Posts in OSHA.
Blogs
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On May 3, 2023, Maryland Governor Wes Moore signed into law SB 828, which amends the state’s Family and Medical Leave Insurance Program (the “Program”) that was originally established in April 2022. As we previously reported, the Program generally provides eligible employees with 12 (but in some cases, 24) weeks of paid leave to be used for certain covered family and medical-related absences. The Program and SB 828’s amendments—which will take effect on June 1, 2023—are nuanced, so below are five significant updates from the new legislation for Maryland employers to consider.

Blogs
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On April 19, 2023, in Gulden v. Exxon Mobil Corp., a federal district judge in New Jersey concluded that federal courts lack subject matter jurisdiction to enforce preliminary orders to reinstate former employees under the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 (“SOX”).  In so doing, the district judge declined to enforce OSHA’s preliminary orders requiring ExxonMobil to reinstate two former employees to their jobs for the remainder of the agency’s investigation into the pair’s whistleblower complaint, reasoning that the statutory text only confers federal district courts authority to enforce final orders.  Gulden is a win for employers because it joins the growing chorus of federal district courts that have concluded that the Department of Labor may not force a company to preliminarily reinstate an alleged whistleblower before the Secretary of Labor’s final order. 

Blogs
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Some of the most notable recent mass shootings in the United States have been perpetrated by current or former employees in their workplaces.  For example, on April 10, 2023, an employee of a bank in Louisville, Kentucky, who had been notified that he was going to be terminated, shot and killed five bank employees and wounded many others who were attending a morning staff meeting.  In 2021, a Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority employee shot and killed nine of his fellow employees in a San Jose, California railyard.  In its publication, “Active Shooter Incidents in the United States in 2022”, the FBI reported that of the 50 active shooter incidents in the United States in 2022, 14 of them, comprising 28 percent of the total, occurred in “commerce” settings. 

Blogs
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The California Office of Administrative Law has approved the California Division of Occupational Health and Safety’s (Cal/OSHA) COVID-19 Prevention Non-Emergency Regulations (Non-Emergency Regulations). As a result, on February 3, 2023, Cal/OSHA’s COVID-19 Prevention Emergency Temporary Standards (ETS) expired, and the Non-Emergency Regulations went into effect.

Although extending many of the ETS requirements, as we previously reported, the Non-Emergency Regulations contain some notable changes. A redline comparing the Non-Emergency Regulations to the ETS is available here. Some important changes include:

Blogs
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For more than two and a half years, employers across the country have navigated a nuanced web of legal requirements and guidance to safely operate during the global COVID-19 pandemic.  Recent updates to the legal landscape at the federal, state, and local level, however, have left many employers asking: is the COVID-19 pandemic finally over? For now, the answer remains “no.” This post discusses three key reasons why employers should continue to operate with the pandemic in mind.

Blogs
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As featured in #WorkforceWednesday:  This week, we look at updated regulations in California and New York City and at the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL).

Blogs
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As featured in #WorkforceWednesday:  This week, we look at a range of developments shifting the enforcement approach across federal agencies and how employers can comply with these shifts.

Blogs
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On January 26, 2022, the City and County of San Francisco released an updated Health Order No. C19-07y (the “Updated Health Order”), which addresses a number of rules issued in an effort to combat continued spread of COVID-19, including changes in exemptions to the universal indoor mask mandate.  Specifically, effective February 1, 2022, the Updated Health Order renews a previously-suspended masking exemption for vaccinated workplaces, with a few significant changes.

First, under the revised mask exemption, only employees who are “Up to Date” on vaccination (see below for definition) may go unmasked in the workplace, assuming the other conditions for the exemption are met.  Other individuals must wear masks at all times, subject to limited exceptions (e.g., alone, while eating).  Further, consistent with the Cal/OSHA definition of an outbreak, this exemption only applies if there have been no outbreaks (currently defined as three or more COVID-19 cases in an “exposed group” within a 14-day period) in the past 30 days.

Blogs
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As featured in #WorkforceWednesday:  This week, we look at how state and local COVID-19 requirements and new COVID-19 benefits are shifting employers’ policies once again.

Blogs
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In connection with the new Emergency Temporary Standards (ETS) that went into effect on January 14, 2022, the California Division of Occupational Health and Safety (Cal/OSHA) has released the following COVID-19-related resources for employers:

Blogs
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As explained in greater detail by our colleague Stuart M. Gerson, the Supreme Court of the United States handed down two major, and quickly decided, rulings on January 13, 2022. After hearing oral arguments only six days earlier, the Court issued two unsigned decisions per curiam. A 5-4 decision in Biden v. Missouri dissolved a preliminary injunction against enforcement of an interim final rule (“Rule”) promulgated by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), requiring recipients of federal Medicare and Medicaid funding to ensure that their employees are vaccinated against COVID-19.

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Earlier this year, the New York State Workers' Compensation Board adopted amendments to the regulations for the New York Paid Family Leave Benefits Law clarifying that when Paid Family Leave (PFL) is taken intermittently, the maximum number of intermittent leave days an employee may take is based on the average number of days the employee works per week.

Blogs
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On December 27, 2021, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced an update to its isolation and quarantine guidance. Although the CDC’s update shortens both the isolation and quarantine periods, as described more fully below, the changes largely affect only asymptomatic individuals. Moreover, because local guidance may differ from the CDC’s recommendations, employers should keep in mind all applicable state and local requirements when deciding whether to amend their own rules.

