OSHA Violations and Penalties
As we previously discussed in Increased OSHA Fines, OSHA has greatly increased the penalty levels for violations starting in 2017. The penalty amount depends on the type of violation. OSHA defines violations as Serious, Other-than-Serious, Posting Requirements, Failure to Abate, Willful, and Repeated.
Serious: A serious violation exists when the workplace hazard could cause an accident or illness that would most likely result in death or serious physical harm, unless the employer did not know or could not have known of the violation.
Other-than-Serious: An Other-than-Serious violation is one that has a direct relationship to job safety and health, but is not serious in nature.
Posting Requirements: If you receive an OSHA Notice, you must post it at or near the place where each violation occurred so that employees are made award of the hazards. The OSHA Notice must remain posted either for 3 working days or until the hazard is corrected, whichever is longer. Failure to comply with this posting requirement is a violation itself.
Failure to Abate: When a violation is cited, a date is set by which the hazard must be corrected. You must promptly notify the OSHA Area Director by letter that you have taken the appropriate corrective action within the time frame established. This letter is referred to as the Letter of Corrective Action, and must detail the specific action taken with regard to the violation and the date the action was taken. Failure to correct violations and notify OSHA of the correction within this time frame will incur another violation.
Willful: A willful violation is defined as a violation in which the employer either knowingly failed to comply with a legal requirement or acted with plain indifference to employee safety.
Repeated: An employer may be cited for a repeated Serious violation if the workplace has been cited previously for the same or a substantially similar condition and OSHA’s region-wide inspection history for the agency lists a previous OSHA Notice issued within the past five years. An employer may be cited for a repeated Other-than-Serious violation if the workplace being inspected received a previous OSHA Notice issued within the past five years.
Serious, Other-than-Serious, and Posting Requirement violations incur a penalty of $12,675 per violation. Failure to Abate will incur a fine of $12,675 for each day you go past the date set in your notice. Willful and Repeated violations have a penalty of $126,749 for each violation.
Avoiding OSHA violations and fines is the best approach. To do so you must have an active Safety Management Plan. You can learn more about Safety Management plans, as well as OSHA Audits and how to prepare for them, with A1.
Posted on: May 11, 2017