OSHA, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, is an agency of the Department of Labor. Its mission is to prevent work-related injuries, illnesses, and occupational fatality by issuing and enforcing standards for workplace safety and health. For simplicity’s sake, OSHA has officers which perform workplace inspections and issue citations for non-compliance with promulgated standards found in Chapter 29 of the Code of Federal Regulations. OSHA citations can be predicated on simple workplace safety issues such as a missing exit sign in an office building or serious issues such as a construction work site fatality.
OSHA citations should not be likened to Corporate speeding tickets requiring little attention. In fact, OSHA fines can be fairly hefty especially if they are based on repeat offenses. Moreover, an OSHA citation can serve as a criminal corporate record which can keep firms from obtaining public work projects.
Most importantly, you only have 15 days to contest a citation or the citation becomes final and not subject to review(absent exceptional circumstances). Therefore, should you receive a citation which you want to contest, send a Notice of Intent to Contest with your local area director. (Detailed instruction should be included on your citation and accompanying documents) Thereafter, please contact Andrew Douglas, P.A. and we will gladly review your options with you.
For your reference, here is some information directly from OSHA’s website.
How to Contest Citations
If you wish to contest any portion of your citation, you must submit a Notice of Intent to Contest in writing within 15 working days after receipt of the citation and notification of penalty. This applies even if you have stated your disagreement with a citation, penalty, or abatement date during a telephone conversation or an informal conference.
The Notice of Intent to Contest must clearly state what is being contested—the citation, the penalty, the abatement date, or any combination of these factors. In addition, the notice must state whether all the violations on the citation, or just specific violations, are being contested. (For example, “I wish to contest the citation and penalty proposed for items 3 and 4 of the citation issued June 27, 1990.”)
Your contest must be made in good faith. OSHA will not consider a contest filed solely to avoid your responsibilities for abatement or payment of penalties a good-faith contest.
A proper contest of any item suspends your legal obligation to abate and pay until the item contested has been resolved. If you contest only the dates indicated on the citation. If you contest only some items on the citation, you must correct the other items by the abatement date and pay the corresponding penalties within 15 days of notification.
After you file a Notice of Intent to Contest, your case is officially in litigation. If you wish to settle the case, you may contact the OSHA Area Director who will give you the name of the attorney handling your case for OSHA. All settlements of contested cases are negotiated between you and the attorney according to the rules of procedure of the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. 29 USCA § 659(a), See also U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Safety and Health Administration, Pub. OSHA 3000-09R
Article by: Andrew Douglas, Esq., Andrew Douglas, P.A., 954.474.4420