[Webinar] Managing MSHA Complaint Investigations and 105(c) Complaints

On Tuesday, September 12, 2023, Nicholas Scala will present a webinar regarding Managing MSHA Complaint Investigations and 105(c) Complaints.

MSHA’s authority does not end at regular safety and health inspections, or with serious incident investigations. It is unquestioned that miners have the right to file complaints with MSHA, but what some operators may not know is that MSHA is required to conduct an investigation into miner complaints promptly. This includes safety and health complaints, and it also includes complaints of discrimination under §105(c) of the Mine Act. Whistleblower/discrimination protections have been emphasized by the Biden Administration and its Department of Labor, and that includes MSHA. Additionally, MSHA offers miners the opportunity to be temporarily reinstated during the investigation or pendency of the legal matter in some instances. Operators unfamiliar with this process may unknowingly waste vital moments, which have the potential to be very damaging in this process.

This webinar will review MSHA’s obligations to investigate complaints of safety and health concerns, as well as complaints of discrimination by miners. Participants will learn the timelines for the investigations and best practices for defending against such complaints.

Participants in this webinar will learn the following: Continue reading

Conn Maciel Carey LLP Elevates Megan Shaked to Partner

Conn Maciel Carey LLP (CMC), a boutique law firm with national practices in labor and employment, workplace safety (OSHA and MSHA), and litigation, is pleased to announce that Megan Shaked has been elevated to Partner.

Ms. Shaked, a seasoned employment litigator and Cal/OSHA practitioner based in San Francisco, CA, represents employers on a wide range of employment matters, including Cal/OSHA investigations and appeals of Cal/OSHA citations, claims of discrimination and harassment, wrongful termination, wage and hour violations, and whistleblower actions.  She also conducts workplace harassment prevention training, and counsels employers on workplace safety compliance, the development of employee handbooks, hiring and termination decisions, leaves of absence and accommodations, and wage and hour compliance.

Ms. Shaked was an integral part of the expansion of CMC’s California Practice when she joined the firm back in 2018.  And now she is a key player in the next big expansion of the firm’s California Practice. Continue reading

MSHA Publishes Proposed Rule for Respirable Crystalline Silica Exposure

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By: Nicholas W. Scala

The Mine Safety & Health Administration’s (“MSHA”) long-awaited proposed rule for Lowering Miners’ Exposure to Respirable Crystalline Silica and Improving Respiratory Protection has finally been published. MSHA released an early copy of the proposed rule recently on June 30th , but the official version was published on July 13th, on the Federal Register.   

Industry stakeholders have heard of MSHA’s plans for a new rule regulating Respirable Crystalline Silica (“RCS”) exposure in the mining industry for more than a decade, and across three presidential administrations if not longer. What MSHA published today is unsurprisingly similar to what stakeholders expected in 2016 when momentum was building for MSHA to adopt the Occupational Safety & Health Administration’s (“OSHA”) new (at that time) RCS standard, although there are some notable differences. Here are some key takeaways from the proposed rule:  Continue reading

Preeminent Cal/OSHA Attorney, Rachel Conn, Joins Conn Maciel Carey LLP as Chair of the Firm’s California Practice

Conn Maciel Carey LLP (CMC), a boutique law firm with national practices in Workplace Safety – OSHA/MSHA, labor and employment, and litigation, is delighted to announce that attorney Rachel L. Conn has joined the firm’s San Francisco, CA office as Chair of the California Practice.

Ms. Conn comes to CMC from Nixon Peabody, where she was the Head of the OSHA Practice. At CMC, Ms. Conn will lead the team representing California and national employers in inspections, investigations and enforcement actions involving Cal/OSHA, Federal OSHA, and other State OSH Plans, especially the West Coast DOSH states. With strong experience in labor and employment law, she will also help lead the California labor and employment defense practice. Continue reading

Conn Maciel Carey LLP Launches Michigan Office With the Addition of Acclaimed OSHA Defense Attorney Valerie Butera

Conn Maciel Carey LLP (CMC), a Washington, D.C.-based boutique law firm with national practices in workplace safety (OSHA and MSHA), labor and employment, and litigation, is pleased to announce the opening of a Detroit Metro Area, Michigan office and the addition of Senior Counsel, Valerie Butera.

Ms. Butera is among a group of only twenty-five Occupational Safety and Health Law defense attorneys rated by Chambers USA, and the only Michigan-based OSHA attorney rated by Chambers.  She has extensive experience representing employers and trade associations in the full range of workplace safety and health law regulatory and enforcement matters across a wide range of industries, from chemical and petrochemical manufacturing, to petroleum refining, and automotive, electric utility, manufacturing, construction, railway, grain, retail, hospitality, healthcare, and food services. Continue reading

MSHA Jurisdiction: Where Does MSHA’s Authority Begin and OSHA’s End? [Webinar Recording]

On Tuesday, May 16, 2023, Nicholas Scala presented a webinar regarding MSHA Jurisdiction: Where Does MSHA’s Authority Begin and OSHA’s End?

The Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) split the authority to regulate the nation’s workplaces, but the line of jurisdiction between the two is not always as clear as you would think. The line in the sand is largely drawn out in a 1979 Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the agencies, but that document leaves many questions outstanding. While some of these have been answered by the court system – including OSHRC and FMSHRC – many times questions or jurisdiction live in a very grey space.

This webinar covered Continue reading

Chambers USA Recognizes Conn Maciel Carey as 1 of Only 3 “Band 1” Ranked Law Firms for OSHA Law, Again!

Conn Maciel Carey LLP (CMC) is honored to announce that the firm has been recognized as one of only three national law firms ranked in Band 1 Nationwide for Occupational Safety and Health (OSHA) Law for the 2nd year in a row. CMC remains the only “boutique” firm among the law firms recognized.

The recognition comes from Chambers and Partners, an independent research company that delivers detailed rankings and insight into the world’s leading lawyers and law firms. This is only the second year that Chambers has ranked the OSHA Law field, and CMC has been ranked Band 1 both years.

Chambers’ researchers identified CMC as “perhaps the foremost experts in workplace health and safety law.… CMC is made up of some of the best legal expertise that is available when it comes to safety and health matters…. They are keen to build a good relationship with their clients so that they can anticipate needs and exceed expectations. 

Continue reading

Preparing for MSHA Serious Incident Investigations [Webinar Recording]

On Tuesday, April 18, 2023, Nick Scala presented a webinar regarding Preparing for MSHA Serious Incident and Fatality Investigations.

While mine operators and mining contractors are likely used to MSHA conducting on-site safety and health inspections, when a serious incident occurs, the MSHA investigation takes a different approach. Seasoned mine operations are often caught off-guard by the depth of the investigation after a serious incident and are at times taken aback by the tone of the investigation – usually conducted by unfamiliar MSHA personnel from other areas in the district and management and non-management employee interviews will be central to the investigation. MSHA is also likely to issue a 103(K) Order, essentially shutting down the area or equipment subject to the incident, and the Order can stay in place for months, leaving the operator in a loss position.

This webinar reviewed MSHA’s approach to a serious incident or fatal incident investigations. Participants learned strategies to manage MSHA’s investigation for the company while conducting the operator’s investigation into the incident. The webinar also covered miner and mine management rights throughout MSHA’s investigation.

Participants in this webinar learned the following: Continue reading

Conn Maciel Carey LLP Adds Highly Regarded OSHA Defense and Employment Attorney Kimberly Richardson

Conn Maciel Carey LLP, (CMC) a boutique law firm with national practices in labor and employment, workplace safety (OSHA and MSHA), and litigation, is pleased to announce that Kimberly Richardson has become an Of Counsel attorney with the firm based out of the firm’s principal office in Washington, DC.

Ms. Richardson will provide counseling and litigation services related to workplace health and safety and employment-related matters. Throughout her 15 years of experience, Ms. Richardson has served as the lead in-house workplace health and safety attorney for multiple national and international organizations, where she advised executive leadership on matters pertaining to labor, employment, and OSHA compliance.

“I am elated to share Kimberly’s perspective as a former in-house corporate counsel with our clients and our attorneys as she prides herself on advising companies to create and prioritize robust compliance programs on the myriad of employment legal issues,” says Kara Maciel, Labor and Employment Practice Chair. “When corporate legal teams need advice on creating collaborative approaches to their ESG initiatives, Kimberly will be a strong leader of CMC’s team in providing strategic privileged counsel on the responsibilities that corporations will be facing in the years to come.”

“I could not be more excited to welcome the legendary Kimberly Richardson to our OSHA and L&E teams at Conn Maciel Carey,” says Eric Conn, OSHA Practice Chair. Continue reading

Conn Maciel Carey LLP Expands Midwest Presence with OSHA Defense & Employment Senior Counsel Mark Ishu

Conn Maciel Carey LLP (CMC), a boutique law firm with national practices in labor and employment, workplace safety (OSHA and MSHA), and litigation, is pleased to announce that Mark Ishu has joined the firm’s Chicago office as a Senior Counsel.

Prior to entering private practice, Mr. Ishu spent over a decade serving as a Trial Attorney for the United States Department of Labor, Office of the Solicitor, where he prosecuted civil violations under federal labor statutes for the Occupational Safety and Health Act, Fair Labor Standards Act, , Mine Safety and Health Act, Employee Retirement Income Security Act, Davis Bacon Act, Service Contract Act, Immigration Nationality Act (H-1B, H-2B, H-2A), and whistleblower statutes. During his tenure, he was dedicated to fostering, promoting, and protecting the welfare of wage earners, job seekers, and retirees in improving working conditions, advancing opportunities for profitable employment, and assuring work-related benefits and rights.

Co-Managing Partner, Aaron Gelb, says “After litigating several significant citations with Mark on the other side representing OSHA, I came to respect him as a worthy adversary and like him as a person.  Continue reading