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OSHA Violations

August 4, 2011

There are five levels of violations according to OSHA.  Depending on what level of violation the company receives will determine their penalty.

The first level is willful violation.  This is where intentional violations occur.  An example would be blocking emergency exits.  The penalty for this can be up to $70,000 per violation.

The second level is serious violation.  This is where the violation could cause a serious injury or death, and the employer should or was aware of the situation.  An example would be expecting an employee to operate manual equipment such as forklift with no training.  The penalty for this can be up to $7000 for each violation.

The third level is other than serious violation.  This is where there was a violation of safety or health standards that would not cause serious harm or injury.  This violation carries the same weight as a serious violation of $7000.

The fourth level is a repeat violation.  This is where an employer repeats a violation found in a previous inspection.  The penalty for this level is a $70,000 per violation.    If the repeat violation is determined to be willful then there could be jail time included in the penalty.

The fifth level is de minimis.  This is where there would be no harm done to any safety or health standards.  This is the lowest level and there are no penalties cited for this violation.

If during an inspection and a citation is received the employer must post a copy close to the location where the violation occurred.  This cannot be removed until the problem is fixed.  If an employer does not agree with the citation they have 15 working days to challenge by sending a Notice of Contest to the Area Director.  If this note is not sent during the 15 working days the employer loses the right to challenge the citation.

Please feel free to leave comments or suggestions.

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