Miller & Martin PLLC Alerts | December 11, 2015
by Mike Mallen
YOUR BAD SITUATION COULD ONLY GET WORSE: OSHA PLANS TO RAISE PENALTY AMOUNTS BY AS MUCH AS 80% - AND EVEN IF THEY DON’T, THE WORKPLACE HAZARDS YOU IGNORE MAY STILL RESULT IN INJURY, ILLNESS OR DEATH
"Gee, Sheriff, ain't this a mess?" "If it ain't, it'll do till the mess gets here." (Deputy to Sheriff (played by Tommy Lee Jones) in "No Country for Old Men")
In my 28 years practicing law and serving as in-house counsel to heavy manufacturers and contractors, I have routinely conducted industrial and construction site inspections and hazard assessments. Unfortunately, many of these inspections took place after a workplace injury, illness or death. The clients who requested inspections that were proactive and calculated to find and fix hazards before they caused "the mess" always seemed happier after the inspection.
As the New Year approaches and you think about year-end (and New Year) planning, I want to remind you to include risk and hazard assessments of your workplace facilities and job sites as part of these plans. The deficiencies and hazards you worry about at night are not going away on their own. NOW is the time to act!
Take the time to inspect your facilities and workplaces (or to hire someone to do so). Undertake thorough and appropriate hazard assessments, and utilize the talents and services of qualified workplace safety professionals to help you find "the mess" and fix it before "the real mess" arrives.
Do it NOW, before the bad thing happens.
OSHA often requires employers to perform workplace and job site hazard assessments pursuant to OSHA standards and under the General Duty Clause.
Every year of my practice at Miller & Martin has guaranteed me one unfortunate, yet predictable task. One or more times each year on average, I have the unfortunate privilege of meeting and representing a new client who has just seen one or more of his/her employees perish.
I have not met my 2016 fatality case yet, and I do not look forward to it. But it is almost certain to find me. Please do not let it be you. It will be a "mess."
Please contact Mike Mallen or any other member of our Workplace Safety Practice Group should you have any further questions in this area.