Employer Options after a Citation

As an employer who has been cited, you may take either of the following courses of action:
  • If you agree to the Citation and Notification of Penalty, you must correct the condition by the date set in the citation and pay the penalty, if one is proposed.
  • If you do not agree, you have 15 working days from the date you receive the citation to contest in writing any or all of the following:
    • Citation;
    • Proposed penalty; and/or
    • Abatement date.

Before deciding to contest the citation, you may request an informal conference with the OSHA area director within the 15 working day period to discuss any issues related to the Citation and Notification of Penalty. (See the following section on Informal Conference and Settlement). OSHA will inform the affected employee representatives of the informal conference or contest.

Informal Conference and Settlement

Before deciding whether to file a Notice of Intent to Contest, you may request an informal conference with the OSHA area director to discuss the Citation and Notification of Penalty. You may use this opportunity to do any of the following:
  • Obtain a better explanation of the violations cited;
  • Obtain a more complete understanding of the specific standards that apply;
  • Negotiate and enter into an informal settlement agreement;
  • Discuss ways to correct violations;
  • Discuss issues concerning proposed penalties;
  • Discuss proposed abatement dates;
  • Resolve disputed citations and penalties, (thereby eliminating the need for the more formal procedures associated with litigation before the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission); and
  • Obtain answers to any other questions you may have.

OSHA encourages you to take advantage of the opportunity to have an informal conference if you foresee any difficulties in complying with any part of the citation. Please note, however, that an informal conference must be held within the 15-working-day Notice of Intent to Contest period and will neither extend the 15-working-day contest period nor take the place of the filing of a written notice if you desire to contest. Employee representative(s) have the right to participate in any informal conference or negotiations between
the regional administrator or area director and the employer.

If you agree that the cited violations exist, but you have a valid reason for wishing to extend the abatement date(s), you may discuss this with the area director in an informal conference. He or she may issue an amended citation that changes the abatement date prior to the expiration of the 15-working-day period without your filing a Notice of Intent to Contest.

If you do not contest within 15 working days, your citation will become a final order not subject to review by any court or agency. After this occurs, the OSHA area director may continue to provide you with information and assistance on how to abate the hazards cited in your citation, but may not amend or change any citation or penalty which has become a final order. The area director may only advise you on abatement methods or extend the time you need to abate the violation. (See Petition for Modification of Abatement).

Whenever the employer, an affected employee, or employee representative requests an informal conference, all the parties shall be afforded the opportunity to participate fully. If either party chooses not to participate in the informal conference, that party forfeits the right to be consulted before decisions are made that affect the citations. If the requesting party objects to the attendance of the other party, OSHA may hold separate informal conferences. During a joint informal conference, separate or private discussions will be permitted if either party requests them. Informal conferences may be held by any means practical.

To avoid any citations, make sure you have an up-to-date safety training program within your company. National Safety Compliance provides many safety training videos, booklets and other resources to help your company be in compliance with OSHA's regulations.

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