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  • Writer's pictureTom Petersen

An Overview of OSHA Regulations for 2022

Updated: Aug 28, 2023

On March 16th, Tom Petersen and Jay Dimler (President of JWD Associates) presented a webinar on 2022 OSHA regulations. Below is a summary of the presentation; you can also watch the webinar and view the PowerPoint presentation at this link.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is an organization with great influence across industries — and whose recent changes and current initiatives you want to stay up-to-date on. Jay Dimler is an ideal person to guide you through these topics, and he does so through this presentation on the current state of OSHA regulations. Jay is a safety professional with over thirty years of experience, and serves as President of JWD Associates: a safety, health, and environmental consultancy. Jay’s goal with this webinar is to provide the EES audience with both oversight and insight into 2022 regulatory changes.

We kick things off with information that should perk up the ears of any would-be violator of OSHA regulations. This year’s citation penalties have been adjusted — after being frozen for the last few years — to the following amounts:

  1. Serious, Other-Than-Serious, and Posting Requirements: $14,502 per violation

  2. Failure to Abate: $14,502 per day beyond the abatement date

  3. Willful or Repeated: $145,027 per violation

Additionally, new regulations will continue to up the penalties in coming years in accordance with cost-of-living increases; you can expect them to rise by $1,000 or so a year. More detailed information on citations can be found at It’s also worth noting that their website is public domain — meaning that any company cited can be found in their databases. It’s not a place you want to be!

Next, the webinar goes over the top ten most cited OSHA standards for FY 2021 in the state of Pennsylvania:

  1. Fall Protection in Construction (5,295 violations)

  2. Respiratory Protection (2,527)

  3. Ladders (2,026)

  4. Scaffolding (1,948)

  5. Hazard Construction (1,947)

  6. Lockout/Tagout (1,698)

  7. Fall Protection in General Industry (1,666)

  8. Personal Protective Equipment — Eye and Face Protection (1,452)

  9. Powered Industrial Trucks (1,420)

  10. Machine Guarding (1,113)

Given these statistics, in 2022, employers across all industries should practice more caution when it comes to Fall Protection issues (both #1 and #7); these numbers are on the rise. Respiratory Protection, while always near the top, places at #2 largely because of the COVID pandemic. Regarding Ladders citations at #3, companies should examine ladder labels and ensure they are completely legible. Moving down the list, lots of organizations miss having a written Personal Protective Equipment (#8) audit — which includes an evaluation of that policy and what they require in PPE at different times. A final word of warning: companies buying equipment from overseas should ensure their machinery meets current Machine Guarding (#10) standards.

The next topic explored is developments in OSHA leadership. Most notably: for the first time since 2017, an Assistant Secretary for Occupational Safety and Health was sworn in last year. Now in the role, Douglas Parker is an attorney from the labor side who was previously the head of California OSHA — a state with a difficult-to-navigate individual plan, much like New Jersey on the East Coast.

Going a layer deeper, Mr. Parker made a series of noteworthy comments at a recent American Bar Association Conference around current initiatives within his organization:

  1. A forthcoming OSHA initiative to come up with COVID-19 protocols for non-healthcare entities, in wake of the over-100-employee protocols being struck down by the Supreme Court;

  2. An initiative to take a look at high-risk work that trends toward people of color;

  3. Putting more emphasis and giving more detail on heat-related hazards;

  4. An increase in staffing throughout OSHA, for conducting inspections and promulgating more standards.

The webinar moves on to highlight OSHA’s “Focus Four” — hazards that will be paid special attention to this year. They are:

  1. Falls (as you might have guessed!)

  2. Struck-By (which includes driving safety, powered industrial trucks, etc.)

  3. Electrocutions (proper control of hazardous energy, as well as general electrical safety)

  4. Caught In-Between (tying in with the aforementioned machine guarding)

Related to the Focus Four are the National Emphasis Programs (NEP). These are temporary programs, focusing on particular hazards and industries of concern. They are usually between 10 and 15 at any given time; the complete list can be found at this link. Of particular note this year are combustible dust (such as from sugar and corn processing), hazardous machinery, hexavalent chromium (for welding industries), and silica (which has a new standard being vigorously pushed at the moment).

A grab-bag of other relevant OSHA initiatives in the works:

  1. A Heat Illness app — which allows you to pull in geographic and weather information to determine breaks, heat indexes, etc. for workers — is currently in the Comments period of the approval process.

  2. Updating the Powered Industrial Truck standard (which hasn’t been changed since 1971) in accordance with standards put forward by the American National Standards Institute and the Industrial Truck Standards Development Foundation. (That standard is currently in the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking stage of approval.)

  3. OSHA’s Hazard Communication Standard, issued in 2012, is being updated to Version 7.

  4. A Trenching Initiative is underway to increase awareness of excavation hazards in construction.

  5. A Fall Prevention Stand-Down will take place from May 6th to May 10th this year — as an opportunity for employees to show their support for safety and health around fall prevention.

A couple of intriguing audience questions round out the webinar regarding whistleblower complaints. These differ from standard complaints in that whistleblowing is an option for employees if they feel their employer retaliated against them for filing an OSHA complaint.

Lastly, the discussion turns to the increasingly-prevalent use of drones and video for OSHA inspections. The matter of whether OSHA can send drones to investigate a construction site without the consent of a company is currently being adjudicated, but it’s highly recommended to never reject OSHA requests for investigation in the first place — as they can acquire subpoenas.

Tom ends the webinar by thanking all for attending, and urging anyone with further questions on the subject to contact EES directly. We look forward to hearing from you and supporting your business — with OSHA compliance and much more — in 2022!



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