Occupational Safety and Health
Our occupational safety and health practice encompasses all aspects of worker health and safety issues. Beveridge & Diamond, P.C.'s lawyers represent clients on a wide range of worker safety issues in rulemaking, counseling and litigation contexts, particularly with respect to chemicals and processes also regulated by environmental programs.
The practice covers occupational health, personal safety, and process safety, as well as injury and illness recordkeeping, records access, and other related requirements. Our lawyers have assisted clients with a broad range of issues relating to:
- occupational health issues such as medical surveillance and medical removal;
- industrial hygiene such as respiratory protection, occupational exposure limits, and engineering controls;
- lockout/tagout, fall protection, confined spaces, personal protective equipment, and electrical safety;
- hazard communication, including the Globally Harmonized System.
We also have long experience working with the Process Safety Management (PSM) standard in both counseling and enforcement litigation, including issues such as facility siting, process hazard analyses, and operating procedures. We have helped clients develop occupational health programs for handling nanomaterials.
We counsel clients on preparing for and responding to inspections by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and state counterparts, and in conducting OSH Act audits, and helping clients develop and implement any necessary corrective actions. We have also represented clients in workplace compliance and injury enforcement proceedings, including administrative trials before the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission (OSHRC). We also assist represent clients in tort litigation where occupational safety and health issues arise.
Our practice extends to advising clients on all aspects of EPA’s risk management program (RMP) requirements, including inspections by EPA or state inspectors and related enforcement proceedings, and the interplay of Clean Air Act Title V permitting, Risk Management Plan coverage, and OSHA PSM implementation. We have also represented clients being investigated by the U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board following workplace incidents.
Examples of specific past projects include:
- negotiating a settlement in a multi-fatality case which withdrew all citations against a contractor;
- persuading an OSHA area office not to cite a contractor in a fatality case;
- reaching a favorable settlement with a state OSHA in a fatality case;
- settling PSM citations issued in a National Emphasis Program case, including reducing the number of repeat citations;
- counseling during OSHA shipyard inspections which resulted in few citations;
- advising an employer on how to establish an injury and illness recordkeeping program, including training and review of cases;
- defending “willful egregious” citations related to process safety following a fatal explosion at a chemical manufacturing facility;
- defending “willful egregious” citations related to injury and illness recordkeeping;
- defending “willful” lockout/tagout citations;
- counseling on all aspects of the PSM standard;
- drafting comments on occupationsl health, personal safety, and process safety rulemakings;
- preparing nationally-recognized guidance on OSHA interpretations of its injury and illness recordkeeping requirements;
- evaluating the OSH Act general duty clause, hazard communication, and other obligations, including those that might be triggered by the production or use of nanomaterials;
- conducting OSHA compliance audits of manufacturing facilities, including consideration of privilege and audit amnesty issues;
- counseling companies regarding management response to workplace safety incidents;
- reviewing building demolition plans for compliance with asbestos and mold abatement and other health and safety requirements in New York and California;
- successfully defending whistle-blower claims;
- counseling clients regarding reporting obligations following workplace injury/death;
- developing litigation strategy in toxic tort cases using regulatory history of chemical-specific standards (e.g., permissible exposure limits);
- advising clients on negotiating and complying with RMP requirements and Title V major source air permit provisions that incorporate PSM requirements;
- assisting clients in complying with OSHA recordkeeping and reporting obligations; and
- counseling clients within the high-tech industry on worker health issues related to workplace chemical exposure in light of OSHA requirements and potential toxic tort litigation.