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I am an environmental attorney in Robinson+Cole’s Environmental and Utilities Group. I have worked with manufacturers, both big and small, on environmental compliance, risk management, and litigation matters for my entire career. My full firm bio can be accessed here.

As an environmental lawyer, I never want to be a roadblock to our client’s goals. I strive to understand the business of our manufacturing clients – what do you make and how do you make it? I want to know your objective, and I want to help you get there. Regulatory requirements and potential legal liabilities can sometimes seem daunting, but I help our clients develop an understanding of the requirements and all of the potential options so that we can create practical and cost-effective solutions to accomplish the objective. I work with management as well as the people who make our clients’ products every day, and I enjoy every part of it. It’s a good day for me when I can put on my hard hat and walk the factory floor.

This week, we continue with our 2021 outlook series with a focus on environmental, health, and safety. This year brings a new Presidential administration, and with it will come a host of new programs, as well as some new takes on established programs. The following are a few initiatives that could impact manufacturers in 2021.

As we previously reported, EPA published a PFAS Action Plan in 2019 designed to enhance and improve data gathering, regulatory development, enforcement, and communication related to per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). EPA continues to make progress implementing the PFAS Action Plan and is working on a more formal framework for addressing PFAS under the

As COVID-19 cases have continued to rise across the United States, so have COVID-related OSHA complaints and investigations. OSHA has been tracking statistics on COVID-related complaints, referrals, inspections, and citations on a daily basis and posting the results posting the results on its website.

Federal OSHA has initiated over 1,000 investigations related to COVID-19. As

Thank you to my colleague, Jonathan Schaefer, for his contributions to this post. Jon focuses his practice on environmental compliance counseling, occupational health and safety, permitting, site remediation, and litigation related to federal and state regulatory programs.

Since at least March, manufacturers, and the entire U.S. economy, have been experiencing unprecedented conditions as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. COVID-19 has not only changed where and how manufacturers operate, but also safety protocols across the board.

It will likely come as no surprise to any manufacturer, that since February there has been a significant increase in the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) caseload. The U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Inspector General (OIG) recently found that this increased caseload has resulted in the average number of days to close an investigation to increase 41 days (279 versus 238) since the OIG’s last audit.
Continue Reading Significant Increase in OSHA Whistleblower Complaints and Caseloads Due to COVID-19

Thank you to my colleague, Jonathan Schaefer, for his contributions to this post. Jon focuses his practice on environmental compliance counseling, occupational health and safety, permitting, site remediation, and litigation related to federal and state regulatory programs.

While Federal OSHA has issued numerous COVID-related guidance documents, it has declined to issue an enforceable COVID

Yesterday, OSHA issued guidance aimed at educating workers and employers on how to properly use face coverings at work during the COVID-19 pandemic. Structured as a series of frequently asked questions with answers, the guidance is the latest word from OSHA on measures workplaces can and should take to protect against the spread of COVID-19.

This week we are pleased to have a guest post from Robert S. Melvin, a member of Robinson+Cole’s Environmental, Energy + Telecommunications Group. Attorney Melvin has over 20 years of experience counseling clients on environmental, health, and safety compliance, sustainability, emergency response efforts, site remediation, and development projects. A wide range of clients benefit from his services, including aerospace and other manufacturers, stone and aggregate producers, metal finishers, municipalities, educational institutions, and water and wastewater utilities.

In these days of working from home and managing countless other demands on our time, we offer this post to help you decide whether to add the latest Clean Water Act (CWA) cases and rules to your must-see legal watch list. Since its 1972 inception, the Clean Water Act has prohibited any unpermitted “discharge,” defined as “any addition of any pollutant to navigable waters from any point source.” For more than four decades, agencies and courts have struggled with this CWA liability trigger in various circumstances, as well as the CWA’s vague definition of “navigable waters” as “waters of the United States” (WOTUS).
Continue Reading Binge-Watching the Clean Water Act Cases and Rules

OSHA previously issued guidance on preparing workplaces for COVID-19, which we covered on the blog a few weeks ago. The agency has been busy issuing additional materials to guide employers through these uncharted waters. A few recent developments are summarized below:

Recordkeeping and Reporting Requirements

OSHA has confirmed that COVID-19 can be a recordable work-related

Last week, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued guidance on preparing workplaces for COVID-19. The guidance provides recommendations to help employers plan for the impact of COVID-19 on their businesses, workers, customers, and the public. While a number of states have implemented orders affecting certain workplaces, this guidance remains important for all employers