Defending Against OSHA Violations Across Texas & U.S.
An OSHA citation can cripple a business, resulting in negative publicity
and thousands of dollars in fines. If you receive a citation for violating
OSHA regulations, moving quickly to protect your business is vital.
At Hendershot Cowart P.C., our OSHA citation defense lawyers have more
than three decades of experience helping clients navigate high-stakes
OSHA law cases. We have counseled employers across a range industries
in OSHA citation disputes, proactive compliance, catastrophes, and more.
You have the right to challenge an OSHA citation. Our attorneys will advocate
for your rights and help you protect your livelihood.
Speak with us in an initial consultation-call (713) 489-2028orcontact us online.
Types of OSHA Violations
OSHA violations are classified as follows:
Other Than Serious Violations: These are violations that have not caused or would not cause death or
serious physical harm. A common example is failing to list work-related
injuries and illnesses on an OSHA form 300 log.
Serious Violations: These are violations that have caused or could cause death or serious
physical harm. A common example is failing to provide fall protection
for workers working at heights, or other safety equipment.
Willful Violations: A violation is willful when an employer deliberately ignores requirements
and fails to remedy issues.
Repeat violations: This is when an employer is cited more than once for the same violation.
Fines are substantial.
Failure to Abate Previous Violation: This is when an employer fails to correct an issue within the required
time frame. Fines are compounded by the day until the issue is remedied
to the satisfaction of the OSHA investigator.
With decades of collective experience, our attorneys are prepared to defend
employers against these and other types of OSHA violations.
We will take immediate action to prevent, mitigate, reduce, or eliminate citations. When possible, we can appear on site during the
OSHA inspection. On these occasions, we strive to negotiate a positive outcome with an
OSHA inspector on the spot if appropriate.
The True Impact of an OSHA Citation
OSHA citations do not exist in a vacuum – the fines and impact of
your citation will be informed by previous citations you've received.
This is why defending against a citation has as much to do with your future
costs as present ones.
When deciding whether or not to challenge an OSHA citation, we encourage
employers to consider more than just the fine attached. Often, there is
much more at stake:
The cost of abatement
The potential loss of contracts
The risk of future litigation / civil liability, such as a personal injury
or wrongful death claim
The possibility of repeated or willful OSHA violations, which carry larger fines
Enrolling in OSHA’s Severe Violator Enforcement Program (SVEP)
As of January 2021, OSHA's violation penalties are as follows:
Serious Violations: $13,653 per violation
Failure to Abate: $13,653 per day beyond the abatement date
Willful or Repeated Violations: $136,532 per violation
The Severe Violator Enforcement Program (SVEP)
Severe Violator Enforcement Program (SVEP) is a specialized OSHA initiative aimed at “recalcitrant employers"
who receive citations for willful, repeat, or failure-to-abate violations.
OSHA’s SVEP subjects companies to enhanced fines and more frequent
OSHA inspections, in addition to greater compliance costs and reputational damage that
can adversely impact contracts and consumer loyalty.
Many of the employers listed in OSHA’s SVEP list (published quarterly
on its enforcement page) have closed their worksites, gone out of business,
or completely discontinued cited operations. Being on the SVEP list can
have long-term costs consequences your company that don't come in the
form of a fine.
Employers may be placed into OSHA’s SVEP for any of the following reasons:
A fatality or
catastrophe inspection that has one or more willful, repeat, or failure-to-abate violations.
A non-fatal inspection that has two or more willful, repeat, or failure-to-abate
violations for certain high-emphasis violations.
A non-fatality inspection with three or more willful or repeated violations
that deal with the potential release of a highly hazardous chemical.
If you don't properly defend against these citations, you're facing magnified
consequences and more severe classification for your next citation. That's
why you need an OSHA defense lawyer.
Every OSHA citation case is different, which is why we tailor defense strategies
specifically to the facts of each employer, worksite, and alleged violation.
To determine what a viable defense looks like for you, it’s important
to ask questions like:
Was the incident a result of employee misconduct?
Was the incident not in the scope of employment?
Was the wrong employer cited due to confusion on a multi-employer job site?
Would compliance with the safety standard expose employees to greater risk?’
These are just some of the questions that we will ask in developing your
Employers have the right to contest OSHA citations at a hearing in front
of an administrative law judge.
We are skilled at these hearings. We will present evidence and argue on your behalf. Ultimately, we want
OSHA to dismiss the citation, reduce the classification, or alter the
penalty / abatement requirements to meet the needs of the employer. We
have been successful in achieving this goal on behalf of employers throughout the U.S.
To arrange a consultation, call (713) 489-2028or contact us online. We serve clients throughout Texas and the U.S. from our main offices in
Houston, as well as by appointment at our offices in Corpus Christi, Austin,
Sugar Land and Galveston.