Workplace Safety

Safety first. In this environment of enhanced enforcement and ever-changing interpretation of regulations, it is even more critical for employers to take necessary steps to ensure that they are meeting their safety obligations – before a problem occurs.

Prior to an OSHA inspection, our attorneys regularly provide guidance to employers in federal OSHA states and in those states with a state plan, such as:

  • Providing ongoing counseling and training on compliance issues, including developing policies, standard operating procedures, safety policies and employee training programs
  • Crafting best practices for identifying and correcting hazards prior to an injury
  • Assisting clients seek temporary or permanent variances to OSHA standards when compliance is not feasible or creates a greater hazard
  • Auditing employers’ safety programs and safety records to pinpoint areas of vulnerability
  • Helping clients effectively respond to informal OSHA complaints
  • Advising on responses to proposed regulations and other legislative activities, including coordinating with our Government Services and Finance Department to provide appropriate lobbying support as needed

When an accident happens, the employer’s initial response can be critically important to the successful defense of OSHA citations. Proper preservation of evidence is vital in any serious injury or fatality case. Our experienced attorneys stand ready to be deployed to any location when immediate needs arise, and we provide our clients with critical and ongoing guidance throughout the inspection and litigation process.

There is no worse situation for a client to deal with than a fatality. Barnes & Thornburg attorneys have handled numerous such situations, and we understand all the aspects of dealing with such an event. We assist our clients in these situations in multiple ways:

  • Conducting an appropriate and thorough investigation into the cause or contributing factors of the accident
  • Advising clients on procedures to ensure preservation of relevant evidence
  • Representing clients throughout the OSHA investigation process 
  • In the event that a criminal referral may be applicable, we can coordinate efforts with our White Collar Crime practice group to maximize the defense of any criminal matters
  • Providing assistance with press inquiries and interviews
  • Providing counsel on abatement and best practices

When a citation or safety order is issued, our attorneys provide immediate and continuing advice and support throughout the litigation process in order to reach the best resolution for our clients.