OSHA Expands 'Instance by Instance' Citation Policy: A Game Changer For OSHA Enforcement

According to Conn Maciel Carey's OSHA Defense Report, on January 26, 2023, OSHA announced two new enforcement policies that will substantially sharpen OSHA’s enforcement teeth and increase the pain OSHA delivers to employers across the country.

Specifically, OSHA dramatically expanded the circumstances when it can issue “instance-by-instance” citations to employers and discouraged the grouping of similar violations under a single penalty.

Instance-by-Instance (IBI or per-instance) enforcement is one of OSHA’s most powerful tools to ratchet up civil penalties. Historically, it was OSHA's policy to only issue per-instance citations in circumstances involving conduct found by OSHA to be willful plus some aggravating factors. Now, in addition to willful+ violations, OSHA can issue IBI citations for Serious violations, and even some Other-than-Serious violations.

Visit CMC’s OSHA Defense Report Blog for a detailed review of OSHA’s new Per-Instance Citation Policy and memo to the field discouraging the grouping of violations.