Following the visit from OSHA, the findings and recommendations of the compliance officer are reviewed at the office of the OSHA area director, who will issue the citations if appropriate.
If warranted, penalties will be imposed shortly thereafter. Immediately upon receipt of the notice, citations must be posted at the worksite. Section 17 of the OSH Act of 1970 provides for the issuance of civil and criminal penalties for violators. A few examples are summarized below:
- Civil penalties of up to $7,000 can be assessed for each serious or non-serious violation, which includes failure to adhere to the posting requirement.
- Failure to correct an unsafe condition within the time allotted can result in a fine of up to $7,000 per day.
- Repeated violations can result in fines not to exceed $70,000. If the violation is deemed willful, a minimum fine of $5,000 would apply.
- Making false statements, or committing willful violations that cause the death of an employee can result in imprisonment and fines.
Employers who wish to contest a citation or penalty must do so within 15 days of notification from OSHA. To minimize the impact of an inspection, we suggest that employers follow the guidelines demonstrated in Part 1 & Part 2 of this series.