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OSHA restarts enforcement in Harvey-affected areas

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The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration has resumed normal enforcement throughout Texas and Louisiana after ceasing most programmed enforcement actions following Hurricane Harvey.

Harvey hit the Texas Gulf Coast as a Category 4 hurricane in late August with winds of about 130 mph.

OSHA provided compliance assistance and outreach to employers and workers following the storm and retained the right to inspect cases involving fatalities, catastrophic accidents, employee complaints and employers who repeatedly exposed employees to serious hazards during cleanup and recovery operations, according to a statement released by the agency on Tuesday.

“We are now able to resume regular enforcement operations in most of the impacted areas,” Dallas-based OSHA Region 6 Administrator Kelly Knighton said in the statement. “For those areas most heavily impacted by Hurricane Harvey, we will continue to provide employers and workers with compliance assistance and outreach. We will be monitoring these areas closely and as they transition from cleanup and recovery to normal operations so will OSHA’s enforcement.”