OSHA recently issued a press release touting the decision of an administrative law judge to not dismiss their demand for enterprise-wide abatement.
OSHA calls the order “significant and precedent-setting. This is the first decision by an OSHA Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) expressly finding that the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission may have the authority under the OSH Act to order abatement measures beyond the specific violations identified in the citations.” They also stated, “When an employer has hazards occurring at multiple locations, common sense and reasonable worker protection law enforcement both dictate that the employer take corrective action to safeguard the health and well-being of employees at all its work sites.”
In the cited decision the ALJ decided that the other appropriate relief clause in the OSH-Act allowed OSHA to demand abatement for locations it had never inspected because of their “information and belief” that the issue is a wide-spread problem.
Expect more developments on this issue. But in the meantime, employers with multiple work sites should make sure that potential safety issues are being shared among all of the locations in which it operates and should implement a system for communicating any lessons learned from OSHA 300 logs with all of its locations.