The firm actively assists our union clients in ensuring that the employees they represent can come home safe and healthy at the end of their workday.
The Occupational Safety and Health Act guarantees employees a safe and healthful working environment, by requiring employers to comply with specific safety standards and to provide a workplace free of recognized hazards. It also empowers the government to promulgate and enforce safety and health standards and to assist employers in complying with the law. The federal government is responsible for enforcing the Act in approximately one-half of the states; in the others, the states operate under their own plans, which by law must be as effective as the federal program. Various statutes administered by the Environmental Protection Agency also provide workplace protections against hazardous substances, particularly lead. And the Atomic Energy Act makes the U.S. Department of Energy responsible for the safety and health of some of the workers on its sites.
Sherman Dunn represents unions and their members in seeking to secure the protections promised by these statutes. We have represented union clients before the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) in rulemaking proceedings to establish standards for asbestos in the construction industry, hazard communication, process safety, electrical safety, lead in construction, indoor air quality, hexavalent chromium, silica, confined spaces in the construction industry, and cranes and derricks, and to update recordkeeping and reporting requirements. We have played a similar role in formal and informal efforts by EPA to regulate workplace exposures to lead, and provided support to our clients in their efforts to protect and secure compensation for workers exposed to hazards on DOE sites.
We have also participated in a number of post-promulgation challenges to OSHA standards in the federal courts of appeals and represented union clients in proceedings before the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission, an independent agency that adjudicates challenges to OSHA’s enforcement actions, and in federal appellate review of OSHRC decisions.
We have lobbied on behalf of our clients in support of their legislative efforts to strengthen the provisions of the OSH Act and to develop compensation systems for victims of occupational exposure to asbestos. We have also advised our clients regarding state and local efforts to ensure the safety of workers on publicly-funded construction projects.
Finally, we regularly counsel our union clients on how to be actively involved in ensuring that the employees they represent can go home safe and healthy at the end of their workday.