Workplace Safety and Health

Recent News:

OSHA Moves Closer to Letting Union Members Onsite During Inspections

John Ho was quoted in a SHRM article discussing OSHA’s proposed walkaround rule that allows union members on employer premises during an agency inspection

More

Maintaining a safe and healthy workplace requires broad knowledge and experience in the wide range of laws that affect the workplace. Cozen O’Connor’s Workplace Safety and Health practice consists of experienced attorneys in multiple offices across the country who are well versed in the regulatory, compliance, and enforcement issues that employers face when it comes to keeping employees safe. Our team boasts attorneys with an insider’s perspective, including a former chairman of the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission and a former OSHA prosecutor with the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of the Solicitor, giving us a unique understanding of how the government evaluates and prosecutes safety and health matters. We also have established relationships with Occupational Safety and Health Administration investigators and Area Directors responsible for workplace investigations. Further, we have established relationships with trusted safety and health experts across the country in numerous industries who are often critical in the defense of OSHA or OSHA State Plan matters. This background and experience can be critical to reaching a satisfactory resolution and avoiding costly fines and litigation.

While compliance with OSHA and OSHA State plans is an essential element of workplace safety and health, our lawyers regularly advise, draft policies and procedures, and litigate a myriad of other applicable laws. In terms of maintaining a safe workplace, this includes, for example, compliance with the Drug-Free Workplace Act; compliance with state laws governing the use of marijuana; drug and alcohol testing programs; determining when a person with a criminal background can be excluded from employment and under what circumstances; and helping to prevent and respond to violence in the workplace. In terms of maintaining a healthy workplace, this includes compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and similar state laws, and dealing with the interplay of laws and policies regarding employee health including the ADA/FMLA, worker’s compensation, and short- and long-term disability policies.

Our attorneys have extensive litigation experience as well as unwavering focus on meeting clients’ practical objectives. And as part of a full-service, AmLaw 100 firm, our Workplace Safety and Health lawyers can seamlessly partner with attorneys in a range of practice areas — such as real estate, construction law, environmental law, and torts — to curate a single team to handle every aspect of a complicated safety and health matter.

We are a one-stop shop for the full spectrum of employers’ needs relating to workplace safety and health issues. We have experience with a wide range of safety and health standards, including personal protective equipment, shoring, respiratory protection, fall protection, hazardous communication, lockout – tagout, machine guarding, electrical wiring, rail operations, toxic substances, and recordkeeping. Our in-depth experience cuts across many industries, including but not limited to construction, manufacturing, agriculture, retail, health care, warehouse, pharmaceutical, and transportation. 

Our service offerings include the following:

  • Helping employers navigate an OSHA (or State Plan) inspections and informal conferences.
  • Assisting employers with full-scale internal safety and health audits or discrete safety and health audits focusing on specific issues in conjunction with safety and health experts.
  • Drafting workplace safety and health policies and procedures.
  • Drafting policies and procedures regarding the use of, and testing for, drugs and alcohol in the workplace.
  • Overseeing root-cause investigations of workplace accidents.
  • Analyzing claims that could be impacted by the ADA, FMLA, STD/LTD, worker’s compensation, and employer leave policies.
  • Contesting and litigating OSHA citations before the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission, including those related to fatalities and amputations and willful and/or repeat classifications.
  • Negotiating settlements, including the withdrawal and/or reclassification of repeat classifications, significant reductions of OSHA monetary penalties, and revisions to OSHA citations and/or settlement language to limit any potential liability on collateral issues such as wrongful death or negligence lawsuits.
  • Defending against claims of retaliation brought under the more than 20 anti-retaliation statutes that OSHA enforces.
  • Defending against claims and lawsuits brought under the ADA, FMLA, ERISA, and similar state laws.
  • Assisting employers with responding to hazard alert letters/rapid response investigations to help ensure OSHA does not conduct a full scale inspection after receiving a complaint.

Additionally, we bring to the table the unique advantage of being able to seamlessly partner with professionals from The Healy+ Group, which is one of Cozen O’Connor’s ancillary business units. The Healy+ Group specializes in organizational assessments, after-action reviews and special investigations, and expert consulting for civil litigation, among other services. The group serves a broad client base and often handles assessments that have a physical security and/or emergency management component.

We are thought leaders in the field who are frequently quoted in various publications on safety and health matters and are frequent panelists on safety and health webinars and panels. Additionally, our attorneys serve as editors for Occupational Safety and Health Law, Fourth Edition, published by the ABA and Bloomberg Law. We also publish a blog dedicated to workplace safety and health, OSHA Chronicle (www.oshacronicle.com), which examines OSHA’s newest rules and the legal challenges they present.  Our attorneys are also regular speakers at national safety and health conferences such as the AGC Construction Safety and Health Conference and EHS Today’s Safety Leadership Conference.

