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DOJ's Worker Enforcement Initiative a Key Topic at Recent ABA Conference

Firm News | November 16, 2016

Inside EPA quoted Mark Farley, co-head of Katten's Environmental and Workplace Safety practice, on the worker enforcement initiative as part of its coverage of the recent American Bar Association Environmental and Workplace Safety Criminal Enforcement Conference in Washington, DC. The conference, which featured Assistant Attorney General John Cruden, highlighted how prosecutors are implementing a recent policy to impose stiffer penalties for workplace violations.

Mark addressed how the worker enforcement initiative might slow the Chemical Safety Board's (CSB's) efforts to collect incident data for preventing future accidents. He stated, "As soon as [companies] start pulling in individual counsel then the information flow to CSB is going to stop. You won't allow [a client] to sit for that interview until you know what their exposure is. That leads to a huge time delay." He added that both the CSB's and US Department of Justice's efforts are aligned—promoting a culture of safety and the need for internal environmental management systems (EMS) policies—stating, "What is driving this focus on major accidents and leading toward the increasing criminalization of these accidents is that CSB is speaking a language that prosecutors really understand." (October 28, 2016)

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