Resources

  1. Why OSHA Jobsite Inspections Are Expected to Increase

    It’s something that many construction site managers dread: a visit from an Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) compliance officer. Even when their jobsites are in full compliance with federal law, construction managers are still apprehensive of OSHA inspections, and for good reason — OSHA compliance officers often arrive unannounced and wield the power to issue fines and stop-work orders. To further complicate matters, a new wave of OSHA compliance officers will soon be entering the field. 

    Below, we’ll be discussing why OSHA jobsite inspections are expected to increase in the near future. If you are faced with an impending OSHA inspection or are dealing with the repercussions of one, consult with an OSHA defense lawyer

    A New Wave of Inspectors 

    In an April statement made before the Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies, former Secretary of Labor, Alexander Acosta, stated that a blanket approval allowed OSHA to hire 76 new inspectors in 2018. Acosta went on to say that “OSHA has been hard at work to onboard and train new inspectors and expects to have a significant increase in inspectors in 2019.” Training these inspectors takes one to three years, meaning that these inspectors will soon be prepared to conduct inspections. Furthermore, the President’s 2020 budget request includes an increase in OSHA’s budget to cover additional personnel, including 30 additional compliance officers and five whistleblower investigators. 

    With an increase in staff size and budget, it’s clear that OSHA has no intention of slowing down. In fact, the number of inspections has been steadily rising with over 32,000 inspections conducted in both 2017 and 2018, exceeding the number of inspections in 2016. With OSHA fines as severe as ever, construction managers must be prepared when an OSHA inspector arrives on-site. 

    Know What to Do When Faced With an Inspection 

    While OSHA inspectors are known for conducting inspections without advance notice, it doesn’t mean that you can’t be prepared. First, as stipulated in the OSHA Fact Sheet, you are well within your rights to require compliance officers to obtain an inspection warrant before entering the jobsite. You can also take steps to ensure that an inspection goes smoothly by ensuring that any pertinent safety documents can be made available upon request. With the frequency of OSHA inspections increasing, construction companies can’t afford to ignore safety concerns until they are surprised by an OSHA compliance officer. Consult with an OSHA defense lawyer to ensure that you implement the necessary steps on your jobsite to both avoid and pass OSHA inspections. 

    If you would like to speak with an OSHA defense attorney, please contact us today.

    Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.

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  2. OSHA’s Renewed Emphasis on Falls in the Construction Industry

    The Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA’s) Regional Emphasis Programs are strategies that focus on mitigating hazards that pose a particular risk to industries within a given region. The United States is broken up into 10 regions. Region 4 includes Florida as well as Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee. While these programs address several different industries, we will be focusing on the one that is most relevant to the Florida construction industry: falls in construction. For any questions regarding fall prevention and OSHA compliance, consult a Florida OSHA lawyer

    Preventing Falls in Construction 

    Fall protection remains the most commonly cited OSHA violation. In Region 4, the Fall Regional Emphasis Program resulted in 2,343 inspections, 1,653 fall protection violations, and 893 scaffolding violations. Considering its current construction boom, Florida is a major contributor to these violations. 

    Program outreach is intended to inform employers on how to reduce or eliminate the hazards that are uniquely affecting their region. Outreach can be in the form of “informational mailings, training at local tradeshows, or speeches at meetings or labor organizations.” You may have already heard of OSHA’s emphasis on fall protection. However, this emphasis doesn’t apply to outreach alone. 

    An Emphasis on Inspections 

    The Fall Regional Emphasis Program also focuses on inspections and interventions. As stated in the OSHA Regional Notice, inspectors will be traveling and on the lookout for construction workers who are working at elevations that may be considered hazardous. In the event that an inspector sees such a worker, they will attempt to obtain authorization from the area office to begin the inspection/intervention, which is normally granted. However, the inspector can begin a limited inspection/intervention if the area office cannot be contacted. 

    Making Fall Protection a Priority

    With OSHA’s renewed focus on falls, construction companies must also make fall protection a priority. You can do this by implementing a fall protection plan that consists of proper training, rescue plans, fall arrest systems, and fall hazard identification. In addition to remaining OSHA compliant, you must always be prepared in the event that an inspector makes an unannounced visit to your jobsite. To ensure that you are doing everything you can to remain OSHA compliant and keep your workforce safe, consult a Florida OSHA lawyer

    If you would like to speak with a Florida OSHA defense lawyer, please contact us today.

    Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.

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  3. 3 Proactive Ways to Protect Your Jobsite Part 2

    No contractor ever wants to hear from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). If you receive a request from an OSHA inspector to visit your jobsite, or worse, you receive a citation, consult a Tennessee OSHA defense lawyer

    In this two-part article, the construction lawyers of Cotney Construction Law are discussing three proactive ways that contractors can mitigate safety risks before OSHA audits their workplace. In the first part, our Tennessee OSHA defense attorneys discussed the importance of a risk assessment. In this part, we will shift our focus to training initiatives and having a third-party audit performed. 

    2) Effective Communication and Safety Training

    We previously discussed performing a risk assessment before work commences on a project. Although it’s important to recognize safety hazards, this is a useless exercise if you don’t effectively communicate the present risks to everyone on the jobsite. Safety training and communicating risks are necessities in the construction industry. 

    Here are a few tips to bolster your safety training program: 

    • Consistency is Key: Safety training should be a methodical and ongoing process, not a one-time lesson. A consistent message and prompt updates are essential to a great safety plan. As the scope of work changes, the safety plan should also evolve.  
    • Endless Assessment: As workers gain more responsibilities, they need to understand how to apply safety practices to their new role. Similarly, if certain workers experience increased risk, they require additional training. 
    • All-Inclusive Training: The most effective plans allow workers to provide feedback and learn through hands-on training. It’s important to create an environment that promotes learning and communication on all levels. 

    The key to effective safety training is to keep your workers attentive and willing to learn new practices. Avoid antiquated practices like safety lectures and instead allow your workers to be integrated directly into the training methods. When safety training becomes an active and consistent part of your operations, it keeps workers fresh and excited to learn new things. 

    3) The Benefits of a Third-Party Audit

    Contractors need to proactively consider their options before an OSHA inspection. A great alternative to waiting for OSHA is to hire a third-party safety auditor. There are many benefits to hiring a Tennessee OSHA defense lawyer to assess the safety requirements of your jobsite, including:

    • Knowledgeable: A construction attorney understands the nuances of the industry and has experience auditing all kinds of jobsites. They can assess your site and provide specific recommendations to ensure OSHA compliance. 
    • Professional: A third-party audit allows an outside professional that isn’t closely familiar with the site to objectively assess the site’s safety. This can provide an accurate evaluation as this professional will not overlook any aspect of the jobsite.    
    • Lower the Risk: What’s the worst thing that can happen when you invest in a third-party audit from Cotney Construction Law? If a problem is discovered, you mitigate risks and improve safety practices. It’s better to have your site audited than to receive a citation.       

    If you would like to speak with a Tennessee OSHA defense lawyer, please contact us today.

    Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.

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  4. 3 Proactive Ways to Protect Your Jobsite Part 1

    If you want to avoid a visit from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), you need to be proactive. In this two-part article, an OSHA lawyer will give you a few straightforward tips to avoid costly citations. If you have recently experienced a penalty for a safety violation, consult the OSHA lawyers at Cotney Construction Law today. We offer construction firms aggressive defense against OSHA citations.

    1) Risk Assessments and the Safety of Your Site

    Before work commences on a project, there should always be a risk assessment in place. A risk assessment is the process of gathering information and determining the amount of risk present on a project. The point of a risk assessment is to reduce risk, improve safety, and achieve project goals. 

    As the American Society of Safety Professionals states, when performing a risk assessment, a project manager needs to identify both “tangible and intangible sources of risk.” There are three stages of a risk assessment:

    • Phase One: Hazard identification is the first and most crucial stage of a risk assessment. It’s best for contractors to have a checklist available to help identify hazards. Potential risks can be everything from physical hazards to chemical exposure or the surrounding environment.  
    • Phase Two: After you discover risks, the next step is to determine the severity of each hazard and decide what risks need to be addressed first. The process of prioritizing action to mitigate risks is referred to as a risk analysis. From here, the contractor can determine the best course of action to take and proceed accordingly.  
    • Phase Three: After the necessary corrections have been made to the site, it’s important to review the results of the assessment. A risk evaluation is often an overlooked phase of an assessment. It’s important to analyze results and determine what additional controls need to be put in place to ensure jobsite safety in the future.     

    Although a risk assessment is a vital part of reducing safety risks on a jobsite, it’s also important to effectively communicate the risks present on the jobsite. If you are interested in learning about effective on-the-job safety training and communication, read part two

    If you would like to speak with an OSHA lawyer, please contact us today.

    Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.

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  5. OSHA in Texas: Misconceptions

    In the State of Texas, contractors must be diligent when following the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA’s) rules and regulations. Texas is one of twenty-four states under federal OSHA jurisdiction. This means that the majority of private sector workers are required to observe the federal rules and regulations established in the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970. As a contractor, it’s imperative that you follow these rules to a T, otherwise you risk exposing yourself to costly OSHA citations, stop-work orders, and more.

    In this article, our Texas OSHA defense attorneys will break down some misconceptions about OSHA rules in the Lone Star State. Although it’s up to you to maintain a safe workplace that is clear of recognized hazards, the behavior and actions of your workforce are also your responsibility. You don’t have room to be lenient with workers that put themselves in peril. One honest mistake could lead to a project in limbo.

    Does OSHA Apply to the Government?

    This is a complex question. Although it may seem logical for OSHA’s rules and regulations to apply to those employed by the federal government, Texas state government, or any related agencies, it’s mainly aimed at workers in the private sector. OSHA covers the majority of private sector workers and employers in all fifty states, the District of Columbia, and various jurisdictions. If a state doesn’t have an OSHA-approved state plan, they must follow OSHA’s federal plan. Self-employed workers are not covered under the OSH Act.

    State and local government workers aren’t covered by OSHA, but they do have certain OSH Act protections if their state is operating under an approved state plan. Federal government workers are protected by OSHA, but government agencies can’t be fined. They can, however, be audited to improve workplace safety. That said, federal workers must have protections on par with private sector employees. What does this mean for contractors working on public projects? Put simply, you aren’t technically a government employee so you need to ensure that you’re compliant with all OSHA rules and regulations. If that seems like a lot to handle, consider sitting down with some experienced Texas OSHA defense lawyers to formulate a plan.

    Is OSHA Too Complex to Understand?

    While OSHA’s rules and regulations are comprehensive and diverse, they aren’t complicated to the point of being indecipherable. Truly, the greatest detriment against OSHA’s rules is the fact that they are so robust that most contractors will be hard-pressed to commit them all to memory. Trying to rewire your brain to remember every OSHA regulation is a fruitless pursuit when a partnership with our Texas OSHA defense lawyers will suffice. Let a lawyer handle the mental legwork, so you can focus on completing your projects on time. 

    If you would like to speak with one of our Texas OSHA defense lawyers, please contact us today.

    Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.

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  6. How OSHA is Trying to Reduce the Burden on Employers

    Florida OSHA Defense Lawyer Construction Workers
    The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is instituting a handful of new rules that take effect on July 15, 2019. The overarching goal of these updates is to streamline processes, decrease paperwork, and preserve funds. The final rule will lead to fourteen standards revisions related to record keeping, construction, and more. OSHA believes that companies in the United States will save up to $6.1 million annually as a result. In this article, a Florida OSHA defense lawyer will discuss these upcoming changes and explain how they will reduce the burden on employers. For all of your OSHA defense needs, consult a Florida OSHA defense lawyer.

    Compliance Made Easy

    It might feel like OSHA is constantly lurking in the shadows, waiting to lash out against employers who fail to maintain absolute compliance, but their real motivations are much less sinister. OSHA wants all contractors to facilitate a safe project site. The citations and penalties incurred along the way are meant to improve safety. While OSHA is concerned with maintaining workplace safety nationwide, they’re also looking for ways to streamline compliance and lessen the burden on contractors.

    Changes Pending

    This notion is best illustrated by OSHA’s recent move to scrap some proposed changes to its current lockout/tagout standards. Since the proposed changes had a high chance of increasing the burden on employers, the agency decided to hold off. Instead of reinventing the wheel and throwing employers into a frenzy, OSHA has decided to implement a series of distinct rules regarding lockout/tagout. OSHA is even encouraging employers to speak out to let them know if proposed rules are going to do more harm than good. OSHA must take a balanced approach. When new rules are too stringent, it throws off our industries and creates other problems. When new rules are too lax, it leads to more injuries and potential fatalities. 

    Overview

    Not all of OSHA’s rule changes apply to the construction industry. For example, redacting feral cats from the definition of vermin isn’t going to have any serious repercussions for contractors. However, contractors should be aware of the following:

    • Employers must now post latitude and longitude data (or other location-identification information) on project sites with poor cell service.
    • The minimum breaking strength for lifelines has been reduced from 5,400 pounds to 5,000 pounds.
    • To preserve privacy, employers are no longer required to include their workers’ Social Security numbers on certain forms.

