David E. Jones

Shareholder Atlanta

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.

Professional Activities and Speeches

Professional Activities:

  • 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


  • ORCHSE Strategies, LLC Occupational Safety and Health Legal Issues Network Meeting - ''OSHA Enforcement Highlights'' - Washington - May, 2015
  • Fabricators and Manufacturers Association International Safety Conference 2015 - ''Late Breaking OSHA Issues'' - Minneapolis - April, 2015
  • National Employment Law Council Annual Conference 2015 - ''OSHA Joint Employer Implications'' - Chicago - April, 2015
  • Manufacturers Alliance for Productivity and Innovation - ''OSHA Regulatory and Enforcement Update'' - Atlanta - October, 2014
  • Ogletree Deakins Corporate Labor and Employment Counsel Exclusive - ''Workplace Safety: Advanced Legal Strategies for Dealing with OSHA'' - Dana Point - September, 2014
  • Ogletree Deakins Workplace Strategies Seminar - ''Hysterical Blindness, Flop Sweat, and Other Unbecoming Behavior to Avoid in a Workplace Crises'' - Las Vegas - May, 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, 2014
  • Fabricators and Manufacturers Association International Safety Conference 2014 - ''Late Breaking OSHA Issues - An Interactive Discussion'' - Rock Island - April, 2014
  • Ogletree Deakins Corporate Labor and Employment Counsel Exclusive - ''Headline News: The Latest Labor and Employment Law Developments, Trends, and Statistics'' - Charleston - November, 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, 2013
  • Ogletree Deakins Workplace Strategies Seminar - ''OSHA Update 2013 - Employers Targeted by Hot Enforcement Initiatives'' - New Orleans - May, 2013
  • The Association of Union Constructors 2013 Leadership Conference - ''OSHA in President Obama's Second Term'' - Greensboro - May, 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, 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, 2013
  • SEAK, Inc. 32nd Annual National Workers' Compensation and Occupational Medicine Conference - ''OSHA: Latest Developments'' - Cape Cod - July, 2012
  • Food Market Institute Internal Auditing Conference - ''OSHA Takes On the Retail Grocery Industry: How to Hang On To Your Cheese'' - Orlando - May, 2012
  • Ogletree Deakins Workplace Strategies Seminar - ''OSHA 2011: Enforcement Initiatives, Regulatory Agenda & Congressional Oversight'' - Chicago - May, 2011
  • Florida Transportation Builders’ Association Construction Conference - ''OSHA in 2011: Ongoing Enforcement, Congressional Oversight, and Rulemaking Initiatives'' - Orlando - February, 2011
  • National Safety Council Utilities Division Meeting - ''OSHA in 2011: Ongoing Enforcement, Congressional Oversight, and Rulemaking Initiatives'' - Las Vegas - January, 2011
  • National Cable & Telecommunications Association Safety and Compliance Workgroup - ''The New OSHA: Focus on Enforcement, Legislative and Rulemaking Initiatives'' - Las Vegas - October, 2010
  • Ohio State Bar Association 47th Annual Midwest Labor and Employment Law Seminar - ''The New OSHA: Focus on Enforcement, Legislative and Rulemaking Initiatives'' - Columbus - October, 2010
  • Capital Associated Industries, 2010 Labor and Employment Law Update - ''Paradigm Shift at OSHA'' - Raleigh - May, 2010
  • Ogletree Deakins Workplace Strategies Seminar - ''Washington Watch - The Changing Dynamic for Employers'' - Las Vegas - May, 2010
  • National Retail Federation, Committee on Employment Law Spring Conference - ''Paradigm Shift at OSHA: How the Obama Administration’s Makeover Affects Your Business'' - Washington, D.C. - April, 2010
  • 2-Day Presentation for Institute for Applied Management and Law - ''Occupational Safety and Health Law and Special Issues'' - Orlando - March, 2010
  • Association of Corporate Counsel-Louisiana Chapter, Fall CLE Luncheon - ''OSHA Update'' - New Orleans - November, 2009
  • ABA Section of Labor and Employment Law, Third Annual CLE Conference - ''OSHA and Workers’ Compensation – An Overview of Claims Involving Occupational Safety and Workplace Injury'' - Washington, D.C. - November, 2009
  • Cornell University, School of Industrial and Labor Relations - ''Management Labor and Employment Law – A Career With Many Options'' - Ithaca - October, 2009
  • The Society of the Plastics Industry, Inc., Business of Plastics Conference - ''OSHA Update: Focus on Enforcement, Legislative and Rulemaking Initiatives'' - Chicago - June, 2009
  • Ogletree Deakins Workplace Strategies Seminar - ''OSHA Update: Focus on Enforcement Legislative and Rulemaking Initiatives'' - Miami - May, 2009
  • ALI-ABA Webinar - ''OSHA Update: New Regulations on Training and Protective Equipment'' - webinar - April, 2009
  • ABA Litigation Section, 2009 Annual Conference - ''Trends in Law – A First Look at the Obama Administration’s Regulatory Policy'' - Atlanta - April, 2009
  • ABA Litigation Section, 2009 Annual Conference - ''Workplace Safety – Federal, State and Civil Actions Arising Out of Workplace Accidents'' - Atlanta - April, 2009
  • ABA OSH Law Committee, Midwinter Meeting - ''Reporting and Recording of Workplace Injuries and Illnesses – Potential Problems and Consequences'' - Miami Beach - February, 2009
  • ABA Forum on the Construction Industry - ''Responding to a Catastrophic Accident: What You Need to Know About an OSHA Investigation'' - Teleconference - January, 2009

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