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February 2016 OSHA Update
Gary Auman of Dunlevey, Mahan & Furry

The focus of this article is your safety program and its enforcement. But, before I get into that I would like to revisit something I have mentioned previously as the impact of it has changed. I have reported in the past that OSHA has issued a letter of interpretation (LOI) regarding the use of extension cords. When I discussed this with some clients their reaction was to “wait and see.” They took this approach because they viewed the LOI as a narrow document that would be limited to the company that requested the interpretation. Well, OSHA has spoken with actions, not words. I have been advised that the Columbus Area Office of OSHA has recently issued citations to an Indiana subcontractor and an Ohio contractor for violations of 29 CFR 1926.403(b)(2). This section requires that all electrical equipment shall be used in accordance with all labels. If you will recall the LOI stated that if extension cords were labeled so as to prohibit their being used in series with other extension cords, OSHA would cite employers for not complying with those labeling requirements. So, I believe we now have evidence that OSHA is not restricting enforcement of this standard and/or the LOI to just the company that asked the question, but to all employers.

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