DOL proposes clarification regarding workplace inspection representation
The Department of Labor has issued a notice of proposed rulemaking to revise regulations regarding who can be authorized by employees to act as their representative to accompany DOL’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration compliance officers during physical workplace inspections.
The proposed rule clarifies employees may authorize an employee or a nonemployee third party if the compliance officer determines the third party is reasonably necessary to conduct an effective inspection.
The proposed changes also clarify third-party representatives are not limited to industrial hygienists or safety engineers, which are two examples included in the existing regulation. Third-party representatives may be reasonably necessary because they have skills, knowledge or experience that may assist the compliance officer, including experience with particular hazards, workplace conditions or language skills that can improve communication between OSHA representatives and workers.
The proposed revisions do not change existing regulations that give OSHA compliance officers the authority to determine whether an individual is authorized by employees and prevent someone from participating in the inspection if his or her conduct interferes with an orderly inspection. OSHA took into account public comment about the criteria and degree of deference the agency should give to employees’ choice of representative when determining whether a third party can participate in an inspection.
The proposed rule is published in the Federal Register at federalregister.gov.
DOL sues roofing contractor with $360,531 in penalties
The Department of Labor has filed suit in federal court to force ECS Roofing Professionals Inc., Waukegan, Ill., to pay $360,531 in penalties for repeatedly exposing employees to elevated falls, according to a DOL press release. The company is not an NRCA member.
The suit follows an Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission decision made in March that affirmed the Occupational Safety and Health Administration citations after its investigation found Joshua Herion, operator of ECS Roofing Professionals, exposed employees to fall hazards at two job sites in Illinois and Wisconsin in October 2022.
OSHA determined the contractor did not provide employees with required fall-arrest systems, guard rails or safety nets as they installed siding and roofing materials in Hoffman Estates, Ill., and Waukesha, Wis.
OSHA issued citations and fined ECS Roofing Professionals $226,530 for the Illinois violations and $134,001 for the Wisconsin violations, but the company contested the citations and penalties with the commission. Although the commission’s decision affirmed the penalties in full, Herion has failed to pay the penalties, which led to the lawsuit. Since 2014, Herion and his company have been cited by OSHA nine times for violations related to fall protection.
OSHA addresses on-the-job violent act record keeping
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has released a standard interpretation letter addressing when employers are required to list on-the-job injuries and deaths caused by violent acts in their OSHA logs.
The letter responds to a request from Travis Vance, attorney with Fisher & Phillips LLC, Charlotte, N.C., who questioned whether a company must log an incident during which a worker was fatally shot while traveling between worksites.
OSHA responded the work relation of an incident is generally established by an assault occurring because the employee was in the location where he or she was attacked as a condition of his or her job. However, the letter also notes listing a work-related injury or fatality does not mean the employer was at fault.
“OSHA recognizes that injury and illness rates do not necessarily indicate an employer’s lack of interest in occupational safety and health,” the agency states in the letter.
To view OSHA’s letter regarding violent crime on the job, visit osha .gov/laws-regs/standardinterpretations/2023-05-17.