Did you know that OSHA is dropping a major, potentially devastating new enforcement policy on March 27th, 2023?
It’s called the “Instance by Instance” Citation Policy and it’s going to result in exponentially more citations and fines for manufacturing and industrial companies who aren’t prepared.
Learn everything you need to know about the new policy and how to prepare in this video
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Download our free guide “How to Build a Manufacturing Safety Program From Scratch.”
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I’ll cover everything you need to know about the new “Instance by Instance Citation Policy” including:
– How much it could end up costing your company
– How the policy works
– Who OSHA will target
– How to prepare and protect your employees and company from harm
YouTube video link: https://youtu.be/PoNpt6ojhOw
Want to learn more about OSHA inspections and how to pass them? Checkout our series, called “How to Pass Your OSHA Inspection” which tells you everything you need to know about the OSHA enforcement process and most importantly, how to pass your inspection.
(The blog below is based on the script from the video above. Feel free to read or listen!)
In case you’re not aware, OSHA is dropping a brand new, really important, potentially devastating enforcement policy on Monday, March 27th, 2023.
This new enforcement policy is called OSHA’s “Instance by instance citation policy,” and in this blog post, I’m going to tell you everything you need to know about it and how to get prepared.
Okay, so before getting into the actual policy, let me share a really important statistic that you want to be aware of. In our experience, the average OSHA inspection of a small manufacturer is going to result in anywhere between 5 and 10, what are called “Serious” violations. So that equates to a total fine of anywhere between $40,000 and $90,000 per inspection, which is obviously significant, especially for a typical small manufacturing company.
But with this new policy, the average fine is going to jump dramatically & let me explain why. So again, it’s called the “instance by instance citation policy.” So what does “instance by instance” actually mean? With OSHA’s existing/past citation policy, if an inspector identified 5 different “machine guarding” violations, for example, they would combine or bundle all those violations under one single “Serious” machine guarding violation for a total maximum fine of around $15,000. However with the new “instance by instance policy,” they’re now able to issue 5 separate “Serious” citations and 5 separate fines for every “instance” of that violation. So instead of a maximum fine of $15,000, the new total maximum fine could be as high as $75,000 which is obviously a significant increase and could be devastating for a company.
The other significant change is that they can also issue “instance by instance” citations for each employee who’s exposed to a health or safety hazard or violation. Let’s use a machine guarding violation again as an example. So let’s say you have a saw without a guard attached to protect employees from exposure to the blade, and the company has assigned 5 different employees to use that saw. With the new policy, instead of issuing 1 “Serious” violation for this single machine guarding issue, now OSHA can issue 5 separate citations for each employee who’s been exposed. In this scenario, rather than one “Serious” citation for a maximum fine of $15,000 you’re looking at a new total maximum fine of $75,000! Of course, the total fine depends on how many employees are exposed: If you have less, it could be less, but if you have more, it could be much more.
But again, the point is that this new OSHA policy is going to dramatically increase the number of citations and the total fines that companies who aren’t prepared are going to face.
Here are a couple of other things that you need to be aware of regarding the new policy.
Number one, it’s not going to be mandatory for inspectors to issue these instance by instance citations. It’s going to depend on the circumstances, and inspectors are really going to be targeting companies who have failed OSHA inspections in the past, who have had “Willful” violations before, and companies who haven’t properly reported serious injuries and fatalities in the past.
The other thing that’s important to understand is that OSHA inspectors will focus on what they call “high gravity” violations. So in manufacturing, that’s going to be things like Lockout Tagout, machine guarding issues, confined spaces, etc. Those health and safety hazards and violations which pose the greatest risk to the health and safety of your employees.
So if you’re concerned about this new policy and you’re not sure what to do about it, or if you think you have a safety program or you don’t have a safety program, go ahead and click on the link on the right and you can download our free guide called “How to Build a Manufacturing Safety Program from Scratch.”
This guide has been downloaded thousands of times over the years and is based on our number one Google rated blog post called “How to Build a Safety Program from Scratch.” It’s going to walk you step by step through the process of how to determine which OSHA regulations apply to your company, and then how to build a safety program to not only protect your employees and your company from harm, but also from this new OSHA citation policy.