OSHA Temporarily Delays the Effective Date of the Beryllium Rule

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has temporarily delayed the effective date of its final rule on occupational exposure to Beryllium from March 10, 2017 to March 27, 2017. This 11-day extension will not impact the compliance dates of the Beryllium rule.

The Beryllium rule reduces the permissible exposure limit (PEL) for Beryllium to 0.2 micrograms per cubic meter of air, averaged over 8-hours, and sets a new short-term exposure limit for Beryllium of 2.0 micrograms per cubic meter of air, over a 15-minute sampling period. Upon taking effect, employers will be required to use engineering and work practice controls to:

  • limit worker exposure to Beryllium
  • provide respirators
  • limit worker access to high-exposure areas
  • develop a written exposure control plan, and
  • train workers on Beryllium hazards

The general industry, shipyard, and construction sectors have one year from the original effective date, or until March 12, 2018, to comply with most of the requirements. All sectors have two years, or until March 11, 2019, from the original effective date to provide any required change rooms and showers, and three years, or until March 10, 2020, from the original effective date to implement engineering controls.

This delay in implementation is in accordance with White House Chief of Staff, Reince Priebus’s, memorandum entitled “Regulatory Freeze Pending Review,” issued on January 20, 2017. The memorandum instructs executive agencies to withdraw regulations that have been sent to the Office of the Federal Register but not yet published, and to stop submitting regulations for publication. The Presidential directive requires heads of executive agencies temporarily to postpone the effective dates of pending unpublished regulations for 60 days from the date of the memorandum. Executive agencies are also directed to review any pending regulations that have already been finalized but have not yet taken effect.

It should also be noted that regulatory freezes during a change in administration are not unusual. The former administration issued a similar memorandum upon taking office in 2009. This most recent directive, however, appears to be the first step in President Trump’s effort to eliminate two regulations for each one proposed. Meanwhile, as the nation awaits the confirmation of President Trump’s Cabinet nominees, it is unclear how long the temporary freeze will last. These measures, nevertheless, suggest that President Trump seeks to provide some relief to employers concerned about the burden and expense of complying with, what he has characterized as, overly-burdensome regulations.

If you have any questions about the temporary delay, please contact any attorney in Burns White’s Occupational Safety and Health Group.


ATTORNEY BLOG: What happens to a homeowner’s association’s unpaid assessments when the mortgage company forecloses against the unit?

By: Craig A. Goddy, Esq.

One of the questions the Real Estate and Property Services team often gets asked by the homeowner’s associations and condominium associations we represent is, “What happens to the association’s unpaid assessments when the mortgage company forecloses against the unit?”

Unfortunately, mortgage foreclosure actions are a fairly common occurrence in many communities in Western Pa. A representative of the association may receive a notice of mortgage foreclosure on behalf of the association or learn that a bank is and/or has foreclosed against a unit in your community. Generally speaking, a mortgage foreclosure sale extinguishes all liens which are second and/or junior to the foreclosing party’s lien unless specifically preserved by statute. However, certain amounts due are protected under the Pennsylvania Uniform Condominium Act and the Uniform Planned Community Act.

The Pennsylvania Uniform Condominium Act and the Uniform Planned Community Act each contain provisions which protect a portion of the association’s lien against a unit when the unit is the subject of a mortgage foreclosure action. The assessments which come due during the six-month period immediately preceding the date of the mortgage foreclosure sale are not extinguished and continue as a lien against the property unless such assessments are paid out of the proceeds of the foreclosure sale. The association is entitled to the collection of those amounts incurred during this six-month period despite the sheriff’s sale of the property.

The collection of the outstanding lien depends upon whether the property was sold to a third party or taken back by the bank. So after the sheriff’s sale, the first thing an association needs to determine is the identity of the new owner of record to ensure that the it is communicating with the proper party in connection with the collection of the outstanding lien against the unit. If the property is sold to a third party at the sheriff’s sale, the association may look to the sheriff’s office to collect the lien through the distribution process (assuming any funds are available). On the other hand, if the property is taken back by the mortgage holder (typically a bank), the association may pursue the collection of the lien via contacting the foreclosing attorney and/or directly against the bank as the new owner of the unit.

