Tuesday, December 11th, 2018
So you had a visit from an OSHA Compliance Safety & Health Officer (CSHO). Next you get a call to schedule a “Closing Conference”. Here, the CSHO will outline what he or she has determined to be “Apparent Violations”, with the final actual citations to be reviewed by a supervisor and approved by the Area Director before being sent by Certified Mail.
What can you expect? Well the basis for citation dollar amounts is contained in the OSHA standard 29 CFR 1903.15. The calculation for these penalties is increased each year based on the “Consumer Price Index”. For 2018 they are as follows:
- Willful Violation - $129,336 but not to be less then $9,239. This considers possible reductions for company size and history.
- Repeat - $129,336
- Serious - $12,934
- Other- Then Serious - $12,934
- Failure to Correct - $12,934 per day.
OSHA, as part of their administrative procedure, does use four factors to calculate the final penalty. They are; gravity of the violation, size of the company, good faith effort to comply and history of previous violations. As stated “Willful” violations are only adjusted by size and past history.
So, for example, size reductions are:
1-25 employees; 60% reduction
251 or more; none.
Serious willful violations have a different schedule starting at 80% reduction for 10 or fewer employees; and up to no reduction for 250 or more employees. OSHA can further reduce penalties by another 15% for “Quick Fix” or immediate correction. Further reductions can be calculated as based on a “Moderate Gravity” serious violation, no “Prior History” and “Good Faith”.
There are other restrictions in the policy such as :
- Repeat Violations are reduced only for company size
- Willful are reduced only for size and history
- Quick Fix reductions are not used where there is a fatality or serious injury, as examples.
Even with the reductions, penalties can climb fast, so the best way to avoid them is to instill a culture of safety, paying attention to the regulations but most importantly involving your employees in the building of an effective safety environment using education, communication and management involvement.
So what are the Top 10 OSHA violations as issued in fiscal year 2017:
Fall Protection, General Requirements - 1926.501
Hazard Communication - 1910.1200
Scaffolding - 1926.451
Respiratory Protection - 1910.134
Lockout/ Tag Out - 1910.147
Ladders - 1926.1053
Powered Industrial Trucks - 1910.178
Fall Protection Training - 1926.503
Machine Guarding – 1910.212
Personal Protective and Life Saving Equipment-Eye Abdul Face Protection – 1926.102