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Experience

Publications

OSHA Mid-Year Rulemaking Update [OSHA Chronicle Blog]

May 22, 2024

As we head into the midway point of 2024, we wanted to provide a brief update on significant OSHA rulemaking developments. Heat Stress: OSHA recently took a critical step in implementing its long-awaited heat stress rule by presenting the draft rule’s initial regulatory framework at a meeting of...

Do Recent Changes and Legal Challenges to the Independent Contractor Test Affect OSHA? [OSHA Chronicle Blog]

March 06, 2024

Businesses have struggled with the determination of who is an independent contractor vs employee for many decades. One of the challenges rests with the fact that the applicable legal test may be different depending on the area of law at issue. Thus, employers could find themselves in a situation...

OSHA Increases Maximum Civil Money Penalties to Start the New Year [OSHA Chronicle Blog]

January 17, 2024

Pursuant to the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act, OSHA increases the maximum penalties for serious and other-than-serious violations from $15,625 per violation to $16,131 per violation. In addition, the maximum penalty for willful or repeat violations increased from $156,259 per...

OSHA’s Cold Stress Guidance [OSHA Chronicle Blog]

December 21, 2023

As we head into the New Year, it is a good time for businesses to review OSHA’s cold stress guidance (link below). OSHA reminds employers that monitoring the wind chill temperature and workers’ physical condition while performing tasks will help them assess cold stress exposure and assist them in...

Westray Bill Gaining Traction Across Canada [OSHA Chronicle Blog]

November 07, 2023

Guest Author: Norm Keith, B.A.(Econ), J.D., LL.M. Mr. Keith is a leading management-side employment and labor lawyer, the author of 12 books, 8 of which deal with OHS, and is a senior partner at the law firm of KPMG Law LLP, and may be reached at: nkieth@kpmg.ca. The enduring legal legacy of...

Are Random Acts of Violence Recordable OSHA Injuries? [OSHA Chronicle Blog]

September 06, 2023

According to a recent OSHA standard interpretation letter, probably yes. In the May 17, 2023 letter, an employee drove the company vehicle on a public roadway between service calls. As the employee approached a car accident, the driver who caused the accident entered the company’s vehicle, shot the...

OSHA Issues Final Electronic Recordkeeping Rule [OSHA Chronicle Blog]

July 19, 2023

On July 17, 2023, OSHA released its final rule expanding its electronic recordkeeping and reporting requirements. As expected, the rule largely mimics OSHA’s 2022 proposal and takes effect January 1, 2024. The rule requires establishments with 100 or more employees in certain high-hazard...

Information About OSHA’s Free Safety and Health Consultation Service [OSHA Chronicle Blog]

June 23, 2023

Creating a strong safety culture in a business has many components. It requires the commitment and participation of the executive management team and all supervisory and non-supervisory employees throughout the organization. A critical part of accomplishing this requires conducting internal and/or...

Wildfire Smoke Exposure: What are an Employer’s Obligations? [OSHA Chronicle Blog]

June 08, 2023

When it became apparent yesterday that the wildfire smoke cascading throughout parts of the Northeastern United States was having a serious health effect on anyone outside and exposed to the harmful particulates contained in such smoke, certain outside activities were simply canceled, such as the...

The Interplay Between Ted Lasso and OSHA [OSHA Chronicle Blog]

April 12, 2023

WARNING: Spoiler alert! STOP reading now if you do not want to read spoilers which are used as examples to illustrate points in the blog article. As viewers know, Ted Lasso is a feel good show about an American college football coach who is hired to coach AFC Richmond, an English soccer team....

A Brief Refresher on OSHA’s Emergency Action Plan Standard [OSHA Chronicle Blog]

April 10, 2023

Sadly, tragic workplace violence incidents continue to plague the country. Although it is unlikely that OSHA, in the foreseeable future, will engage in rulemaking for a general industry workplace violence rule, it has already taken affirmative steps to move forward on rulemaking for a workplace...

Fifth Circuit to Review OSHA’s Unpreventable Employee Misconduct Defense [OSHA Chronicle Blog]

March 28, 2023

Unpreventable employee misconduct is an affirmative defense commonly asserted to OSHA citations. To generally prevail on this defense, an employer must show that it 1) established work rules designed to prevent the violative conditions from occurring; 2) adequately communicated those rules to its...

Get Ready For More OSHA Inspections, Citations, and Greater Penalties [OSHA Chronicle Blog]

February 07, 2023

As we head into 2023, employers can expect to see more aggressive OSHA enforcement. BNA reported that the number of OSHA inspectors grew 19% in the fiscal year 2022. This was not surprising given the significant increase to OSHA’s FY 2021 budget, which earmarked funds to hire new OSHA inspectors....

