Regardless of the industry, one simple fact rings true: employee safety comes first and foremost. And OSHA is just one inspection away from making sure of it.
OSHA is serious about safety, and they make it clear. Their standards amount to law, and breaking them results in heavy penalties and bad press.
Following proper safety protocols and adhering to OSHA guidelines remains the best defense against injured workers and burdensome fines.
Failure to do so invariably results in one of the following six types of OSHA violations, ranked according to severity.
“De minimis” is a Latin phrase, essentially translating as “about minimal things.” Penalties falling under this category are considered fairly inconsequential, and won’t come with a fine.
That isn’t to say they should be ignored; showing good faith in rectifying the citation goes a long way when follow-ups occur.
These types of citations are issued when general safe practices are followed, but technically are incorrect. Ladder rungs being 14 inches apart rather than an OSHA-approved 12 inches might register a de minimis penalty.
De minimis citations might be issued without financial penalty, but the same can’t be said for other-than-serious OSHA violations.
These violations pose legitimate health and safety concerns, and come paired with financial penalties.
Capping at $13,653, other-than-serious violations can add up quickly if multiple violations are found.
Improper documentation of procedures or protocols could result in this type of citation.
As their name implies, serious OSHA violations (as if they weren’t all serious) are far more problematic than the previous two.
Serious OSHA violations are issued to employers “where there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result and that the employer knew, or should have known, of the hazard”, and also carry a $13,653 per violation fine.
Even though inspectors generally have leeway in issuing and finalizing penalties, serious OSHA violations may be more difficult to lessen or mitigate than their less-than-serious counterparts.
Failure to Abate
For some violations, a deadline will be given to resolve the problem.
If this deadline is passed and the issue hasn’t been fixed, a failure to abate penalty can be issued.
These penalties are designed to encourage employers to correct the violation as quickly as possible, and come with a fine of $13,653 per day. If left unchecked, these fines add up in a hurry.
The most serious violations are those dubbed to be willful.
Willful violations are issued when the employer either knowingly failed to comply with a legal requirement (purposeful disregard) or acted with plain indifference to employee safety.
If willful violations are incurred, businesses can expect little mercy in the reduction of fines, especially if injuries or fatalities have already occurred.
Repeated offenses rank in the same category as “willful,” and rightfully so.
These citations are issued only after the same abuses have been noted, reported, and officially documented.
There is never a good excuse for repeated offenses, and thus carry the same hefty fine as those deemed willful: more than $136K.
Types of OSHA Violations: The Takeaway
OSHA’s safety standards apply to all businesses, regardless of the industry sector.
And although they aren’t out to fine companies just for the sake of it, OSHA won’t hesitate to issue them when unsafe conditions exist.
Disregarding safety standards isn’t only dangerous and immoral, it’s incredibly expensive. Staying in compliance is the best way to save lives and money.
Stay in Compliance with Worksite Medical
In most cases, OSHA requires medical surveillance testing, and at no cost to employees.
Worksite Medical makes that program easier with mobile medical testing.
We conduct on-site respirator fit tests, as well as audiometric exams, pulmonary function tests and heavy metal lab work, right on your job site. We also keep accurate, easy-to-access medical records for your convenience. You’ll keep your employees at work, and stay ahead of OSHA inspections.
With Worksite Medical, a mobile medical testing unit — we can bring all the resources of a lab to you. Our certified lab technicians can perform both qualitative and quantitative respirator tests to ensure a perfect fit.
Protect your team and your workplace now with Worksite Medical. Not sure what you need? Try our medical testing wizard here.
Give us a call at 1-844-622-8633, or complete the form below to schedule an on-site visit or to get your free quote.