    If you would like to speak with a Florida OSHA lawyer, please contact us today.

    Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.

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  7. Crane Accidents and OSHA’s Response Part 2

    In response to the potentially fatal hazards that cranes present to construction crews, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has implemented rules and regulations regarding crane operation. In part one of this two-part series, we discussed the loss of life that results from crane accidents. Below, an OSHA lawyer will be discussing the certification requirements for crane operators and OSHA’s final rule regarding cranes and derricks in construction. Remember, these rules apply to employers and employees alike. Failure to abide by them could result in an inspection and fine from OSHA. 

    OSHA’s Final Rule

    Published on August 9, 2010, OSHA’s final rule was implemented to raise the standards of crane safety, which had not been replaced for decades. This new standard was designed to address and mitigate OSHA’s fatal four hazards: falls, struck by an object, electrocutions, and caught in/between. 

    At a whopping 273 pages, it would be impossible to go over the entirety of the final rule in this series. Consult with one of our OSHA lawyers for the specifics. What follows are the main requirements:

    • A pre-erection of tower crane parts 
    • Use of synthetic slings in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions 
    • Assessment of ground conditions
    • Procedures for working near power lines 

    Licensing Requirements for Crane Operators 

    In addition to the above provisions, employers are required to comply with local and state operator licensing requirements as stipulated in § 1926.1427. Under this provision, crane operators must be “trained, certified/licensed, and evaluated” before operating a crane. Whether an operator must be certified under the state, county, or city licensing program depends on if the state or local licensing criteria meets the minimum federal requirements. Consult with an OSHA lawyer for help determining which licensing program is right for you. 

    OSHA’s Severe Penalties  

    If a crane is being operated on your jobsite by an uncertified worker, it could result in severe penalties. A single violation can result in a penalty of $13,260. Willful and repeat violations can result in fines of up to $132,598 per violation. If a crane is being operated unlawfully on your jobsite, consult with an OSHA lawyer immediately. Doing so could not only prevent a severe penalty but also ensure the safety of your workforce. 

    If you would like to speak with one of our OSHA lawyers, please contact us today.

    Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.

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  8. Crane Accidents and OSHA’s Response Part 1

    OSHA Defense Attorney Crane
    Cranes are essential for completing construction-related tasks that would otherwise be impossible. However, these massive machines pose a significant hazard to operators, construction workers, and the general population. 

    In this two-part series, we will be discussing common crane accidents and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulations implemented to mitigate crane-related injuries. If you are ever concerned with providing your workers with a safe work environment or remaining compliant with OSHA standards, consult with an OSHA defense attorney

    Fatal Crane Injuries

    According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were 220 crane-related deaths from 2011 to 2015 in the United States, 42 percent being in the private construction industry. Over half of these fatal injuries occurred when a worker was struck by an object, and 69 deaths occurred when a worker was struck by a falling object. The crane operator is the fatally injured worker in 22 percent of these cases. For this reason, crane operators must undergo additional training, as we’ll discuss in part two

    The Major Causes of Crane Accidents 

    The major causes of crane accidents involve the following: 

    • Struck by an object/equipment
    • Transportation incidents
    • Falls to a lower level 
    • Contact with energized power lines
    • Lifting device failure
    • Dropped loads
    • Boom collapse 
    • Crushed by the counterweight
    • Outrigger failure
    • Rigging failure

    Preventing Accidents

    Many fatal crane accidents are freak accidents, but many more can be mitigated by preventative measures. Ensuring that loads are within limits, properly secured, and as close to the crane and ground as is reasonably safe could mean the difference between life and death on your jobsite. Always ensure that your workers wear a personal fall arrest system when needed, are aware of risks, and are a safe distance away from a crane in use. 

    In part two, we will be discussing OSHA’s response to the grim statistics above which includes a final rule and recently imposed licensing requirements for crane operators. Failure to abide by these rules could result in a fatal injury on your jobsite and an OSHA inspection. For aid with lawfully preventing crane accidents on your jobsite, consult with an OSHA defense attorney

    If you would like to speak with an OSHA defense lawyer, please contact us today.

    Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.

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  9. What to Focus on During National Safety Month Part 2

    Although construction firms realize that they must commit themselves year round to the most effective safety measures, June is especially important as it is recognized as National Safety Month. In this two-part article, a Florida OSHA lawyer is discussing several safety topics related to the National Safety Council’s (NSC) National Safety Month. As we previously discussed in part one, there are several ways that employers can share valuable safety tips with their employees. In this part, we will discuss this year’s selected topics to focus on this June.

    Week 1: Hazard Recognition

    The first week of National Safety Month will focus on hazard recognition. One of the first tasks companies must take on when they enter the jobsite is to identify hazards. Moreover, new hazards will form as the project progresses. Contractors must understand the risk assessment process to identify and mitigate these issues. Furthermore, employees must be trained on how to spot hazards and take a proactive approach to developing a solution to these issues. As potential hazards can take many forms, it’s critical that construction firms and their employees understand these threats and how to reduce the likelihood of a hazard impacting their workplace.   

    Week 2: Slips, Trips, and Falls

    It should come as no surprise that the second week of National Safety Month 2019 is focused on slips, trips, and falls. Every construction firm should be aware that falling deaths remain the most common form of workplace fatality. Falls are especially concerning for construction and roofing industry professionals. Whether these incidents occur because of a complacent workplace, overlooked hazards, failure to wear the right safety equipment, or a variety of other factors, the end result is that slips, trips, and falls remain a paramount concern and sites need to do their best to prevent these accidents.  

    Week 3: Fatigue

    Construction work is challenging and can cause workers to suffer from extreme fatigue. An overly exerted worker is more prone to both a long-term injury or a short-term mistake resulting in a serious accident. Extreme physical exhaustion can also affect workers mentally and emotionally. There are many ways jobsites can reduce fatigue by providing workers with more breaks and implementing techniques that reduce strain on the body, such as stretching exercises. There are also many effective ways workers can reduce fatigue outside the workplace, including adopting a better diet, committing to an exercise regimen, and getting the doctor-recommended amount of sleep.  

    Week 4: Impairment

    With the Opioid Crisis’ immense impact on the construction industry, workplace safety and impairment has evolved from just the abuse of illegal drugs and alcohol to prescribed opioids among other concerning issues. Other important topics in 2019 include the legalization of marijuana in many states and whether or not construction companies should adopt a zero-tolerance policy in regard to any form of drug use.

    Although June may be National Safety Month, contractors know that every month in construction is equally important in regard to safety and health concerns. If your jobsite needs assistance with safety laws and regulations, consult a Florida OSHA lawyer.  

    If you would like to speak with a Florida OSHA defense lawyer, please contact us today.

    Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.

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  10. What to Focus on During National Safety Month Part 1

    OSHA Lawyer Smiling
    Although safety is always an immediate concern on the jobsite, contractors and construction firms should commit even more time to promoting safety in the workplace during the month of June, which doubles as National Safety Month. In this two-part article, OSHA lawyers will discuss a variety of safety topics related to National Safety Month 2019.

    Observing National Safety Month

    The National Safety Council (NSC) is committed to safety. As it states on the organization’s website, “The National Safety Council eliminates preventable deaths at work, in homes and communities, and on the road through leadership, research, education and advocacy.” NCS wants employers to get the word out this June through several training and education initiatives focused on reducing injuries and fatalities in the workplace.

    For a full list of ways you can “share the safety message in June,” please visit the National Safety Month section of NSC.org. Some tips for employers to engage with employees includes:

    • Share Safety Resources: Whether it’s downloading free safety materials from NSC or from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), contractors should always have plenty of available resources on hand to offer employees access to educational and training materials. The more your employees are educated, the less of a chance a serious accident occurs at your jobsite.
    • Create a Thought Leadership Channel: Many employers will share a newsletter, blog, or social media posts as a way to spread the word related to valuable safety information. Another creative way to promote a safe workplace is to host trivia contests rewarding employees that have done their homework. There are a variety of creative ways you can promote safety in the workplace aside from just dishing out safety manuals.   
    • Risk Assessment and Hazard Identification: Contractors need to make safety practices second nature to their workforce. Along with offering on-the-job training, construction firms should also make identifying hazards an ongoing activity for all of their projects. As we will discuss more in this article, this is a vital topic related to workplace safety.

    The Four Weeks of National Safety Month

    National Safety Month focuses on an important safety topic each week. In 2019, NSC is committed to covering the following topics on a weekly basis:

    • Week 1: Hazard Recognition
    • Week 2: Slips, Trips, and Falls
    • Week 3: Fatigue
    • Week 4: Impairment

    For more information on each of these topics, please read part two.

    If you would like to speak with an OSHA lawyer, please contact us today.

    Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.

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  11. Working Around Downed Power Lines Part 2

    Texas OSHA Defense Attorney Downed Power Line
    In part one of this two-part article, the Texas OSHA defense attorneys at Cotney Construction Law expressed the importance of educating your workforce about the dangers of working around downed power lines. Downed power lines represent a dangerous and oftentimes unpredictable hazard that must be approached with caution. By arming your workers with the necessary knowledge, they can avoid falling victim to an electric shock or electrocution, and you can avoid a visit from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). As we discussed, energy flows in surprising ways, so even the smallest degree of negligence could lead to a severe injury.

    What Is Backfeed?

    Backfeed occurs when power flows counter to its normal flow or when voltage remains on a conductor or connected equipment even after being disconnected from its power source. This frequently occurs when portable generators are improperly connected to a structure’s electrical system. There’s a good chance that many of your workers have never heard of this term before, as it more commonly presents a hazard for electrical contractors. That said, backfeed is a very real danger for construction professionals who are working around downed power lines or other damaged electrical devices. Basically, when backfeed occurs, electricity flows both inside and outside a structure. Other common sources of backfeed are circuit ties or switch points, lightning, and downstream events. By abiding by the correct lockout/tagout procedures, your workers can avoid connecting more than one electrical source to the same circuit.

    OSHA’s “Rules to Live By”

    OSHA has published a list of ways workers can avoid coming into contact with downed power lines. Your workers should be familiar with these tips, which include:

    • When working in close proximity to a downed power line, never assume that it is safe, even when there appears to be no source of energy.
    • Always assume that a downed power line is lethal, regardless of whether or not you think it is a harmless telephone, television, or fiber-optic cable.
    • If you spot anything electrical, act as though it is energized to avoid any incidental injuries.
    • Stay away from downed power lines.
    • Be wary of the fact that electricity has a tendency to spread outward in a circular formation once contact has been made. As you move away from the point of contact, varying levels of voltage can be created.
    • Do not drive over downed power lines.
    • If you are driving a vehicle that makes contact with a downed power line that is energized, stay in the vehicle unless there is a fire and call for help.
    • If you are forced to leave a vehicle that caught fire after coming in contact with a downed power line, try to jump away from the vehicle so that you do not make contact with the vehicle and the ground at the same time. Once you land, shuffle away to avoid electrical shock.

    If you would like to speak with one of our Texas OSHA defense lawyers, please contact us today.

    Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.

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  12. Working Around Downed Power Lines Part 1

    OSHA Defense Attorney Downed Power Lines
    Construction professionals may find themselves working around downed power lines for a number of reasons, so it’s vital that contractors are familiar with the ideal protocols for preventing electrical hazards. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recognizes that electricity is one of the top workplace hazards with the potential to severely or fatally injure workers. Downed power lines can lead to electric shock, electrocution, fires, and even explosions. In this two-part article, an OSHA defense attorney will explain everything you and your workers should know about performing construction-related tasks around downed power lines.

    Always Make Safety Your #1 Concern

    Whenever you enter a project site, it’s important to inspect for any signs of electrical hazards, especially downed power lines. Advise your workers to approach all electrical equipment, lines, and conductors with the expectation that they are fully energized and dangerous. Additionally, your workforce should be instructed to touch base with the relevant utility personnel if they identify downed wires or other types of damaged electrical equipment. There’s no guaranteeing that a circuit has been switched off just because a power line has fallen down, since reloaders are designed to automatically reset and reactivate circuits when the flow of power is interrupted. If a downed electric line isn’t sparking or humming, that doesn’t mean it’s not active. By simply touching a downed power line or even the adjacent ground, a worker could be electrocuted.

    Be Wary of the Way Energy Flows

    When a damaged power line falls to the ground, the energy produced from the line can spread to nearby conductive objects like fences, water pipes, bushes, trees, buildings, and telecommunication cables. This presents a significant hazard to workers on project sites that contain downed power lines. It’s even been reported that manhole castings and reinforcement bars in pavement have become energized. This hazard is especially prevalent in the aftermath of a severe storm. Thunderstorms and hurricanes often catalyze the destruction of power lines, so whenever you’re contracted for post-disaster relief projects, it’s vital that your team is armed with the knowledge to maintain their safety. The strong winds associated with these storms can lead to canopies, aluminum roofs, siding, and even sheds being energized.