Blogs
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On December 22, 2021, the New York Department of Labor (“DOL”) adopted rules (“Rules”) implementing the state’s sick leave law (NY Labor Law §196-b, or the “Sick Leave Law”), providing long-awaited clarification of the Sick Leave Law, which went into effect over a year ago on September 30, 2020. The Rules, codified as Section 196 to Title 12 of the NYCRR, were proposed on December 9, 2020, and adopted without change. In addition to providing definitions of terms used in the Sick Leave Law, the Rules address three topics: (i) documentation an employer may require to verify an employee’s eligibility to use sick leave; (ii) how to count the number of employees an employer has for the purposes of determining employees’ sick leave entitlement; and (iii) how to calculate an employee’s accrual of sick leave. In addition, the DOL’s response to public comments it received after the Rule was proposed, explain how carryover of accrued unused sick leave works.

Blogs
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On the evening of Wednesday, December 22, 2021, the Supreme Court of the United States announced that it will hold a special session on January 7, 2022, to hear oral argument in cases concerning whether two Biden administration vaccine mandates should be stayed. One is an interim final rule promulgated by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (“CMS”); the other is an Emergency Temporary Standard (“ETS”) issued by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“OSHA”).  The CMS interim final rule, presently stayed in 24 states, would require COVID-19 vaccination for staff employed at Medicare and Medicaid certified providers and suppliers. The OSHA ETS, which requires businesses with 100 or more employees to ensure that workers are vaccinated against the coronavirus or otherwise to undergo weekly COVID-19 testing, was allowed to take effect when a divided panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, to which the consolidated challenges had been assigned by the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation, issued a ruling on December 17, 2021, lifting a stay that had been previously entered by the Fifth Circuit. Multiple private sector litigants and states immediately challenged the decision.

Blogs
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On December 13, 2021, the California Department of Public Health (“CDPH”) announced new Guidance for the Use of Face Coverings (“CDPH Guidance”), implementing a mandatory mask mandate for individuals (employees and patrons) in all indoor public settings, irrespective of vaccination status, beginning on December 15, 2021 through at least January 15, 2022.  The CDPH Guidance requires that masks be worn by all individuals over the age of two, unless exempt for disability-related or medical condition-based reasons, and recommends the use of surgical masks or higher-level respirators.

FAQs issued by the CDPH specify that the CDPH Guidance applies to workplaces, and clarify that local public health regulations remain in effect for localities that have previously adopted face covering measures prior to issuance of the CDPH Guidance that apply regardless of vaccination status. That is, the CDPH Guidance only applies to local health jurisdictions that do not have existing indoor masking requirements.  Notably, the San Francisco Department of Public Health (“SFDPH”) has taken the position, in its updated Order and FAQs, that its own masking rules remain in place—including exemptions for “stable cohorts” with 100% vaccination rates, among other criteria.  Marin County and Contra Costa County have taken similar positions regarding the applicability of local health order mask exceptions.  It remains unclear whether local mask exceptions apply given the CDPH Guidance masking rules.

Blogs
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As featured in #WorkforceWednesday This week, we look at the status of the federal government’s COVID-19 vaccine rules for employers and the COVID-19 vaccine mandates in New York State and City.

Blogs
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As we previously reported, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ (CMS) interim final rule (“the Rule”) requiring full COVID-19 vaccination for staff and others at Medicare- and Medicaid-certified providers and suppliers (i.e., the “vaccine mandate”) has been challenged in the U.S. District Courts for the Eastern District of Missouri (“the Missouri Court”) and the Western District of Louisiana, Monroe Division (“the Louisiana Court”).  As of the date of this writing, both Courts have granted preliminary injunctions placing the Rule on hold.

On November 29, 2021, the Missouri Court granted a preliminary injunction of the Rule, which applies to the coalition of ten states [1] that filed the challenge there. The following day, the Louisiana Court entered a similar injunction, which applies to the remaining forty states.

The Decisions

Blogs
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As featured in #WorkforceWednesday:  This week, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA’s) vaccine emergency temporary standard (ETS) is currently in the hands of the Sixth Circuit, while New York employers have several updates to look out for in 2022.

Blogs
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As featured in #WorkforceWednesdayThis week, we look at the next steps large employers and health care providers need to take to comply with vaccine mandate rules applicable to their organizations.

Blogs
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On Friday, November 12, 2021, a panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit issued a strongly worded decision granting a motion to prevent the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) from implementing or enforcing the Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) that went into effect on November 5, 2021. Among other things, the ETS mandates that employers with 100 or more employees require that their workers be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or submit to precautions like regular testing and using face coverings. However, the Fifth Circuit ordered OSHA to take no action to implement or enforce the ETS until further court order.

Blogs
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As featured in #WorkforceWednesday: This week, the Biden administration has finally released the COVID-19 vaccine mandate rules for employers with 100 or more employees, and the challenges started right away.

Employers Face December, January Vaccine ETS Deadlines

On November 4, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) released its much-anticipated Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS). The ETS covers COVID-19 vaccine, testing, and related requirements for most employers with at least 100 employees. Attorneys Bob O’Hara and Nancy Popper discuss how ...

Blogs
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As we previously reported, effective November 5, 2021, the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) issued an Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) requiring employers with 100 or more employees to ensure that covered employees are fully vaccinated or provide a negative COVID-19 test at least weekly.

On November 6, 2021, just one day after the OSHA ETS became effective, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit temporarily stayed the regulation in a case captioned BST Holdings, LLC v. OSHA. Inasmuch as the OSHA rule’s first milestones are December 5, when most ...

Blogs
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As featured in #WorkforceWednesday:  This week, government agencies at both the federal and state level are preparing for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA’s) vaccine emergency temporary standard (ETS).

Employer Anticipation Builds for OSHA ETS

All eyes are on DC as the wait continues for OSHA’s COVID-19 Vaccination and Testing ETS, for employers with 100 or more employees. Last week, the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) held more than 100 meetings with stakeholders to aid in its review of OSHA’s proposed ETS. OIRA completed ...

