Does the "General Duty Clause" Apply to You?

This is an automatic yes. The general duty clause (GDC) applies to everyone covered under the OSH Act. The GDC is used when there isn't a standard for a recognized hazard that can cause death or serious injury or serious physical harm. Examples of GDC violations can include hazards such as heat stress, seatbelt not on a forklift, and ergonomics.

NCGS 95-129(1) - General Duty Clause

  • "Each employer shall furnish to each of his employees conditions of employment and a place of employment free from recognized hazards that are causing or are likely to cause death or serious injury or serious physical harm to his employees."

Four Elements That Are Necessary For a GDC Violation

  • The employer failed to keep the workplace free of a hazard to which employees of that employer were exposed;
  • The hazard was recognized in the industry;
  • The hazard was causing or was likely to cause death or serious physical harm; and
  • There was a feasible and useful method to correct the hazard.


Employee exposure - Exposure of an employee to the hazardous or suspected hazardous condition.

Hazard - A danger that threatens physical harm to employees.

Additional information relating to GDC violations can be found in the North Carolina field operations manual, chapter IV - violations.