OSHA and The General Duty Clause
Regardless of the line of work you are in, OSHA’s regulations and standards can impact your business in one form or another. This is due to what is known as the General Duty Clause. In simple terms, the General Duty Clause requires all employers to provide a safe work environment to their employees. As a contractor, it is important to understand the applications and requirements under the general duty clause as well as any specific standards that might apply to the industry you’re in.
The General Duty Clause can only be used when there are no specific standards that apply to the alleged hazard and when the employer has knowingly exposed their employees to said hazard. If you are a contractor and have been an issued a citation for a violation of Section 5(a)(1), we encourage you to seek the legal counsel of an experienced Tampa construction lawyer.
To prove a General Duty Clause violation, all of the following criteria must be met.
- OSHA must establish that a hazard exists;
- The hazard must be recognized by the employer or its industry;
- OSHA must show that the hazard is likely to or has the potential to cause injury or death;
- OSHA must also show that the employer was able and capable of correcting the hazard
Avoiding General Duty Violations
As construction lawyers in Tampa, we have the unique experience to understand what contractors can do to avoid OSHA General Duty Clause violations. To avoid potential General Duty Clause violations, contractors should:
1. Review safety or hazard warnings and incorporate them in employee safety policies and procedures
2. Review industry specific safety standards
3. Identify safety recommendations to be incorporated in employer safety policies and procedures
4. Conduct employee training and enforce compliance; include proper documentation
Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.