The U.S. Department of Labor announced that OSHA has issued new enforcement guidance. The policy is aimed at stopping employers from repeatedly exposing workers to life-threatening hazards and failing to comply with safety and health requirements. The new enforcement guidance gives Regional Administrators and Office Directors broad authority to cite certain violations as “instance by instance citations” for specific serious violations. These conditions include lockout/tagout, machine guarding, permit-required confined space, respiratory protection, falls, trenching and for cases with other-than-serious violations specific to recordkeeping.

In a second action, OSHA reminded its Regional Administrators and Area Directors of their authority not to group violations, and instead cite them separately to more effectively encourage employers to comply with the intent of the OSH Act. OSHA explained that this is intended to be a targeted strategy for those employers who repeatedly choose to put profits before their employees’ safety.

The goal of this new guidance—legal or not—is to put additional monetary pressure on companies who have been cited before to force them into compliance.