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OSHA Contingency Plan for Suspension of Operations

01/24/2018
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In cases such as the recent U.S. government shutdown, occupational safety and health professionals may wonder what impact this will have on OSHA. The administration currently has a contingency plan in place for suspension of agency operations; it outlines the operations that will continue to be carried out in the event of a lack of appropriations.

If such an event were to occur, OSHA would continue to carry out enforcement activity in the following areas:

1.  Inspection of imminent danger situations;

2.  Workplace fatality and catastrophe investigations;

3.  Investigation of safety and health complaints or other information received from police, fire departments, or other first responders, media sources or employers establishing that employees are potentially exposed to hazardous conditions that present a high risk of death or serious physical harm with the potential to cause death;

4.  Follow-up inspections of establishments with high gravity serious violations and no abatement;

5.  Enforcement activities on open cases needed to meet agency 6-month statutory deadlines where those cases establish employees are potentially exposed to hazardous conditions that present a high risk of death or serious physical harm with the potential to cause death.

It should be noted that in cases of follow-up inspections, the OSHA area office will contact the employer by telephone for the required evidence of abatement, and inspections would be scheduled for employers who do not respond effectively.

In terms of staffing, while most OSHA employees would be furloughed during a government shutdown, some staff at the national, regional and area levels would continue to operate. This includes the assistant secretary, chief of staff, all regional administrators and all area directors.

Click here to view the full Department of Labor contingency plan.

 

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