According to watchers of the organization, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is relying more and more on its General Duty Clause to cite firms for safety violations, causing some observers to cry foul.
The clause has been the fourth-most cited standard for severe injury reports triggered by new reporting requirements effective Jan. 1, 2015, with 175 violations issued in the first nine months of 2015, according to OSHA.
“We use that clause when there is no standard that’s directly applicable, but there’s a clear hazard,” OSHA chief David Michaels explained.
Most conspicuously, OSHA used the General Duty Clause, which calls for businesses to maintain a safe and healthy workplace, to cite Sea World Orlando following the 2010 death of trainer Dawn Brancheau, who was pulled into a pool by a killer whale. That citation was later upheld by the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia.
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