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OSHA Adds “Instance-By-Instance” Citation Policy

On January 26th, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued new enforcement guidance allowing “instance-by-instance” citations for “high-gravity” serious violations of several agency standards.  Regional administrators and area office directors will have the authority to issue instance-by-instance citations for violations of fall protection, lockout/tagout, machine guarding, permit-required confined space, respiratory protection, and trenching standards, as well as for cases with other-than-serious violations of recordkeeping requirements.  The new policy becomes effective March 27th.

In a separate enforcement memorandum, the agency reminded regional administrators and area office directors of their authority not to group violations but instead to cite them separately.

Table 1 summarizes the minimum and maximum amounts for proposed civil penalties:

Type of Violation Penalty Minimum Penalty Maximum
Serious $1,036 per violation $14,502 per violation
Other-Than-Serious $0 per violation $14,502 per violation
Willful or Repeated $10,360* per violation $145,027 per violation
Posting Requirements $0 per violation $14,502 per violation
Failure to Abate N/A $14,502 per day unabated beyond the abatement date [generally limited to 30 days maximum]