OSHA requirements are set by statute, standards and regulations. Our interpretation letters explain these requirements and how they apply to particular circumstances, but they cannot create additional employer obligations. This letter constitutes OSHA's interpretation of the requirements discussed. Note that our enforcement guidance may be affected by changes to OSHA rules. Also, from time to time we update our guidance in response to new information. To keep apprised of such developments, you can consult OSHA's website at http://www.osha.gov.
May 6, 1991
MEMORANDUM FOR: BYRON R. CHADWICK REGIONAL ADMINISTRATOR FROM: PATRICIA K. CLARK, DIRECTOR DIRECTORATE OF COMPLIANCE PROGRAMS SUBJECT: Favorable Supreme Court Decision Secretary of Labor v. Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission and C.F. & I. Steel Corp., Docket No. 86-264
On March 20, 1991, the Supreme Court reversed the 10th Circuit Court and Review Commission decision which were in favor of C.F. & I. Steel Corp. This action upheld the willful violation of 29 CFR 1910.1029 and the $10,000 penalty assessed by the ALJ which directly affects the employer and Area Office within your region.
Beyond the affirmation of the violation, this decision establishes a precedent which will require the Appeals Courts to pay deference to OSHA's interpretation of a standard over the Review Commission's when both provide reasonable but conflicting interpretations.
A copy of this decision is provided for your information.