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Naming Donor is the Energy Transfer Family of Companies


         Mercy Street Sports, the sports ministry of Dallas-based Mercy Street, a Christian based non-profit organization, hosted a groundbreaking ceremony on a nearly $1 million soccer complex in West Dallas. The event was held Wednesday, March 1 at 4:00 p.m. at 3500 Goldman Street, Dallas, TX 75212. The new facility will feature one regular-size soccer field and two futsal fields and will allow Mercy Street to further its mission to provide safe after-school activities to the children of West Dallas.

            Local businesses, provided a total of $959,200 for the construction and operation of the soccer complex. Naming sponsors, Energy Transfer Partners and Sunoco, LP, both belonging to the Energy Transfer family of companies donated a total of $459,200 to fund the construction and operation of the soccer field. In addition to Energy Transfer, The Texas Rangers, FC Dallas, Texas Capital Bank, AdvoCare and The Real Estate Council each donated towards the construction of the two futsal fields. Futsal is a modified form of soccer that uses a smaller field with five players per team.

“This incredible donation from our local business community allows us to further our mission of building future leaders within West Dallas and bringing positive change to the children that live and play here”, said Trey Hill, Executive Director of Mercy Street. “We are also grateful to the Dallas Housing Authority for the donation of land in order to continue to grow our programs. Our soccer program has grown exponentially since it began, and we are proud to have a field that matches the spirit of what this program allows us to do for the kids of West Dallas.”

“We believe that the focus of Mercy Street and the programs provided to the children who live in West Dallas are invaluable”, said Kelcy Warren, Chairman and CEO of Energy Transfer Partners. “By directly supporting their efforts with the construction of this new soccer complex, the community at large will also benefit. Because of the central location of these athletic fields, schools and community centers throughout the area will be able to utilize them as well. We hope the children will be proud to have a safe place to practice and play for generations to come.”

The soccer fields will be adjacent to the Texas Rangers MLB Youth Academy at Mercy Street Sports Complex, presented by Toyota which opened four of its five fields last year and will complete construction on the fifth field and 38,000 square foot Globe Life Training Center in September. Additionally, future plans call for the construction of a football stadium that will round out the programs offered by Mercy Street.

            Mercy Street, Inc. started in 2003 with a mentoring program as the main vehicle for reaching the community and building future leaders in West Dallas to ultimately bring positive change to the area. Realizing the needs reached beyond mentorship, Mercy Street decided to add sports as part of their programming and in 2005, Mercy Street began Mercy Street Sports as another vehicle to serve and impact the community of West Dallas. Today, Mercy Street Sports has multiple sports programs throughout the year that focus on building strong healthy youth and families through sports.

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Dallas, February 24, 2017 – Dallas United Crew (DUC) is proud to announce its rowers have had a strong start to the 2017 spring season, taking home top placements at all three of this year’s opening competitions. Four High School teams placed first at the Austin Invitational Regatta, two Varsity Men competed at the C.R.A.S.H.-b Sprints – World Indoor Rowing Championships, and multiple athletes of all ages medaled at the Southwest Ergometer Amateur Tournament (S.W.E.A.T.) in Dallas. DUC is a 501(c) 3 non-profit rowing organization based on White Rock Lake that has programs for people of all ages and abilities.

Most recently, DUC Varsity rowers raced on February 19th in the Austin Invitational Regatta in Austin, Texas. Rowers from across the state of Texas and as far as Chicago traveled to compete.  DUC had six boats finish in the top 3 with four crossing the finish line in first place.

  • 1st Place - Varsity Men’s 8+, Junior Varsity Men’s 8+, Varsity Lightweight Men’s 8+, 2nd Varsity Women’s 4+
  • 2nd Place - Varsity Lightweight Women’s 8+
  • 3rd Place – Varsity Women’s 8+

Two DUC Varsity men qualified to compete in the prestigious C.R.A.S.H.-b Sprints – World Indoor Rowing Championships on February 12th at the Agganis Arena, Boston UniversityDrake Deuel, a senior and five-time world record holder in the ergometer 2,000 meter race, finished with the fastest time in the lightweight event and Eric Martin came home with the bronze medal in the men’s open weight event.