Blogs
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As featured in #WorkforceWednesday:  This week, we review the status of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA’s) emergency temporary standard (ETS) requiring employers to mandate vaccines.

Employers Await White House Decision on OSHA ETS

Last week, OSHA sent to the White House its draft emergency temporary standard, which will require employers with 100 or more employees to ensure that their employees are vaccinated or provide a negative COVID test at least weekly. The Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs will now review OSHA’s ETS, holding ...

Blogs
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On September 9, 2021, President Biden announced that his Administration is implementing a six-pronged, comprehensive national strategy to ensure that all available tools are being used to combat COVID-19.  The plan addresses: (1) vaccinating the unvaccinated; (2) further protecting the vaccinated; (3) keeping schools safely open; (4) increasing testing and requiring masking; (5) protecting the economic recovery; and (6) improving care for those with COVID-19.  The first strategy is germane to employers.

Vaccinating the Unvaccinated – To accomplish this, the U.S ...

Blogs
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President Biden’s $6 trillion 2022 budget proposal focuses on worker protections—including the American Jobs Plan and the American Families Plan. Both of these plans contain labor and numerous employment initiatives. The budget proposes increased funding for the Department of Labor (“DOL”), the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”), and the National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB” or “Board”).

The 2022 budget calls for $2.1 billion, an increase of $304 million, in DOL’s worker protection agencies. Over the past four years, those agencies ...

Blogs
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As we previously reported, on June 9, 2021, the California Occupational Safety and Health (“Cal/OSHA”) Standards Board (“the Board”) withdrew its prior proposed revisions to the Division of Occupational Safety and Health’s (Cal/OSHA) COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standards (“ETS”), effectively returning to the original ETS approved in November 2020.  A week later, however, on June 17, 2021, the Board approved revisions to the ETS (“Revised ETS”) which, among other things, align with current guidance from the California Department of Public Health ...

Blogs
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It has been an active week in California with the release of new statewide face covering guidance, the alignment of Los Angeles County and San Francisco with this guidance, and the withdrawal of the revised Cal/OSHA Prevention Emergency Temporary Standards by the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board (the “Board”).

Of most importance, covered employers and workplaces must continue to comply with the more restrictive original Cal/OSHA COVID-19 Prevention Emergency Temporary Standards (ETS) that have been in place since November 2020, not

Blogs
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As featured in #WorkforceWednesday:  This week, employers continue waiting on OSHA's COVID-19 emergency temporary standard as retaliation claims rise.

Video: YouTubeVimeo.

Blogs
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As featured in #WorkforceWednesday: This week on our special podcast series, Employers and the New Administration, employers await action from two agencies: the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Guest attorney Bob O’Hara discusses the regulatory actions employers should anticipate. Attorney David Garland leads the conversation.

Employers and the New Administration is a special podcast series from Employment Law This Week®, with analysis of the Biden administration’s first 100 days ...

Blogs
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President Biden’s January 21, 2021 Executive Order (EO) on COVID-19 tasked the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to: launch a national enforcement program, review and correct any shortcomings in their prior enforcement strategies and to determine whether any Emergency Temporary Standards (ETS) were necessary and, if so, to issue an ETS by March 15, 2021.  The prior Administration had not issued an ETS, and was severely criticized by the Congress and labor unions.

On March 12, 2021, OSHA fulfilled some of the EO directives by publishing two COVID-19 ...

Blogs
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As featured in #WorkforceWednesday:  In the past week, regulatory withdrawals, rollbacks, or new proposed rules are impacting everything from COVID-19 vaccine incentives to joint-employer status.

Blogs
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As featured in #WorkforceWednesday: This week, we look at updated safety and mask guidance and the top workplace regulations the Biden administration has rolled back.

Video: YouTubeVimeo.

Blogs
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On January 21, 2021, in an effort to provide enforcement of more stringent worker safety standards, President Biden issued an Executive Order (‘EO”) on Protecting Worker Health and Safety. The EO specifically orders the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“OSHA”) of the Department of Labor to:

  1. issue, within two weeks of the date of the EO, revised guidance to employers on workplace safety during the COVID-19 pandemic;
  2. consider whether any emergency temporary standards on COVID-19, including with respect to masks in the workplace, are necessary, and if such ...
Blogs
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On January 14, 2021, President-elect Joe Biden released his $1.9 trillion emergency stimulus plan, designed primarily to guide the country through the next medical and economic stages of the COVID-19 pandemic.  The American Rescue Plan (“ARP”) also includes non-COVID-19 related proposals, such as a mandatory $15 per hour minimum wage and funding to improve cybersecurity.

The following is a non-comprehensive overview of the ARP, which will require Congressional legislative passage.

Blogs
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As COVID-19 cases continue to rise across the nation, the District of Columbia, Maryland, and Virginia all recently have implemented additional mitigation measures that impact business operations.  Below is a summary of the key restrictions of which businesses within the DMV should be aware.

District of Columbia

The District of Columbia maintains a compilation of Phase Two Guidance to assist all businesses in reopening (or staying open) responsibly.  Recently, on November 6, 2020, Mayor Muriel Bowser issued Mayor’s Order 2020-110, which modifies previous quarantine ...

Blogs
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The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“OSHA”) recently updated its COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions (“FAQ”) regarding employers’ reporting obligations during the COVID-19 pandemic.

As previously reported, effective as of May 26, 2020, OSHA has declared COVID-19 a recordable illness for all employers.  Thus, employers are responsible for recording workplace cases of COVID-19 on a OSHA 300 Log if the case:  (1) is confirmed COVID-19, as defined by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (“CDC”); (2) is ...

