Compliance vs. Intelligence
The lesson of the Titanic

The ship WAS in compliance with regulations!

  • 1890s British Maritime Safety Law 1890s British Maritime Safety Law

    • One life boat per 715 tons

    • Maximum tonnage addressed: 10,000 (14 life boats)

  • Regulations never updated as ships got heavier

    • Titanic "in compliance" (exceeded by 3%) with 17 life boats

    • Titanic weighed in excess of 45,000 tons (needed 64 life boats)

Regulatory requirements

Regulations are considered the "minimum"

  • Compliance with the "minimum" is no excuse for intelligent engineering

  • We must often exceed the "minimum" to ensure optimum protection of people, property and the environment

No one gets cited or fined for being more safe than the minimum required by law. Think about it!


  • Action

    • Manage Agency

      • Provide direction

      • Set agendas

  • Control

    • Appoints Director

    • Develops budget

    • Holds VETO power

    • Can also remove Director


  • Action

    • Review Agency

      • Adjudicate appeals

      • Resolve disputes

  • Control:

    • Interprets statutes

    • Sets precedence

    • Decides case law


The Courts cannot initiate any action until a lawsuit has been filed


  • Action

    • Create Agency (by Act)

  • Control

    • Statutory Mandate

    • Commerce Clause

    • Delegation Doctrine

    • Procedural Mandate

    • Statutory Amendment

    • Informal Controls

      • Appointment Approvals Appointment Approvals

      • Approvals Budget Approvals

Understanding OSHA

The Occupational Safety & Health Act of 1970

(PL 91-596)

  • Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA)

    • Regulate and Enforce

  • National Institute for Occupational Safety & Health (NIOSH)

    • Research and Recommend

  • Occupational Safety & Health Review Commission (OSHRC)

    • Adjudicate and Interpret

OSHA is the only entity created under the OSHAct the power of the LAW!
About Federal Regulations

  • First announced in the Federal Register (FR)

    • Issued daily by Federal Agencies (such as OSHA, EPA)

      • The "First-Look" at a new regulation

  • Incorporated into the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR)

    • Title 29 ("Labor"), Part 1910 ("General Industry")

      • Expressed as 29 CFR 1910 (for Safety - General Industry)

Regulations and Standards Prescribe the Minimum Required Actions in a Given Situation

This content is only available via PDF.
You can access this article if you purchase or spend a download.