DuraLabel's Weekly Safety News

Blog Author Angelique Sanders

Weekly safety news. Stay in touch with regulations from OSHA, NFPA, and other safety codes. Find out about other companies' best and worst practices. We scour the internet to provide you with helpful training resources and the latest safety information.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Safety News Briefs - Court Denies OSHA’s Request For Enterprise-Wide Relief

A regular news feature summarizing workplace safety related news.

We scan newspapers, magazines and the internet for safety news that isn't being reported elsewhere. The following are links to safety-related news and articles that came out during the past week. If you have safety news, or safety tips, send them to: duralabelpro@gmail.com.

Court Denies OSHA’s Request For Enterprise-Wide Relief

OSHA first sought enterprise-wide relief in 2010. In a July 6th complaint, the Department of Labor asked the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission to order the U.S. Postal Service to correct electrical violations at 350 facilities nationwide. Since that time numerous companies have entered into enterprise-wide agreements with OSHA.

In the first court decision on enterprise-wide relief, the Association of Corporate Council Lexology newsletter reports that:

"OSHA’s request for enterprise-wide relief was denied in a recent ALJ ruling.  This new decision is the first to deny a request from OSHA to extend the employer’s obligation to abate alleged violations at locations other than those cited. Enterprise-wide relief has been a part of OSHA’s more aggressive enforcement posture in recent years."

You can read the article here.

The article concludes by stating:

"Employers who have been issued citations where enterprise-wide relief is sought by the agency should know first, that they are not obligated to enter into any agreement that extends the obligation to abate beyond the cited location.  In addition, such employers should closely examine and consider challenging any claim for enterprise-wide relief."

Indiana Occupational Safety and Health Administration (IOSHA) Investigates Injury of 70-Year Old

The Herald Bulletin reports that the state of Indiana:

"...has launched an investigation into a workplace accident where a 70-year-old man was severely injured.Indiana Occupational Safety and Health Administration (IOSHA) is investigating ELSA LLC., 1240 S. Indiana 37, after the company failed to file an accident report with the state department for an accident that occurred more than two months ago."

The injured man was an employee of a trucking company. His foot was seriously injured by a forklift, resulting in a week-long stay in the hospital. The accident was not reported to IOSHA and the time delay is resulting in the investigation requiring more time than usual.  Once the investigation is complete, ELSA LLC may be cited for not reporting the accident, as well as for other safety violations.

Read the story here.

Company Ordered To Pay More Than One Million In Whistleblower Case

OSHA has ordered Gaines Motor Lines Inc., and individuals Tim Gaines and Rick Tompkins, to compensate four former truck drivers who were fired in violation of the whistleblower protection provision of the Surface Transportation Assistance Act, which was amended to implement recommendations from the 9/11 Commission, and pay more than $1,070,123 in back pay wages, interest, compensatory and punitive damages.

OSHA reports that the whistleblower complaint alleged that four employees were terminated for participating in an inspection audit of the commercial motor carrier company's facility in Hickory (NC), which was conducted by the DOT's Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.  From Feb. 28 through March 1, 2012, the four employees were interviewed on-site by the FMCSA.

On March 8, following the audit and subsequent citations issued against Gaines Motor Lines, the workers suffered adverse retaliation by company officials, including termination, layoffs and removal of employee benefits.

The order includes a preliminary reinstatement for three of the four employees-the fourth died in early 2013-back wages, interest, compensatory damages of $215,657 and punitive damages of $675,000. Either party to the case can file an appeal to the department's Office of Administrative Law Judges, but such an appeal does not suspend the preliminary reinstatement order.

Related past posts:
OSHA Proposes Changes To Reporting Requirements
OSHA's Exposure Limit Resource
Must You Comply With Consensus Standards

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posted by Steve Hudgik
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