OSHA Citation Defense Attorneys

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) 489-2028 or contact 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)

The 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 and disruptive 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.
  • The case is egregious.

Though the consequences of SVEP are steep, there may exist opportunity for negotiation with OSHA to mitigate costs and / or reduce the classification of the citation(s).

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.

Defense Strategies

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 defense strategy.

OSHA Hearings

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) 489-2028 or 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.

Why Choose Our Team?

Committed to Integrity and Honest Service to Each Client
  • We Believe in Loyalty to Our Clients

    We have over 100 collective years of quality legal representation.

  • We Strive to Exceed Your Expectations

    We value going above and beyond for each of our clients.

  • We Have a Strong Record of Results

    Our team will create a strategy designed to protect you.

  • We Value Relationships

    We’ll get to know you and what matters most.

  • We Believe in Strong Communication

    You’ll know what’s going on from start to finish.

We Are on Your Side

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