Handle an OSHA Citation

Key Points

  • After OSHA inspects a workplace, it will go back to the area office and begin to issue citations for any found violations. The citations will come in the mail a few weeks after the inspection is completed.
  • Citations come in many forms, but the five main citations are: Willful, Serious, Other-than-Serious, Repeat, and De Minimis.
  • Upon receipt of a citation, an employer must post it, unedited, in the correct posting spot and then has the choice of either paying the fine and fixing the violation or filing a Notice of Contest.
  • If an employer chooses to fight the citation, it has 15 working days to write a Notice of Contest, which is basically a detailed letter that states what is being contested.
  • Citation contests are heard by the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission (OSHRC), an independent agency separate from OSHA.

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