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Two companies recently discovered the hard way that neglecting to correct safety violations is unnecessarily costly.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) fined Frost Tile and Marble Co. $136,400 in October 2013 for 10 health and safety violations at its Norton, Ohio, tile-manufacturing facility. Eight of those citations were failure-to-abate violations, which accounted for $132,000 of the total fine.
In September 2013, OSHA hit Jersey Shore Steel with a $115,400 fine for four violations, including three failure-to-abate citations at its Jackson, N.J., facility that amounted to $111,000 in penalties.
A failure-to-abate violation exists when an employer has not corrected a violation for which OSHA has issued a citation and the date by which the employer must fix the problem has passed. Failure-to-abate penalties are calculated by multiplying a daily penalty times the number of days the violation remains uncorrected.
OSHA reinspected Frost Tile’s Norton facility in April 2013 and found that the eight violations had not been corrected since the original inspection in September 2012.
The violations involved, among other things, failing to:
Jersey Shore Steel’s failure-to-abate citations resulted from the company’s not correcting hazards it was informed about in June 2012. OSHA’s April 2013 follow-up inspection found that the company still had not:
Employer Takeaway“Don’t let this happen to you—you do not want to develop a reputation as the kind of employer who fails to abate,” cautioned Howard Mavity, a partner in the Atlanta office of Fisher & Phillips. “That may be more damaging to your reputation than a ‘willful’ citation.”
If you receive a citation during an OSHA inspection, you must do the following:
Roy Maurer is an online editor/manager for SHRM.
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