The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration announced the issuance of new enforcement guidance in a stated effort to “make its penalties more effective in stopping employers from repeatedly exposing workers to life-threatening hazards or failing to comply with certain workplace safety and health requirements.”
First, OSHA announced that OSHA Regional Administrator and Area Office Directors now have the authority to cite certain types of violations as “instance-by-instance citations” for cases where the agency identifies “high-gravity,” serious violations of OSHA standards specific to certain conditions where the language of the rule supports a citation for each instance of non-compliance. These conditions include respiratory protection, falls, lockout/tagout, machine guarding, permit-required confined space, trenching and for cases with other-than-serious violations specific to recordkeeping.
In a second action, OSHA issued a reminder to its Regional Administrators and Area Directors of their authority not to group violations and instead cite them separately to “more effectively encourage employers to comply with the intent of the Occupational Safety and Health Act.”
The new guidance covers enforcement activity in the construction industry, general industry, agriculture and maritime and becomes effective Monday, March 27.