Wayne E. Pinkstone, Esq., a partner in Labor and Employment at Fox Rothschild, spoke to a packed house at the 2015 American College or Laboratory Animal Medicine (“ACLAM”) Forum titled “Update your Skill Set: Leadership & Management, Preclinical Models & Occupational Health,” held in New Orleans, LA, from May 3-6, 2015.

The objective of Wayne’s presentation was to provide an overview of OSHA, its regulations, enforcement practices and OSHA’s potential impact on the research work environment.

Compliance with Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) standards is becoming increasingly critical to facilities in which animals are bred, raised, and housed for food and fiber, entertainment, research, medical care or sale. On its website, OSHA includes guidelines for: Rescue of Animals (Dogs), Laboratory Safety – Working with Small Animals, Rodents, Snakes and InsectsHazards: Animal Handling and Farm Structures, Fur-Bearing Animals and Rabbits, and more.

Violating OSHA standards, even unintentionally can have riveting consequences. For example, OSHA essentially banned trainers from swimming with orca whales during performances at SeaWorld Entertainment’s marine parks across the country.

For every type of animal facility employers must provide a safe and healthy environment for their employees.

Wayne provided the ACLAM attendees: (i) an overview of relevant OSHA regulations; (ii) how to deal with and plan for an OSHA inspection; (iii) OSHA’s inspection process, procedures and priorities; (iv) responding to OSHA citations and penalties including engaging in OSHA’s informal conference process; (v) contesting OSHA citations and proposed penalties; (vi) OSHA’s enforcement priorities; and (vii) the potential impact of OSHA in the research work environment.

Background:

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 (the “Act”), the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“OSHA”) is authorized to conduct workplace inspections and investigations to determine whether employers are complying with standards issued by the agency for safe and healthy workplaces.

Who does OSHA apply to?

Federal standards cover private sector employers and employees in all 50 states and the District of Columbia

25 states have also approved safety and health plans, most are identical to the federal OSHA rules.

When is an injury work-related?

If an employee is injured or becomes ill because of a job-related activity or exposure, OSHA applies.

An injury or illness is work-related “if an event or exposure in the work environment either caused or contributed to the resulting condition or significantly aggravated a pre-existing injury or illness.”

Injuries and illnesses that occur while an employee is on travel status are work-related if, at the time of the injury or illness, the employee was engaged in work activities “in the interest of the employer.”

Wayne focuses his practice in labor and employment matters with significant experience in assisting in-house counsel, human resources executives and company officials in identifying and solving workplace legal issues, including matters involving OSHA and workplace safety.

Stay tuned for additional tips from Wayne.