    In part two of this two-part series, we will continue to discuss what all construction professionals should know about working around downed power lines in order to avoid a citation from OSHA.

    If you would like to speak with an OSHA defense lawyer, please contact us today.

    Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.

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  13. Soil Classification and Testing in Construction Excavation

    In the United States, more than 800 construction workers die while working on the project site every year. Of this number, 40 workers die in accidents related to trenching. Trenching accidents are extremely dangerous. Workers can suffer death or serious injury in mere minutes if caught in a trenching cave in.

    As a contractor, it’s your responsibility to facilitate a safe project site for your workers and supply them with the necessary personal protective equipment (PPE) to protect themselves from potential hazards. Failing to comply with Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulations pertaining to trenching and excavating (29 CFR 1926.650, Subpart P) could result in severe penalties.

    In this article, a Florida OSHA lawyer will discuss some related topics that are often overlooked, including soil classification and testing in construction excavation. Remember, for assistance with OSHA defense or citation prevention, consult a Florida OSHA defense lawyer with years of experience representing the construction industry.

    Types of Soil

    Soil can either be cohesive or granular. Cohesive soil contains fine particles and enough clay to stick to itself. More cohesive soil contains more clay, and has a reduced chance of cave in as compared to granular soil. Granular soil is more akin to sand or gravel, and has coarse particles that are significantly less cohesive. When excavating in granular soil, additional safety precautions must be utilized to prevent a cave in.

    OSHA uses a measurement referred to as “unconfined compressive strength” to classify soil into one of three categories: A, B, or C. Measuring unconfined compressive strength, which is reported in units of tons per square foot, informs us of the amount of pressure that will cause soil to collapse.

    Type A Soil: The most stable and cohesive soil with an unconfined compressive strength of 1.5 tons per square foot or greater. Type A soils generally include clay, silty clay, sandy clay, and clay loam. Type A soil never includes soil that is fissured, previously disturbed, has water seeping through it, or is subject to vibrations from heavy machinery or local traffic.

    Type B Soil: Less stable but still cohesive, Type B soil doesn’t stick to itself quite like Type A soil and possesses an unconfined compressive strength of .5 to 1.5 tons per square foot. Examples of Type B soil include angular gravel, silt, silt loam, and soils that are fissured or near sources of vibration that would otherwise be classified as Type A.

    Type C Soil: The least stable type of soil, Type C soil is granular and has an unconfined compressive strength of .5 tons per square foot or less. Examples of Type C soil include gravel and sand. Due to a lack of stability, any soil with water seeping through it is automatically classified as Type C regardless of its other characteristics.

    Preliminary Testing

    It’s important that a contractor or other competent person performs a visual test upon breaking ground to help determine factors that could compromise the strength of the soil on the project site. You should be seeking answers to questions such as:

    • Is the soil clumpy or granular?
    • Are there sources of heavy vibrations near the excavation site?
    • Are there signs of previously disturbed soil, such as from utility lines?
    • Are there signs of water seeping through the soil?
    • Is the soil fissured or otherwise showing crack-like openings or chunks of soil crumbling off the side of a vertical excavation wall?

    Choosing a Sample

    When choosing a soil sample, be sure to collect a sample that is indicative of all the soil in the excavation area. As you dig deeper and deeper, continue to take new samples. Always remember that a trench can be cut through multiple types of soil, so it’s imperative that you understand the soil profile of your entire excavation. Failure to account for the different compressive strengths of these layers could result in a trench collapse. If this happens, consult an OSHA lawyer.

    OSHA recommends taking a large clump from a freshly excavated pile that hasn’t been compacted as opposed to taking a sample from the excavation wall. Once you have your sample, test it immediately to avoid an error. When soil dries up, test results can change. There are three types of soil tests: the plasticity test, thumb penetration test, and pocket penetrometer test.

    Plasticity Test

    The plasticity test, or pencil test, is used to determine if the soil on your excavation site is cohesive. This test is performed by rolling a moist soil sample into a small piece one-eighth of an inch thick and two inches long. Then, hold the piece on one end and see if it breaks. If you can hold the rolled sample on one end without it breaking, it is cohesive. If it breaks, it is not cohesive and is, therefore, classified as Type C soil.

    Thumb Penetration Test

    This test is used to quickly estimate the compressive strength of a cohesive soil sample. To perform this test, you simply push your thumb into a fresh sample of soil. If…

    • Your thumb only makes an indentation with great effort, it is Type A soil.
    • Your thumb sinks into the soil up to the end of your thumbnail, it is Type B soil.
    • Your thumb goes all the way in, it is Type C soil.

    If you are unsure whether a sample qualifies as Type A, B, or C, collect a new sample, utilize a different testing method, or consult another competent construction worker on the excavation site to obtain a more accurate result.

    Pocket Penetrometer Test

    The first two testing methods we mentioned do not require any numerical data to verify the type of soil present at the excavation site, nor do they require the use of tools. By contrast, the pocket penetrometer test requires the use of a tool that works like a tire pressure gauge to give a numerical reading that can identify cohesive and noncohesive soil samples. This numerical data is valuable, as it could be used as evidence if a trench collapses unexpectedly. For more information about protecting yourself in the instance of a trench collapse, consult one of our OSHA lawyers.

    The pocket penetrometer has a thin metal piston that pushes into the soil sample and measures its compressive strength. When you start, make sure the scale indicator is inserted into the body of the pocket penetrometer until only the zero mark is visible. Push the device into the sample until it reaches the engraved line, then take the reading. Be sure to run this test on multiple samples to ensure that your results are consistent. Soil that contains rocks or pebbles may not compress, compromising your results.

    Avoid an OSHA Citation

    Arming yourself with knowledge is one way to adopt better practices and potentially prevent an OSHA citation, but partnering with an experienced OSHA defense attorney can give you access to a full suite of services, including defense in active cases. Keep in mind that workers in trenches and excavations have limited options for protecting themselves in the event of a collapse. One cubic yard of soil can weigh as much as a car, or roughly 3,000 pounds. When your workers are digging a trench, it’s vital that they understand the type of soil they are working with so they can apply the proper techniques to properly slope, bench, or shore the trench.

    If you would like to speak with an OSHA defense lawyer, please contact us today.

    Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.

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  14. OSHA Regulations on Scaffolding Safety

    Tennessee OSHA Defense Attorney Scaffold
    According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), 65 percent of the construction industry works on scaffolds, and preventing scaffold-related accidents could prevent as many as 60 deaths a year. In this brief article, Tennessee OSHA defense attorneys will detail the training and safety procedures that can be implemented to help prevent construction workers from being injured while working on scaffolds. Failure to abide by OSHA’s regulations could result in a preventable injury on the jobsite and subsequent OSHA investigation.  

    OSHA Capacity Requirements

    All scaffolds must be able to support their own weight and, at a minimum, four times the maximum intended load without failure. While scaffolds must be capable of carrying this maximum, they must never “be loaded in excess of their maximum intended loads or rated capacities, whichever is less.”

    Training

    By OSHA standards, a competent person must train employees and inspect scaffolds and scaffolding components, among other tasks. OSHA defines a competent person as someone who is capable of identifying hazards and potential hazards and is authorized to take measures to remove them. When inspecting, this competent person must follow proper procedures when tagging a scaffold.

    All employees must be properly trained to recognize and avoid scaffolds if they are damaged, slippery, or missing components, such as planks or guardrails. Employees must also never rock the scaffold, use the scaffold during inclement weather, lean over the guardrails, or move the scaffold while another person is using it.

    Fall Protection  

    All employees 10 feet off the ground must be protected by either a guardrail or a fall arrest system. Employees on a single-point and two-point adjustable suspended scaffold must be protected by both. Falling objects, such as tools, debris, and phones, also pose a serious threat on construction sites with scaffolds. For this reason, measures must be taken to ensure that scaffolds are clean and clutter free. Additional prevention systems that can be implemented are toeboards, screens, debris nets, catch platforms, canopy structures, and barricades. Obviously, construction workers must not chuck anything from the scaffold.  

    Consult an Attorney

    The above only scratches the surface of OSHA’s regulations regarding scaffolding. As a contractor, it is your duty to protect your workers and provide them with a jobsite that is free of hazards that can lead to serious injury or death. If your construction workers are working on or around scaffolding, consult with a Tennessee OSHA defense lawyer to ensure that your rights are protected.

    If you would like to speak with a Tennessee OSHA defense lawyer, please contact us today.

    Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.

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  15. Ergonomics and Musculoskeletal Disorders

    Florida OSHA Lawyer With MSD
    Workers in the construction industry are at risk of succumbing to musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs), which affect the muscles, nerves, blood vessels, ligaments, and tendons. MSDs are commonly associated with actions like heavy lifting, bending, reaching overhead, pushing and pulling hefty loads, performing tasks in awkward or unnatural positions, and repeating the same motion over and over again. Since these actions occur regularly on the construction site and greatly increase an employee’s risk of injury, contractors should be aware of the various measures for preventing work-related MSDs.

    In this article, a Florida OSHA lawyer will discuss one of the best ways to prevent MSDs from affecting your workers: ergonomics. Ergonomics requires contractors to pair jobs with those best suited to complete them, thereby reducing muscle fatigue, increasing productivity, and mitigating the frequency of work-related injuries.

    Examples of Musculoskeletal Disorders

    Some of the most common examples of MSDs include:

    • Carpal tunnel syndrome
    • Epicondylitis
    • Lower back injuries
    • Muscle strains
    • Rotator cuff injuries
    • Tendinitis
    • Trigger finger

    MSDs in the workplace can lead to a loss of efficiency and wasted work time. Employees who attempt to work through these injuries typically exacerbate the issue or fail to complete their tasks at a satisfactory level, contributing to missed timelines and increasing the probability of an OSHA violation.

    Tips for Protecting Workers

    Contractors are responsible for maintaining safe project sites. This includes identifying and eliminating workplace hazards, but it also includes managing physical overexertion by promoting ergonomic principles. Some examples of how contractors can implement ergonomic processes into their project sites include:

    • Encouraging management to support ergonomic processes.
    • Involving workers in project site assessments.
    • Consulting workers about the best practices for fighting against MSDs.
    • Encouraging an open-door policy for reporting potential ergonomic issues.
    • Providing training in industry best practices for preventing MSDs.
    • Identifying problems early on before they blossom into MSD-related injuries.
    • Insisting that workers report any MSD symptoms as soon as they arise.
    • Implementing hazard control solutions.
    • Evaluating the progress of preventative MSD measures.

    Remember, these principles should be impressed upon workers regularly, not on a case-by-case basis. Due to the severity and frequency of MSD-related injuries, it’s vital that workers are informed of the industry best practices for mitigating this dangerous condition.

    If you would like to speak with a Florida OSHA defense lawyer, please contact us today.

    Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.

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  16. A Guide to Safely Working in Winter Weather Part 3

    In our efforts to outline safe work practices in winter weather, we have saved one of the most important aspects of winter safety for last. Cold conditions make driving dangerous for construction workers when they are both behind the wheel and in the path of traffic. In parts one and two of this series, we discussed the general dangers and precautions that should be considered with winter weather.

    Now, a Texas OSHA defense attorney will discuss how employers can ensure that their construction workers are being kept safe in and around vehicles during precarious winter conditions. Remember, although the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has no formal rules regarding winter weather, you could still be cited for failing to provide your workers with safe working conditions.

    When Driving in Icy Conditions…

    It’s not enough for your construction workers to simply have their driver’s licenses. All of your workers that are operating trucks and other vehicles should be aware of the hazards that come with driving in winter conditions. If they aren’t trained to drive on snow and ice covered roads, they don’t belong behind the wheel. Even an experienced driver can veer off course when their tires lose traction on a snow covered road. For this reason, any vehicle operating in winter conditions should be properly inspected. Extra care should be taken when inspecting the defrosters, lights, wipers, brakes, and tires.

    Traffic Safety in Winter Weather

    Struck-by hazards are a part of OSHA’s “Fatal Four.” These are the most prevalent and dangerous hazards on a construction site. We must do everything we can to curb the loss of life that results from them. The risk of death is only magnified when construction workers have to work near roadways, especially in Texas where residents aren’t accustomed to icy roads. It’s all too easy for a driver in these conditions to lose control of their vehicle or simply not see a worker in their path. Because falling snow can compromise visibility, your construction crew should be wearing high visibility vests at all times. The work zone should also be properly marked off with signs, cones, barrels, and barriers.

    Partner with an Attorney

    Failure to abide by the steps laid out in this series could result in severe injury or death on a construction site. You can’t control the weather, but you can control how you approach protecting your employees. If for any reason you are concerned with an OSHA investigation, please consult with our Texas OSHA attorneys to ensure that your rights are protected and fought for.

