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A member of Husch Blackwell’s Energy & Natural Resources group, Donna focuses on commercial and administrative litigation related to mine safety and occupational safety and health. She also assists clients in crisis management and strategic communications related to workplace health and safety issues.

 

Donna has extensive experience in the production of precious metals, aggregates, cement, industrial minerals, coal, salt, potash, phosphate, granite, limestone, and oil and gas. She combines her legal skills and government knowledge with her litigation prowess for clients facing complex problems.

On March 23, 2022, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) published a notice in the federal register announcing a limited re-opening of the comment period regarding OSHA’s final standard to protect healthcare and healthcare support service workers from occupational exposure to COVID-19. The comment period will end on April 22, 2022, and the virtual public hearing will be held on April 27, 2022. The Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) for Occupational Exposure to COVID-19 for  healthcare and healthcare support service workers (OSHA Healthcare ETS) was originally published on June 21, 2021. OSHA has re-opened the comment period to allow stakeholders to address changes the agency is considering that depart from the June 2021 version of the OSHA Healthcare ETS.
Continue Reading OSHA Re-opens Comment Period and Schedules Public Hearing on ETS – Occupational Exposure to COVID-19

This month, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued its Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) applicable to employers of 100 or more employees. The ETS requires employers to adopt a vaccine mandate obligating employees to either get vaccinated or to undergo regular COVID-19 testing.
Continue Reading Stay Prepared: Create Your Customized COVID-19 Policy

On June 9, 2021, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) released its long anticipated interim final rule and request for comments for the Occupational Exposure to COVID-19; Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS). OSHA released the ETS one day after the approval of the standard was received from the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, Office

As mandated by President Biden’s January 21 Executive Order, OSHA has announced a National Emphasis Program (NEP) designed to protect workers from contracting COVID-19.  On March 12, 2021, OSHA announced its new national emphasis program that targets high-risk establishments in high-risk industries for programmed inspections and provides a heightened focus on employers that retaliate against employees who report or complain about unsafe working environments. In conjunction with the NEP, OSHA also issued an updated Interim Enforcement Plan to provide guidance on the policies and procedures it will employ to reduce and eliminate the risk of transmission of COVID-19 in the workplace. The issuance of the NEP is a strong indication that OSHA enforcement activity will increase in the short term.
Continue Reading OSHA Enforcement Activity Relating to COVD-19 Exposures Expected to Increase Under New NEP and Updated Interim Enforcement Response Plan

Unfortunately, workplace violence is in the news every day.  OSHA is paying increasing attention to the workplace violence issue, particularly in the healthcare industry.  While there is no specific OSHA regulation addressing workplace violence, a recent decision supports OSHA’s use of the General Duty Clause in workplace violence cases in the healthcare industry.

In Secretary of Labor v. Integra Health Management, No 13-1124 (March 4, 2019), the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission (OSHRC) upheld a violation of the General Duty Clause when it found an employer did not adequately address workplace violence hazards.  In that case, the company employed “service coordinators” to help its clients obtain medical care.  Health insurers send the clients to Integra after reviewing claim histories to identify individuals who are not receiving appropriate care.  In this case, a service coordinator was assigned to visit a client at his home and that service coordinator made notes in her report that the client made her “uncomfortable” and detailed his strange behavior.  On a following visit to the client, the service coordinator was stabbed by the client nine times and died.
Continue Reading OSHA, Workplace Violence, and the Healthcare Industry