You may apply for a temporary variance from a safety standard when compliance cannot be achieved by the standard's effective date because of unavailability of professional or technical personnel, materials, or equipment, or because necessary construction cannot be completed within the prescribed time.

A permanent variance may be granted if you can show that you can provide equivalent protection for your employees through alternative means.


Practice Tip

You should apply for a variance as soon as you know that there's a hazard in your workplace that will take some time to fix, before OSHA gets involved, since the agency may decline to consider a variance application when a hearing is pending on a citation.