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How do I defend an OSHA violation?

If your New Jersey business runs afoul of OSHA safety regulations, you will likely be cited for violations that you must remedy to ensure a safe workplace. Beyond employee safety, which should always come first, a citation could impact your business if the violation is serious.

Depending on your industry, your clients and the type of violation, other businesses may suspend their interaction with your company. A speedy resolution is in everyone’s interest; along with correcting the safety issue, you also need to protect your good name.

Safety Resources outlines three defenses for violations that are recognized by OSHA. One of them is the “impossibility of compliance.” An example from this category is the need for a drywall installer to remove a temporary safety rail in order to install a permanent one. If an OSHA inspector visits while it is removed, you may receive a citation. You would need to explain why, as well as what other safety measures were made available.

Another option for defense is that employees were not exposed to the hazard or that equipment was out of service. If a broken ladder is marked as such and is not seen in use during an OSHA inspection, the employer should not receive a citation. Another exception is when equipment is not marked but is in the process of being repaired.

The third defense is employee misconduct. OSHA recognizes that there are times when, despite having been properly trained, employees may be tempted to take shortcuts or simply forget a critical step in operating equipment or completing a task. To support your defense on this charge, you must show proof that the employee was trained properly and had access to training materials, as well as how your company enforces this training.

Defending an OSHA citation is important to the future of your company. To aid your case, be sure to document how your company meets all OSHA requirements on an ongoing basis.

This information is general in nature and is not meant to be legal advice.

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