The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) uses education and enforcement to promote safe work environments for employees throughout the United States. While their mission is important, dealing with OSHA can be daunting. The list of regulations that most businesses need to comply with is long and enforcement has been a point of emphasis for OSHA in recent years. Fines have increased dramatically as well, now starting at over $12,000 per violation.
If you do receive a citation, however, there’s no need to panic. A Florida OSHA attorney can work with you to build a case that gets your fine reduced or eliminated. There are also a number of actions that you can take to help you successfully handle an OSHA citation.
Always Request an Informal Conference
When you receive an OSHA citation, you are given the option to have an informal conference with an OSHA area director. Take advantage of this opportunity. The informal conference gives you a chance to gain valuable information about the citation, present evidence, and negotiate a possible settlement. The information gathered in this meeting can also be used should you choose to contest the citation.
Create a Communications Protocol
You have 15 days from the time you receive a citation to address it. It’s crucial that everyone understands who needs to receive correspondence from OSHA. Have one person designated to handle this task and make sure that your administrative staff understands that OSHA letters go to this person upon receipt. This person should be the same person who represented your company during the inspection and should have all the resources he or she needs to address the citation. If he or she needs the assistance of a Florida OSHA defense attorney, make sure they have it.
Keep All Safety Information Organized
If you plan to contest an OSHA citation, it’s important that you have easy access to your supporting information. There are a number of defenses that you or your attorney can use to refute aspects of the citation, but they all require proof. Whether you are proving “unavoidable employee misconduct” or that a violation doesn’t directly apply to a company procedure, you will need to be able to support your claim.
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Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.