With respect to the balance of the association’s unpaid assessments that are not protected by statute, the lien is extinguished against the unit only. However, the prior unit owner remains personally liable for the unpaid amounts. This means that the association may be entitled to pursue an action against the prior unit owner for the balance of the lien (i.e., the difference between the total outstanding delinquency and the six-month portion of the lien). The association should consider securing a judgment against the former unit owner for the balance in order to preserve its right to collect in the future.

LEGAL UPDATE: Here’s what you need to know about the Ohio Supreme Court’s ruling in Corban v. Chesapeake Exploration

The Ohio Supreme Court held yesterday that abandoned mineral interests were not automatically extinguished under the 1989 version of the Ohio Dormant Mineral Act (ODMA). The Court ruled in Corban v. Chesapeake Exploration, L.L.C., that any surface owner seeking to claim ownership of a dormant mineral interest after June 30, 2006, must comply with the provisions of the 2006 version of ODMA, which includes notice and recording requirements. Click here to find out what you need to know about this important ruling.

LEGAL UPDATE: The U.S. Department of Labor announces interim final rules that will increase OSHA’s maximum civil penalties by 78%

By: Daivy P. Dambreville, Esq.

The U.S. Department of Labor has announced two interim final rules to adjust civil penalty amounts, which include penalties assessed by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

Under the first interim final rule, OSHA’s maximum penalties will increase by 78% with the maximum penalty for serious violations raised from $7,000 to $12,471, and the maximum penalty for willful or repeated violations raised from $70,000 to $124,709.

For years, OSHA has attempted to persuade Congress to increase the penalties that the agency can impose, noting that the low level of civil penalties posed the greatest obstacle to effective OSHA enforcement. In an official news release issued by OSHA, U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez stated, “Civil penalties should be a credible deterrent that influences behavior far and wide.”

Under the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act Improvements Act of 2015, the U.S. Department of Labor is directed to publish interim final rules by July 1, 2016. The department will accept public comments for 45 days to inform the publication of any final rule. These rules do not automatically apply to states regulated by State Plans; however, since State Plans must be at least as effective as OSHA, states are also likely to increase civil penalties.

For more information on how these changes may affect your business, contact any member of the Burns White Occupational Safety and Health team.

LEGAL UPDATE: OSHA issues final rule requiring certain employers to provide injury and illness data for public disclosure

By: Daivy P. Dambreville, Esq.

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued a final rule on May 11, 2016, requiring employers in high-hazard industries to submit injury and illness data to OSHA for the purpose of posting on its publicly accessible website.

By way of background, OSHA issued a notice of proposed rulemaking in November 2013, to add electronic recordkeeping requirements that would require some employers to electronically submit injury and illness data to OSHA on a quarterly and/or annual basis. The proposed rule sought to establish a public searchable website where the collected data would be available to the public. OSHA later published a supplemental notice of proposed rulemaking in August 2014, which would prevent employers from taking adverse retaliatory employment actions against employees that had reported an injury and/or illness. The final rule is substantially similar to OSHA’s proposals.

Depending on the industry and employers’ size, the final rule requires electronic submission of injury and illness data. Specifically, employers with 250 or more employees (inclusive of seasonal, temporary and part-time staff), employers with greater than 20 but fewer than 250 employees in certain identified industries, and employers that receive notification from OSHA are required to submit the appropriate forms (i.e. 300, 300A and/or 301). OSHA will subsequently post the information obtained on its public website.

The final rule will take effect on August 10, 2016, at which time employers are required to inform employees they have a right to report a work-related injury. In addition, employers will be prohibited from retaliating against employees for reporting an occupational injury. Employers will be required to electronically submit Part 1904 of the recordkeeping forms by July 1, 2017.

For more information on how these changes to the Occupational Injury and Illness Recording and Reporting Requirements might affect your business, contact any member of the Burns White Occupational Safety and Health team.

GROUP BLOG: Eastern District Court says out-of-state employees working remotely fall under PA jurisdiction in breach of contract claim

In her latest post for the Employment Law Blotter, Associate Katherine J. McLay looks at a recent decision made by the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania in Numeric Analytics, LLC vs. McCabe, where it held that Pennsylvania courts possessed personal jurisdiction over its non-resident employees working remotely due to their regular and necessary interaction with the company’s Pennsylvania operations in the course of their work. Click here to read it.

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