After receiving an OSHA citation there are a few different ways the violation and subsequent penalties can be handled. You may choose to work with your area director to negotiate the abatement terms, immediately file a Notice of Intent to Contest, or comply with the citation and resolve the issue and penalties. Regardless of which choice you make, it is always a good idea to seek guidance from a knowledgable Clearwater, FL OSHA defense lawyer, who can help you decide on the best course of action for your business. Once the official Citation and Notification of Penalty is received, you only have 15 days to formally contest or comply with the citation, otherwise forfeiting your opportunity to amend the penalties or abatement period.
To help you understand how the different options work, our Clearwater OSHA defense attorneys have provided a brief overview of the informal conference, Notice of Intent to Contest, and complying with the citation.
The Informal Conference
Even if you plan to contest the citation, it may still be beneficial to organize an informal conference with your OSHA area director. This will give your Clearwater OSHA defense attorney an opportunity settle or negotiate the terms of the citation or learn more information about why the violation was cited in the first place. During this meeting you can ask questions, discuss issues with the citation and penalties, and receive a more complete understanding of which area of the OSH Act was allegedly violated.
If you don’t want to negotiate or resolve the citation, you may still move forward with filing a Notice of Intent to Contest. It is crucial to keep in mind that if the informal conference is not held within the aforementioned 15 day period, the area director may not amend or change the citation or penalties and it will be considered a final order.
Filing a “Notice of Intent to Contest”
The Notice of Intent to Contest is the official document that states your company or employee will be contesting any or all parts of the citation, whether it be the violation, penalties, or abatement period. This written document must be submitted to the OSHA area office within 15 days of receiving the citation and Notification of Penalty. An informal conference does not take the place of filing the Notice of Intent to Contest, so it is imperative to have this filed properly and within the allotted time period.
Once the Notice of Intent to Contest is submitted only the specific citation areas addressed in the document will be suspended until the hearing is held with the OSHA Review Commission. For example, if you contest the financial penalty for a violation, that is the only part of the citation that is postponed. The violation itself must be corrected within the abatement period and any other violations that were cited during the inspection must be resolved.
How to Comply
Compliance with a citation requires that the violation be corrected and the penalties be resolved within the mandated time period. Once the violation has been corrected, an Abatement Certificate must be submitted to the OSHA area director. This document should include the inspection and citation number, along with the corrective action that was taken to fix the issue.
If the abatement period is extended, you must address how employees safety issues are being handled with an abatement plan. All financial penalties must be taken care of within 15 days unless a negotiation has been reached with the area director or a Notice of Intent to Contest has been submitted.
Experienced OSHA Defense Lawyers in Clearwater
Cotney Construction Law has an experienced team of OSHA defense attorneys in Clearwater, FL. The team is well versed in the OSHA inspection process and has successfully represented contractors and construction professionals during informal meetings with the OSHA area director and during litigation with the OSHA Review Commission.
If you are in need of a professional construction law firm, please submit our contact request form for more information.
Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.