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Types of OSHA violations

Employers in Massachusetts are required by law to follow certain procedures and regulations to keep their workers safe, and these are controlled by OSHA. There are a number of ways a company may violate these regulations, and there are strict penalties for doing so.

According to the Safety News Alert, there are five types of OSHA violations. These include:

  • Serious Violation - the employer is aware of a hazard that can potentially cause serious harm or death
  • Other-Than-Serious Violation - a hazard is directly related to health and safety on the job, but typically would not result in major harm
  • Repeat Violation - violation of a regulation in which the company has previously been cited for
  • Willful Violation - the employer knows of a hazardous condition and does nothing to fix it, or knowingly commits a violation
  • Failure to Abate Prior Violation - employer fails to stop or fix a prior violation

OSHA has set a range of penalties for companies that commit a violation. The penalty for serious and other-than-serious violations is $12,675 per infringement. For failure to abate, the penalty is $12,675 every day beyond the date of abatement. The penalties for willful and repeat violations are stiff at $126,749 per breach. With willful violation, if an employee suffered death as a result of the infringement, the employer may also face jail time, a large fine or both if convicted in court. 

The violation penalties listed are for federal OSHA standards. States that run their own plans are required to implement penalties that are, at minimum, as effective as those set on the federal level. 

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