President Biden has nominated Christopher Williamson for the position of Assistant Secretary for Mine Safety and Health.  The White House statement on the nominee states Mr. Williamson is a “native of the coalfields of southern West Virginia,” though he has no known mining experience.

Mr. Williamson graduated from law school approximately 11 years ago and

On Thursday, November 4, 2021, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued its Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS)  applicable to employers of 100 or more employees. The ETS requires employers  to adopt a soft vaccine mandate obligating employees to either get vaccinated or to undergo regular COVID-19 testing and to wear a face covering at work. OSHA expressly states that the ETS pre-empts all state or local laws that are contrary to the ETS requirements. The ETS will be effective on the date of publication in the Federal Register (November 5, 2021).  However, employees who work for covered employers will have until January 4, 2022 to get vaccinated or otherwise comply with the testing/masking requirements.
Continue Reading OSHA Issues COVID-19 Vaccine Mandate for Employers of 100 or More Employees

On October 27, 2021, OSHA issued an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPRM) on Heat Injury & Illness Prevention in Outdoor and Indoor Work Settings. 86 Fed. Reg. 59309 (Oct. 27, 2021). As announced in the ANPRM, OSHA is seeking information about the extent and nature of hazardous heat in the workplace and the nature and effectiveness of interventions and controls used to prevent heat-related injury and illness. Comments on the Proposed Rule must be submitted by December 27, 2021.

Because outdoor and indoor work settings that lack adequate climate-controlled environments pose a risk of hazardous heat exposure for workers, the proposed rule applies to both indoor and outdoor work environments.
Continue Reading OSHA issues ANPRM on Heat Injury and Illness Prevention

On October 25, 2021 the US Senate confirmed President Biden’s nominee Doug Parker to be the next Assistant Secretary of Labor and leader of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).  Mr. Parker will be the first Senate-confirmed leader for OSHA in over four years, as the Trump Administration never pursued a permanent head of

On October 13, 2021, from 2:00 – 5:00 p.m. Eastern Time, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) will hold a virtual meeting (via telephone and Microsoft Teams) to receive public comments and suggestions regarding OSHA’s Whistleblower Protection Program.

Notably, the public meeting comes six weeks after OSHA announced a change in its interpretation of the whistleblower provision of the Occupational Safety and Health Act, encoded at 29 U.S.C. § 660(c)(1).

Continue Reading OSHA Seeks Public Feedback on the Whistleblower Protection Program

On September 9, 2021, MSHA expects to publish a Proposed Rule requiring mine operators to develop and implement written safety programs for their powered haulage equipment used at surface mines and surface areas of underground mines (“surface mobile equipment”).

What mines and equipment does the Proposed Rule cover? 
Continue Reading MSHA Proposes a Requirement for Written Safety Programs for Surface Mobile Equipment

On August 13, 2021, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) published updated guidance for the mitigation and spread of COVID-19 in the workplace. This guidance is for workers not covered by OSHA’s COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standard for Healthcare. The guidance adopts recommendations analogous with CDC guidance in response to the spread of the Delta

Partner Brian Hendrix has published an article for Rock Products explaining MSHA’s focus on Power Haulage Safety. Brian examines the best practices provided by MSHA and offers advice to quarry operators looking to develop and implement a mine-specific plan for powered haulage safety.

For more information, read the article here.

On June 9, 2021, the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) issued a new COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) with the scope of the ETS limited to certain workplace settings that are defined as healthcare service and healthcare support service settings, unless the healthcare setting is specifically excluded. In conjunction with its release of the ETS, on June 10, 2021, OSHA also issued new guidance applicable to employers and workers that are not covered by the ETS. The stated purpose of the new guidance is to enable employers to better recognize and abate hazards likely to cause death or serious physical harm as part of their obligation under the General Duty clause and other existing mandatory OSHA standards. To accompany our recent commentary on the ETS, we also have prepared the following summary of the OSHA guidance directed at employers not covered by the ETS.
Continue Reading OSHA Issues New Guidance Applicable to all Employers Not Covered by the ETS

On June 9, 2021, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) released its long anticipated interim final rule and request for comments for the Occupational Exposure to COVID-19; Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS). OSHA released the ETS one day after the approval of the standard was received from the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, Office of Management and Budget. The ETS is limited to covered healthcare employers and excludes from coverage of the standard certain healthcare workplaces that have a fully vaccinated workforce and that exclude individuals with possible COVID-19 infections. The rule becomes effective on the date of publication in the Federal Register with deadlines for compliance that vary by section of the ETS. Written comments regarding whether the ETS should become a final rule must be submitted within 30 days of the publication date in the Federal Register. A brief overview of the ETS’s requirements are provided below.
Continue Reading OSHA Issues Federal COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standard

On May 13, 2021, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued new guidance withdrawing the mask and physical distancing requirements for fully vaccinated individuals. The new CDC guidance raises issues for employers with respect to the requirements under existing state emergency temporary standards (ETS), state regulations and orders, and the employer’s ability to mandate the use of masks by employees or customers and to request proof of vaccination. We anticipate that various federal agencies will issue more guidance soon. In the meantime, to help employers to think through the answers to these questions, we provide the following information.
Continue Reading What Does the New CDC Guidance Regarding Masks Mean for Employers?