    If you would like to speak with a Texas OSHA defense attorney, please contact us today.

    Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.

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  17. A Guide to Safely Working in Winter Weather Part 2

    A steep drop in temperature can cause severe problems for any construction crew. Work may be stalled as equipment succumbs to the frigid elements, but what about the laborers that have to work in these conditions? An employer that doesn’t keep their crew safe during cold weather may be subject to an inspection and costly fine from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). As we continue this three-part series, an OSHA lawyer will be discussing the ways that you can prepare your construction workers for winter weather.

    Protective Clothing

    There is no one simple thing that construction crews can do to protect themselves from winter weather. It will take a mix of training and safety equipment to ensure that workers are prepared. OSHA recommends three layers of clothing to insulate against the cold. They also recommend a hat, knit mask, gloves, and boots. All of these items should be water resistant to prevent cold stress.

    Safe Work Practices

    The time workers spend in extremely cold weather should be as limited as possible. Therefore, employers should always be up-to-date on the weather so that work days can be adjusted accordingly. If there is flexibility with a project schedule, try scheduling certain outdoor tasks for warmer parts of the day or warmer months even. Relief workers could also be used to ensure that no one is exposed for too long. Finally, always have a plan in place in the event of a severe weather warning, such as a blizzard.

    Consult a Professional

    There is an important distinction that must be made between OSHA requirements and OSHA recommendations. OSHA does not specifically require that an employer provide winter clothing. However, an employer is required to protect their employees from dangerous work hazards, including extreme weather, that could cause death or serious injury. This can make OSHA compliance seem like a hazy endeavor, which is why it’s in your best interest to consult with our OSHA lawyers to discern where your responsibilities lie in properly protecting your employees.

    Please read part three for our conclusion on keeping construction workers safe in winter conditions. You can also read part one to catch up on the severe threats that winter weather can bring.

    If you would like to speak with an experienced OSHA lawyer, please contact us today.

    Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.

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  18. A Guide to Safely Working in Winter Weather Part 1

    OSHA Defense Lawyer Work Site
    The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) maintains that employees are entitled to a safe and hazard-free working environment. While many hazards can be completely eliminated, there are times when construction firms have to contend with unpredictable natural elements. Winter weather brings with it dangerous working conditions that can lead to severe injury and even death.

    In this three-part article, an OSHA defense lawyer will be discussing the many dangers that frigid weather presents and the precautions that you can take to provide employees with a safe work environment year round.

    The Dangers of Cold Stress

    As described by OSHA, cold stress is a cold-related illness or injury that causes permanent tissue damage and can lead to death. Risk factors such as wet or improper clothing and poor health conditions can lead to cold stress. Examples of cold stress include immersion, frostbite, and hypothermia.

    • Immersion/Trench Foot: A foot injury that occurs when feet are exposed to cold and wet conditions for a prolonged period of time. Feet are particularly vulnerable to temperature loss, and this condition can occur in temperatures as high as 60 degrees. Symptoms include pain, swelling, blisters, cramps, numbness, and reddened skin.
    • Frostbite: The freezing of skin and tissue on certain parts of the body. In severe cases, this can lead to amputation. Frostbite causes blisters, reddened skin, and grey and white patches in the extremities, nose, and ears.
    • Hypothermia: An abnormally low body temperature. This condition can occur in even mild temperatures if a person becomes chilled, resulting in uncontrollable shivering. More severe symptoms are unconsciousness and death.

    Emergency services should be called immediately if a worker falls prey to one of the above conditions. You should attempt to warm the victim while medical attention is in transit; however, do not attempt to rub or reheat frostbitten areas. Doing so could lead to permanent skin and tissue damage.

    While OSHA doesn’t have specific regulations for cold weather working conditions, it is still an employers responsibility to ensure that their workers are kept safe. Failure to do so could lead to an OSHA inspection and a potentially hefty fine. To ensure that you remain OSHA compliant, please consult with an OSHA defense attorney.

    If you’d like to read more about staying safe in winter conditions, please join us for parts two and three, where we will be discussing additional cold weather hazards and ways to prepare for them.  

    If you would like to speak with an OSHA defense lawyer, please contact us today.

    Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.

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  19. Why Is Substance Abuse Plaguing the Construction Industry?

    Florida OSHA Lawyer Substance Abuse
    Construction is one of the most physically demanding industries that a person can work in. The long hours and back-breaking work can easily lead to injuries in the workplace. However, there is another serious concern that is afflicting the construction industry.

    The U.S. is currently in the midst of a drug epidemic with an estimated 72,000 deaths related to overdose in 2017. Many of these deaths are occuring on construction sites. But why is the construction industry in particular being affected? Here, a Florida OSHA lawyer will discuss the reasons that the construction industry is being plagued by substance abuse.

    Flying Under the Radar

    Many employers are simply turning the other way when they notice activity that may hint at drug abuse on the jobsite. Functional workers under the influence can be so productive that employers would rather ignore a risky situation than fire them and find a replacement.

    Drug testing isn’t even performed by a large number of construction firms. And due to the steady flow of workers coming and going on a jobsite, many employers don’t bother to verify that their workers are sober on the job. Looking the other way could result in an accident on the jobsite that provokes an OSHA inspection. If such an injury has occured on your watch, please contact a Florida OSHA lawyer today.

    A Tough Job

    As mentioned, construction work is one of the most painful jobs an employee can perform. Work of this nature often involves heavy lifting, frequent bending and standing, and the use of potentially toxic materials. On-the-job injuries can happen even with sober, sharp workers. For these reasons, heavy-duty medications, like highly addictive opioids, are prescribed to combat pain following an injury. And when a worker in pain runs out of prescription opioids, they often turn to illegal substances like heroin or crystal meth to self-medicate.

    It is an employer’s responsibility to ensure that their construction site is a safe and drug free work environment. This can be accomplished by using preventative measures, such as drug testing and offering addiction treatments and health insurance. Again, willfully ignoring drug addicted employees can lead to injury and a subsequent OSHA inspection. If you are in any way concerned that your project site is vulnerable to failing an OSHA inspection, a Florida OSHA defense lawyer can assist you.

    If you would like to speak with a Florida OSHA defense lawyer, please contact us today.

    Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.

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  20. OSHA’s Final Rule Regarding Recordkeeping

    Texas OSHA Defense Attorney Construction Worker
    The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires that employers maintain records of injuries and incidents. Previously, it was required that employers submit an assortment of forms yearly, in order for OSHA to collect data on injuries and flag potentially dangerous workplaces. However, there have been recent changes to these rules that take some of the pressure off of employers. Here, Texas OSHA attorneys will describe why these changes were implemented and what that means for employers.

    The Final Rule

    OSHA has recently revised its ruling that workplaces of more than 250 workers must electronically file OSHA Forms 300 and 301. These forms are logs of work-related injuries, illnesses, and incidents. However, this change does not free employers from the responsibility of tracking and maintaining a safe work environment.

    What Brought About this Revision?

    This “Final Rule” was put in place because there was a concern that the private data organizations were collecting could be released publicly. There was also the concern that drug testing and incentive programs could take a hit from the required data submissions. Although OSHA emphasized the security of data and denied that drug testing and incentive programs would be affected, these were concerns that played into the passing of the Final Rule.

    What Does This Mean for Employers?

    Organizations with over 250 workers will still need to maintain records of injury and illness for OSHA. In the event of an OSHA inspection, you must be able to provide these records. These organizations will still need to electronically submit Form 300A yearly. These forms may be submitted through OSHA’s Injury Tracking Application. If you are required to submit electronically, you must now also submit your Employer Identification Number (EIN). The compliance date for required EIN’s is March 2, 2020. This is to enhance data use and ensure that there are no duplicate employers reported.

    These new regulations don’t change the necessity of being prepared in the event of an OSHA inspection. We encourage you to contact a Texas OSHA defense attorney to ensure that you are compliant with any and all OSHA regulations.

    If you would like to speak with one of our Texas OSHA attorneys, please contact us today.

    Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.

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  21. Keeping Temporary Workers Safe

    OSHA Defense Lawyer Safety Worker
    Every worker, no matter their job, is entitled to a safe work environment. Unfortunately, safe working conditions are not always made available for temporary workers. Despite being a growing part of the American workforce, temporary workers are offered fewer health benefits than their permanent colleagues and are at a greater risk of being injured on the job.

    Many of these temp workers are employed in blue-collar positions in the construction industry. Work for them is no less dangerous than it is for anyone else and there are several procedures that should be followed to keep them safe. In this article, an OSHA defense lawyer will discuss these procedures further.

    Safety Is a Joint Effort

    Under the law, the role that a staffing agency and employer play in the safety of their workers varies. However, it is the responsibility of both to ensure that temporary workers are kept safe. This includes proper training, recordkeeping, and hazard communication. In the event of a violation, OSHA could hold both parties responsible. Therefore, it is in the best interest of both agency and employer that they maintain communication and each address the hazards that they are most capable of preventing and resolving.

    The Role of a Staffing Agency

    It is the employment agency’s responsibility to provide general health and safety training. They must also look into any potential hazards that could be encountered in the workplace. If potential hazards are discovered, it is their duty to follow up with the employer to ensure that protection is being offered to their workers.

    The Role of an Employer

    It is the employer’s duty to provide any specific training needed for a worker to perform their job safely. Most importantly, an employer must treat all workers equally whether they are temporary or permanent.

    Ignorance of a hazard does not excuse an employer or agency from fault in the event of an accident on the jobsite. If you are concerned for the safety of your temporary employees, please contact an OSHA defense lawyer to ensure that you are OSHA compliant.

    If you would like to speak with one of our OSHA attorneys, please contact us today.

    Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.

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  22. How OSHA Inspection Representation Helps Contractors Save Money

    Alabama OSHA Lawyer Hand Shake
    The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is a government agency dedicated to maintaining worker safety across all industries in the United States. OSHA is an important agency within the United States Department of Labor (DOL) because their rules governing workplace safety are designed to prolong the health of our national workforce and reduce the number of work-related injuries and casualties afflicting our nation’s industries and economy.

    OSHA is especially vigilant of the construction industry, committing substantial resources to ensure that project sites are following their rules and regulations. Unfortunately, this can be a detriment to contractors, who are often juggling so many different tasks that closely managing safety becomes nearly impossible. Fear not, as contractors do have options for not only improving project site safety but protecting themselves from potential OSHA violations as well. In this article, we will discuss how inspection representation from an Alabama OSHA lawyer can help contractors save money.

    Preparation is Key

    Preparing your project site for a potential OSHA inspection could save you from falling victim to a very costly OSHA citation. These recent fines illustrate this point all too well:

    An attorney can help ensure that your project site is prepared for an inspection by priming your workforce and performing a preliminary inspection to help highlight any potential areas of concern. When you partner with an Alabama OSHA defense attorney, you can avoid exorbitant fines like those mentioned above.

    From the Law Office to the Project Site

    Our Alabama OSHA lawyers, many of which have prior work experience in the construction industry, are intimately familiar with the ins and outs of the project site. When an OSHA inspector, otherwise referred to as a compliance safety and health officer, visits your project site, our attorneys can be there to provide you with knowledgeable representation to help you pass your inspection. An attorney can assist you by helping you protect proprietary information, guiding the OSHA inspector through the building tour, and even facilitating interviews. While most contractors don’t welcome inspections, there are steps they can take to control the outcome.

    If you would like to speak with one of our Alabama OSHA defense attorneys, please contact us today.

    Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.

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  23. Understanding OSHA’s Inspection Priorities

    Texas OSHA Lawyer Construction Worker
    In 2018, the total number of federal inspections conducted by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), surpassed 32,000 in total. For State Plan inspections, the total number nearly reached 41,000. OSHA’s budget continues to increase annually and the federal agency is committed to monitoring job sites and issuing citations to workplaces that are in violation of their rules and regulations.

    Regardless of the size of your construction project, if you breach OSHA’s health and safety standards, you may be penalized. In this brief article, a Texas OSHA lawyer will discuss the priority system used by the government agency to perform safety inspections. Understanding OSHA’s priority system may just help you avoid a citation. Remember, if you were issued a citation by OSHA and you want to challenge this penalty, our Texas OSHA attorneys are only a phone call away.

    OSHA’s Three Top Priorities for Inspection

    It’s important to understand OSHA’s methods for conducting an investigation to ensure that you remain compliant with their safety standards. OSHA has a priority system in place for inspecting a workplace that includes the following:

    • First Priority: OSHA’s primary reason for conducting an immediate inspection is to asses cases that are considered “an imminent danger.” These situations are defined as “a workplace hazard that puts you at immediate serious risk of death or serious physical harm.” Examples of imminent danger include an unstable trench, exposed electrical wiring, or exposure to fumes, gases, and toxic substances.
    • Second Priority: OSHA’s second priority includes situations involving a fatality or catastrophe. Any accident that results in three or more hospitalized workers will require OSHA to investigate the work area where the incident transpired. It’s important to note that employers are legally required to report any of these types of incidents within eight hours of the accident occurring.
    • Third Priority: The third priority is the most common form of inspection including those that occur after a complaint is made regarding the safety of the workplace. If OSHA receives a complaint from a worker and believes a safety inspection is warranted, they will begin the process required to conduct an inspection of the workplace.