Blogs
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As featured in #WorkforceWednesday: The latest FAQs from OSHA recommend wearing face masks, among other suggestions, for employees returning to work. Attorney Robert J. O'Hara discusses the significance of OSHA’s decision to issue recommendations, rather than guidance, and how rules on face masks in the office may differ at the state and local levels.

Video: YouTubeVimeoMP4.

Blogs
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On May 19, 2020, the U.S. Department of Labor issued two COVID-19 related Enforcement Memos to provide updated guidance to OSHA investigators: (1) Revised Enforcement Guidance for Recording Cases of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) (“Revised Recordkeeping Guidance”), which reinstates  employers’ recordkeeping obligations for COVID-19 cases (29 CFR Part 1904) and (2) Updated Interim Enforcement Response Plan for Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)  (“Updated Enforcement Response Plan Guidance”), which generally returns to  pre-COVID investigation ...

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On April 13, 2020, the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (“OSHA”) of the U.S. Department of Labor (“DOL”) issued an industry-specific alert for the package delivery industry during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The alert provides guidance tailored to the package delivery industry, but it is equally useful for any company using its own employees to deliver goods to customers or clients.

OSHA recommends the following:

  • Encourage workers to stay home if they are sick.
  • Establish flexible work hours (e.g., staggered shifts) where feasible.
  • Practice sensible social ...
Blogs
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On April 13, 2020, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (‘OSHA”) of the U.S. Department of Labor issued a guidance memorandum (“Memorandum”) to its Area Offices and compliance safety and health officers for handling COVID-19 referrals, complaints, and severe illness reports.

The Memorandum articulates the procedures OSHA will use to prioritize enforcement responses, and details measures for protecting OSHA employees from the workplace hazard of SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2), i.e., the virus causing the current ...

Blogs
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As we previously reported in our “Summary of OSHA Guidance on Preparing Workplaces for COVID-19,” the U.S. Department of Labor (“DOL”) has provided detailed directions for employers with respect to ensuring an OSHA-compliant workplace during the COVID-19 pandemic.  On April 10, 2020, the DOL issued a memorandum providing interim guidance on enforcement of OSHA’s recordkeeping requirements (29 CFR Part 1904) as they relate to recording cases of COVID-19. The memorandum, which is “intended to be time-limited to the current public health crisis,” became effective ...

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USCIS Completes the Initial Selection Process

On April 1, 2020, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (‘USCIS”) announced that the initial selection of H-1B cap-subject registrations for fiscal year (“FY”) 2021 was completed. Petitioners who electronically registered beneficiaries in the H-1B registration process and were selected through the random selection process may file their H-1B cap petition within the period indicated on the relevant registration selection notice. The filing period for the H-1B cap-subject petition will be at least 90 days

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As featured in #WorkforceWednesday:  Last week, Congress passed and President Trump signed the CARES Act, a $2+ trillion stimulus law, which is the largest stimulus in U.S. history. Attorney Paul DeCamp discusses how this law could benefit certain employers during this unprecedented time in the following video interview.

Video: YouTubeVimeoMP4Instagram.

Blogs
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As featured in #WorkforceWednesday:  In the event the coronavirus spreads drastically, many employers will want to implement mandatory work-from-home policies. Employers should consider various aspects of the Fair Labor Standards Act when crafting these policies. Attorney Jeffrey H. Ruzal explains best practices in the following video interview. See also his recent post on the Wage and Hour Defense Blog. 


Video: YouTubeVimeoMP4Instagram.

Blogs
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Following are the top stories featured in this week's #WorkforceWednesday, from Employment Law This Week:

Employee Travel and the Coronavirus

The threat of COVID-19 is growing, and U.S. companies are on high alert. International travel by employees is an area of particular concern to employers. For more, check out our resource center at https://www.ebglaw.com/coronavirus.

NLRB Joint-Employment Rule to Take Effect

The National Labor Relations Board ...

Blogs
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We are pleased to present Workforce Bulletin, the newest blog from law firm Epstein Becker Green (EBG). We've combined a decade of posts from five of the firm's well-regarded blogs, spanning employment law topics impacting employers in a range of industries and areas, including financial services, hospitality, OSHA, retail, technology, and more.

Workforce Bulletin will feature thought leadership from EBG attorneys on cutting-edge issues, such as sexual harassment, diversity and inclusion, pay equity, artificial intelligence in the workplace, cybersecurity, and the impact ...

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In our new Advisory, "Responding to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Outbreak: Update on Best Practices for Employers," we review significant developments since our January 30th Advisory.

Following is the "What Employers Should Do Now" section of the new Advisory:

  • Appoint a single individual or department as the point of contact within your organization for questions about Coronavirus and to ensure a coordinated and consistent response to all inquiries.
  • Provide updated information to employees about the symptoms of COVID-19 and affected areas.
  • Educate supervisors on the ...
Blogs
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A Trending News video featured in #WorkforceWednesday: Last week, government agencies released several different coronavirus guidance documents for employers:

Blogs
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A Trending News video featured in #WorkforceWednesday:  According to The New York Times, over 200 executives have been ousted since 2017, leaving some wondering – is #MeToo over? Far from it.

This dynamic, macro-equity movement has led to numerous workplace regulations that encompass broader pay equity and diversity and inclusion efforts. Privileged pay equity audits are one proactive tool.

Blogs
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On July 30, 2018, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“OSHA”) published a notice of proposed rulemaking aimed at rolling back electronic reporting requirements that were implemented under a rule issued during the Obama administration (“Electronic Reporting Rule”). The Electronic Reporting Rule required employers with 250 or more employees, as well as employers in high risk industries, to electronically submit OSHA Form 300A (annual summary of work-related injuries and illnesses) by the end of 2017, and OSHA Forms 300 (log of injuries and illnesses ...

