Tag Archives: work knowledge

OSHA Update—OSHA Chief Nominee Confirmation Hearing Underway

On October 27, 2017, the White House announced its intent to nominate Scott Mugno to lead the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.  His and others’ confirmation hearings are currently underway before the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor & Pensions.  Gardere will monitor these  proceedings and report back with updates, but you can watch … Continue reading this entry

OSHA Update—Reminder to Stay Safe during Summer Heat

With summer upon us, employers need to remember to stay proactive in addressing on-the-job heat hazards.  We wrote about this topic last summer on the Work Knowledge Blog.  While OSHA does not regulate heat-related illnesses and injuries specifically, the agency has the ability, and willingness, to cite employers under the General Duty Clause if employers do … Continue reading this entry

Senate Confirms Acosta as Next Secretary of Labor

On April 27, 2017, the U.S. Senate confirmed Alexander Acosta as the next U.S. Secretary of Labor by  vote of 60-38.  Acosta is a former U.S. Department of Justice and National Labor Relations Board member.  Secretary Acosta will now face the monumental task of coordinating Trump’s policy shifts within the department.  A key issue demanding his … Continue reading this entry

Proposed Texas Legislation Would Limit Employers’ Ability to Use Employees’ and Job Applicants’ Credit Information

Texas State Representatives Terry Canales (District 40, serving part of Hidalgo County) and Nicole Collier (District 95, serving part of Tarrant County) have proposed legislation related to employers’ consideration of credit information for employees and job applicants.  HB 317 amends Chapter 52 of the Texas Labor Code by generally prohibiting a covered employer’s use of … Continue reading this entry

Texas Legislator Proposes Bill to Protect Workers' "Political Beliefs"

Last week, Representative James White, a Republican representing District 19 (Hardin, Jasper, Newton, Polk, and Tyler Counties), proposed a new state law that would protect Texas workers from adverse actions for expressing their political opinions and views away from the job.  The key provision of the proposed legislation defines “political beliefs” to include “only” those beliefs … Continue reading this entry

OSHA Update—Proposed Delay for New Beryllium Rule Effective Date

On March 1, 2017, the United States Department of Labor proposed another delay to the effective date of Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (“OSHA”) new beryllium rule.  The proposed delay is again in conjunction with the White House’s Regulatory Freeze Pending Review Memorandum (the “Memorandum”).  If implemented, it will make the rule’s new effective date … Continue reading this entry

OSHA Update—Reminder Regarding Posting, Retaining, and Submitting Injury and Illness Summaries

It’s that time of year again.  Between February 1 and April 30, employers must post a copy of their completed OSHA Form 300A for each establishment in a conspicuous place or in a place where employee notices are customarily posted.  29 C.F.R. § 1904.32(b)(5).  Form 300A summarizes job-related injuries and illness logged the previous calendar year.  So if you are … Continue reading this entry

Top 5 Mistakes Employers Make with Their Employee Handbooks

As 2016 winds down and a new year approaches, now is a great time for employers to think about their employee handbooks and employment policies in general.  As employers go about that thought-process, here are a few common mistakes employers should try to avoid: (1) Self-Regulation:  Employers often include items in handbooks that are not … Continue reading this entry

OSHA Update—Texas Judge Denies Injunction Against Enforcement of Anti-Retaliation Provisions of Final Rule

On November 28, 2016, Judge Sam Lindsay in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Texas denied an employer group’s request for a nationwide injunction against the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s enforcement of certain anti-retaliation provisions in the new final rule.  As we reported previously on the Work Knowledge Blog, the … Continue reading this entry

OSHA Update—Surge in Enforcement Efforts to Reduce Amputations Hazards in Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, and Texas

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“OSHA”) recently announced that it will have a “heightened focus” on amputation hazards in Region 6, which comprises Arkansas Louisiana, Oklahoma, and Texas.  OSHA reports that 2,600 amputations occurred nationwide in 2015, most of which were in the manufacturing industry.  OSHA’s goal in this initiative will be on increased … Continue reading this entry

Legal Considerations for Employers during Election Years—Reminder

With Election Day rapidly approaching next week, employers should be prepared for a host of issues associated with election year politics in the workplace.  We recently wrote about some of the key issues facing employers in election years on the Work Knowledge Blog.  As a reminder about those issues, here are links to the related posts: … Continue reading this entry

OSHA Update—OSHA Delays Enforcement of Anti-Retaliation Provisions for Second Time

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“OSHA”) announced today that it will delay enforcement, for a second time, of the anti-retaliation provisions in its injury and illness tracking rule until Dec. 1, 2016.  We previously reported on the Work Knowledge Blog that the first delay in enforcement may have been associated with ongoing litigation over the … Continue reading this entry

