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Everything You Need to Know about OSHA's General Duty Clause
Presented by Amanda R. Walker, Kate McMahon, and Beeta Lashkari

The OSH Act’s “General Duty Clause” requires employers to provide their own employees a workplace free from recognized serious hazards. The breadth of OSHA’s enforcement authority under the General Duty Clause has been a moving target for decades. Is it a “catch-all” provision? Is it intended only to “fill the gaps” where OSHA has not promulgated a specific standard? Is it just a placeholder for hazards OSHA intends to address by a specific rule in the future? Or can it even provide OSHA authority to require actions beyond what is set by an existing regulation establishes a compliance standard? And where OSHA is using the General Duty Clause to cite employers, how often and in what contexts is OSHA using it, and what evidence is OSHA using to establish that a hazard is recognized by an employer or its industry?

This webinar will examine these questions, and help employers understand the scope and breadth of OSHA’s authority under the General Duty Clause. We also will examine the OSH Review Commission’s recent positions on the General Duty Clause, including important General Duty Clause cases involving heat illness prevention and workplace violence. Understanding the authority given to OSHA under the General Duty Clause and the reasoning applied to these situations by the Review Commission will help employers navigate tricky situations where unregulated or under-regulated hazards may be present their workplaces.

Participants in this webinar will learn about:

• The history of the General Duty Clause, how it has been interpreted
• Recent enforcement trends related to use of the General Duty Clause
• Recent OSHRC and Circuit Court cases involving the General Duty Clause
• Elements of an OSHA citation case under the General Duty Clause
• Possible defenses to General Duty Clause citations
• How best to identify, manage, and address unregulated workplace hazards

Jul 23, 2020 01:00 PM in Eastern Time (US and Canada)

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Amanda R. Strainis-Walker
Partner, OSHA • Workplace Safety Practice Group @Conn Maciel Carey LLP
Amanda R. Strainis-Walker is a partner with Conn Maciel Carey LLP. She focuses on occupational safety and health (OSHA) law. Prior to private practice, she was a Presidential Appointee at the U.S. Department of Labor as a Special Assistant to the Assistant Secretary of Labor for OSHA, and then as an attorney in the Office of the U.S. Solicitor of Labor, where she advised her clients, OSHA and MSHA, on a diverse range of legal and regulatory issues.
Kathryn M. McMahon
Partner, OSHA • Workplace Safety Practice Group @Conn Maciel Carey LLP
Kathryn M. McMahon is a partner in the national OSHA • Workplace Safety Practice Group of Conn Maciel Carey LLP. She focuses her practice in the areas of occupational safety and health (OSHA) law and environmental law. Ms. McMahon helps clients manage incident and fatality inspections, and litigation related to alleged violations by federal OSHA and state OSHA programs. She also represents industry stakeholders in all aspects of OSHA rulemaking, including proposed rules regarding silica, injury and illness recordkeeping, hexavalent chromium, and beryllium, among others.
Beeta B. Lashkari
Associate, OSHA and Labor and Employment Practice Groups @Conn Maciel Carey LLP
Beeta B. Lashkari is an associate in the Washington, DC office of Conn Maciel Carey LLP working in both the OSHA and Labor and Employment practice groups. Ms. Lashkari advises and represents clients in a wide-range of inspections, investigations, and enforcement actions. Additionally, in support of the firm’s Employment and Labor practice group, Ms. Lashkari manages workplace investigations, including whistleblower and retaliation claims, defending employers in EEOC discrimination and harassment charges, and counseling clients on myriad legal issues employers face in the workplace.