Blogs
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This week’s top story on Employment Law This Week: The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“OSHA”) plans to roll back a controversial reporting rule initiated at the end of the Obama administration.

OSHA has proposed rescinding parts of a 2017 rule that requires companies with 250 or more employees to submit detailed reports on workplace injuries. OSHA says this move would protect employee privacy and reduce the burden for employers. Three organizations have filed suit over the proposed changes, saying that the data from the detailed reports helps improve ...

Blogs
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Our colleagues, , at Epstein Becker Green, has a post on the Health Employment and Labor blog that will be of interest to many of our readers: “Healing the Healers: Preventing Workplace Violence in Health Care Settings.”

Following is an excerpt:

On April 17, the Joint Commission—a nonprofit organization that provides accreditations to health care organizations—issued a list of seven steps hospitals should take to improve safety and reduce the risk of workplace violence perpetrated by employees, patients, and visitors. While the ...

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Our colleagues, , at Epstein Becker Green, has a post on the Health Employment and Labor blog that will be of interest to many of our readers: “Workplace Violence Prevention Plans Now Mandatory for California Hospitals and Skilled Nursing Facilities.”

Following is an excerpt:

With the passage of A.B. 30, California became the first state to require all acute-care hospitals and skilled-nursing facilities to develop and implement comprehensive workplace violence prevention plans. After years of wrangling with California’s ...

Blogs
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Our colleague Steven M. Swirsky, a Member of the Firm at Epstein Becker Green, has a post on the Management Memo blog that will be of interest to many of our readers in the retail industry: “OSHA Withdraws 'Fairfax Memo' – Union Representatives May No Longer Participate in Work Place Safety Walkarounds at Non-Union Facilities.”

Following is an excerpt:

On April 25, 2017, Dorothy Dougherty, Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“OSHA”) and Thomas Galassi, Director of OSHA’s Directorate of Enforcement Programs, issued a ...

Blogs
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As we reported last week, the U.S. District Court refused to dismiss a challenge to OSHA’s controversial 2013 Fairfax Memorandum, which allowed for the participation of union representatives in OSHA safety inspections at workplaces where the union did not represent the workers. We asked at the time whether the Trump Administration would continue to defend that change in policy. This week, we saw the first concrete evidence suggesting that OSHA is at least reconsidering and may at a minimum drop its defense of the practice.

On Monday February 13th, OSHA filed an Unopposed Motion For ...

Blogs
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United States District Court in Texas has refused to dismiss a law suit challenging OSHA’s practice of allowing union representatives and organizers to serve as “employee representatives” in inspections of non-union worksites. If the Court ultimately sustains the plaintiff’s claims, unions will lose another often valuable organizing tool that has provided them with visibility and access to employees in connection with organizing campaigns.

The National Federation of Independent Business (‘NFIB”) filed suit to challenge an OSHA Standard Interpretation ...

Blogs
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A United States District Court in Texas has refused to dismiss a law suit challenging OSHA’s practice of allowing union representatives and organizers to serve as “employee representatives” in inspections of non-union worksites. If the Court ultimately sustains the plaintiff’s claims, unions will lose another often valuable organizing tool that has provided them with visibility and access to employees in connection with organizing campaigns.

The National Federation of Independent Business (‘NFIB”) filed suit to challenge an OSHA Standard Interpretation ...

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On January 13, 2017, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“OSHA”) issued non-binding recommendations to aid employers with creating new or improving existing workplace anti-retaliation programs.  OSHA’s recommendations apply to all public and private employers that are subject to the 22 whistleblower protection statutes that OSHA enforces.[1]

Under the various federal whistleblowing protection statutes, employers are prohibited from retaliating against employees who report or raise concerns about workplace health and safety issues. OSHA ...

Blogs
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On December 19, 2016, the Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“OSHA”) issued a final rule amending its record keeping regulations, located at 29 C.F.R. Part 1904. The Amendment clarifies that a covered employer has an on-going obligation to create and maintain accurate records of recordable work-place injuries and illnesses. It did so in response to the decision in AKM LLC v. Secretary of Labor, 675 F.3d 752 (D.C. Cir. 2012).

The Occupational Safety and Health Act (“Act”) requires covered employers to create and preserve records of ...

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Featured on Employment Law This Week: The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has issued a final rule for handling retaliation under the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

The ACA prohibits employers from retaliating against employees for receiving Marketplace financial assistance when purchasing health insurance through an Exchange. The ACA also protects employees from retaliation for raising concerns regarding conduct that they believe violates the consumer protections and health insurance reforms in the ACA. OSHA’s new final rule establishes procedures ...

Blogs
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Complying with employment law has become increasingly difficult given that various states and municipalities have passed legislation that seemingly contradicts federal guidance.[1] One state law that has been in the spotlight is North Carolina’s House Bill 2, the “Public Facilities Privacy and Security Act” (“HB2”), which was passed in an emergency legislative session on March 23, 2016, to overturn a local ordinance that was set to extend anti-discrimination protections to lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (“LGBT”) individuals and would have allowed ...

Blogs
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On May 12, 2016, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“OSHA”) published its long-awaited electronic recordkeeping rule (“final rule”). The final rule creates numerous new recordkeeping obligations and additional administrative burdens for hospitality and other employers. Many employers will now be required to submit injury and illness information to OSHA electronically. OSHA will then attempt to remove identifying information from the records and publish them on a searchable database on its website. The final rule also includes several new ...

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Our colleague Valerie Butera, a Member of the Firm at Epstein Becker Green, has a post on the OSHA Law Update blog that will be of interest to many of our readers in the financial services industry: “OSHA’s New Electronic Recordkeeping Rule Creates a Number of New Pitfalls for Employers.”

