Overview: The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulates virtually every employer, which means that virtually every employer must comply with some provisions of OSHA in order to achieve acceptable levels of workplace health and safety. Safety in the workplace can seem like a challenging goal, but it is required by law.
One of the most important concepts employers must understand in the world of workplace safety is the General Duty Clause. While there are many regulations governing this topic, there is not a rule covering every possible workplace safety situation. Instead, OSHA enforces the General Duty Clause of the OSH Act, which requires an employer to provide a workplace free from recognized safety and health hazards. If an employer knows of an unsafe activity, behavior or situation then the employer is obligated to keep it out of the workplace in order to avoid workplace accidents.
Safety in the workplace has many components, but the Hazard Communication Standard deserves extra mention because it was recently overhauled. Through a series of rolling deadlines, OSHA changed their HazCom Standard to reflect the internationally recognized Globally Harmonized System for their labels and material safety data sheets (now referred to as safety data sheets).
Trends: Lately, distracted driving has been a growing concern for everyone; employers are not exceptions. Not only will employers who have drivers, meaning truckers, salespeople or anyone else who drives for work, have to ensure compliance with state laws, but under the General Duty Clause, they will need to be concerned with texting while driving. OSHA has recently increased their focus on this issue in an effort to cut down vehicular accidents in the workplace, and they will fine an employer who appears to be encouraging employees to text while driving.
Author: Ashley Shaw, JD, Legal Editor
In-depth review of the spectrum of Arizona employment law requirements HR must follow with respect to employee discipline.
Whistleblowing is the act of informing an employer, government agency or other authority about fraud, misconduct or other illegal acts occurring in an organization. With proper procedures in place, an employer can create an environment of integrity that allows employees' concerns to be addressed, well in advance of employees reporting their concerns to an external entity. To promote integrity in the workplace and avoid the need for external whistleblowing, employers should take the steps in this How To.
The White House proposed its 2015 budget last week, outlining the Obama Administration's enforcement priorities. An employer should expect increased enforcement of wage and hour laws and family and medical leave protections if Congress authorizes the administration's requests. New provisions regarding accelerated filing due dates for wage reporting and new electronic filing requirements (including penalty provisions) would be forthcoming if the proposed budget were approved.
The Supreme Court has ruled that employees of private companies that contract with public companies are covered by the whistleblower protections found in the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 (SOX). The Court's ruling in Lawson v. FMR, LLC preserves the relatively broad interpretation of SOX's whistleblower provisions favored by the US Department of Labor (DOL).
XpertHR's High-Tech Resource Center for HR helps high-tech employers handle their most challenging employment issues by bringing relevant resources together in one place for easy access.
OSHA released its 2014 inspection plan, which focuses its inspection resources on non-construction, high-hazard industries. An employer with 20 or more workers in one of these industries could be randomly selected for a programmed inspection.
In-depth review of the spectrum of Alaska employment law requirements HR must follow with respect to child labor.
In-depth review of the spectrum of Arkansas employment law requirements HR must follow with respect to child labor.
In-depth review of the spectrum of California employment law requirements HR must follow with respect to child labor.
In-depth review of the spectrum of Indiana employment law requirements HR must follow with respect to child labor.
HR considerations for employers regarding all areas of workplace safety. Advice and guidance on creating and keeping safety in the workplace.