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Can I appeal proposed penalties for an OSHA citation?

QUESTION: Can I appeal proposed penalties for an OSHA citation?

ANSWER: Imminent danger situations, employee complaints, accidents, or fatalities can all trigger an OSHA workplace investigation and inspection with little or no notice. Discovery of OSHA violations can result in citations, fines and penalties. The citation will describe what OSHA requirement is alleged to have been violated, with the associated proposed penalties and deadlines for correction.

Once an OSHA citation has been issued, employers do have an opportunity to participate in an informal conference with OSHA to discuss the OSHA inspection, the OSHA citations, the dates set for abatement of hazards, and the proposed penalties. To formally contest alleged violation penalties, a written notice must be sent within fifteen working days after receiving the citation to OSHA's Area Director, where it is then forwarded to the OSHA Review Commission for independent review.

Based on the employer's inspection history, the size of the business, and how much good faith effort was made, proposed penalties may be reduced for "Serious Violations" depending on the gravity of the violation. "Willful Violations" are not eligible for good faith reductions. If you don't contest an OSHA citation, then it will become a 'Final Order'.

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Tags: OSHA appeal faq, OSHA penalty appeal, OSHA requirements, OSHA labeling