Should the risk of future, repeat OSHA citations figure into my company’s decision to contest a citation?

Q:

Should the risk of future, repeat OSHA citations figure into my company’s decision to contest a citation?

A:

OSHA bases citation severity decisions on several criteria, and one of those is whether or not the company under audit has a history (usually 3 years) of the same or similar infractions.

Knowing this, you may determine that without legal intervention, a specific violated standard is likely to be cited in the future, which exponentially increases your company's exposure to penalty or civil liability. In that case, you may wish to contest these matters with the OSHA solicitor, or ultimately to a judge panel, to prove that your safety measures are adequate, have been misunderstood by OSHA, or are in fact in compliance.



Another common reason for contesting potential repeatable citations is to take advantage of the legal forum that is more structured and, therefore, more accountable to legal precedent and corresponding governmental and company obligations. Of course, as in all legal matters, a company wishing to formally contest a citation should seek appropriate legal counsel (for more citation scenarios, see 10 Reasons to Contest an OSHA Citation).

OSHA citations can be significant enough to cripple a company, especially if it is a small-to-midsized company. Don’t leave yourself paying a bill that should be contested instead. To learn more, register for Safety Plus, Inc’s webinar, Managing OSHA Visits Part 3: What to Do After the Investigation.

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Written by Bart Briggs, CSP
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Bart Briggs is the founder and owner of Safety Plus, Inc and has actively served as its President and CEO since 1991. The company currently services hundreds of companies across industries including manufacturing, commercial and industrial contracting, trucking, oil and gas, aviation, warehousing, and more. Many of these managed clients have been with Safety Plus for 10, 15, and even 20 years or more, ultimately relying upon Bart’s expertise, and the expertise of the team he has built.

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