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Employers face a more aggressive OSHA

road map

The Department of Labor is beefing up its enforcement activity under the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. There has been a 20% increase in OSHA inspectors under the Biden administration and the implementation of several targeted enforcement programs that aim to rein in violations that put workers in dangers related to falls, trenches and heat exposure. 

There are also changes to the way OSHA calculates fines: instance-by-instance citations that could see employers facing fines for each instance of a safety violation, potentially adding up to hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines — for example, an individual fine for every worker not wearing a hard hat. 

There are also policy changes that make it easier to get on the agency’s severe violator list, which comes with greater fines and more scrutiny of other facilities. 

“All this is to say is that OSHA is becoming much more aggressive in its citations,” said Courtney Malveaux, Richmond, Virginia-based principal and co-leader of the workplace safety and health practice group at Jackson Lewis P.C. and former labor commissioner of Virginia.

“Those former four-figure citations are now coming back as six-figure citations.” 

The following graphic is a road map of the OSHA investigation process.