Following is an excerpt:

On May 12, 2016, OSHA published significant amendments to its recordkeeping rule, requiring many employers to submit work-related injury and illness information to the agency electronically.  The amendments also include provisions designed to prevent employers ...

Blogs
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Our colleague Valerie Butera, a Member of the Firm at Epstein Becker Green, has a post on the OSHA Law Update blog that will be of interest to many of our readers in the retail industry: “OSHA’s New Electronic Recordkeeping Rule Creates a Number of New Pitfalls for Employers.”

Following is an excerpt:

On May 12, 2016, OSHA published significant amendments to its recordkeeping rule, requiring many employers to submit work-related injury and illness information to the agency electronically.  The amendments also include provisions designed to prevent employers from ...

Blogs
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Our colleague Valerie Butera, a Member of the Firm at Epstein Becker Green, has a post on the OSHA Law Update blog that will be of interest to many of our readers in the hospitality industry: “OSHA’s New Electronic Recordkeeping Rule Creates a Number of New Pitfalls for Employers.”

Following is an excerpt:

On May 12, 2016, OSHA published significant amendments to its recordkeeping rule, requiring many employers to submit work-related injury and illness information to the agency electronically.  The amendments also include provisions designed to prevent employers from ...

Blogs
Clock 3 minute read

On May 12, 2016, OSHA published significant amendments to its recordkeeping rule, requiring many employers to submit work-related injury and illness information to the agency electronically.  The amendments also include provisions designed to prevent employers from retaliating against employees for reporting injuries and illnesses at work.  The information employers provide will be “scrubbed” of personally identifiable information and published on OSHA’s website in a searchable format.

The Basics

Every workplace with 250 or more employees will be required to ...

Blogs
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The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health issued interim guidance on April 10, 2016, for protecting outdoor workers who may be exposed on the job to mosquitos and healthcare and laboratory workers exposed on the job to body fluids of individuals infected with Zika virus.  Although the guidance is not a standard or regulation, employers should be mindful that OSHA can always issue citations under the General Duty Clause (OSHA’s catch all provision requiring all employers to provide employees with safe ...

Blogs
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Epstein Becker Green's Valerie Butera was one of sixteen legal professionals  interviewed to provide a tip for Intelivert’s recent article titled “16 Legal Tips: Handling OSHA Citations the Right Way” (Intelivert, 2016).

The article notes that the lawyers weighed in with “simple, actionable tips that can help you craft your legal strategy and directly affect the outcome of your OSHA interaction.”

FINE INCREASES AND CRIMINAL PROSECUTIONS

Ms. Butera’s tip focuses on recent increases in OSHA fines and criminal prosecutions. She explains that “now more than ever ...

Blogs
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On January 1, 2015, OSHA rolled out its Severe Injury Reporting Program, requiring all employers to report to OSHA within 24 hours any work-related amputations, inpatient hospitalizations, or loss of an eye.  The long standing requirement to report work-related fatalities to OSHA within 8 hours also remains in place.

According to a report issued by OSHA on January 17, 2016 evaluating the impact of the new reporting requirements, before the requirements were established, compliance officers were often dispatched to inspect a fatality in the workplace, only to discover a history of ...

Blogs
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[caption id="" align="alignright" width="120"] Valerie Butera[/caption]

In a recently updated directive to Regional Administrators and State Plan Designees from Dr. David Michaels, Assistant Secretary of Labor for OSHA, the categories of small businesses exempt from programmed health and safety inspections changed.

This exemption applies to workplaces with 10 or fewer workers who perform work in industries OSHA deems low hazard.  OSHA identifies low hazard industries by studying the most recent results of mandatory surveys sent to employers in countless industries by the ...

Blogs
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One of the featured stories on Employment Law This Week – Epstein Becker Green’s new video program – is the Eleventh Circuit decision limiting the supervisory misconduct defense against OSHA citations.

At a construction worksite, a supervisor and his subordinate from Quinlan Enterprises were found working on a 15 foot wall without fall protection or a secure ladder. The company was held responsible for the OSHA violation, because, in most cases, a supervisor’s knowledge of a violation is imputed to the employer. Quinlan appealed citing the Eleventh Circuit’s Comtran ...

Blogs
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One of the featured stories on Employment Law This Week – Epstein Becker Green’s new video program – is that in a year when OSHA penalties are already set to increase, a new enforcement initiative is putting pressure on companies to make sure they’re compliant.

The Department of Justice and the Department of Labor have teamed up to encourage federal prosecutors to pursue OSHA and other worker safety violations as environmental crimes. These crimes can be charged as felonies, while OSHA violations are considered misdemeanors. The initiative will facilitate the sharing of ...

Blogs
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To establish that an OSHA regulation has been violated, the Secretary must prove that: (1) the regulation applied; (2) it was violated; (3) an employee was exposed to the hazard that was created; and (4) the employer knowingly disregarded the OSH Act’s requirements.  The general rule has been that the knowledge of a supervisor is imputed to the employer – so if the supervisor knew or should have known of the violation, his knowledge is imputed to the employer and the Secretary can use this fact to show that the employer had knowledge of the violation.

The Court of Appeals for the Eleventh ...

Blogs
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After a year of OSHA’s promises that an online form for reporting work-related fatalities and severe workplace injuries was “coming soon,” the agency finally unveiled the form on its website on December 24, 2015.  The online form is one of three options that employers can use to fulfill updated fatality and severe injury reporting requirements, which went into effect on January 1, 2015 (see related story).  Employers also have the options of calling the OSHA office nearest to their worksite or calling the OSHA 24-hour hotline at 1-800-321-6742 (OSHA) to make a report.

The updated ...

