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October 11, 2012
OSHA provides insight on variance procedures

OSHA has enhanced its website to improve understanding of the variance approval process. A variance is a regulatory action that permits an employer to deviate from the requirements of an OSHA standard under certain conditions. A variance does not provide an outright exemption from a standard, except in cases involving national defense.

According to OSHA, employers can request a variance for many reasons. These include not being able to fully comply on time with a new requirement due to a shortage of personnel, materials, or equipment.

A variance may be granted when employers can prove that their proposed methods, operations, or processes result in workplaces that are at least as safe and healthful as those provided by the standards.

Until recently, only approved variance cases were available on the OSHA site. The page now addresses denied applications and provides background on variance rules and instruction on how to apply. See details at www.OSHA.gov. Enter “variance” in the search box.

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