Earlier in February, DUC competed at the Southwest Ergometer Amateur Tournament (S.W.E.A.T.) on February 4th in Dallas.  DUC had a strong showing across all its programs with a total of 13 medals (six gold, three silver, and four bronze) in the Masters (adult), Adaptive Masters, Middle School and Juniors divisions.

S.W.E.A.T. is the southwest regional qualifier for the C.R.A.S.H.-B. World Indoor Rowing Championships. The all-day indoor rowing event comprised of more than 500 rowers from 34 high school and club teams from across the Southwest competing in a 2,000 meter race.

DUC claimed the top two spots in the highly competitive Junior Men’s division, with the gold medal for Drake Deuel and the silver for Eric Martin.

In the High School Freshman Lightweight division, DUC brought home two medals: Anders Ekstrom took the gold in the Men’s event, while Georgia Wellborn earned silver in the Women’s. Walt Cory and Mimi Wellborn each earned a gold medal in the Junior Lightweight division in Men’s and Women’s, respectively.

DUC competitors in the Masters division brought home two bronze medals in their first racing experience: Lisa Miller in the Women’s 50-59 and Chuck Mueller in the Men’s 60-69. And military veteran John Fay—who also competed for his first time—won the bronze medal in the Adaptive Masters division.

DUC also was well represented by its newest set of rowers. Middle School participants earned four medals: Nik Knapp brought home the gold medal in the men’s event; Justin Rigg earned the bronze; Bella Tiscareno and Kate Burkhart won gold and silver, respectively, in the women’s division.

About Dallas United Crew
Dallas United Crew’s mission is to transform lives and build community through outreach. DUC offers a variety of rowing and dragon boating programs for adults including Veterans adaptive rowing and youth age 11+ on White Rock Lake located in East Dallas. Since 2002, DUC has been building community, fostering leadership and teamwork and having fun through oar and paddle sports. These programs challenge, strengthen and empower people both mentally and physically. Both novice and experienced rowers and paddlers are welcome. DUC is a registered 501c (3) nonprofit organization and donations are tax-deductible. For complete information on getting out on the water with DUC, visit


Dallas United Crew’s adaptive rowing program for disabled athletes is sending two veterans to the SWEAT indoor rowing competition on Feb. 4th

DALLAS, January 31, 2017 – Dallas United Crew (DUC) is excited to announce that two military veterans from its adaptive rowing program will compete in this year’s Southwest Ergometer Amateur Tournament (SWEAT) at the Jesuit College Preparatory School of Dallas on February 4th.  DUC’s adaptive rowing program is designed to encourage disabled individuals to enhance the physical and social aspects of their lives through rowing.  The program is run by volunteers and coaching staff of DUC, which is a 501(c) 3 non-profit rowing organization based on White Rock Lake that has programs for people of all ages and abilities.

The disabled veterans will participate in the adaptive indoor rowing competition at 9:15 a.m. and will be joined by other DUC athletes also competing in the day’s events.

Veterans John Fay and David Graham started training for the indoor rowing competition in December after having participated in other areas of DUC’s recreational adaptive rowing program. Fay, an Army veteran and current VP and acting Treasurer for the Paralyzed Veterans of America (PVA) Lone Star Chapter, has been rowing with DUC since June 2015 when they got their first 8-seat barge—a specially designed fixed-seat rowing boat that allows for easy teaching and sturdy rowing for persons with little or no leg or torso strength. Graham is a Navy veteran who served on the USS Enterprise aircraft carrier and who rowed for two and a half years in Iowa before moving to Dallas and transferring to DUC’s program this past November.

DUC first teamed up with Veterans Administration (VA) and the PVA to offer recreational adaptive rowing and to participate in the 2015 National Veterans Wheelchair Games in Dallas.  With the help of grants for additional equipment in 2015 and 2016, DUC’s adaptive rowing program has since grown to include indoor recreational and competitive rowing training, as well as rowing in a specially adapted two-rower boat in addition to their 8-seat barge. In the future, DUC hopes to add single-rower boats to their program, through the generous grants of US rowing’s Freedom Rows Program (VA sponsored), PVA, and other Dallas area donors. 

