OSHA Announces New Plan to Address Workplace Safety in 2023: What it Means for Your Business

February 15, 2023

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recently released new enforcement guidance in an effort to help protect workers, target employers who may put profit over safety, and to hold employers to greater accountability for breakdowns in safety measures.

According to OSHA, the purpose of this policy change is to “make its penalties more effective in stopping employers from repeatedly exposing workers to life-threatening hazards or failing to comply with certain workplace safety and health requirements.”

What to Know

The agency’s new measures aim to be important enforcement tools to both deter employers from disregarding their responsibilities to protect workers, and to ensure compliance with OSHA standards and regulations. There are two main components to be aware of:

  1. OSHA regional administrators and area office directors now have the authority to cite certain types of violations as “instance-by-instance citations” for cases where the agency identifies “high-gravity” serious violations of OSHA standards specific to certain conditions where the language of the rule supports a citation for each instance of non-compliance. These conditions include respiratory protection, falls, lockout/tagout, machine guarding, permit-required confined space, trenching and for cases with other-than-serious violations specific to recordkeeping. The purpose of this change is to ensure that OSHA personnel are applying increased citations when needed to discourage non-compliance.
  2. OSHA has issued a reminder to its regional administrators and area directors of their authority not to group violations, and instead cite them separately in order to “more effectively encourage employers to comply with the intent of the Occupational Safety and Health Act.”

OSHA’s new guidance covers enforcement activity in the general industry, agriculture, maritime, and construction industries, and is currently set to become effective March 27. For establishments covered by the OSHA Electronic Reporting of Injuries and Illnesses requirement, information should also be submitted to OSHA electronically by March 2. To review the requirements or to check if you are covered, visit the OSHA Injury Tracking Application (ITA) here.

Looking Ahead

It remains vital to regularly check OSHA regulations to stay abreast of regulatory updates and remain in compliance. Employers are also encouraged to organize routine companywide training, review OSHA recordkeeping practices, perform regular audits, and keep proper documentation of all training, violations, and safety-related disciplinary actions to optimize operations and stay on top of industry changes.

Amerisure’s authorized OSHA outreach trainers conduct on-site classes for supervisors and key subcontractors, including safety and health principles to help meet OSHA requirements. To learn more, visit our Risk Management page.