The Occupational Health and Safety Agency's attitude about alleged occupational safety and health violations has become been seen by some as very aggressive. To reinforce that point, the agency now has increased fines for the first time since 1990. The agency has raised fine violations from $70,000 to $124,709 for a single willful or repeat violation and from $7,000 to $12,471 for a serious or other-than-serious violation.

OSHA has increased its fines for the first time since 1990 for alleged violations. For a single willful or repeated violation, the agency has raised the fine from $70,000 to $124,000 and for a serious or other-than serious violation from $7,000 to $12,471.

Attorney Michael Rubin, a partner at Goldbert Segalla LLP, gave EHS Today his list of ten best practices for dealing with OSHA violations:

10. Know critical deadlines – You have 15 working days to contest an OSHA citation or appear for an informal conference.

9. Upon receiving a citation, automatically request an informal conference with OSHA and consider contesting any citations.

8. Know that the Fourth Amendment applies to workplace inspections. You have the right to request a warrant.

7. Know that you generally have the right to delay an inspection by one hour pending your safety officer getting to the site.

6. Understand OSHA’s penalty adjustment factors: size (up to 60 percent), good faith (25 percent) and history (10 percent). “’Good faith’ is a written safety and health management system,” says Rubin

5. Utilize the On-Site Consultation Program. It is free and confidential and available to small- and medium-sized businesses.

4. Maintain accurate injury and illness logs (300, 300A, 301 forms).

3. Understand your reporting obligations for any injuries and illnesses: fatalities within 8 hours; amputations, loss of an eye or inpatient hospital admissions within 24 hours.

2. Never reach for the checkbook and pay the citation upon receipt.

1. Don’t be afraid to file a Notice of Contest. Look beyond the penalty and consider the future implications of a citation.

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