As it turns out, OSHA really does mean business when it issues a fine.
In July 2019, after several years of dodging $412,000 in penalties, the Third Circuit Court of Appeals found a New Jersey construction company’s president in contempt of court, and thus, personally liable for the entire fine.
Company representatives never made any attempt to pay the fines, nor did they contact OSHA to reduce the amount or set up a payment plan, after an inspection revealed numerous safety violations.
The Department of Labor (DOL) sought to enforce the penalty with several hearings before the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission and, eventually, the Federal Court of Appeals.
DOL’s four-year effort concluded earlier this year when the court found the company’s president, and only board member, liable for the nearly half million-dollar fine.
He was ordered to pay the entire penalty amount within 30 days.
Steps to Take After OSHA Issues Fine
If you’re ever fined by OSHA after a failed inspection, you’ll need to take immediate action.
First, post the citation at or near the location in which the violation occurred for three days, or until it’s corrected.
According to 29 CFR 1903.16, the posted citation must be posted “in a prominent place where it will be readily observable by all affected employees. Even if you plan to contest the violation, posting is required. Not doing so may result in further penalties.
Second, review the citation. OSHA proposed the penalties, but they’re not set in stone just yet.
OSHA offers several options to consider:
- Quick Fix Program – OSHA’s “Quick Fix” abatement incentive program gives you the chance to reduce your fines by up to 15 percent when you immediately improve hazards found during the inspection.
- Negotiation – Usually, if your company has gone five years without a citation or repeat fine, then you can get your penalty reduced by 10 percent.
- Size reduction – If your business employs 250 or fewer workers, then you may be able to reduce the fines by as much as 40 percent.
You may also content the findings. Prior to making that decision, though, schedule an informal conference with the OSHA area director.
Use that opportunity to discuss any of the following:
- Obtain a better explanation of the violations cited;
- Obtain a more complete understanding of the specific standards that apply;
- Negotiate and enter into an informal settlement agreement;
- Discuss ways to correct violations;
- Discuss issues concerning proposed penalties;
- Discuss proposed abatement dates;
- Resolve disputed citations and penalties, (thereby eliminating the need for the more formal procedures associated with litigation before the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission); and
- Obtain answers to any other questions you may have.
Do it quickly, though, as you only have 15 days.
Remember, though, don’t avoid fine payment altogether.
Bringing it All Together
If OSHA fines you after an inspection, take the right steps toward fixing the problems, and pay (or contest) your fines.
The best way to remain complaint is to maintain a safe, healthy working environment. That starts with a solid medical surveillance and safety program.
When it comes to that program, you’ll want something quick and convenient, yet thorough, to remain productive and to limit risk.
With Worksite Medical, you get all the resources of a lab brought directly to your worksite with onsite testing.
We tailor a comprehensive medical surveillance program to your specific needs. Our services include OSHA physicals, audiometric exams, respirator fit testing, drug & alcohol testing, and even blood work.
And, we safely maintain all of your team’s medical records, and provide you with quick access.
Get your program into gear by going mobile today!
Schedule your visit now, or request a free quote by completing the form below. Or, you can call us at 1-844-622-8633.
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