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 (de minimis violation), OSHA may issue a notice or warning instead of a citation. An employer receives a written citation when it violates OSHA standards or regulations. 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.
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.
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 Jan. 15 of each year.
- Citations must describe the particular nature of the violation.
- OSHA will provide a reasonable time to correct the problem.
- Citations must be posted at or near the location where the violation occurred and must remain on display until the violation is corrected.
- $13,494 per serious, other-than-serious and posting violation
- $13,494 per day for failure to abate a violation
- $134,937 per willful or repeated violation
Links and Resources
Below is a list of potential citations employers may receive and a range of corresponding penalties for these citations.
Violation: De minimis violation
Current Penalty: Warning
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.
Current Penalty: Between $964 and $13,494 per violation.
Willful or repeated 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.
Current Penalty: Between $9,639 and $134,937 per violation.
Repeated violation – A violation is repeated when it is substantially similar to a violation that was already present in a previous citation.
Current Penalty: Up to $134,937 per violation
Willful violation resulting in death of employee
Current Penalty: Up to $10,000 and/or imprisonment for up to six months. Penalties may double for a second or higher conviction.
Current Penalty: Up to $13,494 per day until the violation is corrected
Making false statements, representations or certifications
Current Penalty: Up to $10,000 and/or imprisonment for up to six months
Violation of posting requirements
Current Penalty: Up to $13,494 per violation
Providing unauthorized advance notice of inspection
Current Penalty: Up to $1,000, imprisonment for up to six months or both