OSHA Violations Attorneys in Texas
Serving Businesses Nationwide From Our Houston Office
OSHA inspectors have the right to show up at any time.
If there is an injury or a death in the workplace, OSHA is going to get there as quickly as possible to investigate. They may show up with prior notice or unannounced to review reports of potential violations. Their appearance may be completely arbitrary or driven by complaints from disgruntled employees, landowners, or other parties. The most important thing to remember is this: employers have the right to protect themselves by hiring an OSHA attorney.
The best way to avoid an OSHA law violation is to prevent one in the first place, and the most effective way to deal with violations that result in OSHA citations and other employer consequences is to enlist the support of proven industry attorneys.
At Hendershot Cowart P.C., we take a comprehensive approach to proactive compliance, liability mitigation, and violations defense to help employers address serious hazards, and avoid serious penalties. Let us prepare you for OSHA's arrival: call (713) 489-2028 to speak with a lawyer.
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 at HC 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.
More Than Just a Fine
As of January 2020, OSHA fines businesses $13,494 per day for Failure to Abate, and $134,937 for Willful & Repeat Violations. However, when considering whether or not to hire an attorney, it is important to think about more than just fines. Certain citations can place employers on the Severe Violator Enforcement Program.
The Severe Violator Enforcement Program (SVEP) is a specialized OSHA initiative aimed at “recalcitrant employers" who show they are indifferent to worker safety by receiving citations for willful, repeat, or failure-to-abate violations.
According to OSHA, employers may be placed in the 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.
OSHA’s SVEP subjects enrolled businesses to enhanced fines and frequent and comprehensive inspections, in addition to added costs of compliance and reputational damage that can adversely impact contractual relationships and consumer loyalty.
Many of the employers listed in OSHA’s SVEP list (published quarterly on its enforcement page) are construction employers, and numerous SVEP listed businesses have closed their worksites, gone out of business, or completely discontinued cited operations. Being on the SVEP list can have long-term costs for your company that don't come in the form of a fine.
Though the consequences of SVEP are steep, there may exist opportunity for negotiation with OSHA to mitigate those costs and / or reduce the level of the classification of the alleged violation(s).
Texas Workplace Safety Law Attorneys
For an initial consultation, call (713) 489-2028 or contact us online. Our OSHA violations attorneys are prepared to handle cases anywhere in Texas and the U.S. from our office in Houston. We are also available by appointment in Galveston, Sugar Land, San Antonio, Austin, and Corpus Christi.