In part one of this three-part series, our OSHA defense lawyers discussed the importance of contractors being prepared for Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) inspections and the flaws of the old enforcement system. As we mentioned, inspectors were discouraged to take on complex inspections due to an unbalanced weighting system.
OSHA also believed that savvy employers who researched the inspection process would be able to predict which aspects of the inspection were less likely to be performed, such as those dealing with ergonomic hazards or exposure to chemicals for which no clear standard had been established. Therefore, OSHA adopted the Enforcement Weighting System (EWS) which utilizes Enforcement Units (EUs) to grade inspections.
Even with this new system, inspectors make mistakes and wrongfully issue citations. If you have received an OSHA citation and you believe the inspector did not follow the proper OSHA inspection procedures or failed to accurately inspect your project site, consult an OSHA lawyer to see how you can fight back against OSHA.
Can OSHA Issue a Citation Without an Applicable Standard?
Even if OSHA has not established an official standard regarding a specific hazard on the project site, an inspector can still issue a citation for any serious hazard that presents a threat to the health and safety of workers under the OSH Act’s General Duty Clause. Contractors must be cognizant of all current OSHA rules and regulations governing workplace safety, but they must also communicate with project site leaders to ensure that any hazards arising on a day-to-day basis are dealt with proactively.
The Benefits of the Enforcement Weighting System
EWS carefully considers the toll that complex inspections can take on both the inspector and the contractor. In an effort to validate the work inspectors take on dealing with hazardous workplace issues involving ergonomics, heat, chemical exposures, workplace violence, and process safety management, OSHA has adjusted their metric for weighting these inspections. Now, inspectors and contractors benefit from comprehensive inspections that have the resources they need to succeed. However, there’s always a chance that a CSHO will make a mistake during an inspection.
In part three, our OSHA defense lawyers will give an in-depth explanation of Enforcement Unit values and the ins and outs of the EWS.
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.