Are you familiar with the types of violations that may be cited by OSHA and the penalties associated?

Here’s a quick overview of OSHA Violations.

  • Other-Than-Serious Violations have a direct relationship to job safety and health but would probably not cause death or serious physical harm.
  • Serious Violations are when the workplace hazard could cause an accident or illness most likely resulting in death or serious physical harm (unless the employer did not know or could not have known of the violation).
  • Willful Violations are when an employer intentionally and knowingly fails to comply with a legal requirement or acted with plain indifference to employee safety. For instance, the employer is aware that a hazardous condition exists, knows that the condition violates a standard or other obligation of the Act and makes no reasonable effort to eliminate it.
  • Repeated Violations may be in order if a violation of any standard, regulation, rule or order where, upon re-inspection, a substantially similar violation is found and the original citation has become a final order. To be the basis of a repeated citation, the original citation must be final; a citation under contest may not serve as the basis for a subsequent repeated citation.

As an employer who has been cited, you may:

  • Correct the condition by the date set in the OSHA Notice and/or
  • Request an Informal Conference within 15 working days from the time you received the OSHA Notice with the OSHA Area Director to discuss the violations and/or the abatement dates.

What to Keep in Mind

  • A penalty for an Other-Than-Serious violation may be adjusted downward by as much as 95% depending on an employer’s good faith, history of previous violations and size of business.
  • A penalty for a Serious violation may be adjusted downward based on an employer’s good faith, history of previous violations, the gravity of the alleged violation and the size of the business.
  • A proposed penalty for a willful violation may be adjusted downward depending on the size of the business and its history of previous violations; good faith typically does not apply.

Penalties for Violations

In November 2015, President Obama signed a bill that enables OSHA to increase the civil monetary penalties issued for violations. Changes will be effective August 1, 2016.