Federal safety regulators usually cite employers for violations of specific safety hazards. Sometimes, however, inspectors from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration see hazards that do not fall under a specific regulation. In these cases, they may issue a citation for a violation of OSHA's General Duty Clause.
At Hendershot Cowart P.C., our lawyers should be your first call if a workplace accident occurs. Our team can prepare your violation defense before OSHA representatives come to your work site for an inspection.
Our lawyers are familiar with the General Duty Clause and potential issues with its enforcement. We can advise you on issues during an inspection and defend you if you are cited. We serve businesses in Houston and throughout Texas. Clients choose us because we have the proven defense firm for Texas businesses since 1987.
What Is the General Duty Clause?
The General Duty Clause in the OSHA Act is as follows:
"Each employer shall furnish to each of his employees' employment and a place of employment which are free from recognized hazards that are causing or are likely to cause death or serious physical harm to his employees."
The General Duty Clause is designed to fill gaps in OSHA regulations for hazards that are known, but unregulated. The number of citations issued each year is small but has been growing. In 2015, over 1,500 General Duty Clause citations were issued to employers.
Employers may be cited for violations of the General Duty Clause if:
- The employer fails to keep the workplace free of a hazard to which employees are exposed.
- The employer or the employer's industry knows of the hazard.
- The employer has a way to fix the hazard.
- The hazard caused or is likely to cause an employee to die or suffer serious injuries.
These standards are more general than other OSHA safety regulations, which can make the General Duty Clause more difficult for OSHA to enforce. These challenges can provide opportunities for an experienced business lawyer to defend against OSHA citations for General Duty Clause violations.
Experienced Texas Attorneys for OSHA Compliance & Defense
We help employers prevent OSHA violations with safety and compliance programs. When OSHA inspects our clients' work sites, we are their first call for guidance on the inspection. Our attorneys defend our employers against OSHA violations from the initial inspection through administrative hearings to address violations.
Whether you are considering preventative OSHA training or you have an urgent need for guidance during or after an OSHA inspection, our law firm is here for you. Our commitment to long-term relationships allows us to serve as your business' dependable and permanent legal resource for a wide variety of vital issues.
We serve clients throughout Texas, Louisiana, and Oklahoma.