Can OSHA Issue Citations for General-Duty Violations? [SHRM]

John Ho wrote about how the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) may need to give employers more-specific guidance for keeping their workplaces free from hazards that may cause death or serious physical harm, according to commissioners in two recent administrative rulings. The so-called general-duty standard to keep workplaces free from such hazards may sound laudable, employers say, but it's too vague. In one decision, the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission, which reviews administrative law judges' decisions in OSHA-citation challenges, agreed that OSHA too often uses the standard to hold employers liable without more-specific guidance. The general-duty clause amounts, as this opinion said, to a "gotcha" against employers.

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John S. Ho

Co-Chair, OSHA-Workplace Safety Practice

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