The OSHA Safety and Health Act of 1970
The OSHA Safety and Health Act (OSH Act), found within the United States Code, was enacted by Congress to regulate the working conditions of employees in the private sector. The Secretary of Labor is responsible for overseeing the enforcement of the policies set forth in the original OSH Act and the introduction of new policies to even further protect workers from hazardous conditions that could lead to serious injury or death. A hazardous working environment could result from improper storage, labeling, lack of employee training on how to handle toxic chemicals, electrical hazards, improper equipment, or a lack of access to safety equipment.
OSHA may inspect a facility or job site at any time, often without notice. If you do learn of an impending inspection and share it with employees, you could face harsh criminal penalties and fines up to $1,000. It is advised to have a partnership with an OSHA defense attorney in Lakeland before an unexpected visit from OSHA that could potentially result in citations.
OSHA inspectors, otherwise known as compliance safety and health officers, will conduct the inspection of your facility to ensure your company’s operations complies with OSHA standards and regulations. Because of the amount of businesses regulated by OSHA, inspections primarily focus on high-risk workplaces that present employees with imminent danger situations, after a fatality or an accident harming three or more employees, a received complaint, a referral from another local, state, or federal agency, a follow-up to a previous violation, or a programmed investigation, usually reserved for high risk construction industries.
Before an OSHA inspection or investigation, the compliance safety and health officer will look at previous and current data to determine which standards will be evaluated during their site visit. Once on site, the officer will begin with an opening conference stating why the employer was chosen. Then, a company representative will walk the officer through the facility or job site. After the walk around, the compliance officer will conduct a closing conference to discuss their findings.
Although violations are discussed in their inspection closing conference, OSHA must issue formal citations within six months of an inspection. It is essential to contact your Lakeland OSHA defense lawyer immediately to discuss the best plan of action to contest the citation and penalty. Often a settlement agreement may be reached with the OSHA area director if violations are corrected and steps are taken to remove hazardous working conditions. If not, the employer may appeal the citations and penalties by sending a Notice of Intent to Contest within 15 days of receiving the official citation.
The Lakeland OSHA Defense Attorneys from Cotney Construction Law
The Lakeland OSHA defense attorneys at Cotney Construction Law have significant experience representing construction professionals when it comes to OSHA violations. OSHA penalties can be hefty with some individual fines reaching $70,000. Therefore, it is imperative that you choose an OSHA defense lawyer in Lakeland who understands the process and can successfully defend your business against OSHA violations.
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.