Under proposal, certain small businesses would no longer be exempt from inspection

Changes would impact entities with potential for catastrophic incidents

Posted February 15, 2016

In OSHA’s FY 2017 Congressional Budget report, the Agency is proposing to update language regarding small business inspection exemptions. The update would affect small businesses that have historically been exempt from targeted OSHA inspections. Such companies would no longer be exempt if the potential for high-consequence catastrophic incidents exists. In those cases, OSHA could conduct Process Safety Management (PSM) inspections.

The revised language would specifically impact entities covered by OSHA’s PSM regulations or EPA’s Chemical Accident Prevention Provisions with the exception of certain specified small farms.

The current appropriations language limits OSHA’s ability to conduct safety and health inspections of small businesses (10 or fewer employees) in industry codes that have lower-than average workplace injury and illness rates. According to OSHA, neither the number of workers in a business, nor the level of injury and illness rates, are predictive of the potential for high-consequence catastrophic incidents, resulting in multiple casualties and extensive property damage.

In order to prevent future catastrophic incidents, the Agency believes Congress should modify the appropriations language to allow targeted inspections of small establishments that have the potential for catastrophic incidents (e.g., those covered by OSHA’s PSM standard or EPA’s Chemical Accident Prevention Provisions).


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