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What Does Abatement Mean?

In the context of workplace safety, abatement refers to any action an employer takes to correct a safety violation.

Abatement is also called hazard abatement.

Safeopedia Explains Abatement

OSHA conducts workplace inspections to ensure that employers are conforming to safety regulations. In their 1903.19 standard, OSHA specifies that the aim of these inspections is "the abatement of violations of the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970."

The same standard defines abatement as "action by an employer to comply with a cited standard or regulation or to eliminate a recognized hazard identified by OSHA during an inspection."

Petition for Modification of Abatement

When an OSHA inspection uncovers a safety violation, the inspector will issue an abatement notice to the employer. This notice will name the violation, describe the abatement measures required, and specify a deadline for completing the abatement.

If an employer is unable to carry out the abatement by the time listed in the abatement notice, they may file a petition for modification of abatement (PMA) with their local OSHA Area Director. The PMA must be filed within 15 days of the notice being issued and include:

  • Details of steps taken to achieve compliance
  • Timeframe required to abate the hazards and justification for the extra time requested
  • Steps that were taken to protect employees from the hazard until abatement
  • A certification that the PMA has been posted with the date

OSHA’s Five-Step Process for Abatement

OSHA has a five-step process for employers to abate identified hazards and demonstrate compliance with relevant standards:

  1. Correct the hazard quickly - a hazard that takes more than 90 days to correct will require an abatement plan
  2. Write a letter certifying that the hazard has been corrected, including citation details for each violation, which corrective actions have been taken, and at which date these corrections have been implemented
  3. Include documents verifying completion of abatement
  4. Notify affected employees of all corrective actions taken
  5. Tag any cited movable equipment to alert employees of the hazard

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