June 2017 Haak Law LLC Client Letter

Dear Clients and Friends: I'm writing this month about risks posed by "vigilante" safety enforcement given that OSHA may decrease traditional enforcement efforts in the face of potential budget cuts proposed by the Trump Administration. Earlier in May, I gave two presentations (one to the Ohio Chemistry Technology Council, and one to the Northern Ohio and McKinley Chapters of the ASSE) in which I warned of the dangers of the "enforcement vacuum" that would be created if OSHA is perceived to be enforcing less. In addition to the risk of increased whistleblower complaints, I also spoke about possible vigilante enforcement by unions and other non-governmental entities. Now it seems that Tesla,

A Little "Smoking Gun" Control Goes a Long Way...

Back in 2010 a major auto manufacturer suffered through embarrassment and substantial reputational damage when a trove of "smoking gun" emails surfaced in the discovery portion of a series of lawsuits related to the alleged sudden uncontrolled acceleration of the manufacturer's cars. In direct response, attorneys (both in-house and outside counsel) across the United States spent the following weeks and months speaking to their clients about the risks of creating ill-conceived or ill-advised emails that could later come back to bite their organizations in litigation. I happened to be one of those attorneys sent out on the road by my then-GC. At the time, I was in-house counsel for a Fortune

Retro Post -- In Case of a Water Landing

(Originally published in 2012) My family and I just returned from vacation early this past Monday morning. The trip marked my 4 year old son's first time on an airplane. Both my wife and I were worried about how he would respond, but he handled all of the flights like a champ. His favorite part was "going super fast" on takeoff, and he didn't seem to notice any of the relatively minor turbulence that occurred (my wife was a different story, though). I've got several different theories on why he wasn't scared. I know it has nothing to do with him being generally fearless, as he is quiet afraid of the dark. It may be attributable to the fact that he was with his mommy and daddy, and he

Retro Post -- Safety Haiku

For those of you who may not remember, a "haiku" is a Japanese poem of 3 lines that consists of exactly 17 syllables -- 5 in the first line, 7 in the second line, and 5 in the third line. Housekeeping is good Put trash in a garbage can Can't stress this enough... Forklifts have seat belts I'm too busy to wear mine Until I fall off... Safety glasses, ugh! I'll look cooler with a patch And a parrot, too! Walking in the plant Busy with text messages Damn, I'm important! Feel free to contribute your own safety haiku in the comments, below.

New OSHRC Decision – The Importance of Multi-Employer Worksite Precautions

A recent decision by the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission (OSHRC) underscores the importance of taking proper contractual, oversight, and safety precautions on "multi-employer worksites". In this context, the term "multi-employer worksite" includes not just sites with general contractors and one or more sub-contractors, but also traditional facilities (e.g., manufacturing, chemical facilities, and petroleum refineries) where contractors of any type are performing work. Secretary of Labor v. A.C. Castle Construction Co., Inc./Daryl J. Provencher, d/b/a Provencher Home Improvement was decided by OSHRC on February 28, 2017, and became final (subject to possible appeal by A.C. Ca

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