The Occupational Safety and Health Administration recently released its updated Field Operations Manual, which serves as a reference guide for OSHA field inspectors. The new manual describes policies and procedures to ensure inspectors uniformly enforce occupational safety and health standards.
A key change in the manual is an increased maximum civil penalty for violations. The change will both increase the potential dollar amount of penalties and restrict available reductions. These penalty increases will be enforced starting August, 2016.
Other changes include:
- Inspectors receive greater discretion in deciding whether to allow or deny an employer (or employee) representative to participate in an inspection
- New recordkeeping and reporting requirements
- Workers without a certified or recognized bargaining agent can authorize third-party organization or individuals to act as their representative during an inspection
- The availability of digital signatures for employees who enter a complaint through the OSHA website
- Increasing the likelihood of one or more programmed inspections when a fatality or catastrophic event occurs at a worksite
The manual is publicly available for OSHA-regulated businesses that want to understand the guidelines governing inspectors’ actions at job sites. NPCA recommends that precasters and suppliers should study the manual and review the changes to better prepare for an OSHA inspection.