The general duty clause (OSH Act § 5(a)(1), or "GDC") was the centerpiece of a pair of recent decisions by the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission ("OSHRC"). OSHRC vacated the GDC violation in a heat illness case, and affirmed the GDC violation in a workplace violence case. Significantly, Commissioners Heather MacDougall and James Sullivan indicated their reluctance to use the GDC in work situations not contemplated by Congress – the GDC is supposed to be a "stopgap" until standards are adopted, and should not be used as a "gotcha" or "catchall."
Full access to Katten Safety Advisory Group alerts is restricted to members. For more information on KSAG, please click here. If you are interested in membership in KSAG, please email KSAG@katten.com.