Should vs Shall

Should vs Shall

“Shall” and “Should” in RAGAGEP

“Shall,” “must,” or similar language used in RAGAGEP reflects the developer’s view that the practice is a mandatory minimum requirement to control a hazard. Similarly, “shall not,” “prohibited,” or similar language references or describes unacceptable approaches or practices. If an employer deviates from an applicable “shall” or “shall not” requirement in the employer’s adopted RAGAGEP, OSHA will presume a violation. In accordance with the inspection procedures described in Chapter 3 of OSHA’s Field Operations Manual (CPL 02-00-159, Oct. 1, 2015), the employer will have an opportunity to explain the rationale for the deviation and why it believes its approach reflects recognized and generally accepted goodengineering practices.

Use of the term “should” or similar language in RAGAGEP denotes a recommendation that reflects an acceptable and preferred practice. If a “should” provision in the employer’s selected RAGAGEP is applicable to the covered process or particular situation, OSHA presumes that employer compliance with the recommended approach is acceptable.

If an employer selects RAGAGEP that contains “should” provisions, but does not follow them, OSHA will not presume a violation. In such cases, the CSHO should evaluate whether the employer’s approach reflects recognized and generally accepted goodengineering practices and whether the employer documented that its equipment complies with RAGAGEP. An employer does not need to document deviations from a “should” statement provided it documents that its equipment complies with RAGAGEP.

If an employer selects RAGAGEP that contains “should not” provisions (or similar language describing disfavored practices), and then follows the disfavored practices, OSHA will not presume a violation. In such cases, the CSHO should evaluate whether the employer’s approach reflects recognized and generally accepted good engineering practices and whether the employer documented that its equipment complies with RAGAGEP. An employer does not need to document deviations from a “should not” statement provided it documents that its equipment complies with RAGAGEP.