Although contractors do their best to comply with the safety standards governed by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), in some cases, workplace hazards still exist. Unfortunately, when this occurs, the hazard can potentially put some workers present in danger of serious bodily harm or even death. OSHA refers to these occurrences as situations of “imminent danger.” If your job site needs to be inspected by an experienced construction attorney to ensure compliance or if you need aggressive defense against an OSHA citation, consult an experienced Alabama OSHA defense lawyer.
Understanding an Imminent Danger
Is your workplace “at immediate serious risk of death or serious physical harm”? If so, this is what OSHA defines as an imminent danger. It’s also the primary reason for conducting an immediate inspection. Exposed wiring, unstable trenches, airborne toxins or other forms of chemical exposure are all examples of precarious situations that not only put workers’ lives in serious jeopardy, but also increases the likelihood of a worker reporting your job site and, if warranted, an OSHA compliance officer immediately inspecting the workplace.
What Happens When an Imminent Danger is Reported?
If an imminent danger is reported, it can lead to an extensive evaluation process. Ultimately, this can also lead to OSHA instructing that all work near the hazard be temporarily paused and a request that immediate corrective action is performed before work can be re-commenced. This is a scenario that contractors want to avoid. If you refuse to comply with OSHA’s instructions for corrective actions on the job site, this can result in a temporary restraining order from a federal district court with additional penalties.
If a worker makes a complaint on the job site or if they report an alleged safety or health hazard to OSHA, it’s critical that employers do not retaliate against this employee. If the employee experiences an adverse employment action after reporting an alleged hazard, including termination of employment, financial penalization, demotion, or other forms of discipline, the employee may file a retaliation complaint with OSHA. This can result in additional litigation.
A visit from OSHA can result in a wide range of unfavorable scenarios including a workplace being temporarily shut down, excessive fines, and even litigation. It’s best to consult with our Alabama OSHA defense attorneys to ensure your workplace is in compliance with safety and health standards before things get out of hand.
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.