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Managing the Modern Workplace
V&E International Labor & Employment Resources

Stop, Prioritize, and Simplify – the Mantra for a Better Health and Safety Program

Over the past year, we have held several roundtable discussions with safety and operations managers in which we have talked about the challenges of improving safety and health systems at the same time that top managers are trying to cut costs. Based on the helpful feedback that we received from many of the safety managers and operations managers who participated in these discussions, consultants from ERM helped us come up with a three-step mantra for addressing this problem: Stop, Prioritize, and Simplify.

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  • 28
  • September
  • 2017

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Will Industry's Legal Challenge of New Silica Standard Succeed?

I just finished listening to the oral arguments that were made earlier this week before the D.C. Circuit in the case challenging OSHA’s new silica standard. As we have explained in other posts in this blog, the new silica standard not only reduces the permissible exposure limit (PEL) for silica dust to 50 micrograms per milliliter, but also requires many industries — including the fracking industry — to begin complying with a host of new requirements, including medical surveillance for exposed employees and implementing engineering measures to reduce exposure (see herehere, and here).

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  • 26
  • September
  • 2017

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The ADA is Not a Leave Law, But Someone Forgot to Tell the EEOC

Does the ADA require employers to allow unpaid leave for accommodation when such leave doesn’t present undue hardship? This has actually been an open question under the ADA for a while, and the EEOC last year said that unpaid leave might sometimes be a reasonable accommodation; most employers would probably say that unpaid leave is not a reasonable accommodation. After all, an accommodation request can only be reasonable if the employee, “with or without reasonable accommodation, can perform the essential functions of the employment position.”

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It’s Time to Get Serious About International Human Rights

Take a look at your company’s website. When you do, is it quickly clear to you that your company is serious about its efforts to avoid violations of international human rights in its operations? If it is not, it is time to get to work on this issue. Governments, courts (legal and those of public opinion), and the markets are steadily showing less tolerance for companies whose operations either actively or through neglect create violations of internationally recognized human rights.

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How to Define Environmental Health and Safety Services

The lawyers in the safety practice here at Vinson & Elkins, along with our friends at ERM, recently held a round table discussion with management from several local companies concerning risk management. During our conversation, one company representative said, “EHSS [Environmental Health and Safety Services] is a value creator, not just a cost center as it has been historically defined . . . if you define it correctly.” This is an excellent point.

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Contributors

Thomas H. Wilson

Thomas H. Wilson Partner

Christopher V. Bacon

Christopher V. Bacon Counsel

Sean Becker

Sean Becker Partner

Stephen M. Jacobson

Stephen M. Jacobson Partner

Martin C. Luff

Martin Luff Counsel

Lawrence S. Elbaum Partner