Photo of Donna Pryor

A member of Husch Blackwell’s Energy & Natural Resources group, Donna focuses on commercial and administrative litigation related to mine safety and occupational safety and health. She also assists clients in crisis management and strategic communications related to workplace health and safety issues.

 

Donna has extensive experience in the production of precious metals, aggregates, cement, industrial minerals, coal, salt, potash, phosphate, granite, limestone, and oil and gas. She combines her legal skills and government knowledge with her litigation prowess for clients facing complex problems.

In January 2022, a worker in a Massachusetts cannabis cultivation facility died because of “the hazards of ground cannabis dust,” according to a report issued by the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA). The OSHA accident investigation report states “Filling pre-rolls She said she couldn’t breathe. Not being able to breathe Marijuana kief (dust) At

The average mine operator now spends over $20,000 per year on citations and penalties. In this must-attend conference – Alternative Case Resolution Initiative (ACRI) – learn how to reduce or eliminate fines with the added benefit of improved safety conditions. Within the context of increasing citations, this workshop will prepare you to handle Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) inspectors and their findings.

This two-and-a-half-day workshop includes breakfast and lunch and will cover:

  • Legal and procedural processes of field inspections
  • The anatomy of a citation and how and why to challenge it
  • Necessary skills for mine operators and representatives to challenge an MSHA citation


Continue Reading Understanding MSHA Litigation and Saving Costs

MSHA has announced a new enforcement initiative regarding overexposure to respirable crystalline silica.

The silica enforcement initiative is intended “to take immediate action to reduce the risks the silica exposure.” The initiative will include:

  • Spot inspections at coal and metal nonmetal mines with a history of repeated silica overexposures to closely monitor and evaluate health

On May 3, 2022, OSHA held a stakeholder meeting regarding the development of a nationwide occupational heat standard to prevent heat injuries and illness. The meeting featured opening remarks by Assistant Secretary of Labor, Doug Parker, Secretary of Labor, Marty Walsh, and Deputy Assistant Secretary of Labor, Jim Frederick.
Continue Reading OSHA Hosts Stakeholder Meeting on Heat-Related Hazards

On Monday, April 4, 2022, OSHA released a new memorandum to regional administrators regarding enforcement of OSHA’s rule requiring electronic submittal of injury and illness records.

Each week, the agency will be running a computer program to identify employers who might not be complying. While OSHA originally predicted almost half a million employers would need

MSHA finally has a new leader.  On March 29, 2022, the U.S. Senate confirmed by voice vote Christopher Williamson (Williamson) as Assistant Secretary for the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) at the Department of Labor. Williamson most recently has held the position of Senior Counsel to Chairman Lauren McFerran of the National Labor Relations

On March 23, 2022, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) published a notice in the federal register announcing a limited re-opening of the comment period regarding OSHA’s final standard to protect healthcare and healthcare support service workers from occupational exposure to COVID-19. The comment period will end on April 22, 2022, and the virtual public hearing will be held on April 27, 2022. The Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) for Occupational Exposure to COVID-19 for  healthcare and healthcare support service workers (OSHA Healthcare ETS) was originally published on June 21, 2021. OSHA has re-opened the comment period to allow stakeholders to address changes the agency is considering that depart from the June 2021 version of the OSHA Healthcare ETS.
Continue Reading Healthcare Industry: OSHA Re-opens Comment Period and Schedules Public Hearing on ETS – Occupational Exposure to COVID-19

MSHA has announced a new campaign focusing on mine operators’ obligations to ensure that miners are fully trained and able to take time to follow best safety practices. To that end, MSHA is providing resources on powered haulage, rib and roof falls, fire suppression, and lockout/tagout.  Mines should expect increased enforcement around training about these