According to an administrative law judge (ALJ), OSHA may have the authority to impose enterprise-wide abatement measures against companies who have violated safety standards, even at sites other than those where OSHA inspectors have issued citations. Despite the ruling, though, experts caution that the ALJ’s decision will likely be appealed.
The ruling comes in a case involving a dispute between OSHA and a Michigan-based transportation company. In November 2014, OSHA cited the company for 14 violations of workplace health and safety standards at its Billerica, Massachusetts shipping terminal. The company filed a notice of contest, resulting in the ensuing litigation.
OSHA alleged that the company not only violated safety and health standards at the inspected worksite, but at other worksites as well, and demanded that the company comply with the applicable safety standards at all of its locations. The company filed a motion, alleging that OSHA didn’t have the authority to enforce enterprise-wide abatement.
The ALJ denied the motion, effectively saying that OSHA can enforce the standards, even at worksites other than those inspected. The ruling allows OSHA to proceed to the discovery stage and present evidence that enterprise-wide abatement is justified.
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