OSHA Update—New Guidance on Settlement Agreements in Whistleblower Cases

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“OSHA”) recently issued new guidelines for the approval of settlement agreements between employers and employees during whistleblower cases. These guidelines will replace Chapter 6, paragraphs XII.E.2 and 3, of the OSHA Whistleblower Investigation Manual, the current version of which was published on January 28, 2016.   The new guidelines will … Continue reading this entry

OSHA Update—Civil Penalty Increases Take Effect After August 1, 2016

After today, August 1, 2016, the civil penalties assessed by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“OSHA”) will increase by 78%.  This is actually less than the 82% that was originally allowed by Congress, but not by much.  The new maximum penalties will be as follows: (1) Serious, Other-than-Serious, and Posting Requirement Violations—$12,471 per violation; … Continue reading this entry

OSHA Update—Delayed Enforcement of Anti-Retaliation Provisions for New Reporting Rule

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“OSHA”) has announced that it will delay enforcement of the anti-retaliation provisions in its new workplace injury and illness reporting rule.  Originally, it was scheduled to go into effect on August 10, 2016, but enforcement of the anti-retaliation provisions will now begin on November 1, 2016.  OSHA stated that … Continue reading this entry

Legal Considerations for Employers during Election Years—Part I

According to the Texas Secretary of State, 73.75% of the voting age population in Texas is registered to vote this year.  Tex. Sec’y of State, Turnout and Voter Registration Figures (1970-current), available here.  Frankly, an even higher percentage probably has an opinion about a candidate or issue, regardless of whether they will cast a vote.  … Continue reading this entry

OSHA Update—Employee Safety during the Summer Heat

For employers with outdoor workspaces (such as in the oil and gas and construction industries), the summer heat necessitates a delicate balance—maintaining a safe workplace and ensuring the work gets done.  Employers must address a two-fold problem in striking this balance: (1) concern for the health and safety of employees; and, (2) implementation of safety … Continue reading this entry

OSHA Update—Tips for Surviving OSHA Inspections—Part V

In this final part of our series on how to manage OSHA inspections effectively, we end with a “tip” that is really more of a requirement.  And it is for an employer to remember key deadlines. There are several important deadlines employers should remember during and after the OSHA inspection and citation processes, and a … Continue reading this entry

OSHA Update—Tips for Surviving OSHA Inspections—Part IV

Over the last several weeks on the Work Knowledge Blog, we have outlined tips for employers to ready themselves for a potential influx of OSHA inspections.  OSHA inspections are often time-intensive and nerve-racking.  And they are mostly unexpected, so an ill-prepared employer may feel an intense pressure upon the beginning of an OSHA inspection.  That … Continue reading this entry

OSHA Update—Tips for Surviving OSHA Inspections—Part III

As we noted in the previous weeks on the Work Knowledge Blog, employers may see a marked increase in OSHA inspections in the coming months due to the agency’s focus on PSM related issues.  This focus includes proposed revisions to OSHA’s appropriations language to allow for PSM audits of small establishments and various contemplated changes … Continue reading this entry

OSHA Update—OSHA Small Business Advocacy Review Panel Commences Teleconferences to Discuss Possible Revisions to Process Safety Management Standard

On June 2, 2016, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“OSHA”) convened the Small Business Advocacy Review Panel (“SBAR Panel”) in accordance with the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act.  The SBAR Panel was convened as a follow-up to Executive Order 13650 entitled “Improving Chemical Facility Safety and Security” (the “EO”).   The EO stated that … Continue reading this entry

OSHA Update—Tips for Surviving OSHA Inspections—Part II

Last week, we outlined that OSHA’s proposed appropriations language revisions for FY 2017 may signal increased inspections, particularly PSM audits, for certain employers in Region 6, which includes Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Louisiana, and New Mexico.  Employers have an opportunity to get and stay prepared now for this possible inspection glut.  To that end, over the … Continue reading this entry

OSHA Update—Tips for Surviving OSHA Inspections—Part I

With all the changes from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“OSHA”) over the last year or so, employers need to get prepared for increased inspections and safety audits in the near future.  This is especially true with the appropriations language revisions OSHA has proposed for FY 2017.  OSHA’s stated purpose for its proposal is, among … Continue reading this entry

OSHA Update—Final Rule on Workplace Injury and Illness Reporting

On May 11, 2016, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“OSHA”) announced that it has finalized a new recordkeeping and reporting rule for certain employers.  At its core, the new rule amounts to what many employers are sure to view as OSHA’s attempt to shame them publically.  That is, the new rule requires covered employers … Continue reading this entry