• Court Lowers “Burden” of Proof for OSHA Citations

    Thursday March 21, 2013

    The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit rendered an opinion that not only altered the agency's burden of proof for OSHA citations but effectively reduced that burden to little more than a semantic impediment. The Court declared that OSHA, or the Secretary of Labor need not establish the elements of the long established four-part Atlantic Battery test to prove a violation but instead must only prove that a "reasonably prudent employer" would have anticipated the hazard at issue and done more to prevent it. Further, the Court found this burden met where the Secretary had simply asserted that the employer at issue failed to act as a reasonably prudent employer without offering any evidence regarding whether a reasonably prudent employer in the same industry would have even recognized the hazard and, if so, what protective measures, if any, would have been taken.

     

    In effect, the employer's liability is viewed in a vacuum with no reference to some recognized norms of safety recognition in the employer's industry. According to the Court, the Secretary only need to allege and prove that the specific employer's actions were "imprudent" and the violation will stand. 

     

    For more details please read the following attachment:

     

    Reasonably Prudent Employer

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