Compliance vs. Intelligence
The lesson of the Titanic

-The ship WAS in compliance with regulations!

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


  • Manage Agency

    • Provide direction

    • Set agendas


  • Appoints Director

  • Develops budget

  • Holds VETO power

  • Can also remove Director


  • Review Agency

    • Adjudicate appeals

    • Resolve disputes


  • Interprets statutes

  • Sets precedence

  • Decides case law


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


  • Create Agency (by Act)


  • Statutory Mandate

  • Commerce Clause

  • Delegation Doctrine

  • Procedural Mandate

  • Statutory Amendment

  • Informal Controls

    • Appointment 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 OSHA is the only only entity created under the entity created under the OSHAct OSHAct given the power of the LAW! given 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 Regulations and Standards Prescribe the Minimum Minimum

Required Actions in a Given Situation Required Actions in a Given Situation Chart (available in full paper).

When is an Employer in "Violation?"

OSHA has the initial burden to prove:

  • The standard applies to the cited employer;

  • The standard's requirements were not met;

  • Employees were exposed to hazards as a result, and

  • The employer knew or, with the practice of reasonable diligence, should have known of the existence of the noncompliance condition(s)

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