Arent Fox is proud to have one of the only groups in the country with attorneys that focus solely on OSHA matters. With our extensive experience, we offer our clients the advice they need to navigate the most complex compliance issues. We also offer practical approaches to safety and health issues in the workplace and, when necessary, work closely with the firm’s other practice groups to provide comprehensive, solution-oriented legal services. We strive to work seamlessly with the firm’s toxic tort, construction, white collar criminal defense, environmental, tax, government relations, health care, and labor and employment attorneys.
We have experience representing employers and trade associations in a wide range of industries, including chemical and petrochemical, refining, electric utility, manufacturing, construction, and food services. We frequently appear before federal and state courts and agencies on Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) enforcement matters and related toxic tort and criminal litigation. We also represent major associations in OSHA rulemaking proceedings and in legislative and policy matters before Congress and other federal agencies.
Arent Fox attorneys have the experience you need as you interact with OSHA during an inspection. The time during OSHA’s inspection is critical for employers who want to minimize the number and severity of the citations they receive. During the inspection, we work with employers to ensure that they are clearly communicating with OSHA and avoiding misunderstandings that could lead to additional citations. Our clients recognize that the best way to fight an erroneous citation is to prevent it from being issued.
If you do receive OSHA citations, we help you evaluate whether it’s better to settle or litigate. For those cases where litigation is the best option, Arent Fox has the experience and skills you need to put up your best defense. Our attorneys have extensive experience before the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission, comparable state agencies, and federal courts, and we have handled numerous cases involving allegations of willful or repeated violations with proposed penalties exceeding $1 million.
For cases involving the death of an employee, we work with criminal defense counsel to represent clients in OSHA and Department of Justice investigations and indictments. We also focus our practice on those industries where OSHA focuses. Arent Fox attorneys represented a petroleum refinery in the first trial ever of citations issued under OSHA’s National Emphasis Program (NEP) for Petroleum Refineries, in addition to representing numerous other petroleum refineries and chemical manufacturers in their litigation over NEP citations.
For those clients that have questions about their safety programs or about how to comply with OSHA standards, Arent Fox counsels clients in a variety of industries on these issues. We have conducted training sessions for clients on a wide variety of issues including how to manage an OSHA inspection, best practices for drafting incident reports, and preparing for an NEP inspection. We have assisted a number of clients with their compliance issues by conducting compliance audits to identify any existing OSHA violations.
We also conduct attorney-client privileged internal audits in response to complaints, and we work with company personnel and technical experts in conducting privileged investigations following major catastrophes or employee fatalities. Arent Fox is the industry leader on issues related to attorney-client privileged investigations and audits in OSHA-related matters, recently securing a decision from the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission (OSHRC) that affirmed the application of the privilege to the report of an independent consultant hired to assist with compliance advice.
Arent Fox has represented employers and major industry associations in rulemaking proceedings on OSHA standards, including lockout/tagout, construction and electrical safety, chemical process safety management, ergonomics, electric power generation, transmission and distribution, grain handling, and respiratory protection and air contaminants, including hexavalent chromium, lead, cadmium, and arsenic. In the last two years, Arent Fox attorneys represented clients during the combustible dust rulemaking and during OSHA’s attempt to reinterpret its noise rule without formal rulemaking.
Because a major incident almost always involves investigations by numerous government agencies, Arent Fox attorneys have developed experience managing multi-agency inspections and handling the litigation that often follows catastrophic incidents. We have managed more than 20 such incidents, and we have dealt with numerous government agencies simultaneously -- OSHA, EPA, the Chemical Safety Board (CSB), for example, and local law enforcement and fire departments.
We have worked extensively with our clients to develop both corporate and plant-wide strategies to help control liabilities during these times of crisis. We give advice during these times on wide-ranging issues like preserving evidence under a litigation hold, negotiating evidence and site-control agreements, and communicating with the work force while the crisis is managed. We have experience identifying significant non-legal issues of which you should be aware, and we have a wide network of experts in a variety of disciplines that we call upon when the need arises. When your workplace crisis develops, Arent Fox attorneys have the skills and experience to help you achieve an effective response.