Valerie Butera Quoted in “Chemical Employers to Face Tougher Worker Safety Penalties”

Chemical & Engineering News

Valerie Butera, a Member of the Firm in the Employment, Labor, and Workforce Management practice, in the firm’s Washington, DC, office, was quoted by Chemical & Engineering News, in “Chemical Employers to Face Tougher Worker Safety Penalties,” by Jyllian Kemsley.

Following is an excerpt:

This sort of prosecution won’t be confined to construction, attorney Butera says. “I think chemical employers have the potential to be most affected,” she says, because refineries and chemical manufacturing facilities are more likely to be vulnerable to environmental violations.

Butera notes that OSHA also recently introduced a new system for evaluating enforcement activity within the agency. It replaced counts of the number of inspections conducted.

In the new system, process safety management inspections and “significant cases” in which the assessed civil penalty is equal to or greater than $100,000 receive more credit than simpler inspections. Compliance officers, who conduct inspections, now have an incentive for ferreting out process safety management violations, Butera says.