Today, Virginia’s new and detailed COVID-19 regulation takes effect. The rule, an “emergency temporary standard” (ETS), was adopted July 15th by the Virginia Department of Labor and Industry (DOLI). Unlike general guidance and recommendations issued by CDC and federal OSHA, the Virginia rule requires all employers regulated by DOLI to develop, implement, and enforce COVID-19 prevention and mitigation measures. Read on for a detailed summary of the rule’s requirements.

Continue Reading Detailed Virginia COVID regulation takes effect today for Virginia employers

All bets are off as regulatory agencies are tugged in every direction in pandemic world. Normally, an election year probably would not have seen particularly aggressive enforcement or rulemaking. For a while, COVID-19 health precautions and furloughed work sites meant reduced inspection activity. But, enforcement may be picking up, and a battle over new regulations is brewing. Here’s your full update.

Continue Reading OSHA and MSHA update: More enforcement? New regs? Deregulation? It’s all on the table.

Now for a story that has nothing to do with viruses… In last month’s Rock Products magazine, our colleague Charles Fleischmann analyzed MSHA’s revisions to its inspection procedures. To find out what’s new and different in MSHA inspection policies, read on.

Continue Reading What’s inside MSHA’s (relatively) new unified inspection handbook?

According to MSHA Assistant Secretary David Zatezalo, MSHA is working to “put the ‘H’ back in ‘MSHA.’” He told Congress over the summer that he is “paying close attention to the ‘H’ in MSHA: miners’ health.” He emphasized that MSHA will “aggressively enforce existing standards to ensure that operators protect miners from exposure to respirable dust and quartz.”

Continue Reading Putting the ‘H’ back In MSHA?

An internal DOL memorandum last year to OSHA regional administrators confirms that OSHA can deploy Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) otherwise referred to as “drones” equipped with cameras to assist with its enforcement and regulatory functions. What do employers need to know? How should you respond to a drone inspection?

Continue Reading Look! Up in the sky … it’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s OSHA?

Can mis-steps with OSHA land you in jail? Several recent cases are a reminder that the risk is real. While OSHA rarely makes a criminal case out of safety violations, it does pursue criminal charges when people mislead the agency through false statements, falsified records, or destroyed documents. A company that does not take great care in handling an investigation risks such costly errors, leading to criminal prosecution and stiff penalties under federal law.

Continue Reading Yes, OSHA violations can send you to jail

A regular MSHA citation that hits all the high notes in terms of penalty points will cost as much as $72,620 in 2019 (based on company size, prior violations, negligence, and gravity), MSHA announced yesterday. A flagrant MSHA violation – the most severe – will now cost $266,275.
Continue Reading MSHA updates its penalties, topping out at $266,275 per violation