New OSHA Policy Will Increase Citations and Penalties for Contractors

On January 26, 2023, OSHA announced a significant change to their policy related to instance-by-instance issuance of citations and penalty adjustments that will become effective in 60 days. The current policy has been in place since 1990 and applies only to egregious willful citations. According to OSHA, the policy change is to make its penalties more effective in stopping employers from repeatedly exposing workers to life-threatening hazards or failing to comply with certain workplace safety and health requirements.
In addition to the new enforcement guidance, OSHA reminded Regional Administrators and Area Directors of their authority not to group violations and cite certain types of violations as instance-by-instance citations for cases where the agency identifies “high-gravity” serious violations of OSHA standards specific to certain conditions. These conditions include lockout/tagout, machine guarding, permit-required confined space, respiratory protection, falls, trenching and for cases with other-than-serious violations specific to recordkeeping, all of which impact the construction industry.
For more information, please contact our colleagues at AGC of America - Kevin Cannon at or Nazia Shah at