What types of activities relating to workplace safety and health are the new Democratic majorities in the House of Representatives and the Senate planning? While no new workplace safety and health legislation has been introduced since the new Congress went into session in early January, Senator Edward Kennedy, the chair of the Senate’s Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, plans to introduce a new version of the Protecting America’s Workers Act, which would increase penalties for repeat violations, expand OSHA’s jurisdiction to state and federal employees, give families a role in safety investigations, and strengthen whistleblower protections.
In the House, the new chair of the Education and Workforce Committee, Representative George Miller of California, plans to hold oversight hearings on OSHA and MSHA. The hearings are expected to focus on the agencies’ perceived emphasis on voluntary compliance programs rather than enforcement activities.
One of the issues that may be addressed in the oversight hearings is OSHA’s long-delayed proposed rule on employer payment for personal protective equipment. The AFL-CIO and the United Food and Commercial Workers unions filed a lawsuit in early January to compel OSHA action on this rule, and Senator Kennedy indicated that this would be part of his planned legislative agenda.
A number of clients have recently asked us about keeping OSHA 300 Logs when there are separate operations at the same site. The OSHA regulations require employers to keep a separate OSHA 300 Log for each of the employer’s “establishments.” An “establishment” is defined in §1904.46 as a “single physical location where business is conducted . . . . ” Sites or facilities that house different business operations in a single physical location must keep a separate Log for each such business if the criteria listed in §1904.46(1)(i)-(iv) are met:
- Each of the establishments represents a distinctly separate business;
- Each business is engaged in a different economic activity;
- No one industry description in the Standard Industrial Classification Manual (1987) applies to the joint activities of the establishments; and
- Separate reports are routinely prepared for each establishment on the number of employees, their wages and salaries, sales or receipts, and other business information. For example, if an employer operates a construction company at the same location as a lumber yard, the employer may consider each business to be a separate establishment.
We’ve also been asked if an employer can keep one Log for a business that is housed in more than one physical location. This can be done only if:
- The employer operates the locations as a single business operation under common management;
- The locations are all located in close proximity to each other; and
- The employer keeps one set of business records for the locations, such as records on the number of employees, their wages and salaries, sales or receipts, and other kinds of business information.
The regulations provide an example of a single business in which two or more physical locations can be combined into a single “establishment” for which only one OSHA 300 Log would be required – a manufacturing establishment that includes a main plant, a warehouse a few blocks away, and an administrative services building across the street. If multiple locations are being considered as a single “establishment,” it is very important to make sure that the locations are truly located within “close proximity” of each other.
If you have any questions, please email us at:
Bill Principe at firstname.lastname@example.org,
David Smith at email@example.com,
Pat Tyson at firstname.lastname@example.org, or
Neil Wasser at email@example.com.
You may also call us at 404-525-8622.
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