Not all OSHA fines are created equal: Willful and repeat citations carry larger penalties than those classified as serious. Which standards are most likely to be cited as willful and repeat?
OSHA issues a willful violation when it believes there is intentional disregard of, or plain indifference to OSHA rules. The top 10 federal standards with the most willful violations cited in fiscal year 2011 (Oct. 1, 2010 to Sept. 30, 2011):
- Excavation protective system (1926.652), 84 violations
- Fall protection (1926.501), 67 violations
- Process safety management (1910.119), 45 violations
- Grain handling facilities (1910.272), 42 violations
- Asbestos (1926.1101), 37 violations
- Lockout/tagout (1910.147), 35 violations
- Machine guarding (1910.212), 25 violations
- Specific excavation requirements (1926.651), 24 violations
- General recording criteria (1904.7), 23 violations, and
- General duty clause (5A.0001), 22 violations.
Willful citations carry a maximum fine of $70,000, ten times the maximum for a serious violation ($7,000).
A federal OSHA fine is classified as repeat when there have been previous citations for substantially similar violations at any work site owned by the same company. The top 10 federal standards with the most repeat violations cited in FY 2011 are:
- Fall protection, 646 violations
- Scaffolding (1926.451), 439 violations
- Excavations, protective systems, 119 violations
- Hazard communication (1910.1200), 112 violations
- Lockout/tagout, 109 violations
- Electrical, wiring methods (1910.305), 92 violations
- Ladders (1926.1053), 89 violations
- Machine guarding, 88 violations
- Electrical, general requirements (1910.303), 86 violations, and
- Aerial lifts (1926.453), 81 violations.
The maximum fine for a repeat violations is also $70,000.
For comparison, here are the top 10 federal standards with the most serious (likely to cause injury) violations cited:
- Scaffolding, 6,324 violations
- Fall protection, 6,022 violations
- Hazard communication, 3,953 violations
- Lockout/tagout, 2,926 violations
- Electrical, wiring methods, 2,835 violations
- Ladders, 2,787 violations
- Powered industrial trucks (1910.178), 2,582 violations
- Machine guarding, 2,433 violations
- Respiratory protection (1910.134), 2,361 violations, and
- Electrical, general requirements, 2,198 violations.
Click here for information on the overall Top 10 most frequently cited federal OSHA standards list.