OSHA CITATIONS: How to Respond as an Employer - Worksite Medical
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So, you’ve been cited by OSHA. With OSHA conducting approximately 32,000 inspections annually, it’s not uncommon that they catch companies off-guard with discovered hazards, and leaving uncertainty about what steps come next.

You’re probably worrying about hefty fines, loss of productivity, bad press, and, in some situations, complete operational shutdown. While all of these scenarios are quite possible, you’re not powerless. Multiple paths exist to reduce fines and punishment, and, most importantly, making sure they never happen again.

While numerous options exist, certain actions must be taken within set deadlines to retain these opportunities. As such, it’s crucial you act quickly to address OSHA’s findings, implement corrective actions, and maintain open communication with OSHA throughout the process.

Here, we’ll walk you through the next steps you’ll want to take after receiving an OSHA citation.

Let’s take a look.


Related Article: Forewarned: The Six Types of OSHA Violations

Related Article: Fined By OSHA? Here’s What You Need To Do Next


Responding to an OSHA Citation


Responding to an OSHA citation appropriately necessitates knowledge, resources, and decisiveness. Follow the 4-step process below to ensure compliance, safeguard your business, and minimize costs and fines:

  • Correct the Hazard
  • Post the Citation
  • Request an Informal Conference
  • Decide: Agree or Contest?

Once a business receives a citation, employers can do one of two things:

  1. Agree to the citation: Correct the issue by the required deadline and pay the penalty (if there is one).


  2. Disagree with the citation and contest the findings: You have 15 working days to do this from the date you receive the citation, so time is critical.

However, keep in mind that before disagreeing with the citation, it’s generally in your best interest to request an informal meeting with the OSHA director in your area. This provides an opportunity to discuss any issues related to the citation, and in many cases, can lead some of the following:

  • Penalty reduction.
  • Extension of abatement dates.
  • Deletion of citations.
  • Reclassification of citations.
  • Clarification of abatement procedures or alleged violations.
  • A public relations opportunity with the area director.
  • The discovery of more facts to ascertain whether to contest the citation.

There is also always the option to challenge the citation with the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. This is an independent agency that hears your case before an administrative law judge (in a court-like setting). An attorney can represent you and the judge will affirm, modify, or eliminate any of the contested items of the citation.



Contesting Your Citation Isn’t The Only Way


OSHA may consider reducing citations for the following reasons:

  • You have a good safety record. If you don’t have any willful, serious, repeat, or failure-to-abate citations that occurred in the last five years then OSHA will most likely reduce fines up to 10 percent.


  • Size adjustment. This abatement is based on the size of your company. Businesses with 250 or fewer workers may be able to get their fines reduced by 10%, while those with 10 or fewer workers can receive up to an 80% reduction.

    Of course, multiple tiers exist in between, with various reduction rates. It’s important to note that OSHA updates these numbers annually, so the rate reductions for 2024 may differ from past or future years. You can check out a complete listing of size abatement percentages, right here.


  • Limited Exposure. Fines for hazards can be reduced if you show that few or no employees were actually exposed to the hazard.


  • Make a Good-faith effort. When a company can show that it has made a strong effort at safety and health compliance, fines can be reduced. A 25-percent reduction usually requires a written safety and health management system.


Limiting OSHA Citations Starts With a Safe, Healthy Workplace


To prevent further violations, citations, and penalties, it’s crucial to respond appropriately and promptly to an OSHA citation. Upon receiving the citation, display it near the violation site and decide whether to contest it.

You have the option to request an informal conference to discuss the violations with an inspector, but regardless, you must respond within 15 working days. If you agree with the citation, pay the penalty and provide proof of abatement. In case of contestation, you will have the opportunity for a hearing before a judge.

Ensuring employee safety and health is paramount for every construction company; prioritize proper training to ensure employees understand and follow safe work practices.

Ready to make your effort? Implementing a medical surveillance program is a great way to show your dedication to improving the health and safety of your workplace. And, in many cases, it’s required by OSHA. Worksite Medical can bring medical testing directly to your work site. From audiometric exams to silica physicals, you’ll be covered with our convenient mobile services, and you’ll never have to send your team away for testing again.

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Stay In Compliance With Worksite Medical


In most cases, OSHA requires medical surveillance testing, and at no cost to employees.

Worksite Medical makes that program easier with mobile medical testing.

We conduct on-site respirator fit tests, as well as audiometric exams, pulmonary function tests, heavy metal lab work, DOT physicals, and much more, right on your job site. We also keep accurate, easy-to-access medical records for your convenience. You’ll keep your employees at work, and stay ahead of OSHA inspections.

With Worksite Medical, a mobile medical testing unit — we can bring all the resources of a lab to you. Our certified lab technicians can perform both qualitative and quantitative respirator tests to ensure a perfect fit.

Protect your team and your workplace now with Worksite Medical. Not sure what you need? Try our medical testing wizard here.

Give us a call at 1-844-622-8633, or complete the form below to schedule an on-site visit or to get your free quote.

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Are you looking for a way to keep your team safe, while also limiting risk and increasing production? Simplify your medical plan today. We help team leaders like you develop less disruptive, more convenient occupational health plans that comply with complex industry standards, thus creating a healthier, more productive workforce. Take control of your medical testing program.

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