“DUC’s adaptive rowing program has been great for me,” says Fay. “I love being active and getting out on the lake, and the DUC coaches and athletes who volunteer make it all possible. I’m looking forward to competing in indoor rowing for the first time alongside many of DUC’s other great athletes.”

“One of the main reasons I row is because it's relaxing,” says Graham. “Indoor erg machine rowing is a great way to train during winter months and I’m so glad to be one of DUC’s first adaptive indoor rowing athletes to compete at SWEAT.”

To catch these veteran athletes in action, interview them at their indoor erg machine training which occurs every Tuesday and Thursday at CrossFit Lake Highlands gym, 9850 Walnut Hill Ln., Dallas, from 1 – 2:30 p.m. Or come join us at the Jesuit School in Dallas this Saturday to watch them compete at SWEAT at 9:15 a.m.

About Dallas United Crew
Dallas United Crew’s mission is to transform lives and build a community. DUC offers a variety of rowing and dragon boating programs for adults and youth age 11+ on White Rock Lake located in East Dallas. Since 2002, DUC has been building community, fostering leadership and teamwork and having fun through oar and paddle sports. These programs challenge, strengthen and empower people both mentally and physically. Both novice and experienced rowers and paddlers are welcome. DUC is a registered 501c (3) nonprofit organization and donations are tax-deductible. For complete information on getting out on the water with DUC, visit



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Fisher Phillips Cautions that the New Movie "Office Christmas Party" may be Fun to Watch,

But if Employers Use it as a Party Guide, Lawsuits May Follow 


Companies are ringing in the holiday season, with an estimated 80 percent planning to host holiday parties for their employees, according to Challenger, Gray & Christmas. Though holiday celebrations may build morale, Fisher Phillips cautions that employers may find coal in their stockings and lawsuits on their desks if they let their holiday parties snowball into chaos as seen in the new movie “Office Christmas Party.” Fisher Phillips is a management-side labor and employment law firm with 33 offices nationwide.


 “Though extreme, ‘Office Christmas Party’ serves as a cautionary tale of what may happen if steps are not taken to minimize legal risks before celebrations commence,” said Art Lambert, partner in the Dallas office of Fisher Phillips.  “Despite the best of intentions, if employers are not vigilant when hosting holiday parties, they may risk lawsuits based on discrimination, harassment, or injuries. While planning office parties, employers should make a list and check it twice.


“If employers plan to serve alcohol, they must keep in mind that employees may make poor judgements that subject them to harassment and discrimination claims,” said Lambert.  “Employers should remind employees of policies on sexual harassment, discrimination and dress code before the festivities. In today’s litigious environment, it’s important to put guidelines in place to avoid too much holiday cheer leading to a costly lawsuit.” 


Below is Lambert’s take on the do’s and don’ts of holiday parties that may help employers avoid unwelcome surprises.



Fisher Phillips Reminds Employers of Their Duties to Our Servicemen and Women this Veterans Day
Nearly One Million Veterans in Texas Civilian Labor Force

Veterans Day holds significant importance in Texas, as it leads the nation in employing military veterans with an estimated 926,000 veterans work in civilian jobs, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Texas tops the second leading state, California, by more than 85,000.

“Despite veterans making up nearly 10 percent of the state’s workforce, many private employers may not know their legal duties to our vets,” said Art Lambert, partner in the Dallas office of Fisher Phillips, a national labor and employment law firm. “Employers should be prepared to accommodate former soldiers who may have disabilities, as well as reinstate employees who leave the company to serve in the Armed Forces and then return after being honorably discharged.”

Accommodate Wounded Warriors
The Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act (ADAAA) prohibits employers from discriminating against qualified applicants or employees with disabilities. Additionally, it requires employers to reasonably accommodate disabilities if they would enable employees to perform essential job functions. This includes mental impairments, just as it would a veteran with a prosthetic limb or who is hard of hearing.

According to Lambert, companies are seeing an uptick in accommodation requests from veterans with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, which commonly includes ways to avoid loud noises and the allowance of comfort animals. The ADAAA requires accommodation determinations to be made on a case-by-case basis and granted whenever possible.

