscriminationSafety and Health  

Employers need objective basis to require fitness-for-duty exam

A federal district court recently ruled that a police department complied with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) when it required a bomb squad technician to undergo a fitness-for-duty exam. Their justification? The city had an objective basis for the fitness-for-duty exam request. In this case, the technician was experiencing hand…

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Photo of Michael Sorensen
Jun 21 2019
Safety and Health  

Wildfire season…are you ready?

As wildfire season approaches, it’s important to understand your obligations if employees want to wear dust masks to try to protect themselves from smoke in the air. Wildfire smoke is a mixture of gases and fine particles from burning trees and other plant material. Smoke can irritate workers’ eyes and respiratory systems,…

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