Blogs
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Since OSHA’s revised fatality and severe injury reporting rule went into effect on January 1, 2015 (see related story), employers have been deeply concerned that the agency would use information contained in Rapid Response Investigation Reports (RRIs) -- required by OSHA in response to approximately 50% of the reports made this year -- as the basis for issuing citations and fines.  This concern stems from the fact that when OSHA finds an employer’s RRI unsatisfactory, such as where the employer merely blames the victim or fails to provide what the agency determines is an adequate ...

Blogs
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As our regular readers know, I was recently interviewed on our firm's new video program, Employment Law This Week.  The show has now released "bonus footage" from that episode – see below!

In the interview, I elaborate on my recent post, “Employers Beware: OSHA Fines Are on the Rise for the First Time in Twenty-Five Years.”

Thanks for watching – I'd love to know if you have any questions. (And what you think about these videos!)

 

[embed]https://youtu.be/uQxHsNG0bQE?list=PLi4sj4jEe5heNkhVnjMTh94ipZhPPpMVh[/embed]

Blogs
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Employment Law This Week – Epstein Becker Green’s new video program – has an interview with attorney Valerie Butera, editor of this blog, on OSHA's first fine increases in 25 years.

Under a new bipartisan budget bill, OSHA civil penalties will rise next year to reflect the difference between the Consumer Price Index in 1990 and in 2015 - an increase of as much as 82%. After this "catch up" adjustment, the fines will keep pace with inflation moving forward. Valerie describes how employers can boost their safety programs and avoid OSHA citations.

See below to view the ...

Blogs
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OSHA has been unable to increase the civil penalties it can impose when an employer is cited for a violation since 1990.  But that is all about to change.  Hidden within the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015, signed by President Obama on November 2, 2015, is a provision requiring OSHA to significantly increase its civil penalties.  A one-time “Catch Up Adjustment” will be based on the percentage difference between the Consumer Price Index in October 2015 (to be released later this month) and October 1990 – resulting in a penalty increase of approximately 80%.  This means that the $7,000 cap ...

Blogs
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In one of the news stories on Employment Law This Week - Epstein Becker Green's new video program - EBG attorney George Whipple details OSHA’s recently increased focus on the health care and nursing care industries. The agency’s fines have historically been very low, but recently OSHA cited medical patient transportation company LifeFleet for several violations totaling more than $235,000. See below to view the episode or read more about how to stay compliant and avoid heavy fines.

Blogs
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The Ebola outbreak of October 2014 and the infection of health care workers treating infected patients in the United States  dominated the headlines and frightened the nation.  One year later, training and preparation for the next Ebola is fragmented and some nurses feel unprepared for the next pandemic disease.  The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) designated a system of 55 hospitals nationwide to manage suspected Ebola cases, but all hospitals have the potential to encounter a patient infected with Ebola or other pandemic disease, just as Texas Health Presbyterian ...

Blogs
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The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) last week issued its decision in Browning Ferris Industries (pdf) adopting new standards for determining when a company will be held to be the joint employer of another company’s employees, whether they are leased, temporaries or providing services under their primary employer’s contracts with customers.  My colleagues Allen B. Roberts, Steven M. Swirsky and D. Martin Stanberry explore the new standards and what they mean for employers  in an article published on Epstein Becker Green’s Management Memo.

While the Occupational ...

Blogs
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The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“OSHA”) recently intensified its scrutiny of the health care and nursing care industries. On June 25, 2015, the agency announced a new enforcement initiative targeting inpatient health care and nursing care facilities. But this increased scrutiny of the health care and nursing care industries does not end there—OSHA is spreading its enforcement reach to other types of health care entities.

Recently, OSHA cited LifeFleet LLC, an Ohio medical patient transportation company, for training shortfalls and bloodborne ...

Blogs
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OSHA enforces the whistleblower provisions of 22 separate statutes.  The number of retaliation claims filed under the various statutes has risen steadily each year and the cost of investigating them has placed a tremendous strain on OSHA’s fiscal and physical resources.  Searching for a way to reduce the costly and time consuming process of an investigation and litigation, OSHA conducted pilot Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) programs in two of its regions from October 2012 to September 2013.  The pilot programs were well received by employers and whistleblowers alike ...

Blogs
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As previously discussed, OSHA has been carefully scrutinizing the health care industry lately.  And on June 25, 2015, OSHA officially introduced a new compliance nightmare for the inpatient health care and nursing home industries by announcing the details of the agency’s new health care enforcement initiative in a memorandum from Dorothy Dougherty, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health, to OSHA Regional Administrators and State Plans. The memorandum is entitled “Inspection Guidance for Inpatient Healthcare Settings” (“guidance ...

Blogs
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Although OSHA’s new reporting rule has been in effect for almost seven months now, it has caused some major changes in the way that OSHA operates.  Since the new reporting rule went into effect on January 1, 2015, OSHA has received more than 5,000 reports of work-related deaths, inpatient hospitalizations, amputations, and losses of an eye.  As OSHA anticipated, compliance with the rule has focused the agency’s attention on industries and hazards that it had not focused on before.  For example, because of the unexpectedly high number of reports of amputations from supermarkets ...

Blogs
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On April 2, 2015, Thomas Galassi, Director of the Directorate of Enforcement for OSHA, sent a memorandum to all Regional Directors announcing that the agency’s National Emphasis Program on Nursing and Residential Care Facilities would be extended until replaced by updated guidance or removed by the agency.  Mr. Galassi went on to state that, because the health care industry reports more work-related injuries and illnesses than any other general industry,

the Agency will continue to use both enforcement and collaborative efforts to address hazards such as musculoskeletal ...

Blogs
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As it gets hotter outside, employers should consider how best to protect their employees from work-related heat illness.  Thousands of workers fall victim to heat illness each year, and, tragically, many die from heat exposure at work.

