We routinely counsel clients on a broad range of workplace health and safety issues, including OSHA’s Process Safety Management standard, the US EPA’s Risk Management Program regulation, and more traditional OSHA health and safety standards such as fall protection, control of hazardous energy, confined space entry, and emergency response. We also work with companies and trade associations in connection with federal and state rulemakings to update major accident prevention regulations.
We provide day-to-day compliance counseling, inspection support, and enforcement defense. We have strong relationships with regulators, including senior managers at OSHA, US EPA, the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health, the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries, and other state plans.
We have helped some of the most sophisticated companies in the world successfully navigate the many legal issues implicated in the aftermath of workplace fatalities and catastrophic incidents, including evidence and site control, internal investigations, liability management, and stakeholder engagement. Executives and operating site leadership often ask for Mark by name knowing that he has directed the response to some of the largest incidents in their industries.
We are well known to investigating and enforcement agencies alike, including senior investigators and leaders at the US Chemical Safety Board and the National Transportation Safety Board ("NTSB"). Our relationships are based on decades of experience, trust, and mutual respect.
We also are uniquely qualified having participated in relatively rare aspects of federal incident investigations. In 2023, our attorneys participated on behalf of a chemical manufacturer in a two-day field Investigative Hearing conducted by the NTSB.
Evaluating Culture and Performance
Mark Farley worked closely with former US Secretary of State James A. Baker III and his blue ribbon panel of experts convened after the 2005 BP Texas City Refinery disaster. Mark was one of the principal authors of the Baker Panel Report which is a seminal text on process safety and organizational safety culture.
Devon Downs often works with refiners in California who are subject to the process safety culture elements of the California refining process safety management standard (5189.1). Devon advises clients on the development of survey instruments and analyzing suvery results
Organizations often hire us to evaluate their global safety performance and determine whether safety management systems are functioning as intended. We routinely advise boards of directors, and senior executives on issues related to safety performance, leadership, and organizational culture.
We understand that preparedness and proactive risk management activities are essential. We work extensively with organizations to prepare for crises and developed the concept of major accident guidebooks or toolkits for use by in-house lawyers to aid an effective response within the first 48 to 96 hours after an event.
We often participate in our clients' crisis response drills and other table top exercises. We also conduct incident response training for inhouse lawyers; corporate and operational leadership; and environmental, health and safety personnel.