Mitigating the Impact of OSHA Violations

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August 05, 2014

According to a recent article in Crain’s Cleveland, there were 661 inspections in the Cleveland region by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) in the fiscal year 2013. On average, companies received three citations per inspection, with the most common being:

  • Fall protection (construction)
  • Hazard communication standard (general industry)
  • Scaffolding (general requirements, construction)
  • Respiratory protection (General industry)
  • Electrical, wiring methods, components and equipment (general industry)
  • Ladders (construction)
  • Control of hazardous energy, lockout/tagout (general industry)
  • Electrical systems design (general requirements, general industry)

When a company receives a citation, the company’s management team can choose to contest the citation, pay financial penalties or schedule an informal conference to review the circumstances. A company can still choose to contest the citation after the conference, but a formal settlement can be an option for companies that aren’t guilty of consistent or blatant violations.

For companies that receive citations, area experts recommend capitalizing on the conference opportunity; there’s a human element to the discussion that may lead OSHA to compromise with smaller penalties for minor violations. Aside from smaller fees, it’s worth the effort to maintain a clean safety record -- the information OSHA keeps about a company’s record can affect their qualification for future opportunities.

Learn from other companies and their experience with OSHA violations -- it could save big in the long run. Just ask Canton-based Republic Steel; they recently settled more than 100 citations at four separate plants in the region. There’s a bright side, though; it led directly to the development of a comprehensive health and safety plan for the entire company.

Smithers Quality Assessments assists clients in building and maintaining occupational health and safety systems that will help manage risk, increase awareness and employee involvement, and positively impact the company’s reputation as a leader in its respective industry. These results can be achieved through ISO 18001:2007, ANSI/AIHA Z10 and CSA Z1000 certification and tied into ISO 9001 quality management systems and 14001 environmental management systems. Click here to learn more.

Related Tags:OHSAS 18001, OSHA