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OSHA Turns Up the Enforcement Heat

February 25, 2010

On Feb. 25 partners Dana Rust, Don Anderson, Matt Mathews, and Jeff Shapiro presented a complimentary webinar to clients discussing aspects of the Obama administration's OSHA program.

The Department of Labor has a new Secretary of Labor, a new Solicitor of Labor, and a new OSHA Administrator. They intend to emphasize OSHA enforcement and "change the way the nation thinks about workplace safety." OSHA will devote a significant portion of its budget increase toward enhanced and targeted enforcement. Increased penalties are in the works, and OSHA has proposed several new standards and implemented some important National Emphasis Programs.

As a result of these changes, employers need to be prepared for and know what to expect from OSHA inspections. Employers should have a strong safety and health program, including policies and procedures. Employees should be trained and tested on these policies and procedures, and employers should conduct regular audits to make sure they are followed. Conducting regular audits will also help identify potential hazards and minimize your risk of citations. Employers should discipline employees who fail to follow the company’s safety and health policies and procedures.

When an inspection does occur, be ready with:

  • Required OSHA program documents, including injury and illness logs.
  • A facility plan for managing the OSHA inspection.
  • A company plan for communication and decision making about the inspection with corporate managers, in-house counsel, and outside OSHA counsel.

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