Attorneys Assisting with OSHA and Workplace Safety Issues
Businesses across the country want to run to the best of their abilities and to employ workers who remain safe and healthy on the job. Yet workplace safety issues can arise, and businesses can face citations and penalties from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Even when you feel certain that your business is in compliance with state and federal workplace safety laws, going through an inspection can still be a complicated and stressful process. If an employee does get hurt on the job, it is important to be prepared for the accident investigation and to understand your rights and obligations under the law.
At Whitcomb, Selinsky, PC, we have years of experience representing businesses in OSHA and workplace safety matters. Whether you simply want to avoid an OSHA violation and to ensure that your company is in compliance, or if you need help defending against citation enforcement or handling an accident investigation, one of the aggressive OSHA workplace safety lawyers
at our firm can speak with you today about your business’s needs. We also routinely assist clients with appeals in OSHA and workplace safety matters.
Types of OSHA and Workplace Safety Issues We Handle
- Inspection Preparation; Regulatory Training;
- Compliance Audits;
- Injury Reporting Audits and Compliance;
- Informal Conference Preparation and Representation;
- Citation Enforcement Defense—Negotiation and Litigation;
- Accident Investigations;
- Rulemaking Comment Assistance; and
Our firm also assists businesses with other workplace safety legal issues. Regardless of whether you think your legal issue or concern fits into one of the categories above, you should get in touch with the team at Whitcomb, Selinsky, PC to learn about how we can assist your business. We regularly help small business owners with a wide range of OSHA and other workplace safety law matters.
Preparing for an Inspection
If your business is going to undergo an OSHA compliance inspection, it is important to be prepared. You should know that OSHA inspectors can arrive at your business unannounced, and they are permitted to enter immediately at reasonable times during the workday. Indeed, OSHA rules and regulations allow a compliance inspector to enter your workplace during regular working hours and at some other times considered reasonable. Inspections can occur because of an employee complaint, a program inspection, and other reasons. You want to be certain that you are in compliance if you will soon be visited by an OSHA compliance inspector. The experienced lawyers at Whitcomb, Selinsky, PC can discuss a checklist you can put together to ensure compliance with safety regulations, recordkeeping requirements, and posting rules so that you are not cited for a violation.
Regulatory Training and Compliance
OSHA requires employers to conduct workplace safety training and to comply with OSHA rules and regulations concerning worker safety. An OSHA publication
clarifies that the following are examples of training requirements for most businesses and employers whenever relevant to a specific type of business:
- Emergency action plan procedures;
- Fire prevention plan procedures; Operating powered platforms for building maintenance;
- Using a personal fall arrest system;
- Reducing exposure to occupational noise;
- Handling flammable liquids;
- Using and handling explosive and blasting agents;
- Storing and handling liquefied petroleum gases and other potentially toxic or harmful substances; and
- Hazardous waste operation.
Different types of businesses are covered under different regulations, and it is important for employers to understand what types of training is required for employees. Employers need to be clear with employees, as well; if they are not properly trained to use a safety device, a type of material, a particular machine, or other items that require training for safety purposes, they cannot be required to do so until they have been properly trained. In addition to training, employers are required to comply with other types of OSHA rules and regulations.
Record keeping Requirements and Reporting Workplace Injuries
Employers are required to engage in various types of recordkeeping, including many types of workplace injuries. OSHA updated its recordkeeping rule
in 2015, which requires all employers to report any of the following:
- All work-related fatalities;
- All work-related inpatient hospitalizations of an employee (or more than one employee);
- All work-related amputations; and
- All work-related losses of an eye.
These reporting requirements are applicable even to certain employers who are otherwise exempt from particular OSHA requirements and other regulations. OSHA defines an amputation as “the traumatic loss of a limb or other external body part,” and it can include even a fingertip amputation. All work-related fatalities must be reported to OSHA within eight hours from the time that the employer learns about the fatality. Employers are also required to report any fatality that ultimately results from a workplace accident (even if it does not immediately lead to a worker’s death) within 30 days from the date of the initial incident that caused the worker’s injury. For work-related inpatient hospitalizations, amputations, or eye loss, the employer is required to report the injury within 24 hours from the time the employer learns about it.
Beyond reporting injuries within specific periods of time, OSHA also requires employers to maintain records for each worksite for a minimum of five years. From February through April of each year, employers are also required to post information for employees about the workplace injuries and illnesses that occurred during the previous year. If you have questions about recordkeeping rules, reporting requirements, and compliance, it is important to work with an OSHA workplace injury lawyer who can help to ensure that your business is in compliance.
Defending Against and Contesting OSHA Citations
Our attorneys at Whitcomb, Selinsky, PC can help you to contest an OSHA citation and to reduce OSHA fines. After an OSHA inspection, if you receive a citation, the compliance officer will need to provide you with information that clarifies the nature of the violation, abatement measures you may be able to take to correct the violation, how long you have to correct the condition, and penalties that can be assessed to you.
Employers who do not agree with citations have 15 working days from the date of receiving the citation to contest it. The process for contesting an OSHA citation often begins with an informal conference with the OSHA area director. If you decide to contest the citation, you can then file a Notice of Intent to Contest. Once you have filed the Notice, your case will enter the litigation process and the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission (OSHRC) will hear why you are contesting the citation. Then the case will be assigned to an administrative law judge. If you are not happy with the outcome after the hearing before the administrative law judge, you can then move into the appeals process.
For an appeal, an employer can request a review by the full OSHRC. If the employer still wants to appeal that decision by the full OSHRC, the employer may be able to appeal to the appropriate federal circuit court.
Legal Assistance During an OSHA Investigation
The OSHA team at Whitcomb, Selinsky, PC provides comprehensive counsel to a wide range of business across the United States.
Our team, led by a former Department of Labor Solicitor, counsels and represents clients grappling with enforcement matters arising from the regulatory agencies and proceedings filed under the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission (OSHRC). Federal, state, and even municipal regulatory compliance is often a confusing puzzle of complicated bureaucracy. Sorting out the regulations can be frustrating, but it is important to know what specific regulations apply to you and your employees. Being unprepared can open your business to risk in the event of an unannounced OSHA inspection, which can stretch on for days or even months. The team at Whitcomb, Selinsky, PC provides realistic compliance solutions and vigorous defense of OSHA enforcement actions.
What Our Firm Offers
Helping businesses and people complete their mission comes naturally for the lawyers at Whitcomb, Selinsky, PC. More than half of our attorneys and staff come from military backgrounds where balancing the mission and needs of people has been tantamount to success. We see our job as one of working alongside our clients and helping them to complete their personal or business mission as they have defined it. We stick to the principles of hard work, forever learning, and brutal honesty. We also keep an eye on value for every service we deliver. The founders, lawyers, and staff know that you work hard for your money, so when we charge for a service, we ensure that we have delivered value.
Contact an OSHA Workplace Safety Attorney for Assistance
If your business is facing any kind of OSHA or workplace safety issue, one of the dedicated lawyers at our firm can assist you. At Whitcomb, Selinsky, PC, we are committed to providing tailored representation to each of our clients, especially when they are dealing with the possibility of an OSHA compliance violence or workplace safety citation. We will work with your business and will do everything we can to ensure that your business operations can continue smoothly.
While OSHA safety inspections and allegations of safety violations can be stressful, with an aggressive OSHA business workplace safety attorney on your side, you can feel secure knowing that the advocates at our firm have experience handling cases just like yours. Contact Whitcomb, Selinsky, PC online
or reach out to our offices by phone at 866-476-4558 to learn more about the services we provide in Colorado, northern Virginia, and across the country.