Archives: Health & Safety

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Health and Safety Sentencing in the UK: A Border Divide?

The Definitive Guideline for Health and Safety Offences, which came into force on 1 February 2016 (2015 Guideline), must be applied when sentencing cases in England and Wales. Being separate and distinct legal jurisdictions, the courts of Scotland and Northern Ireland are not bound to follow the 2015 Guideline. Historically, Scottish courts have still recognised … Continue Reading

UK Green Paper on Industrial Strategy: Environment Safety and Health Implications

The UK Government has published a Green Paper on Industrial Strategy, which identifies a number of challenges over the coming years, including: building on existing strengths and extending excellence into the future (with reference to the UK’s global reputation in industrial sectors – from automotive and aerospace to financial and professional services and the creative … Continue Reading

US Mine Safety & Health Administration’s Newly-Issued Workplace Examination Rule Withdrawn Pending OMB Review and Approval

In the final days of the Obama Administration, the US Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) released the much anticipated “Examinations of Working Places in Metal and Nonmetal Mines” final rule amending 30 CFR Sections 56.18002 and 57.18002.  The final rule was published in the Federal Register on January 23, 2017 with an effective date … Continue Reading

Asbestos-Containing Materials: A Non-Scope Consideration Worth Investigating During Environmental Due Diligence

A common question that arises when performing environmental due diligence on commercial real estate is the degree to which the presence of asbestos-containing materials (ACMs) should be investigated.  In the case of ACMs, “what you don’t know can hurt you” and, therefore, the old axiom of “less is more” does not apply.  This is especially true regarding asbestos not only … Continue Reading

Preparing for Revised Warning Requirements Under California Proposition 65

On August 30, 2016, the California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) adopted revised warning requirements under the Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986, commonly known as Proposition 65 and codified at California Health and Safety Code section 25249.5.  The new regulations take effect on August 30, 2018. Proposition 65 requires … Continue Reading

MSHA Releases “Safest Year in Mining History” Stats and Vows to Keep Inspector Boots on the Ground to Stave Off October’s “Deadliest Month” Trend

According to data released on October 11, 2016 by the US Department of Labor’s Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA), the fiscal year of 2016 was the “safest year in mining history.” Assistant Secretary of Labor for Mine Safety and Health, Joseph A. Main, announced at the National Mine Health and Safety Academy in Beaver, West Virginia that between … Continue Reading

What Duties Does a UK Employer Have in the Age of Rising Suicides?

In 2012, the UK Government published a strategy entitled “Preventing Suicide in England: A cross-governmental outcomes strategy to save lives”, and two further updates were published in 2014 and 2015.  In 2016, an inquiry was launched by England’s Health Committee to tackle an 8% increase in the suicide rate.  The issue of suicide is important to … Continue Reading

Health & Safety Retaliation Cases are Very Much Alive: Current Trends in OSHA and MSHA Whistleblower Laws and Regulations

What was recently a hot topic within the regulatory community, conversations about Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) and Mine Safety & Health Administration (MSHA) whistleblower, retaliation, and discrimination claims have seemingly fallen by the wayside.  But don’t be fooled.  Two recent developments demonstrate that these US Department of Labor agencies continue to find novel … Continue Reading

US Mine Safety and Health Administration Proposes New Workplace Examination Rule; Requests Information Regarding Exposure of Underground Miners to Diesel Exhaust

On June 8, 2016, the US Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) published the following two documents in the Federal Register, seeking information and comments from industry stakeholders: (1) a proposed rule addressing “Examinations of Working Places in Metal and Nonmetal Mines (MNM)”; and (2) a Request for Information (RFI) on “Exposure of Underground Miners to Diesel Exhaust.” … Continue Reading

When Allergens Go Wrong: UK Potential Penalties For Food Adulteration And Breach Of Food Information And Safety Laws

Penalties imposed by the courts in relation to the adulteration of food can be serious. The Guardian and other papers in the UK reported recently that an Indian restaurant owner has been imprisoned for manslaughter following the death of a customer who suffered an allergic reaction (a severe anaphylactic shock) in January 2014 after eating … Continue Reading

Taking The Field – Obligations On Employers Under The New UK Control Of Electromagnetic Fields At Work Regulations 2016

