What You Should Know About Making OSHA Payments
Have you recently undergone an inspection from the OSHA, or are you expecting one in your future? If so, it is vital that you fully comprehend the OSHA payment process. While you want to avoid fines and you may choose to appeal any assessments, you must still understand your obligations. If you do not pay your fines properly, you may be hit with additional costs.
Citation Classifications and Fees
As you likely know, OSHA penalty amounts have raised in January 2021, as is customary each year. Violations deemed to be serious, other than serious, and failure to abate carry maximum penalties of $13,653 per citation. Those considered willful or repeated have maximum penalty amounts of $136,532 per citation.
If You Are Ordered to Pay
After your inspection, you may receive a notice of citations. At that point, you can choose to appeal or decide to pay the fines right away. If you appeal, some citations could be vacated. But in the end, you may be ordered to remit at least part of the penalty.
Usually, you will be given a timeframe, perhaps within 15 days. You may have to pay a lump sum, or you may be offered an interest-free payment plan. The communication from OSHA will include these details. As OSHA indicates, you must submit a money order or check made payable to DOL-OSHA and include the inspection number. You also have the option to make payments online at www.pay.gov.
If you choose the online option, look for “Pay a Fine, Violation, or Penalty” on the home page. Once you navigate to the form, you will need to enter your company address, your inspection number, and other information. Note that fines exceeding $24,999.99 cannot be paid by credit card. For such a penalty amount, you must acquire a transaction ID from the OSHA Debt Collection office.
Paying online may be a more secure option since you will receive a confirmation right away. If you decide to submit a check by mail, you may worry that it will get lost or not arrive on time.
If You Miss Your Payment
What happens if you miss your deadline? Usually, within a month, OSHA will send a follow-up letter informing you that your payment is overdue. At that point, OSHA might require the total original violation amount, not the lower agreed-upon fee. In this case, if there was an oversight or the check was lost in the mail, you should call OSHA and try to explain the issue.
You may also experience trouble if you have multiple citations from different inspections. If the inspection numbers are not accurately indicated on your payments, they may be credited to the wrong citation. This mistake will make it appear, for example, that you overpaid for one violation but have not paid for another. If this happens, you must contact OSHA and sort out the issue.
If OSHA believes you have not paid as required, your account may be considered in default and referred to the U.S. Treasury Department. Once that happens, getting your debt sent back to OSHA could be difficult. Instead, you will have to deal with the Treasury Department as you would a debt collector. The Treasury Department may put you on a payment plan, but it will likely require interest, in addition to the citation amount. Also, OSHA may assess its own interest and penalties before sending the account to the Treasury Department. Late payments and mistakes will get very expensive.
Handling Your Payment Problems | OSHA Defense Attorney
As you see, making payments to OSHA can be complicated. If you are ordered to make a payment, even after an appeal, make sure you handle the process carefully. Ensure that the person or department responsible for making your payment understands the seriousness of paying on time and tracking that payment.
If you have concerns about OSHA citations or have been accused of being in default, do not hesitate to get legal assistance. An experienced OSHA defense attorney can review your case and help you manage the situation with OSHA.
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.