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The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is responsible for ensuring that employers provide a safe and healthy workplace for their employees. OSHA violations occur when an employer fails to comply with OSHA standards, which can result in significant penalties and fines.

Common OSHA Violations

The top 10 OSHA violations for the fiscal year 2021 were fall protection, hazard communication, scaffolding, respiratory protection, ladders, lockout/tagout, powered industrial trucks, fall protection training requirements, machine guarding, and eye and face protection. These violations are not new and have been on the list for several years, indicating that employers are still struggling to comply with these OSHA standards.

Fall protection is the most common OSHA violation, accounting for 21.6% of all violations. This includes failure to provide proper guardrails or fall protection systems when working at heights. The second most common violation is hazard communication, which includes failure to properly label hazardous chemicals and provide appropriate safety data sheets to employees.

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OSHA Penalties

OSHA penalties can be significant and can have a major impact on a company’s bottom line. OSHA has increased the maximum penalties for violations to adjust for inflation. Penalties for serious violations can be up to $15,625 per violation. Willful violations, which occur when an employer intentionally disregards OSHA standards, can result in penalties of up to $156,259 per violation. Repeat violations can also result in penalties of up to $156,259 per violation.

In addition to fines, OSHA penalties can also result in negative publicity and damage to a company’s reputation. Employers who are found to be in violation of OSHA standards can also be required to post a notice at the worksite informing employees of the violation.

In addition to increasing penalties, OSHA has also announced new enforcement policies. According to the National Law Review, OSHA will focus on “high-impact inspections” and prioritize inspections at high-hazard industries and worksites with a history of OSHA violations. OSHA will also increase its use of the “rapid response investigation” process, which allows OSHA to quickly investigate serious accidents and incidents.

Addressing OSHA Violations

Employers who violate OSHA standards should take immediate steps to correct any violations and develop a plan to prevent future violations. This may include providing additional training to employees, conducting regular safety inspections, and implementing new safety policies and procedures. OSHA violations can have serious consequences for employers, including significant fines and damage to their reputation. The most common OSHA violations indicate that employers are still struggling to comply with OSHA standards. Employers should take steps to prevent OSHA violations, including providing training to employees, conducting regular safety inspections, and implementing new safety policies and procedures. By prioritizing workplace safety, employers can avoid OSHA violations and create a safer and healthier workplace for their employees.

For assistance navigating OSHA violations and penalties, contact Rafii Law.

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