OSHA Expands Use Of The Instance-By-Instance Citation Policy, Increases Fines or Employers

February 23, 2023

Employers could receive significantly higher civil penalties for violations from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), due to a new directive that allows compliance officers to levy penalties for each violation, rather than grouping them together.

As of March 26, OSHA compliance officers will be able to use the instance-by-instance (IBI) citation policy to determine penalties for certain violations. The 33-year-old policy has been used to increase penalties in instances where the employer’s conduct was deemed beyond willful, which resulted in a fatality, multiple hospitalizations or other egregious activity. It’s one of OSHA’s most powerful tools to ratchet up civil penalties!

In addition, OSHA updated the penalty limits for 2023, which allows for fines of up to $15,625 per violation. When combined with the IBI policy, OSHA fines have the potential to create a significant impact on the bottom line.

The IBI policy can be used in the following circumstances.

  • The employer has received a willful, repeat or failure to abate violation within the past five years where that classification is current.
  • The employer has failed to report a fatality, inpatient hospitalization, amputation or loss of an eye as required by 29 CFR 1904.39.
  • The proposed citations are related to a fatality/catastrophe.
  • The proposed recordkeeping citations are related to injury or illness(es) that occurred as a result of a serious hazard.

Instance-by-instance citations may also be leveraged when an OSHA standard requires individual control measure, such as per machine/location/employee/entry AND when the instances of violation cannot be lowered by a single method of abatement.

This guidance is limited to high-gravity, serious violations in general industry, agriculture, maritime and construction industries, specific to the following safety regulations.

  • Lockout tagout
  • Falls
  • Trenching
  • Machine guarding
  • Respiratory protection
  • Confined space
  • Other-than-serious violations specific to recordkeeping

A world class safety management system minimizes this risk, provides a safe and productive workplace, and creates a competitive advantage in the marketplace.

Oswald’s Loss Control Team has the expertise to evaluate an organization’s level of OSHA compliance and develop a safety management system that protects employees and the bottom line.

About Oswald’s Loss Control Team:

Oswald’s Risk Consulting services are designed to reduce your exposure to liability and loss, while also lessening the frequency and severity of losses. Our dedicated specialists are highly experienced and seasoned professionals who work closely with you to develop and maintain successful safety and risk management loss prevention.

For more information visit our Risk Consulting & Loss Control page or contact me directly:

Adam Thomas, ARM, AINS, CXLT
Senior Loss Control Consultant


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