    If you would like to speak with a Texas OSHA lawyer, please contact us today.

    Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.

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  24. OSHA Safety Inspections Using Drones

    OSHA Defense Lawyer Drone
    When an Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) inspector arrives at your project site, you want to be certain that your project and all of your workers are in compliance with all of the necessary OSHA rules and regulations governing workplace safety. Dealing with an inspector can be stressful for contractors, and receiving a citation is even more burdensome. Fortunately, if you have been charged with an OSHA violation, an OSHA defense lawyer can help you by responding to citations and providing you with aggressive representation for serious, repeat, and willful violations including citations related to workplace fatalities.

    As OSHA continues to grow and evolve, adopting new practices and technology to improve workplace safety, contractors will be forced to adapt to new inspection methods such as those involving the use of drones. In this article, an OSHA defense attorney will discuss OSHA’s use of drones to perform safety inspections.

    OSHA Takes to the Skies to Improve Safety

    OSHA is an organization dedicated to assuring “safe and healthful working conditions for working men and women by setting and enforcing standards and by providing training, outreach, education and assistance.”

    In 2018, OSHA published a memorandum discussing the use of camera-equipped drones to assist inspectors with evidence collection during inspections. In short, this memorandum allows OSHA inspectors to develop a more comprehensive report on the safety and health conditions of project sites. As an OSHA inspector conducts an in-person inspection, they may also pilot a drone to reveal safety violations from a much higher vantage point. For contractors, this new process naturally raises some red flags.

    Should Contractors be Concerned?

    There are many reasons why contractors should be wary of allowing OSHA inspectors to perform drone inspections. For example, these inspections could potentially violate an employee’s Fourth Amendment right to “object to the expansion of an overbroad inspection” according to an article published by the National Law Review. If an employee refuses to submit to such an inspection under their Fourth Amendment right, it’s unclear whether or not the OSHA inspection will be ended, or if OSHA will simply seek additional legal backing, such as a search warrant, to proceed with the inspection. While this situation can likely be avoided since the OSHA memorandum notes that inspectors are required to “obtain express consent from the employer” before utilizing a drone to perform inspections, it’s currently unclear how refusal of drone inspections will affect contractors moving forward.

    Be Prepared

    OSHA is still in the process of establishing drone inspections as the norm, but contractors should prepare themselves for investigations utilizing drones equipped with cameras to collect evidence. If you want to limit your chances of receiving an OSHA citation, consult an OSHA defense lawyer.

    If you would like to speak with an OSHA defense attorney, please contact us today.

    Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.

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  25. Does Your Construction Site Have a Safety or Health Hazard Present?

    Alabama OSHA Lawyer Hard Hat
    Although contractors do their best to comply with the safety standards governed by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), in some cases, workplace hazards still exist. Unfortunately, when this occurs, the hazard can potentially put some workers present in danger of serious bodily harm or even death. OSHA refers to these occurrences as situations of “imminent danger.” If your job site needs to be inspected by an experienced construction attorney to ensure compliance or if you need aggressive defense against an OSHA citation, consult an experienced Alabama OSHA defense lawyer.

    Understanding an Imminent Danger

    Is your workplace “at immediate serious risk of death or serious physical harm”? If so, this is what OSHA defines as an imminent danger. It’s also the primary reason for conducting an immediate inspection. Exposed wiring, unstable trenches, airborne toxins or other forms of chemical exposure are all examples of precarious situations that not only put workers’ lives in serious jeopardy, but also increases the likelihood of a worker reporting your job site and, if warranted, an OSHA compliance officer immediately inspecting the workplace.

    What Happens When an Imminent Danger is Reported?

    If an imminent danger is reported, it can lead to an extensive evaluation process. Ultimately, this can also lead to OSHA instructing that all work near the hazard be temporarily paused and a request that immediate corrective action is performed before work can be re-commenced. This is a scenario that contractors want to avoid. If you refuse to comply with OSHA’s instructions for corrective actions on the job site, this can result in a temporary restraining order from a federal district court with additional penalties.

    If a worker makes a complaint on the job site or if they report an alleged safety or health hazard to OSHA, it’s critical that employers do not retaliate against this employee. If the employee experiences an adverse employment action after reporting an alleged hazard, including termination of employment, financial penalization, demotion, or other forms of discipline, the employee may file a retaliation complaint with OSHA. This can result in additional litigation.

    A visit from OSHA can result in a wide range of unfavorable scenarios including a workplace being temporarily shut down, excessive fines, and even litigation. It’s best to consult with our Alabama OSHA defense attorneys to ensure your workplace is in compliance with safety and health standards before things get out of hand.

    If you would like to speak with an Alabama OSHA defense lawyer, please contact us today.

    Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.

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  26. Classifying Different Types of OSHA Violations

    Florida OSHA Defense Lawyer Worker
    During inspections, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) assesses violations to contractors who are not in compliance with OSHA rules and regulations governing workplace safety. If an OSHA inspector or compliance officer believes that you are in violation of Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, Executive Order 12196, and 29 CFR Part 1960, Basic Program Elements for Federal Employee Occupational Safety and Health Programs and Related Matters, you could be issued a citation. 

    If you have been cited for an OSHA violation, consult a Florida OSHA defense lawyer to assess your legal options. If the compliance officer failed to inform you about the nature of the violation, potential abatement procedures to fix the issue, any relevant abatement dates, or failed to follow the correct inspection and citation process, our experienced lawyers could potentially help you avoid a costly citation. One way contractors can protect themselves against receiving a citation is by recognizing the four main types OSHA violations: willful, serious, repeated, and other than serious.

    Willful

    Willful violations occur when the contractor knowingly ignores compliance with OSHA rules and regulations or exhibits obvious disregard for the safety of their employees. Willful violations typically result in increased OSHA penalties. Currently, the maximum penalty for a willful violation of OSHA rules and regulations is $132,598 per violation.

    Serious

    Serious violations are characterized by workplace hazards that have a high probability of resulting in death or serious physical harm. Although serious violations are very risky, they don’t exhibit willful negligence on behalf of the contractor. In most cases, the contractor is not aware and wouldn’t likely be made aware of such a violation without being notified by an OSHA inspector. Serious violations can cost up to $13,260 per violation.

    Repeated

    Repeated violations carry the same or similar penalties as willful violations. Repeated violations do not have to occur on the same project site or during a certain time frame. If a contractor continues to violate OSHA rules and regulations governing workplace safety, they could be penalized at a maximum rate of $132,598 per violation. If a similar violation was issued within the last five years, the contractor could be responsible for paying the aforementioned penalty.

    Other Than Serious

    Any violation deemed to have a direct effect on job safety and health, but not determined to be serious in nature, is classified as other than serious. Although this type of violation is inherently less severe than the three mentioned previously, it still carries a maximum penalty of $13,260 per violation.

    If you would like to speak with a Florida OSHA lawyer about an existing OSHA citation, please contact us today.

    Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.

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  27. Reporting a Severe Injury or Fatality to OSHA

    Contractors must be familiar with the approved methodology for reporting a severe injury or fatality to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Failure to report an incident could lead to citations, fines, license suspension or revocation, and even jail time. In this article, an OSHA defense attorney will discuss the appropriate channels for reporting a severe injury or fatality on the project site and answer some frequently asked questions about the reporting process.

    The 5 W’s of Reporting to OSHA

    Who: All employers are legally obligated to inform OSHA whenever an employee is injured or killed on the job. This includes work-related hospitalizations, amputations, and visual impairments. The employer should call the nearest OSHA office to file a report. Otherwise, they may call the OSHA 24-hour hotline at 1-800-321-OSHA or submit an online form. Employers must have the following information on hand when reporting:

    • Business name
    • Names of affected employees
    • Time of incident
    • Location of incident
    • Description of the incident
    • Name of contact
    • Phone number

    What: If an employee is severely injured, maimed, or killed while working on the project site, the employer (usually the contractor) must file a report with OSHA.

    Where: Only incidents that transpire at the workplace are to be filed with OSHA. Accidents that occurred at home or during non-working hours do not need to be reported.

    When: The employer should file a report as soon as possible to avoid a citation, fine, or possible jail time. Workplace fatalities must be reported within eight hours, while instances of in-patient hospitalization, amputation, or eye loss must be reported within 24 hours.

    Why: It’s important for employers to file a report with OSHA as soon as possible if they want to preserve their license and keep their project on schedule. Additionally, failure to report in a timely manner can lead to citations, fines, and in some cases, jail time.

    Frequently Asked Questions

    If the local OSHA office is closed, can I report the incident via voicemail, fax, or email?

    No. If you cannot report the incident in-person or by telephone, you must report the incident to the OSHA 24-hour hotline at 1-800-321-OSHA.

    What is OSHA’s definition of “in-patient hospitalization”?

    According to OSHA, in-patient hospitalization refers to “formal admission to the in-patient service of a hospital or clinic for care or treatment. Treatment in an Emergency Room only is not reportable.”

    Who is responsible for reporting an incident involving a temporary worker?

    The employer who oversees the worker on a day-to-day basis is required to submit the report.

    When am I not required to report an incident?

    Employers are not responsible if the event resulted from a motor vehicle accident that occurred on a public street or highway (excluding construction work zones). Similarly, injuries that occurred on commercial or public transportation systems are dismissible. Finally, workers who were hospitalized for diagnostic testing or observation exclusively do not need to be reported.

    If you would like to speak with an OSHA defense lawyer, please contact us today.

    Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.

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  28. Understanding OSHA’s Criteria for Performing Inspections

    Contractors must be extremely diligent when managing project sites if they want to ensure that all workers are safe and accounted for; otherwise, they could be dealt a citation from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). In this article, a Florida OSHA lawyer will discuss the OSHA’s criteria for investigating a complaint. Although contractors would prefer to not think about OSHA investigating their job site or receiving a citation, it’s important to understand the health and safety agency’s criteria for investigating complaints, so that you have a better understanding of how you can maintain a safe and healthy workplace.

    The Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970

    The Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 establishes legal grounds for employees and their representatives to file a complaint and request an OSHA inspection of their workplace if they think severe hazards are not being limited through practical application of relevant OSHA standards. In fact, a worker doesn’t need comprehensive knowledge to file a complaint. If they believe the conditions on the project site are unsafe, they can file a complaint without knowing which specific OSHA standard is being violated. The complaint must be filed in a timely manner because OSHA citations have a statute of limitations of six months. All complaints remain confidential. Once a complaint is filed, it’s important that contractors immediately contact a Florida OSHA defense lawyer.  

    OSHA’s Investigation Criteria

    According to OSHA’s website, at least one of the following eight criteria needs to be met for the health and safety agency to conduct an investigation of a workplace:

    1. If a worker submits a detailed and signed complaint describing the violation that exists at the job site
    2. Allegations of an injury that transpired because of a hazard
    3. A report was filed regarding “imminent danger”
    4. If a company covered by OSHA’s local or national program has a complaint filed against them regarding a hazard
    5. If the employer fails to provide a sufficient response to a complaint submitted via OSHA’s phone/fax investigation process
    6. Any complaint filed against a company that has a history of “egregious, willful or failure-to-abate” citations within a three-year period
    7. If a “whistleblower investigator” referral was made
    8. A job site that is currently undergoing or scheduled to undergo an OSHA inspection and a complaint is made

    If you would like to speak with a Florida OSHA defense lawyer, please contact us today.

    Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.

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  29. Exploring the Characteristics of Suitable Training Programs with OSHA

    OSHA Lawyer Construction Worker
    Training programs are an integral part of maintaining the health and safety of your employees. Let’s face it, poorly trained workers are more likely to hurt themselves. This is especially true on the construction site which is filled with countless potential hazards. In fact, on average, more than 14 workers were killed every day in 2017. Contractors must be diligent when training their workers. Not all training is good training, but by exploring the “characteristics of sound training programs” proposed by OSHA, contractors can provide their workers with proven training backed by noticeable results.

    In this article, an OSHA lawyer will explore the characteristics of suitable training programs according to OSHA. This includes programs that are designated as accurate, credible, clear, and practical.

    Accurate

    All training materials should be designed, published, and provided by qualified individuals. An accurate training program is updated regularly to reflect the most recent OSHA rules and regulations and any industry-wide changes related to building techniques and processes. For example, a training program from the 1970s won’t be as effective as a training program that was updated in 2018. Training should be conducted by qualified and experienced professionals.

    Credible

    Credible training professionals should be well-versed in general safety and health or possess specialized knowledge of the subject matter pertinent to a specific industry. Experience in adult education and training is also helpful as adult learners have different needs than other demographics.