Reinstate Returning Veterans
In addition to accommodating disabilities, employers have a legal obligation to employees who take a leave of absence from work to serve their country. The Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) requires civilian employers reemploy veterans who left for training or to serve in the armed forces once they have completed their service. The USERRA is designed to provide servicemen and women with job security when they return to civilian life.

To qualify for reinstatement, honorably discharged employees simply need to submit a timely application, which typically varies from 14 to 90 days prior to returning to work. Employers must promptly reinstate veterans to the positions they would have held if they had never taken military leave, which may include pay increases or promotions upon return. Additionally, employers must provide a refresher or other trainings that would have been furnished if not for the leave.

Not only is reinstatement required, but employers cannot terminate returning veterans without cause. Despite Texas’ status as an employment at-will state, veterans can only be terminated "for cause" during a period of six to 12 months after reinstatement. Lastly, employers cannot discriminate on the basis of military service or retaliate against employees for asserting these rights.

“Though most employers have honorable intentions, it is a delicate and complex balance between managing business demands and fulfilling their commitment to our brave servicemen and women,” said Lambert. “The legal regulations affecting employees with veteran status are constantly being modified. It is important employers are up to speed on current state laws to ensure battles take place in the field and not in the courtroom.”

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Nearly 70% of Employees Polled in a Recent Survey Admit to Playing at Work


The Pokémon Go craze has taken over America, from millennials to baby boomers. However, if you are venturing to PokéStops during the workday, you could find yourself gathering unemployment paperwork instead of Poké Balls, cautions Art Lambert, partner in the Dallas office of Fisher Phillips. Fisher Phillips is a management-side labor and employment law firm with 33 offices nationwide.


Pokémon Go, launched in early July, holds the Guinness World Record for being the most downloaded mobile game in its first month. Downloads of the app now total more than 130 million, with adults over the age of 25 representing a surprising 40 percent of those with the app, according to a company that tracks app downloads and social media usage[1]


“Texas is an employment-at-will state and employees can be fired for anything nondiscriminatory, which may include lost productivity due to playing Pokémon Go when they should be working,” said Lambert. “A recent poll by Forbes that surveyed more than 66,000 employees found an astonishing 70 percent played the game while on the clock.”


Here are the top five reasons you may get fired for playing Pokémon Go at work:

  1. Prowling around while work piles up. Your boss pays you to do your job. If you are out catching Pokémon while on the clock, it is like stealing time and money from your employer.
  2. Battling Pokémon may compromise data and use up bandwidth. If you are connected to your company’s Wi-Fi, you may be opening the door for hackers to attack your company’s network. Additionally, you are using up your company’s bandwidth and data, slowing down the internet connection for everyone. 
  3. Catching more than Pokémon. The app records everything while you play. You could be capturing your company’s confidential information and trade secrets.
  4. Risking your safety. You may be risking the safety of you and others around you by wondering into hazardous areas or playing while driving. Your employer has a duty to protect you and other employees under the Occupational Safety and Health Act.
  5. Looking like a child. How will your boss respond if approached by a client who saw you in the hall on a Pokémon quest? Clients need to feel you are focused on them.

[1] StartApp, a company that tracks 600 million users for downloads and social usage.

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Michael V. Abcarian and Arthur V. Lambert in the Dallas Office Received this Honor

Fisher Phillips announced today that five Texas attorneys have been selected for inclusion in 2016 Texas Super Lawyers® list: Michael V. Abcarian, Bob Kilgore, Arthur V. Lambert, Stephen J. Roppolo and Teresa S. Valderrama. Fisher Phillips is a national management-side labor and employment law firm.


Super Lawyer selections are based upon independent research and peer nominations from the Thomson Reuters-owned publication. Recognition in Super Lawyers demonstrates an exemplary degree of respect and professional achievement the lawyer has earned from peers, with no more than 5 percent of attorneys in Texas selected to appear on the list.


Abcarian, the managing partner of the Dallas office, has been included on the Texas Super Lawyers® list for 12 consecutive years. He has more than 35 years of experience in all phases of labor and employment law, and has not lost a lawsuit in more than 20 years. He has handled hundreds of lawsuits ranging from large class actions to individual plaintiff cases.


