It is important for a job site to promote a culture of safety and put a premium on preventing injuries in the workplace. An unchallenged or upheld citation exposes a contractor to a future “repeat” violations and tougher penalties. If a company is routinely cited for OSHA violations, it could lead to more substantial punitive fines. Ashley Furniture, for instance, faces a $1.4 million fine to settle various OSHA violations incurred over the past 36 months, including at least two workers who have suffered finger injuries (one worker lost three fingers while another lost part of one) while operating machinery. The company denies the violations. This hefty fine is a powerful reminder that companies need to promote safety in the workplace.
Serial Violator Enforcement Program Explained by an OSHA Violations Attorney
Along with this substantial fine, Ashley Furniture was placed on OSHA’s Serial Violator Enforcement Program. This program “concentrates resources on inspecting employers who have demonstrated indifference to their OSHA Act obligations by committing willful, repeated, or failure-to-abate violations.” In Ashley Furniture’s case, OSHA alleges that the company pushed quick work over safety and created an environment that was indifferent to safety.
While the company denies the allegations and plans to appeal the fines, it will be subject to mandatory OSHA inspections, increased company/corporate awareness of OSHA enforcement, corporate-wide agreements, where appropriate, and enhanced settlement provisions.
A safety program that relies upon contesting citations instead of prevention is an ineffective program. At Manion Stigger, we understand OSHA requirements and know how safety standards apply to your project. Safety and injury prevention comes first. But, as OSHA Violations Attorneys, we also know how to effectively protect your interests during citation contests and how to negotiate a resolution that meets OSHA’s demand for worker safety while, at the same time, minimizing your exposure to a future repeat violation. To speak with a lawyer about your OSHA hearing or just to learn more about how to keep your workplace in compliance with federal law, contact our office right away.