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Employer Readiness for OSHA Targeted Employer Enforcement Initiative

By Robert M. Wood
  • March 19, 2003

Employers with establishments on the recently released OSHA "hazard alert" list should be aware that OSHA has earmarked their listed establishment for a priority inspection. OSHA refers to this inspection program as its Site Specific Targeting Inspection Program, or SST. If OSHA finds a "high gravity violation" at an establishment targeted for this rigorous review, every facility of the employer will be added to the SST Inspection list.

Under the agency's new Enhanced Enforcement Initiative, announced on March 11, 2003, a citation for a "high gravity violation" (i.e., willful, multiple serious or repeat violations, failure to abate, or serious or willful violations related to a fatality) will trigger the mechanism for company-wide inspections. Should this occur, the risks and potential costs to employers in terms of workplace disruption, diversion of management resources, hazard abatement, adverse publicity, and pressure from shareholders, unions and disgruntled employees could be enormous.

The first step is for an employer to determine whether any of its establishments are on the OSHA's SST Inspection list. If so, employers should immediately begin to prepare for the imminent inspection. While compliance with OSHA mandates is always desirable and preferable, it is not always feasible. Therefore, employers should immediately begin preparing their legal defense for expected violations.

The Jackson Lewis OSHA practice group is available to assist targeted employers in preparing for the OSHA inspection and the possible citations which will result. It is important that employers be proactive with respect to anticipated inspections and citations, just as they are in other areas of labor and employment law. Implementation of a focused and comprehensive Workplace Safety Program for Targeted Employers can help minimize the risk of corporate-wide inspections, reduce the potential for and severity of violations, and reduce the costs of workers' compensation and lost work time.

For immediate assistance with evaluating vulnerability or developing a proactive strategy in light of OSHA's new Enhanced Enforcement Initiative, please contact the Jackson Lewis OSHA Practice Group.

©2003 Jackson Lewis P.C. This material is provided for informational purposes only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice nor does it create a client-lawyer relationship between Jackson Lewis and any recipient. Recipients should consult with counsel before taking any actions based on the information contained within this material. This material may be considered attorney advertising in some jurisdictions. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome.

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