February 2023 FedOSHA News

By February 20, 2023 No Comments

The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (FedOSHA) is moving forward with its 2023 Regulatory Agenda and initiatives. The Agency continues to release information and details that outline its alignment with the Biden Administration’s goals and priorities.

Regulatory Agenda

Heat Illness Prevention continues to be a focus for the Agency and Administration. In addition, Workplace Violence Prevention and Infectious Diseases are two new rules, specific to the healthcare industry, FedOSHA is eager to promulgate. PRR continues to monitor and engage on the e-Recordkeeping proposal and heat rules.

Enforcement Strategy

Federal OSHA is sending a clear message about its multi-pronged strategy to utilize its enforcement authority to increase penalty totals in an effort to deter employers from violating safety requirements.

On January 26, 2023, FedOSHA issued enforcement guidance to expand its authority to issue instance-by-instance (IBI) citations. The guidance instructs Regional Administrators to apply these citations to “high-gravity serious violations specific to falls, trenching, machine guarding, respiratory protection, permit required confined space, lockout tagout, and other-than-serious violations specific to recordkeeping.” The previous policy from 1990 was limited to willful citations. The scope includes general industry, agriculture, maritime, and construction. To further deter employers from putting profit over safety, OSHA will issue a press release following the issuance of IBI citations.

Also on January 26th, OSHA issued a memo reminding Regional Administrators and Area Directors of their discretion not to group violations. The purpose is to “accurately capture[s] an employer’s overall lack of compliance” and have a deterrent effect. The strategy of not grouping citations elevates the gravity or classification and increases the penalty amount.

PRR hosted OSHA expert attorney, Larry Halprin, partner at Keller & Heckman, on February 22nd to discuss FedOSHA’s Agenda and the Agency’s new enforcement strategy.

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