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OSHA Federal Penalty Schedule

When OSHA issues a citation to an employer, the citation will describe the particular nature of the violation and will include a reference to the provision of the chapter, standard, rule, regulation or order the employer violated. In addition, the citation will provide a reasonable amount of time for the employer to correct the problem. When the violation does not pose a direct or immediate threat to safety or health, OSHA may issue a notice or warning instead of a citation.

An employer that receives a citation must post a copy of it at or near the place where the violation occurred. The notice must remain on display for three days or until the violation is corrected, whichever is longer. Penalties may be adjusted depending on the gravity of the violation and the employer’s size, history of previous violations and ability to show a good faith effort to comply with OSHA requirements.

OSHA Inspection Worker At Construction Site. Building Safety

Annual Adjustments

Current laws allow OSHA to adjust the maximum penalty amounts every year to account for the cost of inflation, as shown by the consumer price index (CPI). If OSHA plans to adjust penalty amounts, it must signal its intention by January 15 of each year.

Current OSHA Citation Penalties

Below is a list of potential citations employers may receive and a range of corresponding penalties for these citations.

  • De minimis violation—Warning
  • Other-than-serious violation—Up to $16,131 per violation
  • Serious violation (a violation where there is a substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from an employer’s practice, method, operation or process. An employer is excused if it could not reasonably know of the presence of the violation)—Up to $16,131 per violation
  • Willful violation (a violation is willful when committed intentionally and knowingly. The employer must be aware that a hazardous condition exists, know that the condition violates an OSHA standard or other obligation, and make no reasonable effort to eliminate it)—Between $11,524 and $161,323 per violation
  • Repeated violation (a violation is repeated when it is substantially similar to a violation that was already present in a previous citation)—Up to $161,323 per violation
  • Willful violation resulting in death of employee—Up to $10,000 and/or imprisonment for up to six months with penalties potentially doubling for a second or higher conviction
  • Unabated violation—Up to $16,131 per day until the violation is corrected
  • Making false statements, representations or certifications—Up to $10,000 and/or imprisonment for up to six months
  • Violation of posting requirements—Up to $16,131 per violation
  • Providing unauthorized advance notice of inspection—Up to $1,000, imprisonment for up to six months or both

Additional Links and Resources

Jake Mahin, GSP

Safety and Loss Control Consultant

This Compliance Overview is not intended to be exhaustive nor should any discussion or opinions be construed as legal advice. Readers should contact legal counsel for legal advice. ©2023 Zywave, Inc. All rights reserved.