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Handling OSHA Violations and OSHA Inspections

Protect yourself from OSHA Violations.

Protect yourself from OSHA Violations.

As a contractor, there will sometimes be moments in your career when things don’t always go your way.  Accidents are unavoidable, and once in a while you will end up in a situation when the OSHA will hand you a violation.  It’s important to understand how the OSHA inspections are conducted and what you can do to avoid getting flagged.

There are three main reasons why the OSHA might consider slapping you with a violation or conducting an investigation on your work site.  The first would be if the OSHA believes there is an imminent danger to employees.  The second reason would be if a death or catastrophe has occurred on the worksite previously.  Lastly, if the worksite has been subject to multiple complaints by the workers.

If the OSHA comes to your worksite and requests to inspect things, you reserve the right as a contractor to say no.  This will not protect you from an investigation as the OSHA can then return with a compulsory process to mandate and inspection.  If you force the OSHA to take this route, they will not be lenient on smaller infractions.  If something inspected is in fact wrong, the Employer will have the right to defend himself in an informal conference or a formal hearing.  In order to reduce the fines and citations, respond quickly to infractions that are written up.  Generally, within 15 days of the occurrence would be enough time to protect yourself.  Any citations that are made must be displayed for up to three days or until the violation is fixed, whichever happens to be longer.  It’s your duty as a contractor to fix all the violations you commit.  It is even in your best interest because if violations are corrected immediately, the penalty is far less than if you do nothing.

Being a contractor is tough work and no one is perfect.  Mistakes can occur on any given day, but by understanding how to respond to violations and inspections you can limit the effect it has on your business.  If you have any questions don’t hesitate to contact one of our insurance professionals today.