Category Archives: Resource Center

  1. Why Is Substance Abuse Plaguing the Construction Industry?

    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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  2. OSHA’s Final Rule Regarding Recordkeeping

    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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  3. Keeping Temporary Workers Safe

    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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  4. How OSHA Inspection Representation Helps Contractors Save Money

    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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  5. Understanding OSHA’s Inspection Priorities

    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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  6. OSHA Safety Inspections Using Drones

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

    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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  8. Classifying Different Types of OSHA Violations

    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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  9. 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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  10. 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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  11. Exploring the Characteristics of Suitable Training Programs with OSHA

    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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  12. Obtaining an OSHA 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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  13. 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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  14. Material Handling Injuries in Construction Part 1

    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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  15. Beryllium Standards and OSHA

    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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  16. Safety Tips Before Excavating at a Jobsite

    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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  17. Top 10 OSHA Violations of 2018 Part 2

    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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  18. Top 10 OSHA Violations of 2018 Part 1

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

    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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  20. Practice Caution When Cleaning Up After a Weather Disaster

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

    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.

    (more…)

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  22. Breaking Down the Distance of a Fall

    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.

    (more…)

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  23. Basic Safety Rules for Construction Professionals Part 1

    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.

    (more…)

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  24. 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.

    (more…)

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  25. 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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  26. 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.

    (more…)

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  27. 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?

    (more…)

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  28. 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.

    (more…)

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  29. 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.

    (more…)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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  34. Size Matters: What You Should Know About Megaprojects

    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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  35. 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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  36. 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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  37. How Poor Roadway Infrastructure Can Lead to an OSHA Violation During Redevelopment

    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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  38. 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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  39. Ways Technology Creates a Safer Workplace Part 1

    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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  40. 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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  41. 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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  42. What You Need To Know About Trench Safety

    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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  43. Three Ways to Reduce Injuries in the Workplace

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

    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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  45. Florida Companies Experience Severe OSHA Penalties in Early 2018

    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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  46. Workplace Violence and the Construction Industry Part 4

    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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  47. Workplace Violence and the Construction Industry Part 3

    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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  48. Workplace Violence and the Construction Industry Part 2

    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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  49. Workplace Violence and the Construction Industry Part 1

    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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  50. 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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  51. Effective Ways to Communicate Health and Safety Requirements Part 3

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

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

    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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  54. The Most Cited Safety Violations on Tennessee Construction Worksites

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

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

    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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  57. 3 Ways to Be Proactive About Fall Protection

    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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  58. 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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  59. 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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  60. 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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  61. Preventing Substance Abuse in the Workplace Part 1

    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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  62. 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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  63. 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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  64. Logical Tips to Prevent Safety Citations Part 2

    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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  65. Logical Tips to Prevent Safety Citations Part 1

    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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  66. The Importance of Safety Data Sheets for Hazard Standards

    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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  67. 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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  68. 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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  69. Unsafe Conditions and Acts That Lead to Roofing Accidents Part 1

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  70. Ongoing Housekeeping Tips to Stay OSHA Compliant Part 2

    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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  71. Ongoing Housekeeping Tips to Stay OSHA Compliant Part 1

    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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  72. 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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  73. Viable Defenses for OSHA Citations

    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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  74. 12 Unsafe Acts That Lead to Job Site Accidents Part 2

    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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  75. 12 Unsafe Acts That Lead to Job Site Accidents Part 1

    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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  76. What to Expect When OSHA Inspects

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  77. 6 Tips for Handling an OSHA Citation Part 2

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  78. 6 Tips for Handling an OSHA Citation Part 1

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  79. 10 Safety Violations That Occur the Most in Workplaces Across the Country

    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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