How to Contest an OSHA Citation
It’s not uncommon for contractors to be met with a surprise visit from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Even when inspections are announced, contractors can still be unprepared for citations and subsequent penalties for workplace violations. Fortunately, there are actions you can take to contest and possibly dismiss citations.
Below, we discuss the options available to you and your construction company for contesting an OSHA citation. Because this article is for educational purposes only, we strongly suggest consulting a Jacksonville OSHA lawyer with our law firm if an OSHA inspector has visited your worksite and found it lacking.
What Are My Options Following an OSHA Citation?
As an employer, you have two options ahead of you. You can either agree to the Citation and Notification of Penalty and take the necessary steps to satisfy any conditions or fines, or you can contest the citation, proposed penalty, and/or abatement date in writing by submitting a Notice of Intent to Contest to the OSHA area office within 15 working days of receiving the citation. This Notice of Intent to Contest must be made in good faith; it’s not enough to simply want to avoid a penalty. We encourage you to review all of your employer rights and responsibilities following a federal OSHA inspection.
You can request an informal conference with the OSHA area director to negotiate the Citation and Notification of Penalty and enter into an informal settlement agreement; however, this meeting must take place within the 15-working-day Notice of Intent to Contest period and will in no way extend that period. Furthermore, if you don’t contest within 15 days, the citation becomes a final order. If you’ve received a citation, this leaves you precious little time to determine the best course of action.
Once Your Case Is in Litigation
Once you’ve submitted a Notice of Intent to Contest, your case will be forwarded to the Occupational Safety & Health Review Commission (OSHRC), an independent agency that adjudicates disputes between the Department of Labor and employers. The OSHRC will assign the case to a judge, and you will have the opportunity to present your case in a hearing. Because this process contains all the elements of a trial, we strongly suggest having a lawyer represent you during the hearing. At Cotney Attorneys & Consultants, our Jacksonville construction attorneys can examine your case to determine how your company should proceed at every stage of an OSHA citation. If you’ve received an OSHA citation and are unsure of what to do, contact Cotney Attorneys & Consultants for assistance.
If you would like to speak with one of our Jacksonville construction attorneys, please contact us today.