Legal Defenses for OSHA Citations
It’s bad enough that you received an unannounced visit from an OSHA inspector. What’s worse is when you received a letter confirming the violations that were mentioned in your closing conference.
Not only are OSHA fines expensive (starting at $12,675 per violation), they can greatly damage you and your business' reputation. If you receive an an OSHA citation, it’s important to contact an OSHA defense attorney as soon as possible. You will have 15 days from the day you receive the citation to address it. An OSHA lawyer will be able to utilize several defenses to get the fine reduced or eliminated. Defenses include, but are not limited to, the following:
This defense contends that non-compliance with an OSHA regulation is the result of employee error, rather than an issue within the system. To establish this defense, a company needs to verify that a formal safety policy and training program are in place. The training program demonstrates awareness of the policy. It must also be noted that company officials were not aware of the violating behavior until after it occurred.
No Exposure to Violation
Companies can argue that their employees had no exposure to the area that OSHA is calling into question. If the violated area is restricted or locked away, companies can challenge OSHA and possibly win. This no exposure defense can also be applied if a piece of equipment is cited but was not currently in use at the time of the citation.
Avoiding a Greater Violation
At times, companies can argue that an OSHA policy was violated in order to prevent a larger hazard. To prove this, employers must have proof that compliance with the particular regulation may lead to a greater hazard, that there was no other means of protecting the employees, and that seeking a variance would not be the appropriate action.
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Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.