The Occupational Safety & Health Administration raised their fines by a nearly whopping 80% in August of this year. It was the first time in over 25 years that OSHA had adjusted the price for violating regulations.
With the massive increase it is now more important than ever to avoid OSHA issued fines. It isn't enough to just say, "Stay safe out there" anymore. Specific written and documents for safety need to be maintained and distributed to your workforce.
Approaching your safety program with a "good offense" will provide you with the best defense. Here are some tips for executing a good safety program and avoiding fines.
- Know your deadlines - You typically have 15 business days to contest OSHA citations.
- If you receive a citation, immediately request an informal conference with OSHA. OSHA has been known to cut fines in half when you participate in informal conferences.
- The Fourth Amendment applies when it comes to OSHA inspections. It is your right to request a warrant.
- Take advantage of the On-Site Consultation Program. Available to small and medium sized businesses, you can get free confidential assessments of your worksite.
- Understand your reporting and recordkeeping duties. Maintaining records can help you in defending against OSHA citations.
- Protect your reputation. Repeat fines add up quickly and can put your business under. When you receive a citation don't reach for your checkbook, contest and defend your practices.