Work it Out Blog

Decision Paves Way for OSHA to Order Enterprise-Wide Abatement

Mar 19, 2016

When an employer is found to be in violation of an OSHA standard, it will be required to engage in abatement measures to ensure that the violation is remedied.  In cases in which the cited employer operates multiple facilities, the abatement requirements typically apply only to the facility at which the violation occurred.  In some cases, through the settlement process, the employer may agree to engage in abatement activities at all of its facilities, which is known as “enterprise-wide” abatement.

Recently, a company that operates trucking terminals throughout the United States received a citation at its Massachusetts facility for a violation of the powered industrial truck standard.  In the complaint filed with the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission (“Commission”), the Secretary of Labor sought an order compelling enterprise-wide abatement--in other words, that the employer be compelled to undertake abatement not only at the facility where the citation was issued, but at all of its more than 170 facilities. 

The employer filed a motion to strike the request but the Administrative Law Judge denied the motion.  Whether enterprise-wide abatement will be required is now an issue that will be presented at trial.

Employers should take note of this precedent-setting case; it is the first time that an Administrative Law Judge has expressly found that the Commission has the authority under the OSH Act to order abatement beyond the specific violation identified in the citation.  This decision may have a significant impact on employers operating multiple locations.  Essentially, this may allow the Commission to order abatement at facilities it has not even visited. 

The content of this blog is for informational purposes only and is not intended as legal advice for any purpose. This blog is not intended to present an exhaustive summary of all applicable laws, or to take the place of legal advice.  If you have any questions regarding the law, please contact us for assistance.