OSHA Increases Use Of General Duty Clause: How To Avoid Enforcement And Costly Penalties Amid The Agency's New Norm

Webinar: ID# 1001808
About This Course:
There are so many OSHA regulations, but many employers do not realize that when there is no specific standard, OSHA will use the General Duty Clause (GDC), Section 5(a)(1), of the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSH Act) of 1970 to cite employers.

The GDC is the "gap filler" in enforcement actions that address recognized hazards where no OSHA standard exists. The Agency often looks to voluntary consensus standards as a basis for GDC citations (American National Standards Institute A10, National Fire Protection Association 70E, etc.), as well as information in manufacturer's handbooks, and warning labels. And, during the past 3 years, OSHA's use of the GDC has increased 15 percent.

The courts have interpreted OSHA's GDC to mean that an employer has a legal obligation to provide a workplace free of conditions or activities that either the employer or industry recognizes as hazardous and that cause, or are likely to cause, death or serious physical harm to employees when there is a feasible method to abate the hazard.

In 2014, more than 1,500 GDC violations were cited, with nearly $5 million in penalties-it was 13th in OSHA's most frequently violated standards list. So, whenever you feel frustrated because there are so many regulatory obligations, you should remind yourself-and your employer-of the GDC.

Learning Objectives:
  • The broad application of the general duty clause
  • Why OSHA is using the GDC more when issuing citations
  • How to prove employer recognition
  • Tips on how to avoid a GDC citation at your facility
  • Best practices for defending against a GDC citation
Register now to learn how to avoid enforcement penalties amid OSHA's increased use of the general duty clause.

About Your Presenter:

Ana-Mari Ellington is a Legal Editor for BLR's safety publications and has been with BLR since 2002. She writes federal and state regulatory summaries, develops compliance and educational materials for safety programs, and writes white papers and news articles about workplace safety. Ms. Ellington has also written numerous publications on workplace safety and health, including OSHA's most frequently violated standards; hazard communication and GHS; personal protective equipment; and effective workplace training. In addition, Ms. Ellington, who is bilingual, manages the development of all Spanish-language materials at BLR, ensuring translation accuracy and consistency. She received her bachelor of arts in English and Spanish philology (linguistics) from the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid. Ana is a member of the American Society of Safety Engineers and the American Translators Association.
Continuing Education Credits:

Click the 'Credits' tab above for information on PHR/SPHR, PDCs, and other CE credits offered by taking this course.
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