    Clear

    If a training program is difficult to understand or poorly communicates the lesson, it will have little effect on the health and safety of your team moving forward. Training programs should be accurate, believable, clear, and understandable. Trainers should speak plainly and without relying on advanced jargon to ensure that they are accounting for all literacy levels. In addition, training materials should be provided in the worker’s spoken language. Most OSHA resources are available in a variety of languages. Lastly, the training materials should consider literacy limitations and be adjusted to accommodate trainees on a case-by-case basis.

    Practical

    Finally, training programs should be practical. In other words, all information, ideas, and skills being taught should reflect on the needs of the workers being trained. All participants should be able to utilize the information acquired during the training session in the workplace upon entering the project site. Trainees should also understand how this information is relevant without difficulty.

    If you would like to speak with our OSHA lawyers, please contact us today.

    Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.

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  30. Obtaining an OSHA Card

    OSHA Attorney Card
    The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) distributes OSHA cards to workers who have completed OSHA’s Outreach Training Program. This includes a 10-hour and a 30-hour safety course. Many contractors request that their workers obtain an OSHA card to prove that they are familiar with OSHA rules and regulations as well as general workplace safety. Ensuring that your employees possess this card can help you achieve safer project sites, improved productivity, and greater profits. After all, nobody likes to receive a costly citation from OSHA.

    In this article, an OSHA attorney will discuss the process for obtaining an OSHA card and outline the benefits of this card. Remember, if you want to maintain the health and safety of your workers, consult our OSHA attorneys to ensure that your project sites are compliant with all OSHA rules and regulations.

    Beware Fraudulent OSHA Courses

    Scammers understand the value of training and certification programs. Workers often feel like completing these programs is the ticket to steady employment, which explains why fraudulent activity related to these courses has been on the rise over the last several years. Before you request that your workers obtain an OSHA card, seek out a reputable safety course to ensure that your workers are actually being equipped with the right knowledge to improve the safety of your project sites. Only OSHA-authorized trainers are qualified to teach the 10- and 30-hour safety courses prescribed by OSHA. Unauthorized trainers cannot distribute course completion cards.

    The 10- and 30-Hour Safety Courses

    The 10-hour safety course is designed to teach entry-level workers about general safety and health hazards in the workplace. Conversely, the 30-hour safety course delves more deeply into a variety of safety-related topics and offers in-depth, industry-specific training to help workers prepare for relevant hazards. The 30-hour safety course is especially important for workers in the construction industry who are exposed to a greater variety of workplace hazards than many other professions. This course is designed for supervisors and workers who are responsible for the safety and health of other workers.

    Finding an Authorized Trainer

    OSHA has published a list of authorized trainers to help workers procure legitimate training. This list is available to the public and can be found here. The list includes trainer names, contact information, and the courses they are authorized to teach.

    Important Considerations

    Many workers wrongly believe that obtaining an OSHA card will guarantee employment. Although the OSHA card increases hireability, it does not guarantee a job. It’s important to communicate this clearly to your workers. In addition, OSHA doesn’t require your workers to take either of these courses. While some states, cities, and employers have mandated the use of the Outreach Training Program as a prerequisite to employment, there is no such official mandate by OSHA.

    If you would like to speak with our OSHA attorneys, please contact us today.

    Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.

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  31. Material Handling Injuries in Construction Part 2

    In this two-part series, an OSHA defense attorney is discussing one of the most common and underrated causes of an injury in the construction workplace—when workers improperly handle and move large materials. In the first section, we explained what types of injuries result from these labor-intensive tasks. In this section, we will discuss some safety tips to help prevent overexertion injuries from transpiring in your workplace.

    Advice for Lifting Objects

    When lifting and carrying heavy materials, the likelihood of an injury greatly increases as stress is put on a worker’s body. In order to avoid this from happening, workers should practice the following safety tips:

    • Always hold materials close to your body when carrying them.
    • Avoid bending over to lift objects whenever you can.
    • When bending is required, do not make quick jerking motions or twist your back.
    • Always lift objects with your legs.
    • Never lift more than 50 pounds on your own.
    • Never hold materials directly overhead.
    • Take plenty of breaks to avoid strains and serious injuries.

    Other Advice for Handling Materials

    Here are a few more tips for contractors to ensure that workers are not injured handling and moving heavy materials:

    Coordinating efforts: Contractors need to coordinate exactly where materials should be dropped off. Materials should always be located in close proximity to the area where they will be used. These materials should also be elevated at a height that prevents the worker from needing to constantly bend over to lift the materials. You never want to make material handling tasks more challenging than they need to be.         

    Equipment and tools: It’s important to reduce the chances of injury by investing in the right tools and equipment to assist your workers with their tasks. Here are some ways to help prevent injury:

    • Use a dolly: There are many types of dollies that can assist workers with conveniently moving materials from one area of a site to another.
    • Wear personal protective equipment (PPE): Workers should be provided hardhats, eyewear, and gloves to protect themselves. Further, straps and handles or panel carriers can assist with their moving efforts.
    • Have the right equipment: Forklifts, cranes, and skid steer loaders, should always be utilized on projects that require significant lifting and transporting of objects.   

    Understand risks: Contractors need to be mindful of tasks that require a higher degree of risk for their workers. They should also make certain that their workforce is in compliance with safety measures when performing these tasks. Remember, with the right safety measures in place, the chances of a serious injury transpiring at your workplace dramatically decreases.

    If you would like to speak with an OSHA defense lawyer, please contact us today.

    Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.

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  32. Material Handling Injuries in Construction Part 1

    OSHA Lawyer Lifting Blocks
    Construction is hard work that requires contractors and project managers to always consider the most effective way to complete projects while also being mindful of safety procedures. On a jobsite, there are often clear hazards right in front of your eyes, but there can also be hidden dangers you don’t recognize on the surface level. Either way, these things can impact the health and wellness of you and your workers.

    In this two-part article, an OSHA lawyer will discuss one of the most underrated causes of injury in the construction workplace: when workers improperly lift and handle heavy materials. Remember, for any of your construction project legal needs, contact our experienced and knowledgeable OSHA lawyers.

    Manual Material Handling Injuries

    One of the most common causes of injury happens when workers handle materials. This is especially common in construction, manufacturing, and retail positions that require a lot of heavy lifting and transporting of items. When lifting, pushing, moving, or carrying materials,  the most common type of affliction workers experience is a soft tissue injury. Muscle, ligament, and tendon injuries can occur quickly and with little warning. These injuries can also develop into debilitating, long-term injuries like a herniated disc or strained back, which may take the worker an extensive period of time to recover from.

    Handling Tasks Can Lead to Accidents

    Whether it’s a strain, sprain, tear, cut, puncture, contusion, fracture, inflammation, or nerve pain, improperly lifting heavy materials can immediately impact the health of a construction worker. Further, material handling jobs that require lifting and transporting massive or bulky items can also lead to other serious problems on the worksite.

    For example, OSHA’s “Fatal Four” leading causes of fatalities in the construction industry can be closely related to tasks that require the handling of large materials. This includes workers that fall off ladders when they are transporting items or are struck-by or caught in-between hazards when moving bulky objects.

    In the second section of this series, our OSHA lawyers will explain how to avoid these types of accidents from transpiring at your jobsite.   

    If you would like to speak with an OSHA lawyer, please contact us today.

    Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.

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  33. Beryllium Standards and OSHA

    OSHA Attorney using saw
    After 45 years, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA’s) new standards for beryllium exposure went into effect for the construction industry on May 11, 2018. OSHA reduced the amount of allowable airborne particles of beryllium workers are exposed to.

    Read the information below written by an OSHA attorney to get a better understanding of beryllium.

    What is Beryllium?

    Beryllium is a lightweight, gray metal element that is extremely good at conducting heat and electricity. It is often alloyed with copper due to its corrosion resistance and hardness. Beryllium oxide is mixed in ceramics and used in wiring materials. It is also found in metal slag used in construction for abrasive blasting. Blasting can cause an excess of airborne particles.

    Beryllium has been classified as a human carcinogen by The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

    New Standards

    The new standards reduce the permissible exposure limit, or PEL, for beryllium, averaged over eight hours, to 0.2 micrograms per cubic meter of air. The previous PEL was ten times higher.

    Respirators are utilized to help improve worker safety but cannot be relied upon in all cases. Proper ventilation is crucial to worker safety and OSHA compliance. There are more resources for new standards on the OSHA website.

    Workers’ Health Risks

    Too much exposure to beryllium can have adverse effects on the health of your workers. Usually, exposure to beryllium comes from directly touching alloys or inhaling airborne particles. Inhaling airborne particles of beryllium can lead to pneumonia and other pulmonary diseases.

    Some workers can become sensitized to the element after skin contact or inhalation. That means when they come in contact with the particles, their immune system reacts. With too much exposure a worker can contract chronic beryllium disease (CBD), causing fatigue, shortness of breath and night sweats. Beryllium exposure can also lead to lung cancer, but CBD is more common.

    If your workers are exposed to beryllium by abrasive blasting or component handling, make sure you are compliant with the new standards.

    If you would like to speak with an OSHA attorney, please contact us today.

    Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.

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  34. Safety Tips Before Excavating at a Jobsite

    Florida OSHA Lawyer Excavator
    Due to an increase in injuries and fatalities, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has recently put an even higher priority on trenching and excavation safety. Several companies have been prosecuted for operating with no protection against cave-ins. That means that the companies faced high penalties—up to $400,000 for one company— and the notoriety of having an unsafe work environment.

    If your jobsite will have open trenches or excavation operations, it can mean increased inspections from OSHA. Read on to learn some tips from a Florida OSHA lawyer before you excavate to keep your project on track.

    Walk the Site

    Walking the site gives you or your team the chance to check for any obvious hazards or features on the jobsite. If there is an existing structure on the property, you can examine exterior walls and foundations for wires or utilities. Discolored soil can indicate a septic system or other buried tanks. It’s good to note if there are any utility covers, patches in the pavement, or utility markers that may indicate buried utilities on the jobsite.

    Call 811

    You can’t count on survey companies to call 811 for your site. If you don’t make the call yourself and get word from the utility companies, you could run into underground utilities which can result in delays and fines up to $10,000. Imagine your crew is digging and suddenly the hole fills with water from a broken pipe. Some utilities can be as close as a few inches below the surface of the soil.

    Conduct Surveys

    The water table, distance to nearby buildings, and traffic can all affect excavation on your jobsite. Boundary, topographic, and hydrographic surveys are some of the surveys your site may need to give your team a better understanding of how to excavate. For instance, you may find limestone or water beneath the surface of your site. Those conditions and others will require different tools and equipment, like pumps or jackhammers.

    Trenching and excavating are important to construction projects but come with many hazards. Your team needs to follow all the applicable OSHA guidelines to stay safe and keep the project running without delays.

    If you would like to speak with a Florida OSHA defense lawyer, please contact us today.

    Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.

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  35. Top 10 OSHA Violations of 2018 Part 2

    OSHA Attorney Foreman Writing
    The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is responsible for establishing rules and regulations to help decrease the prevalence of workplace injuries. Every October, safety professionals gather to discuss the most pressing issues in the world of workplace safety in health. In part one of this two-part series, our OSHA attorneys discussed the top 10 OSHA violations of 2018. So far, we have discussed the five most common OSHA violations:

    • Duty to Provide Fall Protection
    • Hazard Communication
    • Scaffolds – General Requirements
    • Respiratory Protection
    • Lockout/Tagout

    Now, we will discuss the other five most common OSHA violations in 2018.

    Ladders (29 CFR 1926.1053) – 2,812 Violations

    OSHA violations related to the use of ladders commonly involved a failure to utilize side rails that extend 3 feet beyond the landing surface, improper use of ladders, utilizing the top step of a ladder, and using ladders that have damaged steps or rails. Common violators of this OSHA standard include roofing, framing, siding, and masonry contractors.

    Powered Industrial Trucks (29 CFR 1910.178) – 2,294 Violations

    Contractors were commonly cited for failing to address deficiencies in their vehicular camp. For instance, contractors can be issued a citation for utilizing a damaged forklift or allowing an untrained or uncertified employee to operate a forklift. Similarly, if you fail to evaluate forklift drivers at least once every three years, you could receive an OSHA violation.

    Fall Protection – Training Requirements (29 CFR 1926.503) – 1,982 Violations

    If you fail to provide adequate training to every member of your workforce, you could find yourself on the receiving end of an OSHA citation. In addition to providing your workers with training, you need to document all training in writing and ensure that sessions are conducted by a qualified professional.

    Machine Guarding (29 CFR 1910.212) – 1,972 Violations

    Violations typically include a failure to protect points of operation, ensure that guards are secured to machinery, and properly anchor stationary machinery. This type of violation can occur in an array of industries related to the construction industry, but most commonly, machine guarding violations occur on the supply side of construction in machine shops, fabricated metal manufacturing plants, and plastics manufacturing plants.