It is the third consecutive year that Kilgore, a San Antonio attorney, has received this recognition. For more than 30 years, he has successfully represented Texas employers in claims involving discrimination, benefits, compensation and non-competes/trade secrets. This includes federal and state court litigation and administrative proceedings.


Lambert, a Dallas partner, has received this recognition for 11 consecutive years. He has represented employers in all aspects of labor and employment during his 27-year career. Lambert regularly counsels and litigates employment law matters involving sexual harassment, discrimination, wrongful termination and non-competition disputes.


Roppolo, the managing partner of the Houston and San Antonio offices, is a seasoned veteran with more than 25 years of experience in labor and employment law. He has represented employers in matters of sexual harassment, discrimination, defamation, breach of employment contract and non-competition/trade secret disputes.


This marks the 13th consecutive year that Valderrama, a Houston-office partner, has been honored. Over her 27-year career, she has assisted employers in everything from internal corporate investigations to courtroom defense of class actions and discrimination claims. Her experience includes trade secret litigation and defense of whistleblower claims.  

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DUC Varsity Women's team competing in Oklahoma in 2015.



Tryouts for Students Grades 9 – 12 to be held at CrossFit Lake Highlands


DALLAS, August 11, 2016 – Dallas United Crew will hold tryouts for its fall 2016 high school travel rowing team on August 20, 2016 at CrossFit Lake Highlands. Interested students must be entering the 9th-12th grades in the fall. No previous rowing experience or equipment is necessary. Dallas United Crew (DUC) is a 501(c) 3 non-profit rowing organization based on White Rock Lake that has programs for people of all ages and abilities.

The one-hour tryouts from 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. at the CrossFit Lake Highlands, 9850 Walnut Hill Lane #405 Dallas, Texas 75238, are an opportunity for students and parents to learn more about the sport and for students to try a new set of skills. Students from schools across the Metroplex, participate in Dallas United’s various rowing programs. Varsity athletes on DUC teams have opportunities to travel and race across the United States, as well as compete against international teams, providing an experience not often seen with other sports. Additionally, rowing prepares students for opportunities in competitive collegiate rowing. In fact, college admissions data shows that rowing offers the highest percentage of college scholarships for both boys and girls.

“Rowing is the oldest intercollegiate sport in the United States and offers one of the greatest scholarship opportunities for student athletes,” said Rebecca George, Dallas United Varsity Women’s coach. “Besides college scholarships, rowing also has the non-contact component. As concussion awareness grows for young athletes, parents are looking for alternative options in order to fulfill the PE credit required to graduate high school. Additionally, we are very proud of our financial assistance program. To date, we have been able to provide a substantial amount of financial assistance to rowers who demonstrate a need, so they will have the opportunity to participate in our rowing programs.”

To register for the tryouts, or for information on Dallas United Crew, visit

About Dallas United Crew

Dallas United Crew’s mission is to transform lives and build a community. DUC offers a variety of rowing and dragon boating programs for adults and youth age 11+ on White Rock Lake located in East Dallas. Since 2002, DUC has been building community, fostering leadership and teamwork and having fun through oar and paddle sports. These programs challenge, strengthen and empower people both mentally and physically. Both novice and experienced rowers and paddlers are welcome. DUC is a registered 501c (3) nonprofit organization and donations are tax-deductible. For complete information on getting out on the water with DUC, visit



WHAT:    Attorneys in the Dallas office of national labor and employment law firm Fisher Phillips will present a one-day seminar, “From Start to Finish: Managing Employees Without Finishing at the

Courthouse.” The seminar will prepare employers for employment law changes and challenges in 2016 and beyond.


WHEN:    Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Registration and Breakfast: 7:00 a.m. – 8:00 a.m.    

Seminar:  8:00 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.


WHO:      Anyone who manages employees and makes decisions impacting the workforce. The one-day seminar will benefit Presidents, CEOs, COOs, CFOs, Human Resources professionals and In-House

Counsel with labor and employment responsibility.


                This program has been approved by Human Resource Certification Institute for 6.0 HRCI credit, approved by the Society of Human Resource Management for up to 6.0 hours of SHRM-CP or SHRM-SCP

credit, and approved by the Texas State Bar for up to 6.25 hours of CLE credit. 


TOPICS:     Attorneys will cover how to mitigate the risks of lawsuits while managing employees from start to finish in six sessions.

