Safety and OSHA News

How does OSHA classify a serious violation?

OSHA fines increase with the categorization of the violation. A new agency document spells out what inspectors have to find to issue the higher fines.

The just released Field Operations Manual (FOM) says to issue a citation classified as serious, OSHA must show that an employer knew about the existence of a hazard.

The FOM says an employer knew about a hazard if:

  • the employer saw the condition
  • an employee reported it
  • an employee was previously injured by the hazard and the company knew about the injury
  • the employer could have known about it if it had exercised reasonable diligence, or
  • a supervisor knew about the hazard.

A serious violation must also have the substantial possibility for death or serious injury.

A link to download the FOM can be found here (free Adobe Acrobat Reader required).

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  1. Ralph Blessing says:

    You are joking!!

    “A serious violation must also have the substantial possibility for death or serious injury” is a catch all phrase that any OSHA Regional Administrator can utilize to make a citation “serious”. Can you guarantee a fall from six feet or greater is going to cause a more serious injury than a fall while standing? NO!! This is another one of those “bureaucratic banterings of complete BS” that makes the system a failure!!

    There should be a requirement on the part of OSHA to “prove beyond a doubt” the violation was in fact “serious”. I have read too many instances where a “serious” citation was issued and there is no substantive evidence to prove it as such other than “a possibility exists”.

    Good grief the possibility exists that the OSHA CO has no knowledge at all about what they are looking at!!

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