From next month, employers will be required to consider specifically the risks posed to their employees by electromagnetic fields (EMFs). What are EMFs? EMFs occur wherever a piece of electrical or electronic equipment is used, from an electric kettle or lap top computer through to an MRI scanner or satellite dish.  EMFs are likely, therefore, … Continue Reading

US Mine Safety and Health Administration Holds Stakeholders’ Meeting to Discuss Safety, Compliance, and Next Steps

On May 12, 2016, the US Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) held a stakeholders’ meeting entitled “Improving Compliance: Reemphasizing Rules to Live By and the Exam Rule.”  The meeting discussed the current status of safety and compliance in the mining industry and future plans that MSHA has for outreach and enforcement of safety standards.  Key points … Continue Reading

UK Sentencing Council: Further Consultation On New Guidelines for Guilty Plea Credit

In the wake of the UK’s more prescriptive approach towards sentencing adopted in the recent Definitive Sentencing Guidelines which came into force on 1 February 2016, the UK Sentencing Council has now turned its focus to the guidelines regarding the credit available for the entering of a guilty plea in criminal cases. The Sentencing Council … Continue Reading

New Allocation Guidelines in England and Wales Effective 1 March 2016

As England and Wales gear up for the new sentencing guidelines for health and safety offences coming into force on 1 February 2016 – which will drastically change the way health and safety offences are sentenced – companies should also be aware of a new, related legislative development.  On 10 December 2015, a new Allocation Definitive Guideline was published that will affect … Continue Reading

US Departments of Justice and Labor To Increase Criminal Prosecutions of Worker Safety Laws

On December 17, 2015, the US Departments of Labor (“DOL”) and Justice (“DOJ”) signed a memorandum of understanding in an effort to more effectively prosecute workplace safety crimes under the Occupational Safety and Health Act (“OSH Act”), the Mine Safety and Health Act (“Mine Act”), and the Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Worker Protection Act (“MSPA”).  … Continue Reading

Food Law Enforcement in the UK: Official Statistics 2014/2015 and Database of Prosecutions

Official Statistics 2014/2015  The Food Standards Agency (“FSA”) has today published official statistics for the year 2014/2015 on food law enforcement across the UK, compiled from information given to them by local authorities. The returns from local authorities cover food hygiene (microbiological quality and contamination of food by micro-organisms or foreign matter) and food standards … Continue Reading

New health and safety sentencing guidelines published today – Huge increase in fines in England and Wales expected to follow

The Sentencing Council published draft sentencing guidelines for health and safety, corporate manslaughter and food safety and hygiene offences on 13 November 2014. Following the closure of its consultation period on 18 February 2015, the Sentencing Council has today, 3 November 2015, published the new definitive guidelines along with supporting documents, including the response to … Continue Reading

Australian Operations Can Reduce OSH Penalties Through Compliance Audits

How can an occupational safety and health (OSH) legislative compliance audit, along with other steps, help companies avoid $1 million plus fines associated with OSH incidents? A recent Australian court decision revealed that an OSH audit along with a demonstrated commitment to improved workplace safety can reduce the penalty following an OSH incident to 3% … Continue Reading

Don’t Flush: New Rule for Hazardous Waste Pharmaceuticals Proposed for US Healthcare Facilities

Healthcare facilities take note: US EPA recently issued a proposed rule for outlining management and disposal standards for hazardous waste pharmaceuticals that are generated specifically by healthcare facilities. The proposed rule addresses the “regulation of the reverse distribution mechanism used by healthcare facilities for the management of unused and/or expired pharmaceuticals” and aims to “strengthen environmental … Continue Reading

Risky Business: Health and Safety in the UK Hotel Industry

There have been a significant number of cases reported in the press recently in relation to hotels that are being prosecuted for health and safety breaches. The increased visibility of such cases highlights a need for stronger emphasis on compliance within the industry. The reality of health and safety risks faced by the hotel industry … Continue Reading

UK Judicial Review of Official Veterinarian over Beef Carcase: Food Standards Agency Victory

On 2 July, the Administrative Court ruled in the Food Standard Agency’s (FSA’s) favour over a decision by an FSA veterinary contractor based at a slaughterhouse (following an inspection by a Meat Hygiene Inspector) to declare a beef carcase as unfit for human consumption [i]. The Association of Independent Meat Suppliers (AIMs) together with the … Continue Reading
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