Factory Worker Hard Hat

Oh Shoot—Here They Are! (OSHA)

April 29, 2024
Inside HR
Safety & OSHA
Read time: 2 mins

Oh Shoot—Here They Are! (OSHA)

Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) inspectors arriving at your workplace for an inspection can be an unsettling experience—not to mention potentially expensive! And those inspectors have been particularly busy over the last year, charging businesses $132.3 million for the top ten most frequently cited violations. Although construction has been a key contributor to these fines, no company is immune to the inspector’s pen, as fines reached as high as $2.8 million.

In a January 18, 2024 article published by MSC, the top ten cited violations related to:

  • Fall Protections—7,085 citations, resulting in $47.4 million in fines
  • Hazardous Communications = 3,209 citations, $5.35 million in fines
  • Ladders—2,904 citations, $9.6 million in fines
  • Scaffolding—2,752 citations, $9.64 million in fines
  • Powered Industrial Trucks—2,558 citations, $9.18 million in fines
  • Lockout/Tagout for Hazardous Energy—2,550 citations, $21.7 million in fines
  • Respiratory Protection—2,447 citations, $4.46 million in fines
  • Fall Protection Training—2,092 citations, $4.47 million in fines
  • Eye and Face Protection—2,040 citations, $7.5 million in fines
  • Machine Guarding—1,634 citations, $13 million in fines

In addition to these fines, OSHA has used its ability to pursue legal action against companies and their leadership, and they are not afraid to use the courts as an enforcement tool. Last year, OSHA petitioned the U.S. Court of Appeals when an employer refused to comply with OSHA’s orders related to abatement of his company’s safety violations and ignored the subsequent order to comply. The court ordered the business owner to be taken into custody when he failed to appear at the hearing. He was released upon his agreement to cease and desist all business operations until a compliance plan was entered.

I'm sorry, but there is more bad news. OSHA announced an increase in maximum penalties for 2024. The maximum penalties for serious and other-than-serious violations will increase from $15,625 per violation to $16,131 per violation. The maximum penalty for willful or repeated violations will increase from $156,259 per violation to $161,323 per violation. Fines can rack up quickly!

Have you visited your OSHA requirements and performed an audit in anticipation and preparation for a visit? OSHA has an abundance of tools available to help you understand the requirements for your industry, which you can find here.

And finally, and on a much lighter note, April 9 was "Name Yourself Day," an unofficial holiday that allows you to reinvent your name. Mine is Penelope Bondurant (my mother really wanted to name me Penelope, and I’ve always wanted to go to the Bondurant Racing School and learn how to race cars). What’s yours? Just don’t use it to identify yourself to the OSHA inspector!