Regardless of size or sector, all employers face challenges protecting the safety and health of their employees. Compliance with OSHA's numerous federal and state occupational safety and health standards and regulations can be a daunting task, especially in today's heightened regulatory environment.
Epstein Becker Green's OSHA attorneys are here to help. We have extensive, hands-on experience in all aspects of OSHA law at both the federal and state level, and can provide the full range of occupational safety and health law services to a diverse range of clients throughout the United States. Because we are one of the nation's preeminent labor and employment law firms, at the same time we provide counsel focused on specific safety and health matters, our clients can be confident that we will also identify and address any "big picture" implications of their OSHA issues.
Our Attorneys Know OSHA: Types of Matters That We Can Help With
- Accidents and Catastrophes
- Combustible Dust Explosions
- Grain Engulfment Accidents
- Major Construction Accidents
- Manufacturing Accidents
- Chemical and Petroleum Refining Fires, Explosions, and Other Accidents
- Multi-Agency Investigations (OSHA, CSB, EPA, MSHA, ATF, NTSB, etc.)
- Process Safety Management Citations
- Employee/Union Complaints
- Wall–to–Wall Inspections
- OSH Act Criminal Referrals and Prosecutions
- Recordkeeping Violations
- General Duty Clause Violations
- Inspections Under OSHA's Numerous National and Local Emphasis Programs
- Citations Issued Under OSHA's Multiemployer Enforcement Policy
- Issues Related to OSHA's Severe Violators Enforcement Policy
- Efforts to Achieve OSHA VPP Status
- Egregious and Substantial Enforcement Cases
- Citations Characterized as "Willful" or "Repeated"
- OSHA State Plan Inspections
- M&A Deal Due Diligence Issues Involving Safety and Health
- Representation of Employers and Industry Organizations in OSHA Rulemaking Proceedings
- Represent employers during inspections, investigations, and enforcement actions by OSHA, CSB, EPA, MSHA, ATF, NTSB, state and local environmental regulators, fire marshals, and other government entities.
- Respond to, and manage, investigations of catastrophic industrial, construction, manufacturing, and other workplace accidents, including explosions, collapses, and chemical releases.
- Handle high-profile OSH Act fatality criminal referrals; for example, resolved one such matter by way of a global settlement with the Department of Labor, the Department of Justice, and the family of an injured worker, which settlement included a "deferred prosecution agreement," the first of its kind in an OSHA matter.
- Handle all aspects of OSHA litigation, including appeals of OSHA citations and the negotiation of settlements that minimize the impact of enforcement actions on wrongful death and injury cases.
- Conduct workplace safety and health audits, injury, and illness recordkeeping audits, and safety and health training.
- Provide compliance counseling.
- Develop and implement safety and health programs and procedures.
- Represent employers and industry associations before OSHA rulemaking forums.
- Conduct safety and health due diligence for sales, mergers, and acquisitions.
Representative Matters by Industry
- Managed the on-site inspection under the PSM Covered Chemical Facilities National Emphasis Program of a high-profile chemical plant in West Virginia. A team of four compliance officers, including two PSM specialists from OSHA's Salt Lake City Technical Center, spent more than two full months scrutinizing every element of the PSM Standard at the facility, and, at the end of the process, we convinced OSHA not to issue any citations.
- Represented a specialty chemical manufacturer in multi-agency (OSHA, CSB, EPA, ATF, U.S. Coast Guard, and a state environmental regulator) investigations, inspections, and enforcement actions arising out of a catastrophic explosion in a reactor that resulted in two fatalities. OSHA's enforcement action was cut more than in half, and violations alleged by OSHA to be "Willful" and "Repeated" were withdrawn or re-characterized.
- Assisted petroleum refiners throughout the nation in preparing for, and defending, enforcement actions arising out of inspections under OSHA's Petroleum Refinery Process Safety Management National Emphasis Program.
- Managed inspections, investigations, and enforcement actions by OSHA, CSB, EPA, and the U.S. Attorney regarding a catastrophic storage tank explosion, a confined space nitrogen asphyxiation accident, and a PSM Program Quality Verification for an East Coast petroleum refinery.
- Managed a several month long wall-to-wall safety and health inspection of a weld and tire wire manufacturing facility in the Midwest that included important combustible dust, lead exposure program, and electrical safety issues.
- Conducted due diligence reviews, in which we identified key gaps in a Process Safety Management Program that resulted in substantial additional dollars transferring to our client in the overall structure of the deal.
Natural Gas & Electrical Power:
- Defended an oil and gas drilling specialist in an OSHA enforcement action arising out of a flash fire on a natural gas drilling rig in West Virginia involving the first alleged Flame Retardant Clothing PPE violation following OSHA's controversial 2010 FRC enforcement memorandum. After months of litigation with the Solicitor's office, achieved a settlement resulting in the elimination of 75 percent of the citation items and proposed penalties.
- Successfully represented a major electrical contractor in the Northeast in multiple electrocution accidents.
- Represented a construction general contractor in OSHA investigations of fatal construction accidents raising complex multiemployer worksite citation policy issues at Baltimore-Washington International Airport (no citations), the Pentagon (no citations), and Fort Meade (no citations).
- Managed numerous OSHA inspections, appeals of citations, and complex settlement negotiations following general construction, steel erection, and concrete shoring fatal accidents at construction projects throughout New York.
Health and Life Sciences:
- Managed multiagency investigations of one of the most significant combustible dust explosions in history, one that injured 42 employees, including six fatalities, at a facility in North Carolina (NC) manufacturing medical device systems. We established an on-site Command Center, coordinated the investigation of a team of forensic experts, and managed the investigations and inspections of federal OSHA, NC OSHA, CSB, EPA, DNR, ATF, FBI, SBI, the State Fire Marshal, insurance investigators for dozens of entities, and numerous plaintiffs' attorneys. Over 200 employee interviews were conducted and more than 200,000 pages of records were produced to various investigators. At the end of this high profile investigation, NC OSHA issued 88 citations with a $600,000 penalty, and we had 87 of the citation items withdrawn and the penalty reduced by 83 percent to a $100,000 donation to community organizations.
- Assisted a major health services provider in New York challenge a General Duty Clause Workplace Violence citation issued after a mental health care provider was attacked by a patient during an inpatient group therapy session.
- Defended a major grain and agronomy cooperative in a substantial OSHA enforcement action arising out of an engulfment accident, including convincing the U.S. Attorney's office not to bring a criminal charge under the OSH Act.
- Negotiated a substantial reduction in an NC OSHA enforcement action against a grain and feed manufacturer after a catastrophic grain elevator dust explosion.
- Assisted a hotel employer deal with safety and health complaints raised by a union in conjunction with ongoing labor negotiations.
- Helped a major national hotel chain resolve fire, electrical safety, and other citations arising out of a programmed inspection at a property in Chicago.
- Defended OSHA citations regarding blocked exits and exit routes and electrical safety issues.
- Represented a major national retail trade association in the rulemaking proceeding for OSHA's proposed injury and illness reporting rule.
National Breadth of Representation
Epstein Becker Green's skilled OSHA attorneys serve clients all over United States from offices in Washington, DC; New York; California; and Chicago.