OSHA CITATIONS: How to Respond as an Employer - Worksite Medical

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Next Steps After OSHA Citations

So you’ve been cited by OSHA. You’re probably worrying about hefty fines, loss of productivity, bad press, and, in some situations, complete operational shutdown. While all of these scenarios are quite possible, you’re not powerless. There are different paths to reducing fines and punishment, and, most importantly, making sure they never happen again.

Once a business receives a citation, the employer can do one of two things:

  • Agree to the citation, correct the issue by the set day, and pay the penalty (if there is one)

  • Disagree with the citation. You will have 15 working days to do this from the date you receive the citation.


*However, before disagreeing with the citation, it’s in the best interest of the employer to request an informal meeting with the OSHA director in your area. This will give you an opportunity to discuss any issues related to the citation with the director and in many cases can lead some of the following:

  • Penalty reduction.

  • Extension of abatement dates.

  • Deletion of citations.

  • Reclassification of citations.

  • Clarification of abatement procedures or alleged violations.

  • A public relations opportunity with the area director.

  • The discovery of more facts to ascertain whether to contest the citation.


There is also always to option to challenge the citation with the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. This is an independent agency that hears your case before an administrative law judge (in a court-like setting). An attorney can represent you and the judge will either affirm, modify, or eliminate any of the contested items of the citation.

Contesting Your Citation Isn’t The Only Way

OSHA may consider reducing citations for the following reasons:

  • You have a good safety record. If you don’t have any willful, serious, repeat, or failure-to-abate citations that occured in the last five years then OSHA will most likely reduce fines up to 10 percent.

  • Size adjustment. This abatement is based on the size of your company. For companies with fewer than 25 employees, fines can but cut by as much as 60 percent. Thirty percent for companies with 26 to 100 workers, and a 10 percent reduction for 101 to 250 workers.

  • Limited Exposure. Fines for hazards can be reduced if you show that few or no employees were actually exposed to the hazard.

  • Make a Good-faith effort. When a company can show that it has made a strong effort at safety and health compliance, fines can be reduced. A 25-percent reduction usually requires a written safety and health management system.

Limiting OSHA Citations Starts With a Safe, Healthy Workplace

Ready to make your effort? Implementing a medical surveillance program is a great way to show your dedication to improving the health and safety of your workplace. And, in many cases, it’s required by OSHA. Worksite Medical can bring medical testing directly to your work site. From audiometric exams to silica physicals, you’ll be covered with our convenient mobile services, and you’ll never have to send your team away for testing again.

Click below to get started today.

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