By Frederick T. Smith and Adam R. Young

Seyfarth Synopsis:  On January 10, 2019 Seyfarth Shaw LLP’s Labor & Employment and Workplace Safety and Health Teams will present a webinar on OSHA’s New Standard Interpretation clarifying the requirements on workplace drug testing.

In 2016, federal OSHA called into question many common workplace drug testing policies that contained post-accident testing provisions, characterizing them as a form of unlawful retaliation. Now, however, a recent OSHA Standard Interpretation has clarified the final rule and expressly permitted a range of drug testing policies and practices.

During this webinar we will discuss OSHA’s clarified position and various drug testing laws and provide practical advice for employers with regard to:

  • Post-accident/incident drug testing;
  • Random drug testing; and
  • Drug testing required by federal DOT agencies

The OSHA Standard Interpretation also abruptly reversed course on safety incentive programs, which we will also review.  As time allows, we will also provide a brief update on recreational and medical marijuana laws and related trends.

While there is no cost to attend, registration is required.  If you have any questions, please contact Cassie Peterson at clpeterson@seyfarth.com and reference this event.

By Andrew H. Perellis and Craig B. Simonsen

Senator Frank Lautenberg introduced legislation yesterday intended to reduce the risk to communities from attack or catastrophic incident. The proposed legislation would require high risk chemical, oil refineries, and water facilities to assess and develop plans to address their vulnerabilities.  The legislation would also require the highest-risk facilities to use “Inherently Safer Technology” that would increase public and environmental safety. “Inherently Safer Technology” is understood by industry as a mandate for substitution of a “safer” product or process.

Senator Lautenberg introduced the legislation as two separate bills. The “Secure Water Facilities Act” and the “Secure Chemical Facilities Act”. As proposed, the Secure Chemical Facilities Act would be administered by the Department of Homeland Security, and the Secure Water Facilities Act would be administered by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

The Senator’s action came immediately after the national release of a report, The Danger In Our Backyards: The Threat of Chemical Facilities to Millions, that finds 12,440 facilities nationwide that possess large quantities of chemicals that put people at risk. Of these facilities, “89 put more than a million people at risk of a chemical disaster.” Across the country, there are also “384 facilities that put more than 100,000 people at risk and 2,043 that put more than 10,000 people at risk” in the event of an accident or terrorist attack.

The report also examines twelve high-risk sites across the country and finds that low-income and minority communities are disproportionately at risk from chemical releases from these facilities.