Contractors: Be Aware of These OSHA Penalties That You Want to Avoid!

OSHA’s compliance and safety officers may investigate your work site and issue citations for violations of regulations. If an inspector notes any noncompliance, they may issue citations and penalties within six months of the violation’s occurrence. There are three kinds of violations that OSHA will penalize you for: Serious (including Other-Than-Serious), Failure to Abate, and Willful.

Serious violations may be issued when there is a substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result, and the employer knew or should have known of the hazard. This violation carries a minimum penalty of $1,116 and a maximum of $15,625 per violation. Other-Than-Serious violations may occur when the violation has a direct relationship to job safety and death but is not likely to cause death or serious physical harm. These violations carry the same maximum penalty as Serious violations but carry no penalty minimum. Failure to Abate violations may be issued when an employer has not corrected a previously cited violation upon reinspection. There is a maximum penalty of $15,625 per day beyond the abatement date, generally limited to 30 days. Willful violations may be issued when the employer intentionally and knowingly commits a violation. The employer either knows he is committing a violation or that the condition creates a hazard, and no reasonable effort has been made to eliminate it. These violations carry the heaviest penalty with a maximum of $156,259 for each violation.

If you receive a violation notice, you must post it at the place where each violation occurred in order to put employees on notice that they are being exposed to a hazard. The notice must remain posted for 3 working days or until the hazard is abated, whichever is longer. Employers are given the chance to meet with an OSHA representative to discuss the violations including discussing what they mean and how to fix the hazard.