Over the past several years, OSHA has significantly increased its focus on protecting employees from succumbing to heat illness.  Most recently, the agency has released a heat safety tool, available in both English and Spanish, which can be downloaded on an iPhone or Android device.  Employers can and should take advantage of this free app, which ...

Blogs
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On March 5, 2015, the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (“OSHA”) issued its “Final Rule” establishing the procedures for handling retaliation complaints brought under Section 806 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (“SOX”). Section 806, as amended by Dodd-Frank, protects employees of publicly traded companies, as well as employees of contractors, subcontractors, and agents of publicly traded companies, from being retaliated against for reporting fraudulent activity or other violations of SEC rules and regulations. The Final Rule addresses the comments ...

Blogs
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Distracted driving is the number one cause of workplace deaths in the United States.  OSHA has partnered with the National Safety Council to call employers’ attention to this issue and urge the adoption of safe driving policies.  Failure to adopt and enforce such policies in the workplace leads to tragic results and OSHA has made it perfectly clear that employers who do not take this issue seriously should expect OSHA citations.  On its distracted driving webpage, the agency has stated that employers “have a responsibility and legal obligation to have a clear, unequivocal, and ...

Blogs
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For many years, OSHA has stressed the need for enhanced workplace violence policies to protect health care and social service workers.  The agency released guidelines for workplace violence prevention in the health care and social services industries in both 1996 and 2004, recognizing that caregivers are at an increased risk of unpredictable, violent behavior from the very people whom they provide care to.  In spite of these efforts, violence in health care and social service workplaces continues to rise.  In 2013, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported more than 23,000 serious ...

Blogs
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I recently authored Epstein Becker Green’s March issue of Take 5 in which I outline actionable steps that employers can take to improve safety and avoid costly OSHA citations.

Following is an excerpt:

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“OSHA”) was created by Congress to ensure safe and healthful working conditions for employees. OSHA establishes standards and provides training and compliance assistance. It also enforces its standards with investigations and citations.

Although it’s impossible for employers to mitigate against every ...

Blogs
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Our colleague Valerie Butera recently authored Epstein Becker Green’s March issue of Take 5 in which she outlines actionable steps that employers can take to improve safety in the workplace and avoid costly OSHA citations.

Following is an excerpt:

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“OSHA”) was created by Congress to ensure safe and healthful working conditions for employees. OSHA establishes standards and provides training and compliance assistance. It also enforces its standards with investigations and citations.

Although it’s impossible for ...

Blogs
Clock 3 minute read

President Obama’s recent budget proposal to Congress includes a proposed $592.1 million budget for OSHA this fiscal year -- a 7 percent increase from fiscal 2015.  Although gaining approval of the proposal will surely be an uphill battle, which may be insurmountable in light of opposition from Republican lawmakers who oversee the appropriations process, the content of OSHA’s budget justification provides strong signals of its agenda for the coming year.

First, OSHA seeks to add 90 full-time positions to the agency for fiscal 2016.  Sixty of the new positions would be assigned to ...

Blogs
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Valerie Butera, Member of the Firm in the Labor and Employment practice, will present a complimentary webinar, hosted by Midwest Employers Casualty Company, on January 27 at 11:00 a.m. EST titled "OSHA Forecast: Developments to Watch in 2015 and Beyond."

This webinar will delve into OSHA issues that will impact a wide range of industries in 2015. In addition to a greater focus on enforcements and inspections, changes will occur for recording injuries and illnesses in the OSHA 300 Injury and Illness Recordkeeping log as well as reporting changes of severe injuries or illnesses.

For ...

Blogs
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On January 11, 2015, a multi-vehicle pile-up took place in west Michigan involving nearly 200 vehicles, including at least one truck carrying fireworks, and another carrying formic acid.  The formic acid caused a HAZMAT event and the fireworks exploded in the truck that was carrying them.  Many were badly injured in the accident, including two firefighters who responded to the exploding fireworks.  Tragically, the driver of another semi-truck was killed.

Winter weather and hazardous driving conditions were significant causal factors in the pile-up.  Although OSHA does not have ...

Blogs
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Guest post from the OSHA Law Update blog, by our colleague Valerie Butera, at Epstein Becker Green.

Retailers, get ready for OSHA’s revised recordkeeping and reporting rules, effective January 1, 2015.

As I note in my Act Now Advisory—“What Do OSHA’s Revised Recordkeeping and Reporting Rules Really Mean for Retailers?”—several additional retail industries will be required to keep records of serious occupational injuries and illnesses, and several are no longer subject to the rules. The new reporting requirements apply to all retailers, even those included in the ...

Blogs
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See below for a recording of my recent webinar, “OSHA Forecast: Developments to Watch in 2015 and Beyond.”

As I discuss, in 2015, many more industries will for the first time be required by OSHA to record injuries and illnesses in the OSHA 300 Injury and Illness Recordkeeping log. The reporting of severe injuries or illnesses is also changing, and we anticipate a greater focus on enforcements and inspections.

Topics include:

  • Where we are now and the direction of OSHA in 2015
  • Recording and recordkeeping requirements
  • Whistleblowing and its impact on your business
  • Preparing for ...
Blogs
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I am pleased to announce that LexisNexis has recognized this blog as one of the “Top Blogs for Workers' Compensation and Workplace Issues” for 2014.

According to LexisNexis, this year’s honorees include “the best of the best—those legal blogs that provide insightful analysis and those business-oriented blogs that offer valuable tidbits of practical information and best practice tips for employers, insurers, risk managers and other professionals.”

In recognizing our blog, LexisNexis notes that “members of the practice group offer a plethora of posts on ...

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