Safety Violation

Last updated: September 27, 2018

What Does Safety Violation Mean?

A safety violation refers to the violation of a particular workplace safety standard, regulation, policy, or rule.

Safety violations include both the violation of safety policies created by an individual workplace and violations of the regulatory standards that are enforced within a given jurisdiction.

Safeopedia Explains Safety Violation

Government-assessed safety violations are a legally defined concept that are logged into the public record and classified into subcategories depending on the nature and severity of the violation. Workplaces cited for safety violations can be liable for a variety of potential legal and administrative penalties as a result of the violations. Violations of a workplace’s individual safety policies may also have a relationship to regulatory standards, as many jurisdictions require workplaces to create their own safety policies to keep records of any violations.

The assessment of safety violations is the major method by which occupational health and safety organizations enforce compliance with regulatory safety standards. Workplaces are assessed for potential safety violations through the inspection of workplaces for compliance with safety regulations as well as through the investigation of safety incidents and workplace injuries by qualified officials. The most common safety violations within workplaces include failure to provide fall protection, failure to effectively communicate the risks of workplace hazards, and failure to place sufficient protective equipment between workers and dangerous machinery.

Employers are responsible for ensuring that their employees remain compliant with legally required safety standards. This obligation exceeds the responsibility to ensure that an employee is instructed to comply with a standard and provides the employer with a duty to enforce the standard themselves.

Employers that do not respond to employee violations of a safety standard with progressive and escalating disciplinary measures have previously been found liable for not properly enforcing safety regulations within the workplaces they are responsible for. For high-risk work, employers may also face preemptive obligations to demonstrate that their workplace is not in violation of safety standards by hiring a qualified individual to certify that the workplace is compliant with a specific recognized safety standard.


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