At the end of March, a new OSHA policy will go into effect expanding penalties for instance-by-instance (IBI) citations. The move signals OSHA’s stated commitment to increased enforcement in 2023 and beyond.

IBI citations are those for which OSHA could issue multiple citations, with corresponding penalties, for each instance of alleged non-compliance—separate penalties for each machine, each location, each entry, each employee. Under OSHA’s prior policy, which has been in place since 1990, OSHA would only apply IBI penalties for willful citations. Under the new policy, which goes into effect on March 27, the IBI policy will now apply to high-gravity serious violations for the following areas:

  • Falls
  • Machine guarding
  • Respiratory protection
  • Lockout tagout
  • Permit required confined space
  • Trenching
  • Other-than-serious violations specific to recordkeeping

In deciding whether to apply the new IBI policy, OSHA will consider certain factors, such as:

  • Whether the employer has received a willful, repeat, or failure to abate violation within the past five years;
  • Whether the employer has failed to report a fatality, inpatient hospitalization, amputation, or loss of an eye;
  • Whether the proposed citations are related to a fatality/catastrophe; and
  • Whether the proposed recordkeeping citations are related to injury or illness(es) that occurred as a result of a serious hazard.

OSHA intends to use the new IBI policy to deter employees from maintaining or failing to fully abate certain violations and hopes that it will encourage employers to be proactive in preventing workplace fatalities and injuries.