    Personal Protective and Lifesaving Equipment – Eye and Face Protection (29 CFR 1926.102) – 1,536 Violations

    Last but not least, personal protective and lifesaving equipment violations have replaced electrical wiring methods as the tenth most common OSHA violation in 2018. As a contractor, you will be issued a citation if you fail to equip your workforce with proper protection from physical hazards, caustic hazards, gases, vapors, or other risks.

    If you would like to speak with an OSHA attorney, please contact us today.

    Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.

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  36. Top 10 OSHA Violations of 2018 Part 1

    Florida OSHA Lawyer Foreman
    Every year, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) publishes a list of the most common OSHA violations. Patrick Kapust, deputy director of OSHA’s Directorate of Enforcement Programs, announced the top 10 violations for the 2018 fiscal year at the 2018 National Safety Council Congress & Expo in Houston, Texas. Although this announcement was made before a standing-room-only crowd comprised primarily of safety professionals, the news quickly spread from coast to coast.

    In this two-part article, a knowledgeable Florida OSHA lawyer will catch you up on the top 10 OSHA violations of 2018, which covers violations from October 1, 2017, to September 30, 2018. By working with your team to avoid these common violations, you can lay the groundwork for a safer work environment that keeps you and your team happy and healthy.

    Duty to Provide Fall Protection (29 CFR 1926.501) – 7,270 Violations

    For several years, the duty to provide fall protection has been OSHA’s most commonly issued citation. The violations that fall under the umbrella of this standard mainly include the failure to provide adequate fall protection in close proximity to unprotected sides or edges on roofs with varying slopes. This citation was most commonly issued to roofing contractors, framing contractors, masonry contractors, and new single-family housing construction contractors.

    Hazard Communication (29 CFR 1910.1200) – 4,552 Violations

    Hazard communication is another commonly cited OSHA violation that has been listed among the top 10 OSHA violations for a number of years. Typically, this violation occurs when contractors fail to provide their workforce with adequate training, a procedural pamphlet, and display an inability to maintain safety data sheets (SDSs).

    Scaffolds – General Requirements (29 CFR 1926.451) – 3,336 Violations

    Scaffolding-related violations generally include a deficiency of appropriate decking, a lack of fall arrest systems or guardrails, and an inability to ensure that scaffolds are secured on a solid foundation. Contractors in the fields of masonry, siding, and framing commonly fall victim to scaffolding violations.

    Respiratory Protection (29 CFR 1910.134) – 3,118 Violations

    As a contractor, you’re responsible for minimizing your employees’ exposure to harmful airborne particulates produced during construction such as crystalline silica. Violations are usually assessed to contractors who fail to establish a program, equip their workers with the proper personal protective equipment (PPE), or provide medical evaluations.

    Lockout/Tagout (29 CFR 1910.147) – 2,944 Violations

    Contractors who refuse to establish a standardized energy control procedure may be issued a citation by OSHA. Other instances involve a failure to provide employees with suitable training regarding machine-specific procedures and lockout/tagout devices.

    Read about the other top five OSHA violations in 2018 in part two.

    If you would like to speak with a Florida OSHA defense lawyer, please contact us today.

    Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.

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  37. Reasons Why Construction Workers Are Getting Hurt on Your Site

    OSHA Defense Attorney Injured Worker
    Construction work is physically demanding. Workers are often required to use powerful machinery, work at high heights, work along roadsides, and work long hours. These and other factors make the profession dangerous. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires all employers to provide their employees with a safe workplace. If your workers are getting injured on the site, it is time to evaluate why this is occuring to prevent serious injuries in the future.

    If you need legal counsel regarding safety, reach out to an expert OSHA defense attorney for more guidance to ensure you are complying with local, state, and federal safety standards.

    Inadequate Planning

    Many project problems can be traced back to deficiencies in planning which lead to issues such as inaccurate estimates and poor risk management. Planning is not just about creating a construction schedule, but it is also about conducting a risk assessment, developing site safety plans, and establishing contingency plans among other pertinent components of the project. Poor planning can make work productively and safety a challenge. If hazards are not evaluated properly during the planning stages, hazards can be left uncontrolled, which can lead to serious injuries, illnesses, and in some cases death.

    Complacency

    Complacency is never a good thing in any organization, but complacency in construction can be dangerous. It is easy to fall into complacency after performing the same tasks over and over for many years. Once complacency sets in, your workers place themselves and others at risk as they began to take shortcuts to complete their work faster. Deviations in safety-regulated work activities can adversely impact your company in various ways; however, the most concerning include safety accidents on the job site.

    Poor Housekeeping

    No matter how busy your crew is, you cannot afford to be careless about housekeeping. Housekeeping is actually a major problem in some workplaces and increases the likelihood of hazards on your job site. Common injuries that happen on job sites include slips, trips, falls, lacerations, sprains, and strains. Poor housekeeping often is a signal that there are larger safety issues at hand. Read these ongoing housekeeping tips to stay OSHA compliant and keep your employees safe.

    Distractions

    Distractions on the job such as mental distractions, noise levels, clutter, phone use, and inattention can lead to many different injuries. Pressure to meet production goals is also another form of distraction. For instance, if something gets stuck in a machine, a worker may decide to stick their hand or another object in the machine to retrieve the item instead of following important safety protocol. It is important that you identify and minimize distractions to help reduce injuries.

    If you would like to speak with an OSHA defense lawyer please contact us today.

    Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.

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  38. Practice Caution When Cleaning Up After a Weather Disaster

    OSHA Lawyer Workers
    According to weather.com, the United States was impacted by six major weather disasters such as severe thunderstorms and winter storms during the first half of 2018. These disasters have cost the country around 6 billion dollars in total. However, companies have their own share of repercussions to deal with when a severe weather disaster hits their region.

    After a weather disaster, companies and their employees are faced with a range of safety and health hazards, but risk can be minimized with knowledge and safe work practices. Our OSHA lawyers are here to share some important preventative measures that companies should take after a weather disaster hits their area.

    Dispatch Qualified Crews

    Weather disaster cleanup and recovery can be dangerous. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) urges employers to take precautions when addressing hazards resulting from storm debris, flooding, power loss, and fallen trees. Your employees should be trained to handle any hazards pertaining to these disasters, including storm cleanup. Employees with the proper training and experience should conduct these activities.

    Potential Hazards

    During recovery, your employees can potentially face the following types of hazards:

    • Slips and falls
    • Falls from heights
    • Falling and flying objects
    • Sharp objects
    • Hazardous driving conditions
    • Electrical hazards from downed power lines or downed objects
    • Burns from fires caused by energized line contact or equipment failure
    • Exhaustion from working extended shifts
    • Heat and dehydration

    Preventative Measures to Combat Hazards

    There are several protective measures employers can take to mitigate hazards when conducting disaster recovery and cleanup.

    • Evaluate the area and take steps to reduce or eliminate exposure to a hazard. For instance, this can be done by providing ventilation for confined spaces or placing barriers around the swing radius of rotating equipment.
    • Assess the stability of structures and walking surfaces and consider the contaminants associated with disaster cleanup.
    • Determine if there has been a release of unknown chemicals and whether or not permits are required for entry into confined spaces.
    • Provide proper fall protection for elevated surfaces and use all equipment such as ladders, chainsaws, and generators properly.
    • Provide specialty personal protective equipment such as eye and face protection, respiratory protection, high-visibility apparel, etc.
    • Employers should ask workers about how they perform the task/operation in order to obtain useful information about the equipment and materials used and the conditions under which the task/operation is performed.
    • Assume all power lines are live and either repair or remove electrical power lines before starting cleanup work.

    To learn more about disaster response, visit the OSHA website. For all your OSHA-related defense and representation needs, reach out to an OSHA lawyer today.

    If you would like to speak with an OSHA lawyer please contact us today.

    Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.

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  39. Plan, Provide, and Train for Falls with OSHA

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    Maintaining the safety of your workers is an ever-present challenge on the job site, but if you commit to a proven safety plan, you can avoid the majority of common workplace injuries. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) provides contractors with a large volume of educational resources to encourage workplace safety.

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  40. Breaking Down the Distance of a Fall

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    Falls are commonplace on construction sites. Roofing professionals are especially familiar with the dangers associated with falls, which result in hundreds of thousands of injuries and hundreds of deaths every year.

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  41. Basic Safety Rules for Construction Professionals Part 1

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    Construction is one of the most dangerous professions. Every day workers go to work and face unique hazards that are potentially life-threatening. Before any worker sets foot on a construction site, they must be fully cognizant of possible hazards, otherwise, their lack of knowledge can place them and others at risk. Unsafe acts and conditions in the workplace can be mitigated by educating workers on basic safety rules. If you have any questions about maintaining a safe work environment, a Florida OSHA lawyer can assist you.

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  42. Basic Safety Rules for Construction Professionals Part 2

    When on the jobsite, construction workers may be in a production state of mind. In other words, they may be so focused on their task that they fail to be conscious of their safety. As experienced OSHA attorneys, we know that it is easier for this to happen the longer someone has been working in the field because complacency can set in. Even worse, if your company is not proactive about safety education, you are only encouraging a poor safety culture.

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  43. Cotney Construction Law Named Immigration Law Firm of the Year for Southern USA

    ORLANDO, FL, SEPTEMBER 7, 2018 — Cotney Construction Law (CCL) was recently named Immigration Law Firm of the Year – Southern USA by Acquisition International’s 2018 Corporate Immigration & Relocation Awards. Acquisition International’s team of experts select winners based on the firm’s effectiveness, success, and service to their clients.

    Though best known as a nationwide law firm advocating for the construction industry, Cotney Construction Law also provides legal advice regarding US immigration. Immigration legal services include preparation and filing of nonimmigrant and immigrant visa petitions, applications for PERM alien labor certification, preparation and filing of employment and family based visa petitions, I-9 compliance, investment visas and other matters related to green cards and naturalization/citizenship. Recently, CCL expanded its immigration law practice by bringing Orlando-based attorneys Teresa Finer and Natalia Gove on board. Both Finer and Gove represent individuals looking to secure visas, green cards and citizenship, and corporations employing foreign nationals.

    “We are honored to have been named the Southern USA’s Immigration Law Firm of the Year by Acquisition International. With the addition of two skilled attorneys, I look forward to seeing our immigration law practice expand further this year,” said CEO Trent Cotney.

    About Cotney Construction Law

    Cotney Construction Law is a national law firm that provides representation for employers seeking visas on an employee’s behalf and individuals seeking family-related or work-based visas. CCL is also well-known for their dedication to the construction industry and its representation of construction professionals in various disputes and transactions. The firm has Florida offices in Tampa, Orlando, Tallahassee, Jacksonville, and Ft. Lauderdale, as well as locations in Charlotte, Denver, Grand Rapids, Houston, Mobile, and Nashville. For more information, visit www.cotneycl.com.

    ###

    For More Information: Anita Lum
    813.579.3278
    alum@cotneycl.com

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  44. An OSHA Guide to Hand and Arm Protection Part 4

    By now, you have probably realized that choosing the ideal personal protective equipment (PPE) for your employees is more confusing than it initially appears to be. If you need a second opinion on your team’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) compliance, an OSHA defense lawyer can advise you on the best practices for keeping your workers safe and your project citation-free.

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  45. An OSHA Guide to Hand and Arm Protection Part 3

    OSHA lawyers are often approached with similar questions regarding Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) compliance on construction sites. Which personal protective equipment (PPE) is best for protecting workers? How do you ensure that every single employee is following the workplace safety guidelines established by OSHA?

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  46. An OSHA Guide to Hand and Arm Protection Part 2

    If a single piece of paper can leave your finger wrapped in a bright red bandage, imagine what a drill, saw blade, or hammer can do. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is responsible for establishing a series of guidelines to help keep employees safe in the workplace. On a construction site, this can be easier said than done.

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  47. An OSHA Guide to Hand and Arm Protection Part 1

    The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is tasked with ensuring that employers require all workers to wear suitable personal protective equipment (PPE) when performing labor-related tasks on a construction site. Construction sites are filled with potential hazards that can lead to an injury or even death.

