Presented by Amanda R. Walker, Eric J. Conn, and Beeta Lashkari
Sec. 5(a)(1) of the OSH Act – OSHA’s “General Duty Clause” – requires employers to provide their own employees a workplace free of recognized serious hazards. The breadth of OSHA’s enforcement authority under the General Duty Clause has been a moving target for decades. Is it a “catch-all” provision? Is it intended only to “fill the gaps” where OSHA has not promulgated a specific standard? Is it just a placeholder for hazards OSHA intends to address by a specific rule in the future? Or can it even provide OSHA authority to require actions beyond what the minimum requirements of an existing regulation? And how does OSHA prove General Duty Clause citations; i.e., what evidence is OSHA using to establish that a hazard is recognized or that there is a feasible means of abatement?
These questions are more important today than ever before; during a global pandemic that has introduced a “novel,” previously unregulated hazard into workplaces across the country. OSHA has already identified the General Duty Clause as the principal tool it will use to enforce employers’ responses to COVID-19.
This webinar will examine those questions, as well as recent GDC decisions by the OSH Review Commission in cases involving heat illness and workplace violence.
Participants will learn about the following:
• The history of the General Duty Clause
• Elements of OSHA citations under the General Duty Clause
• Enforcement trends related to the General Duty Clause
• Recent OSHRC and Circuit Court cases involving the General Duty Clause
• Possible defenses to General Duty Clause citations
• How OSHA will use the General Duty Clause to enforce COVID-19 issues