What are OSHA Violations?
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is tasked with keeping over 130 million workers across the United States safe every year. Their guidelines and inspections play a key role in making sure those workers go home safely every day after work.
Of course, the words OSHA violation or OSHA citation are enough to make the hair on any EHS worker’s neck stand. Nobody wants problems to be found on their worksite. Citations and violations are often a wake-up call and an opportunity to fix gaps in your safety culture. However, these can be very costly lessons. They often result in substantial fines, a potential loss of business, and even a knock against your company’s reputation.
To ensure you’re clear on the specifics of OSHA inspections, today we will explore the difference between a citation and violation, while also exploring the different types of violations.
OSHA Citations vs. Violations
It’s important to know that a violation is more serious than a citation.
You may receive a citation if an inspector finds an issue, but that issue is relatively minor and it doesn’t put your workers’ safety in jeopardy in any way. However, the citation will go on your company’s record, and you will be given a timeline to resolve the issue.
Violations are given for more serious infractions and ones that put workers at risk. They often come with a fine, which we will explore in the next section.
Don't forget to enter in your text.BOOK A FREE DEMO →
The Six Types of OSHA Violations
There are six different types of OSHA violations. Each tier has a different fine/penalty structure to reflect the severity of the offence, and whether or not this is the company’s first offence.
1. De Minimis
This is basically a verbal warning. You were found to be non-compliant in some way, but there is no fine. However, your violation will be noted on your record.
Your inspector has found an issue on your site, but it is relatively minor and does not pose a significant threat to your employees. You may receive a small fine, or no fine with a warning.
Fine: $0 to $13,653 per violation.
As the name indicates, this is when a more serious issue is found. This is a problem that management is/ should be aware of, and something that could lead to a workplace incident. A fine will be issued, depending on the severity of the issue.
Fine: $964 to $13,653 per violation.
4. Willful Violations
If your inspector deems that management is aware of a serious issue, yet has done nothing to resolve that issue, a significant fine will be issued for a Willful Violation.
Fine: $963 to $136,532 per violation.
5. Repeated Violations
A company has been found to be non-compliant for the same issue more than once in a 3-year span.
Fine: $963 to $136,532 per violation.
6. Failure to Abate
This is the most serious of all violations. A company has been cited for a violation, but the issue remains unresolved by the time allotted by OSHA.
Fine: $13,653 per day past the abatement date.
How to Reduce OSHA Fines or Violations
OSHA guidelines need to remain top-of-mind at all times, not just in the weeks or days leading up to an inspection. The best way to avoid (or reduce) any sort of OSHA citations or violations is to build a safety culture where every single employee is actively engaged in safety, every single day.
How do you build that type of culture? You give your front-line employees the training and tools they need to carry out crucial safety activities such as inspections or hazard identifications, while giving your front-office EHS team real-time data collected from those activities.
The EcoOnline suite of safety solutions can help keep your organization compliant with OSHA standards within your industry through its many offerings in areas such as health and safety, supply chain management, asset safety, and more. Speak to one of our safety experts or fill in the form below to find out how.