David E. Jones
David E. Jones engages in a nationwide practice representing employers on matters involving occupational safety and health (OSHA). Mr. Jones formerly served as a presidential appointee, holding the post of Legal Counsel and Special Advisor to the Chairman at the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission in Washington, D.C. He is a former Employer Co-Chair of the American Bar Association’s Occupational Safety and Health Law Committee. Mr. Jones started his career as a trial attorney with the Office of the Solicitor, U.S. Department of Labor.
In recognition of his long and distinguished career of over 35 years in the practice of labor and employment law, Mr. Jones has been elected a Fellow of the College of Labor and Employment Lawyers. He is also listed in Best Lawyers in America.
At Ogletree Deakins, Mr. Jones is the founding and current Chair of the firm’s Workplace Safety and Health Practice Group. Much of his practice includes serving as a senior strategic advisor to clients on workplace fatalities, catastrophic accidents, and OSHA inspections. His services often include:
- providing advice in the immediate aftermath of serious workplace accidents
- conducting privileged accident investigations
- interfacing with OSHA personnel during inspections and with representatives of other interested parties and governmental agencies
- resolving OSHA citations and whistleblower complaints
- litigating contested OSHA cases
As senior strategist, Mr. Jones has provided counsel to employers on many significant OSHA enforcement matters. Often, his interventions have resulted in an early resolution of the controversy, the effective management of related employee and public relations concerns, and a path forward that reduces the potential for recurrent complications.
Among his civic activities, Mr. Jones formerly served as Member and Chairman of the Board of the Metropolitan Atlanta Opportunities Industrialization Center, Inc. He is a member of the Gate City Bar Association, the oldest African-American Bar Association in the State of Georgia. Mr. Jones also is an avid triathlete, training for and competing in swim-bike-run triathlons.
- Following a comprehensive wall-to-wall inspection, OSHA recently issued citations to a company proposing penalties in the range of several hundred thousand dollars and designating it for inclusion in the agency’s Severe Violator Enforcement Program (SVEP). Within one month of being retained, Mr. Jones helped this new client formulate and carry out a strategy to resolve the citations, resulting in a nearly 50% reduction in the proposed penalties and the deletion of the company from SVEP.
- Mr. Jones recently negotiated an agreement resulting in the Secretary of Labor taking the rare action of withdrawing in its entirety a contested OSHA “General Duty Clause” citation in a fatality case involving a client having hundreds of facilities across the country that otherwise could have been impacted by the citation.
- Within a period of several years, OSHA had issued numerous citations to a government contractor, many of which were classified as “Willful” and “Repeat.” Then, the federal contracting agency proposed the debarment of the contractor under the Federal Acquisition Regulation (“FAR”), which presented a severe threat to the continuation of the contractor’s business. Mr. Jones successfully negotiated the settlement of the latest set of OSHA citations and the termination of the proposed debarment.
- Mr. Jones recently obtained an extraordinary settlement on behalf of a client within the jurisdiction of an OSHA state plan. After a serious workplace injury following the issuance of previous citations, the OSHA state plan issued three new “Willful” citation items to our client. At the settlement conference, Mr. Jones negotiated the “Willful” citation items down to “Serious,” and the penalties were reduced from $130,000 to $17,000.
- Mr. Jones has helped a number of clients formulate a Contractor Safety Program in an effort to assist them in reducing the incidence of contractor fatalities, injuries, and potential civil liability arising from work on construction projects and on existing client infrastructures.
- Mr. Jones recently has assisted clients in successfully resolving OSHA machine guarding citations (e.g., withdrawal, reclassification to “deminimus”) where the clients had hundreds of similar pieces of equipment enterprise-wide that were guarded similarly to the cited machines.
Education and Honors
J.D., Suffolk University School of Law, 1979
B.S., Cornell University, School of Industrial and Labor Relations, 1976
- Fellow, College of Labor and Employment Lawyers
- Best Lawyers in America (2014 & 2015)
- American Bar Association, Labor and Employment Law Section (Former Employer Co-Chair, Program Chair, and current Member of the Occupational Safety and Health Law Committee)
- State Bar of Georgia (Labor and Employment Law Section)
- Atlanta Bar Association (Labor and Employment Law Section)
- U.S. Chamber of Commerce Labor Relations Committee (OSHA Subcommittee)
- Authored rulemaking comments of Society for Human Resources Management on proposed OSHA Ergonomics Program Standard
- Manufacturers Alliance for Productivity and Innovation - "OSHA Regulatory and Enforcement Update" - Atlanta - October 16, 2014
- McKee Foods Corporation - "What to Expect from OSHA" - Collegedale - September 26, 2014
- McKee Foods Corporation - "Labor and Safety Issues" - Collegedale - September 26, 2014
- McKee Foods Corporation - "TOSHA Today: Strategies for Effective Interface" - Collegedale - September 26, 2014
- Ogletree Deakins Corporate Labor and Employment Counsel Exclusive - "Workplace Safety: Advanced Legal Strategies for Dealing with OSHA" - Dana Point - September 19, 2014
- Ogletree Deakins Workplace Strategies Seminar - "Hysterical Blindness, Flop Sweat, and Other Unbecoming Behavior to Avoid in a Workplace Crises" - Las Vegas - May 9, 2014
- Ogletree Deakins Workplace Safety Symposium - "OSHA’s Cutting-Edge Enforcement Agenda: How Far Can OSHA Push The Envelope, And What Does It Mean For Your Company?" - Las Vegas - May 7, 2014
- Fabricators and Manufacturers Association International Safety Conference 2014 - "Late Braking OSHA Issues - An Interactive Discussion" - Rock Island - April 23, 2014
- Ogletree Deakins Corporate Labor and Employment Counsel Exclusive - "Headline News: The Latest Labor and Employment Law Developments, Trends, and Statistics" - Charleston - November 7, 2013
- National Association of African Americans in Human Resources (Atlanta Chapter) - "Today's OSHA - What Employers Need to Know to Avoid Excessive Safety Entanglements" - Atlanta - October 9, 2013
- Ogletree Deakins Workplace Strategies Seminar - "OSHA Update 2013-Employers Targeted by Hot Enforcement Initiatives" - New Orleans - May 9, 2013
- The Association of Union Constructors 2013 Leadership Conference - "OSHA in President Obama's Second Term" - Greensboro - May 7, 2013 - May 10, 2013
- Fabricators and Manufacturers Association International Safety Conference 2013 - "OSHA Takes On Fabricators and Manufacturers: How to Ensure Your Presses Keep Punching and Bending" - Nashville - April 24, 2013
- Archer Daniels Midland Company Corn Division Safety Meeting - "OSHA Litigation Update" - Decatur - April 23, 2013
- American Bar Association Occupational Safety and Health Law Committee 2013 Midwinter Meeting - "The Train Has Arrived: OSHA's Whistleblower Protection Office and the Agency's Increased Emphasis on Whistleblowing" - Laguna Beach - March 5, 2013 - March 8, 2013
In The News
- August 1, 2013 - - "Safety: The Never-Ending Battle"
- December 10, 2010 - - "Will OSHA Let the Past be the Past?"