Employer Beware: OSHA Repeat Violations.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) can look back 3 years of a business’s citation history to determine whether a “repeat” violation condition exists. (The OSHA statute does not, in fact, state a time limitation, rather, OSHA has settled on a policy to look back only three years. Letter of Interpretation March 18, 1998.)
So what is the impact of being subject to a “repeat” violation? A “serious” citation fine is maxed at $12,934. A “repeat serious” violation fine max’s at $129,336. A considerable difference.
If a business receives a serious or willful violation it is wise to file a Notice of Contest within 15 days of receipt of the citation to afford the opportunity to research and present, either at an informal conference or before the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission your defenses. Avoiding a serious or willful ruling is important not only currently, but in the future to avoid the “repeat” citation.