2.27.14  

  Law360  

 

Eric J. Conn was quoted in an article titled "Tips for Employers When OSHA Comes Calling" (subscription required to access full version).

 

An excerpt:

 

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration does not have to warn employers before it comes to conduct on-site inspections, and with the agency cracking down, attorneys say businesses need to make sure they are ready when an inspector arrives. …

 

During an OSHA inspection, the rights of the agency, the employer and the employees all need to be balanced, and lawyers say it's important for employers to understand theirs so they can stick up for themselves when they need to. The first right that employers should know they have is that, even though it's generally beneficial to cooperate with OSHA, they do not necessarily have to let an inspector in right away.

 

"The Fourth Amendment applies in workplaces, just as it does in homes or vehicles, so the employer is protected from unreasonable searches and seizures, which includes inspections by OSHA," Eric J. Conn, the head of Epstein Becker & Green PC's OSHA practice group said. "This means that OSHA needs your consent or a warrant to conduct a workplace health and safety inspection. The burden for obtaining a warrant is much lower than in criminal cases, but there is a burden." …

 

You should be attached at the hip whenever the compliance officer is at the facility, and to the extent that you can, you should be steering the paths to locations rather than being steered by the compliance officer," Conn said. …

 

"You have to share the information with OSHA, but if you designate it as confidential business information, you limit OSHA's ability to share it with the public in response to a Freedom of Information Act request or in any public statement [OSHA] makes about the enforcement action," Conn said.

 

Conn Maciel Carey LLP
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