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OSHA Issues New Penalty Enforcement Guidance Aimed at Bad Actors

OSHA recently announced steps aimed at stopping employers from repeatedly exposing workers to life-threatening hazards or failing to comply with workplace safety and health requirements. The new enforcement guidance includes the construction industry and becomes effective on March 27, 2023.

The previous policy, in place since 1990, only applied to egregious willful citations. Now, however, OSHA regional administrators and area office directors will have the authority to cite certain types of violations as “instance-by-instance citations” for cases identified as high-gravity, serious violations. Examples include lockout/tagout, machine guarding, permit-required confined space, respiratory protection, falls, trenching, and cases with other-than-serious violations specific to recordkeeping.

In addition, OSHA is reminding its regional administrators and area directors of their authority not to group violations but instead, to cite them separately. OSHA states these changes in enforcement guidance are important to help deter employers from disregarding their responsibilities to protect workers and ensure compliance with OSHA standards.

NUCA NJ fully supports safe working conditions and holding bad actors accountable. However, we will monitor whether these new guidelines inadvertently penalize good contractors if the new definitions are too broad. Employers should review their programs and ensure they are in compliance with OSHA standards.

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