A Reminder of the March 2nd Deadline to Electronically Submit OSHA 300A and OSHA Penalty Increase Update [OSHA Chronicle Blog]

January 18, 2023

As a reminder to covered establishments, they must electronically submit their Form 300A on or before March 2, 2023, which can be done here. Covered establishments generally include 250 or more employees or 20-249 employees in certain high-risk industries identified by OSHA. OSHA has publicly...

Give Your Employees the Gift of Safety This Holiday Season: A Q&A With Safety Expert Curtis Chambers [OSHA Chronicle Blog]

December 09, 2022

As we head into the holiday gift giving season, it is a great time for businesses to think about employee safety and health and how they can strengthen their safety culture. Providing adequate supervisory and employee safety training is one of the most effective ways to ensure that employers are...

Can an employer prevent a Section 11(c) whistleblower from getting double damages in a settlement agreement and release of a related claim? Maybe. [OSHA Chronicle Blog]

November 17, 2022

In a recent decision in the Eastern District of New York, Walsh v. Community Health Center of Richmond, Inc., et al., 21-CV-3094 (ARR)(TAM), the court held that OSHA has the right to pursue individual damages for a Complainant under Section 11(c) even though a prior federal action brought by...

Permanent COVID-19 Standard for Healthcare Workers Still Slated for the Fall [OSHA Chronicle Blog]

July 28, 2022

The recently released spring rulemaking agenda reflected a September 2022 target for a permanent COVID-19 rule for healthcare workers. Although the spring rulemaking agenda outlines a non-binding schedule, Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Doug Parker has confirmed...

National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Issues Guidebook on Protecting Temporary Workers [OSHA Chronicle Blog]

July 22, 2022

The use of “leased” employees continues to skyrocket. Between 1992 and 2017, it is estimated that the number of people working for employee leasing firms increased 682%, from 341,884 to 2.7 million. There are a variety of reasons companies use leased employees. However, host businesses should be...

Events & Seminars

Upcoming Events

The Double-Edged Sword of Employee Safety and Health Training

August 27, 2024 - Aurora, CO

John Ho will present “The Double-Edged Sword of Employee Safety and Health Training” with Natalie Fox, Principal Scientist at Roux, at the 13th Annual EHS Today Safety Leadership Conference.

Past Events

2024 AGC Construction Safety & Health Conference

January 10, 2024 - Newport Beach, CA

In The News

OSHA’s Revised Hazard Communication Standard Tackles Unresolved Issues

May 28, 2024

John Ho was quoted in the Madras Tribune discussing the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) revised Hazard Communication Standard.

Plan What to Do When an OSHA Inspector Arrives

May 16, 2024

John Ho was quoted in a SHRM article discussing the new OSHA "walkaround rule” that will be enforced starting on May 31.

Safety Inspection Rule Change Raises Concerns

May 01, 2024

John Ho was quoted in a Business Insurance article discussing the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's recently finalized walkaround rule, allowing workers to designate non-employee representatives during safety inspections.

7 Tips for California Employers’ Violence Prevention Plans

March 04, 2024

John Carrigan, Jr., Elena Hillman, and Daniel Pascale were quoted in an HR Dive article discussing tips on how California employers can implement workplace violence prevention plans by July 1.

OSHA Moves Closer to Letting Union Members Onsite During Inspections

February 14, 2024

John Ho was quoted in a SHRM article discussing OSHA’s proposed walkaround rule that allows union members on employer premises during an agency inspection

EHS On Tap E191: OSHA’s New Injury Reporting Rule

January 30, 2024

John Ho was a guest on the EHS On Tap podcast titled “EHS On Tap E191: OSHA’s New Injury Reporting Rule.”

Overdose Cure at Work May Bring Liability Risks

December 08, 2023

John Ho was quoted in a Business Insurance article discussing the risks and legal implications for employers to store and provide naloxone.

Contacts

John S. Ho

Co-Chair, OSHA-Workplace Safety Practice

jho@cozen.com

(212) 883-4927

James J. Sullivan, Jr.

Co-Chair, OSHA-Workplace Safety Practice

jjsullivan@cozen.com

(202) 912-4841

People

Related Practice Areas

Upcoming Event:

The Double-Edged Sword of Employee Safety and Health Training

Aurora, CO 08/27/2024

John Ho will present “The Double-Edged Sword of Employee Safety and Health Training” with Natalie Fox, Principal Scientist at Roux, at the 13th Annual EHS Today Safety Leadership Conference.

Event Details

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