Health and Safety

Our clients pride themselves on affording their employees with a safe and healthy workplace, but issues invariably arise. Robinson+Cole lawyers provide counsel on health and safety issues before an inspection or issuance of a citation to prevent serious disruption from an enforcement action that may affect your business. Our interdisciplinary team of litigation, environmental, construction, and employment lawyers understand the impact an enforcement action can have on a facility and an entire company.

When a client has experienced an accident or an inspection, we provide immediate advice and assistance; for example, when asked, we have arrived at the client's place of business within an hour of an incident to assist them. For clients that receive a citation, we work with them through informal conferences, settlement discussions, and formal hearings, either in the background or as the face of the company.

    • Experience
      • Advised client on compliance with various OSHA standards, including retention of health and safety consultant to review compliance with OSHA standards, and coordinated with litigation counsel in anticipation of possible litigation resulting from alleged worker exposure.

      • Advised health care client on possible exposure to lead and cadmium, including retention of experts, review of sampling data, advice on compliance with OSHA lead and cadmium standards, and review of best practices to ensure compliance with applicable law.

      • Advised client on preparation for and response to Process Safety Management inspection conducted at an Arkansas facility as part of the National Emphasis Program under OSHA. Advice included review of documents to be produced.

      • Represented a diversified aerospace company in response to OSHA citations. One citation was dismissed completely. The other was settled by withdrawal of "willful" citation. Penalty reduced to $16,500. Appeal handled out of New York Regional Solicitor's Office.

      • Provided on-site response within one hour of explosion in Connecticut that resulted in the death of three employees and damage throughout the town. Handled all on-site investigations and dealt directly with OSHA investigators. Worked with privately retained expert to determine the cause of the explosion. Negotiated the citation at local level and regional office, minimizing the number and severity of the sanctions, and settled the case.

      • Represented Connecticut client in matter where an employee died as a result of carbon monoxide poisoning after a severe storm cut off power and allowed carbon monoxide to accumulate throughout the building. Negotiations with OSHA resulted in no citation issued against the client. State's attorney indicted company for negligent homicide. OSHA resisted involvement in local criminal matter, but Robinson+Cole obtained an order compelling its attendance. The result was a not guilty verdict.

      • Representation of a company where a failure of compressed gas tank at its Connecticut facility resulted in significant injuries to several employees. Robinson+Cole was on site within hours and dealt with local OSHA personnel; state police; the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; and the FBI. No citation was issued.

      • Represented an explosives manufacturing company in various administrative actions brought by OSHA at the local and regional levels.

      • Successfully challenged an OSHA citation issued against a manufacturing company, resulting in withdrawal of the citation.
      • Successfully defended a contractor who applied a primer and topcoat to a gymnasium floor that allegedly caused the plaintiffs to suffer Multiple Chemical Sensitivity (MCS) and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) as a result of being exposed to the fumes and odors released from the primer and topcoat. Plaintiffs claimed that they were permanently disabled and the MCS had permanently damaged their neurological systems. The plaintiff's symptoms are typical for these cases: headaches, nausea, light-headedness, burning eyes, blurred vision, palpitations, depression, sleep disorder, confusion, difficulty breathing, loss of memory, difficulty following directions, and the inability to conduct basic tasks. Expert testimony in the case focused on the reliability of the MCS diagnosis. The case also involved issues relating to air tests and the OSHA threshold limit values for the volatile organic compounds identified in the Material Safety Data Sheets for the products used on the gym floor.

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