In an Intelivert article titled “16 Legal tips: Handling OSHA Citations the Right Way” one of the attorneys cited in the article states that “OSHA is not always right” when it comes to the citations they levy on employers. Her advice is to check whether the cited standard applies to your citation and read through the standard carefully looking for exceptions and definitions. Don’t assume the standard applies because OSHA cited it.
Here are some other tips from the Intelivert article to consider:
1. The 15 day response clock starts clicking the moment someone signs the certified mail receipt. Don’t let it get buried in the mail room and show up on your desk 3 days before it’s due. Make sure all are aware to keep a look out for it.
2. Look beyond the penalty and don’t settle on just taking the expedite process and paying the reduced fine. Consider how the citation may affect your company in such ways as a) expensive and anti-competitive abatement b) risk of repeat violations at same or sister facilities with much higher penalties c) disqualification from private or government contracts d) increased insurance premiums or loss of coverage
3. Don’t accept OSHA citations as a cost of doing business. Carefully analyze the citation to ensure it is factually and legally accurate. If it is not, seek to have it withdrawn during the informal conference or through a contest proceeding.
4. If cited under the General Duty Clause known as section 5(a)(1), OSHA must prove there is a recognized hazard by the employer and a feasible abatement method.
5. Do things before not after a citation. Before OSHA shows up on your front step, take the time to identify hazards your employee are most likely to face, crate safety rules/policies to address the hazards, educate employees on the rules, provide training, have a disciplinary policy, conduct audits, communicate, keep written records.
Source: Industry News