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  48. An OSHA Guide to Eye and Face Protection Part 4

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    There are many things to consider when outfitting your team with personal protective equipment (PPE) for your next project. (more…)

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  49. An OSHA Guide to Eye and Face Protection Part 3

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    The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) closely monitors the use of personal protective equipment (PPE) on construction sites nationwide. (more…)

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  50. An OSHA Guide to Eye and Face Protection Part 2

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    It is important to establish a culture of safety in compliance on your project sites. Creating accountability and fostering self-interest in personal (more…)

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  51. An OSHA Guide to Eye and Face Protection Part 1

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    The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires employers to ensure that all workers are wearing the necessary (more…)

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  52. Award-Winning Construction Law Firm Opens Office in Charlotte, NC

    Lead Attorney Aims to Help Disadvantaged Businesses Grow

    CHARLOTTE, NC, JULY 2018 — Cotney Construction Law (CCL) is expanding its operations into North Carolina and has officially opened an office in Charlotte (more…)

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  53. Size Matters: What You Should Know About Megaprojects

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    Megaprojects are large-scale construction projects that cost more than a billion dollars. These unique ventures are the product of ambitious and complex projects involving multiple public and private stakeholders. (more…)

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  54. OSHA Guidelines for Safe Excavation and Trenching Part 2

    Working underground poses many threats to the well being of your workers. Cave-ins, exposure to hazardous gases, and low levels of oxygen can result in unexpected injuries with severe consequences. (more…)

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  55. OSHA Guidelines for Safe Excavation and Trenching Part 1

    The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) considers excavation and trenching among the most hazardous operations in construction. (more…)

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  56. How Poor Roadway Infrastructure Can Lead to an OSHA Violation During Redevelopment

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    When you enter a contract with the government to restore existing roadway infrastructure, it is important to consider the full breadth of existing conditions that could result in an OSHA violation. (more…)

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  57. Ways Technology Creates a Safer Workplace Part 2

    When we think of the word “technology,” we usually think of how these innovative applications help businesses with efficiency. Perhaps we don’t think enough of how technology helps companies provide safer workplaces. (more…)

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  58. Ways Technology Creates a Safer Workplace Part 1

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    Any construction professional knows that the industry presents many health and safety risks. As contractors and business owners, it’s always important to take the right steps in order to ensure your workplace is safe. (more…)

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  59. The OSHA 300A Electronic Deadline is Quickly Approaching Part 2

    Whether there is a workplace injury, death, time missed from work, or a medical treatment was required beyond first aid, all of this information needs to be logged into a summary. (more…)

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  60. The OSHA 300A Electronic Deadline is Quickly Approaching Part 1

    As of January 1, 2017, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has established a new rule that requires that employers submit their completed 2017 OSHA Form 300A electronically. (more…)

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  61. What You Need To Know About Trench Safety

    Tennessee OSHA Defense Construction
    Excavation and trenching are often required on construction sites to literally lay the groundwork for a project.Whether it’s creating a water system, gas mains, or telephone lines, by creating trenches, the project can have the necessary underground infrastructure installed. Although trenches are vital to a project, they are also a significant hazard as well. (more…)

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  62. Three Ways to Reduce Injuries in the Workplace

    Alabama OSHA Lawyer Injured Worker
    Thousands of American workers are injured at the workplace annually. Although the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) sets strict safety guidelines to protect American workers, falls, hazard communication, and scaffolding are among the most common violations that occur resulting in preventable accidents. (more…)

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  63. Staying Aware of Struck-By Hazards on the Jobsite

    Michigan OSHA Attorney Foreman
    According to OSHA.gov, in 2016, almost 4700 workers died due to a work-related accident. Of those workers, approximately 21 percent were in the construction industry. (more…)

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  64. Florida Companies Experience Severe OSHA Penalties in Early 2018

    Florida OSHA Defense Lawyer Florida State
    If you are a construction professional then you know there is always a chance that your worksite may be susceptible to an Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) citation. (more…)

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  65. Workplace Violence and the Construction Industry Part 4

    Texas OSHA Lawyer Motioning Stop
    Millions of lives are affected every year by workplace violence. As the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) website states, “homicide is currently the fourth-leading cause of fatal occupational injuries in the United States.” (more…)

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  66. Workplace Violence and the Construction Industry Part 3

    Alabama OSHA Lawyer Motioning Stop
    Construction projects can be stressful. There are many moving parts to complete an assignment on time and many people that must work together to complete these tasks. (more…)

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  67. Workplace Violence and the Construction Industry Part 2

    OSHA Attorney Motioning Stop
    As we discussed in the first section of this four-part article, eliminating the elements that can lead to workplace violence can be challenging for an employer. (more…)

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  68. Workplace Violence and the Construction Industry Part 1

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    Approximately two million Americans report workplace violence annually. Unfortunately, there are many other cases that go unreported as well. If an incident of violence transpires at a construction site, employers may be held liable. (more…)

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  69. What You Need to Know About OSHA’s New Tree Care Publication

    On any given day, you can look up into the sky and see one of the many tree care professionals that work across this country. (more…)

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  70. Effective Ways to Communicate Health and Safety Requirements Part 3

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    Workplace accidents happen all the time, regardless of the industry. Employers are tasked with ensuring their workplace is free of known hazards and making sure that employees get home safely. (more…)

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  71. Effective Ways to Communicate Health and Safety Requirements Part 2

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    Our Florida OSHA defense attorneys understand the importance of educating employees on general health and safety requirements, as well as those regarding workers’ specific industries. (more…)

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  72. Effective Ways to Communicate Health and Safety Requirements Part 1

    Tennessee OSHA Attorney Construction Workers
    Every person has the right to work in an environment that is safe and free of known hazards. This is a federal requirement for employers. There are effective ways to ensure that employees are protected and informed. (more…)

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  73. The Most Cited Safety Violations on Tennessee Construction Worksites

    Tennessee OSHA Attorney
    The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has developed specific safety standards by which workplaces must adhere. (more…)

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  74. Can an Employer be Cited If an Employee Violated the Safety Policy? Part 2

    Accidents are an unfortunate part of working in construction. There can be a lot of stress and panic surrounding the accident itself—the more severe, the higher the stakes. (more…)

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  75. Can an Employer be Cited If an Employee Violated the Safety Policy? Part 1

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    Imagine these scenarios: An employee falls 15 feet off a building or a worker sustains a head injury but was not wearing any personal protective equipment (PPE). (more…)

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  76. 3 Ways to Be Proactive About Fall Protection

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    From year to year, the top 10 most cited violations by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) rarely change with the exception of a slight change in order. (more…)

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  77. Preventing Substance Abuse in the Workplace Part 4

    The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) plans on having more inspections this year than ever before. (more…)

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  78. Preventing Substance Abuse in the Workplace Part 3

    If you are concerned with the safety and wellness of your workplace and desire to limit and prevent workplace injuries or excessive citation fees (more…)

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  79. Preventing Substance Abuse in the Workplace Part 2

    Contractors may not be aware of the concerning epidemic pertaining to substance abuse in the workplace. (more…)

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  80. Preventing Substance Abuse in the Workplace Part 1

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    When you think of workplace health and safety, potential drug and alcohol abuse by employees may not be the first thing on a contractor’s mind. (more…)

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  81. Construction Workplace Injuries Decrease in 2016

    As we close out the calendar year of 2017, let’s take a look back at important statistics that were recently released… (more…)

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  82. Logical Tips to Prevent Safety Citations Part 3

    Practical steps you can take to avoid citations do not stop at just the worksite and with the workers present. In our three-part series, we first discussed the worksite location and ways to logically avoid citations. (more…)

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  83. Logical Tips to Prevent Safety Citations Part 2

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    There is a reason why we all know the phrase “safety first.” It’s because when we fail to practice the best safety precaution procedures, we are susceptible to accidents happening. (more…)

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  84. Logical Tips to Prevent Safety Citations Part 1

    Michigan OSHA Defense Attorney Workers
    According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), there are over one million work-related injuries and illnesses that occur every year. Unfortunately, the construction industry is among the industry leaders in worksite injuries and fatalities. (more…)

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  85. The Importance of Safety Data Sheets for Hazard Standards

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    On the worksite, chemical safety information is king. It is critical that all employees know how to safely work with, transport, or clean any chemicals they come in contact with on the jobsite. (more…)

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  86. The Dangers of Chemical Spills

    Working in a chemical plant exposes employees to numerous hazards—chemical spills are among those hazards. The level of danger a chemical spill creates depends on a variety of factors including the type of substance, where and on what surface the spill occurred, and how much ventilation is in the area. (more…)

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  87. Unsafe Conditions and Acts That Lead to Roofing Accidents Part 2

    All roofing workers should feel confident that their workplace is secure from hazards. If employers and employees alike are not vigilant about mitigating unsafe conditions and acts, the consequence of these accidents can be life-altering. (more…)

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  88. Unsafe Conditions and Acts That Lead to Roofing Accidents Part 1

    It is unfortunate that thousands of hardworking roofing professionals are injured or killed on job sites each year. Roofers are subjected to broken bones, back injuries, heat-related injuries, and repetitive motion injuries. (more…)

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  89. Ongoing Housekeeping Tips to Stay OSHA Compliant Part 2

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    Every year workplace injuries affect employers alike in the form of pain, extra costs, and time away from work. An OSHA inspector or safety consultant would probably get a good idea about your safety and health practices upon their first entrance into your facility. (more…)

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  90. Ongoing Housekeeping Tips to Stay OSHA Compliant Part 1

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    At Cotney Construction Law, we represent clients who have experienced OSHA violations which include serious, repeat, and willful. Maintaining workplace safety and compliance extends to industries such as industrial workplaces, factories, manufacturing plants, and warehouses. (more…)

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  91. Trent Cotney P.A. Construction Law Group to Speak at the National Safety Council

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  92. Trent Cotney P.A. Construction Law Group Offers Hurricane Support Legal Help Line

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  93. Why Unsafe Acts Happen in the Workplace

    Thousands of injuries occur in workplaces across the country every year. Whenever a worker punches in for the day at the construction site, a warehouse, or factory, they are at risk for an accident. (more…)

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  94. Viable Defenses for OSHA Citations

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    It’s enough that you received an unannounced visit from an OSHA inspector. What’s worse is when, a short time later, you received a letter confirming the violations that were mentioned in your closing conference. (more…)

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  95. 12 Unsafe Acts That Lead to Job Site Accidents Part 2

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    Recognizing the acts that lead to workplace accidents is one of the most important ways to mitigate risks and to keep everyone safe. It’s also a way to decrease the occurrence of an OSHA citation. If you are currently facing an OSHA claim, do not hesitate to consult with a Tennessee OSHA defense lawyer.

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  96. 12 Unsafe Acts That Lead to Job Site Accidents Part 1

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    If your company has invested the time and energy as well as countless dollars into implementing and training your teams on the proper safety procedures for your workplace, it can be frustrating when an accident happens despite the protocols you have in place. In this article and part two, we’ll take a look at 12 unsafe acts that happen on job sites.

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  97. What to Expect When OSHA Inspects

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    It’s a typical day at the plant. Workers are plugging along on a variety of tasks. You are overseeing their progress and preparing reports for senior management. (more…)

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  98. 6 Tips for Handling an OSHA Citation Part 2

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    An OSHA inspector has paid a visit to your jobsite. Despite your pleasant demeanor and, perhaps, the presence of a Texas OSHA attorney, you receive a citation. (more…)

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  99. 6 Tips for Handling an OSHA Citation Part 1

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    The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) uses education and enforcement to promote safe work environments for employees throughout the United States. (more…)

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  100. 10 Safety Violations That Occur the Most in Workplaces Across the Country

    Alabama OSHA Attorney Roofer
    After inspecting numerous workplaces across the United States, each year, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) releases a list identifying the 10 most cited violations encountered during inspections. Strikingly, these violations change little from year to year. Employers are admonished to scrutinize them more diligently in order to identify and fix them in their own workplaces to prevent unnecessary injuries, illnesses, and death. Below, our Alabama OSHA attorneys will discuss these violations, how to avoid them, and the repercussions for noncompliance.

    The 10 Most Frequently Cited OSHA Violations

    Although workplaces are much safer today than in the past, according to OSHA, more than 4,500 employees are killed on the job annually. The following standards are the most cited by federal OSHA inspectors.

    • Fall protection
    • Hazard communication
    • Scaffolding
    • Respiratory protection
    • Lockout/Tagout
    • Powered industrial trucks
    • Ladders
    • Machine guarding
    • Electrical wiring
    • Electrical/general requirements

    The Repercussions of Noncompliance

    Employers must always anticipate potential risks and be proactive when it comes to safety. Employers that do not heed OSHA safety and health standards place themselves at risk for employee reporting which leads to potential inspections and citations. If an employee becomes injured, they have the right to file a complaint and potentially recover damages. An Alabama OSHA defense attorney can assist employers with OSHA compliance to make their workplaces much safer.

    How to Avoid OSHA Violations

    Companies can avoid OSHA violations by establishing a workplace safety program. In particular, OSHA health and safety programs provide the blueprint for best workplace safety practices. The goal of these programs is to prevent injuries, illnesses, and deaths in the workplace along with the accompanying stress and financial hardship of these events. The benefits of safety and health programs include:

    • Prevention of workplace injuries and illnesses
    • A reduction in costs
    • More engaged workers
    • Increased productivity
    • More efficient business operations
    • Increased compliance with safety laws and regulations
    • Strengthening and achieving social responsibility goals

    For small and medium-sized businesses that need additional guidance on implementing workplace health and safety programs, OSHA offers free on-site consultations in states across the country.

    If you would like to speak with an experienced Alabama OSHA attorney, please contact us at 1-866-303-5868, or submit our contact request form.

    Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.

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