  • Hire Right: The first step toward lawsuit avoidance is to stay away from employees likely to sue you.
  • Pay Right: Lawsuits for unpaid wages are a hot topic. Don’t make yourself a target.
  • Manage Right: Increase the effectiveness of your coaching and avoid creating Exhibit A for your ex-employee’s lawsuit.
  • Respond Right: Know the signs when being set up for a lawsuit by employee complaints, and how to be proactively managing the situation.
  • Fire Right: An employee’s discharge should be the end of the relationship, not the beginning of a stroll down “Litigation Lane.”
  • That’s Hot: Learn all the new ways employers are being found to violate their employees’ rights. You’ll be surprised!!         


WHERE:  Rosine Hall at Dallas Arboretum    

8525 Garland Rd

               Dallas, TX 75218



REGISTRATION INFORMATION:           Register online or contact Kacey Brown for more information at


Penalties for Repeat Violations Rise to $124,709 Each

OSHA Also Set to Upend Drug Testing Policies in November


Fisher Phillips today issued an advisory to Dallas-area employers that as of August 1, 2016, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) will be increasing the maximum penalties for health and safety violations for the first time since 1990. Fisher Phillips is a national management-side labor and employment law firm.


“Employers must aggressively and realistically assess their level of safety compliance and preparedness for dealing with OSHA inspections and the escalated penalty structure in order to avoid the possibility of signi substantial economic loss,” said Michael V. Abcarian, managing partner of Fisher Phillips in Dallas. “It goes without saying that OSHA has significantly upped the stakes for mismanagement and noncompliance with workplace safety requirements and is serious about punishing those who do not meet their obligations to ensure a safe and healthy workplace.”


The new penalty structure will raise maximum penalties for:

  • Willful or repeated violations to $124,709 per violation from the current $70,000 per violation.
  • Serious violations, violations of posting requirements and non-serious violations will increase to $12,471 per violation from the current $7,000 per violation.
  • Failure to comply with hazard abatement obligations following an OSHA safety inspection to $12,471 per day from the current $7,000 per day.

Importantly, these dramatic increases are intended to serve as a one-time opportunity for violation penalties to “catch-up” with inflation, according to OSHA. But there is more on the horizon. In each subsequent year, penalties will automatically be adjusted and increased based on the Consumer Price Index.


Employers should take action now to avoid penalties, and these five steps will go a long way in that effort, according to Abcarian:

  1. Update safety policies as soon as possible to ensure compliance with current standards and obligations.
  2. Train supervisors on how to avoid risks of non-compliance, especially concerning routine matters such as recordkeeping and required safety training for all workers.
  3. Aggressively train and periodically refresh managers on how to properly handle OSHA inspections and catastrophic workplace disasters.
  4. Comprehensively review workplace security and potential threats.
  5. Implement regular self-inspections and document corrections that have been implemented to avoid violations.


“In addition to OSHA’s substantial increase in penalties, the agency is set to roll out more notable changes later this fall,” said Abcarian. “It is important that employers note that the agency is upending reporting and recordkeeping rules, including those governing drug testing procedures following workplace incidents.”


According to Abcarian, many employers have historically drug tested employees following workplace injuries for various lawful and practical reasons. In some situations, disciplinary action has been taken against those who tested positive. However, as part of OSHA’s recordkeeping and reporting rule that will take effect on November 1, 2016, such drug-testing practices will not be allowed. According to the agency, blanket drug testing policies may impermissibly deter employees from reporting safety-related incidents. As such, employers should only test employees for drugs if they reasonably suspect substance abuse contributed to the occurrence of the incident. However, what is considered reasonable will be determined after the fact.


There are limited exceptions that will allow employers to drug test employees following workplace injuries and incidents. Testing will continue to be permissible when a federal or state law requires it, such as Department of Transportation rules that obligate all truck drivers submit to drug testing following certain kinds of incidents.


“We have seen more changes in OSHA’s enforcement landscape in the past two years than in the preceding 20, and there is no end in sight” said Abcarian. “While it may seem daunting at times, employers must continuously monitor current and upcoming safety requirements to avoid getting caught in OSHA’s crosshairs.”