Occupational Safety and Health
Keller and Heckman's extensive Occupational Safety and Health practice helps clients maintain safe and healthy workplaces while complying with applicable laws in the most cost-effective manner. We strive to minimize the adverse consequences of government regulatory and enforcement actions and shape a legislative and regulatory environment conducive to productivity and growth. We successfully guide clients through accident investigations, compliance audits, government agency inspections and enforcement actions, and government agency rulemakings.
Keller and Heckman represents a broad range of large (Fortune 500), medium, and small companies and their trade organizations in the workplace safety and health arena. Our occupational safety and health practice is fully integrated with the firm's environmental, transportation, food and drug, product stewardship, product safety, trade association, and telecommunications practices. We understand our clients’ needs from their perspective, with many of our attorneys and staff scientists having worked in private industry as chemists, engineers, industrial hygienists, and toxicologists. In addition, we have attorneys with formal education in chemical and industrial engineering. Our staff scientists include chemists and toxicologists who have extensive experience in statistics, toxicology, and risk assessments.
Counseling, Auditing, and Accident Investigations
Keller and Heckman counsels clients on the design, development, and implementation of accident investigation procedures, audit procedures, and risk management-based programs that address the broad spectrum of occupational safety and health hazards found in general industry, construction, mining operations, and transportation. This includes everything from site-specific programs to global best practices for international companies. We also conduct both broad and targeted compliance audits, advise, and support management during major workplace incidents and investigations.
Keller and Heckman has been involved in hundreds of government agency enforcement actions with substantial success. We provide guidance to clients during inspections and litigate government enforcement actions before Federal and state administrative law judges, review commissions, and courts.
Agency Rulemakings and Legal Challenges
On behalf of one or more clients, we have participated in virtually every major Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) rulemaking initiative over the past 30 years. In addition, we have participated in numerous legal challenges to final agency rules and have intervened on behalf of OSHA to support requirements challenged by organized labor or public interest groups.
Keller and Heckman’s Occupational Safety and Health practice advises clients on the requirements of national consensus standards, many of which are incorporated into state and local building codes and relied upon by OSHA to interpret OSHA standards or the General Duty Clause of the Occupational and Safety Health Act (OSH Act). Our attorneys and technical staff participate in the development of consensus standards through the processes coordinated by the American National Standards Institute, American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) International, National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), and other national and international consensus standards organizations. We have participated in the development of consensus product standards, safety standards, environmental and sustainability standards, and associated certification programs involving a broad range of issues including building design and materials, combustible dust, crystalline silica, furniture, machinery safety (generally, packaging machinery and plastics molding machinery), nanotechnology, and occupational health and safety.
Public Health Emergencies and Response
Keller and Heckman’s Occupational Safety and Health practice has extensive experience in addressing rapidly emerging issues, including those posed by public health emergencies, such as the coronavirus. With in-house experts in toxicology, industrial hygiene chemistry, and HazMat and the support of outside consultants (e.g., medical, ventilation) as needed, our expertise allows us to develop effective hazard control and communication programs designed to meet applicable regulatory requirements, provide a safe workplace, and protect the reputation and good will of our clients.
- Represented numerous clients in OSHA citation contests issued by OSHA and its state-plan counterparts in almost every state in the nation
- Successfully defended hundreds of government agency enforcement actions
- Through participation in agency rulemakings and advisory committees, successfully influenced the content of many standards and other rules adopted by OSHA and its state counterparts
- Participated in the development of consensus product standards, safety standard, and environmental and sustainability standards involving a broad range of issues including building design and materials, combustible dust, crystalline silica, furniture, machinery safety (generally, packaging machinery and plastics molding machinery), nanotechnology, and occupational health and safety
- Successfully negotiated with OSHA to conduct an unprecedented, multi-phase cooperative study leading to the adoption of a unique OSHA compliance instruction (effectively a generic variance) addressing the potential for over-pressurization of batch pulp digesters, in wide use within the paper industry, through performance-based design, operation, and maintenance requirements
Areas of Focus
Representing employers in contesting citations issued by OSHA and its state counterparts in state plan states
Counseling on the design, development, and implementation of accident investigation procedures, audit procedures, and risk management-based programs that address the broad spectrum of occupational safety and health hazards found in general industry, construction, mining operations, and transportation
Advising companies in deciding whether to and how to participate in these programs
Assisting in all aspects of compliance, including creating and auditing process safety management, Risk Management Plan (RMP), Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and HazCom Programs and preparation of Safety Data Sheets, labels, programs, and training that meet the requirements of the OSHA and MSHA HazCom rules, California's Proposition 65, Canada's Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System (WHMIS) program, the EU Classification, Labelling and Packaging (CLP) and REACH programs, and corresponding requirements in the Pacific Rim
Evaluating and reviewing hazard control measures and hazard control strategies to determine the effectiveness and advise clients on changes which may need to be made
Representing employers and their trade associations in rulemakings before OSHA and its state counterparts, Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) and testifying before Congress on major workplace safety and health issues and providing legal, policy, and technical input to members of the Senate, House, and Congressional staff on legislative initiatives