Hey employer, remember that workplace injury that you reported to OSHA a few months ago? You remember, right? The one where after you gave OSHA information about the workplace injury, like the root cause of the incident, and a few days later OSHA informed you that it considered the matter “closed.” Well guess what? OSHA is now at the door of your facility seeking to do a “monitoring inspection” related to the workplace injury that you thought was “closed.” Can OSHA actually do this you ask? Yes, and they will!
On March 4, 2016, the Occupational Safety and Health Agency (OSHA or the Agency) issued revised enforcement procedures related to employers’ reporting requirements under 29 C.F.R. § 1904.39 (Revised Enforcement Procedures) due to the “influx of workplace incident reports to OSHA and the field’s experiences with the new reporting requirements.” See a previous GT Alert, OSHA Changes Requirements for Recording and Reporting Workplace Injuries and Illnesses – Effective Jan. 1, 2015.
The Revised Enforcement Procedures set forth two significant changes from OSHA’s December 2015 “Interim Enforcement Procedures for New Reporting Requirements under 29 CFR 1904.39” (Interim Enforcement Procedures). First, the Revised Enforcement Procedures provide for increased penalties for employers who fail to report a reportable event to OSHA. Second, the Revised Enforcement Procedures put employers on notice that OSHA may conduct an on-site inspection even after OSHA notifies employers that it is closing its Rapid Response Investigation (RRI) of a reportable workplace injury. Although OSHA may conduct a follow-up inspection, OSHA will not use an employer’s internal investigation and response to the RRI as a basis for a citation, as long as the employees are not exposed to a serious hazard and the employer is taking steps to correct the condition.