An estimated 130 million employees file for workers’ compensation benefits each year. Workers’ compensation is a wonderful social insurance program that provides employees with the benefits they need to fully recover from their injuries and illnesses. However, many of these conditions are preventable and ultimately due to company negligence.
The Objective of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration
The purpose of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is to enforce workplace safety by inspecting businesses and handling employee safety complaints. There are 6 types of OSHA violations that can lead to fines and other severe penalties. These regulations and penalties are intended to ensure the health and safety of employees in their workplace environment.
The 6 Types of OSHA Violations
- De Minimis Violations: A De Minimis violation is just a technical violation of OSHA rules and doesn’t lead to any heavy fines or citations. However, inspectors are still obligated to list the violation in the employer’s file and verbally inform all employees about the violation. A violation is only considered De Minimis if the possibility of an injury occurring is practically nonexistent. For example, if a ladder has 13 inches between the rungs instead of 12 inches, an employer may face a De Minimis violation.
- Other-than-Serious Violations: This is a violation of OSHA rules that may not lead to a serious injury or fatality, but still has the potential to put an employee’s health or safety at risk. Employers can face up to $7,000 for this type of violation, though inspectors usually reduce the penalty. An employer can receive this violation if they fail to post mandatory safety documentation in employee work areas.
- Repeated Violations: When OSHA issues a violation citation, they expect the safety or health hazard to be corrected immediately. If a subsequent inspection reveals that the employer failed to fix the issue, OSHA could issue a $70,000 fine.
- Failure to Abate Prior Violation: A violation citation always lists the date that OSHA expects a safety issue to be corrected. If the employer fails to remedy the situation, OSHA may charge them $7,000 per day until the hazard is remedied.
- Serious Violations: OSHA can issue a Serious Violation if an employer knows about a health or safety hazard and fails to correct it. Inspectors can fine an employer up to $7,000 for this violation. Once again, the fine may be adjusted depending on the severity of the violation and the employer’s history.
- Willful Violations: This is considered the most serious OSHA violation category. An employer can be issued a Willful Violation if they intentionally violate OSHA regulations or demonstrate severe disregard for their employees’ health and safety. The maximum fine for a Willful violation is $70,000. However, a Willful Violation can turn into a criminal offense if an employee is killed because of the employer’s negligence. In this circumstance, an employer can face a minimum fine of $250,000 and jail time, while a corporation may need to pay a minimum fine of $500,000.
Seek Experienced Legal Guidance
At The Stewart Law Firm, PLLC, our Austin OSHA violation lawyers have a comprehensive understanding of the federal laws and regulations that protect the health and safety of Texas employees. If you’ve been injured due to an OSHA violation, contact our firm to explore your legal options. When an OSHA regulation is overlooked or willfully ignored, victims can suffer catastrophic injuries and tragic fatalities. We can investigate your case and help you pursue damages that safeguard your quality of life.
Contact The Stewart Law Firm, PLLC at (512) 271-5112 to schedule a free consultation.