How much might the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) make an employer pay if it receives an OSHA citation?

Authors: John D. Surma and Collin G. Warren, Adams and Reese LLP

The payment amount depends in large part on the type of violation being cited. Violations classified as serious or other-than-serious and violations related to posting requirements carry a $12,741 per violation maximum. Violations classified as repeat or willful carry a $124,709 per violation maximum. Violations for failure to abate carry a $12,741 per day maximum penalty for every day that the failure to abate continues (generally limited to 30 days maximum). The penalty amounts apply to penalties assessed after August 1, 2016, whose associated violations occurred after November 2, 2015. By January 15 of each year, OSHA must implement annual cost-of-living increases based on the Consumer Price Index (CPI).

Penalty reductions are available based on the employer's size, good faith and history of previous violations. The penalty reduction can be up to 80 percent; up to a 25 percent reduction is available for an employer's good-faith effort to implement an effective safety and health management system; and up to a 10 percent reduction can be had for an employer that has not been cited by OSHA nationwide or by any state plan for any serious, willful or repeat violations within the last three years.