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Eleventh Circuit Denies OSHA Expansion of Inspection Based on Illness and Injury Logs

Prepared for the Katten Safety Advisory Group
Advisory | October 25, 2018

The Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals recently affirmed a Georgia federal district court’s quashing of a warrant that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“OSHA”) obtained against a poultry processor.See United States v. Mar-Jac Poultry, No. 16-17745 (Oct. 9, 2018) (slip op.). OSHA had tried to expand a 2016 injury inspection of a Mar-Jac facility by arguing that it could base a search warrant on the company’s OSHA 300 injury and illness logs and findings found in an OSHA poultry-processing Regional Emphasis Program inspection (“Poultry REP”) (see KSAG Alert 2017-23).The Eleventh Circuit concluded that OSHA had not shown there was a “reasonable suspicion” of ongoing safety violations based on injuries recorded on the company’s 300 logs. The decision, however, did acknowledge that the logs could form the basis for an inspection under the right circumstances, explaining “that although OSHA 300 logs do not document the cause of the injury or illness, they can be relevant to whether hazards exist.”

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