Types of OSHA Violations
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration, or OSHA, enforces workplace safety in the United States. Businesses and worksites are subject to periodic OSHA inspections, and employee safety complaints can also trigger OSHA inspections. These inspections may detect violations of OSHA codes that range from minor to extremely hazardous.
De Minimis Violations
A de minimis violation is a technical violation of OSHA rules that have no direct impact on health or safety. It is the least serious class of violation, and OSHA inspectors do not levy fines or issue citations for these violations. Inspectors verbally inform employers about de minimis violations and list them on the employer’s case inspection file. A ladder with 13 inches between rungs rather than 12 inches is an example of a de minimis violation.
A violation of OSHA rules that would not usually cause death or serious injury but that is nevertheless related to job safety or employee health is considered an other-than-serious violation.
When an employer knows of or should know of a situation that has a definite chance of causing serious injury or death, but does not remedy it, OSHA issues a serious violation.
The most serious violation category is willful violations, and it is reserved for intentional violations of OSHA rules or situations that show disregard for employee health and safety.
If an employer is cited for a particular violation, and a subsequent inspection reveals another identical or very similar violation, OSHA inspectors may cite the employer for a repeated violation.
Failure to Abate Prior Violation
When an employer receives a violation citation, the citation includes a date by which the employer must remedy the situation.