OSHA | Violations, Citations and Fines in 2023


The federal agency in charge of supervising workplace safety is the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). The agency also enforces safety measures, issuing penalties and fines to businesses that fail to meet one of the industry’s safety standards.

What Are OSHA Violations?

An OSHA violation happens when an organization or employee intentionally or unintentionally neglects potential and real safety concerns. A violation does not always indicate the occurrence of an incident; it can also be substantiated throughout the OSHA inspection process.

OSHA fines

The organization may receive a citation or a fine, depending on the severity of the violation.

OSHA Violations versus Citations

Some OSHA violations do not threaten employees. Instead of issuing a fine, the agency issues a citation to the organization. A citation, like a warning traffic ticket, informs the business that there is a violation to be resolved. It will also give a deadline for resolving the safety issue.

On a company’s safety record, only repeat OSHA citations are listed. When a business obtains the same citation more than once in three years, it is considered a repeat violation.

How to Find OSHA Violations

OSHA has made it simple for employees, supervisors, and business owners to learn different sorts of violations. When it comes to violations, OSHA provides a comprehensive list on its website and your Health and Safety Representative should know them from their HSR training.

Regular safety audits and inspections performed by third-party safety consulting firms or mobile application software like Safety Assure can help improve workplace safety and reduce the likelihood of OSHA infractions and citations.

6 Different Types of OSHA Violations

OSHA violations are classified into six categories, each with a separate penalty.

1)     Serious

OSHA considers it a significant violation when a business owner or manager is aware of a hazard that could cause injury or death and fails to resolve it. The severity of the offense determines the fine, which can range up to $13,653 per violation.

Before OSHA imposes an expensive fine, it is wise to have workplace risk assessment software to identify and resolve these dangers.

OSHA Penalties Based on Gravity

There are three types of gravity-based penalties (GBP).

  • The penalty for a high-gravity (severe) violation is $13,653
  • The fines for moderate-gravity (semi-serious) violations vary from $7,802 to $11,703
  • The fine for a low-gravity (least serious) violation is $5,851 for each penalty committed

2)     Other-Than-Serious

OSHA classifies a violation as other-than-serious-threat if it does not result in bodily harm or death but threatens an employee’s health or safety. The maximum penalty for this sort of violation is the same as the maximum penalty for a serious violation. OSHA, on the other hand, has the option of issuing a citation or reducing the penalty amount by 95%.

Minimal Severity

There are two types of other-than-serious violations. Minimal-only violations usually result in simply a warning. In financial terms, the penalty is nil. There is a broad range for greater minimal-only offenses. Usually, the fines range from $1,000 to $13,653, depending on the size of the company.

3)     Willful or Repeated

Companies might face harsher penalties of up to $136,532 if they repeat a violation within three years. The most serious are willful violations. When an employer is aware of a risk to employees but does nothing to mitigate it, he or she has committed a violation.

Reduced Employee Count for Serious Willful OSHA Penalty

Employees are put in danger because of willful and frequent safety violations. Depending on the size of your company, a severe willful penalty may be reduced.

Number of Employees Fine Reduction Percentage
10 or fewer 80
11-20 60
21-30 50
31-40 40
41-50 30
51-100 20
101-250 10
251 or more 0


4)     Requirements for Posting

Any employer who receives an OSHA citation or violation notice must post it near the scene of the occurrence. The notice must be displayed to all employees for three days or until the violation is solved, whichever happens first.

5)     Failure to Abate

The OSHA notice includes a deadline for resolving the safety violation. Companies that fail to reach this deadline face the maximum penalty per day.

6)      De Minimis Violation

Ladder safety is an example of a De Minimis Violation. A ladder with 13 inches between rungs instead of 12 inches is not technically compliant, according to OSHA. OSHA may issue a verbal warning instead of issuing a citation or notice. A note is made in your company’s safety file, but fines are not usually imposed.

OSHA Penalties: Minimums and Maximums

The following table shows the minimum and maximum penalties for OSHA violations.

Type of Violation  Minimum Penalty  Maximum Penalty
 Serious  $964 per violation  $13,653 per violation
 Other-than-serious  $0 per violation  $13,653 per violation
 Willful or Repeated  $9,63 per violation  $136,532 per violation
 Requirements for Posting  $0 per violation  $13,653 per violation
Failure to Abate  N/A $13,653 per day past the abatement date.

OSHA’s Most Common Violations

Some OSHA violations happen more commonly than others. The majority of these are also simple to fix. Here are a few examples of OSHA violations.

Construction Fall Protection

Employers must create a safe working environment to avoid this common danger. Employers are required by OSHA to provide safe working conditions, including clean and dry floors. Workers must also be instructed on safety procedures and given free protective gear.

Hazard Communication in the Workplace

OSHA mandates that all chemical manufacturers and importers verify and document the product’s dangers. When chemicals are transported, they must be accompanied by labels and datasheets and you must be aware of the MSDS expiration dates.

General Construction Scaffolding Requirements

Scaffolding safety rules in construction situations are very strict, according to OSHA. On a scaffold, employees must always wear OSHA-approved fall protection equipment. The company is responsible for distributing personal protective equipment to the employees.

  • Inspections are needed to determine the scaffolding’s stability
  • Specific weight limits must not be exceeded
  • All work items, including tools and debris, must be contained and kept away from workers

The placement of scaffolding is the final step. It must be kept away from power lines. The distance varies based on state OSHA safety regulations.

Must Read: How Elevator Inspection Companies Keep People Safe


Are Osha violations helpful?

Yes, OSHA violations can be helpful in ensuring safer workplaces. By finding and addressing potential hazards, employers are able to reduce the risk of accidents and injuries in the workplace.

Is there any harm from Osha violations?

No, there is no potential harm from OSHA violations. Depending on the severity of the violation and any resulting injuries or accidents, employers may face.

Are citations by Osha helpful?

Citations by OSHA can be helpful in establishing a safe work environment, as they are meant to inform employers of any hazards that may need to be addressed.

Can OSHA impose fines on employees?

Can OSHA impose a fine on an employee? No, it does not. Employees are not fined by OSHA for violations of workplace and worksite safety. It is the employer’s responsibility to establish and ensure a safe and healthy working environment that meets all OSHA regulations.

What Happens to OSHA Penalties?

OSHA’s operating expenses are not directly funded by fines. The fines are transferred to the US Treasury’s general fund.

Are OSHA fines tax deductible?

There can be no deductions for any fines or penalties paid to the government for violating the law.

How Can OSHA Violations Be Reduced?

One technique to discover obvious violations is to take a walk around your organization. Speaking with employees is also beneficial. However, if you want to ensure that you’ve addressed every potential OSHA violation, it’s a good idea to install OSHA Recordkeeping & Incident Management Software.

With Cloudapper Safety App, streamline safety incident and accident reporting with accurate OSHA documentation for injury and illness to leverage preventative action tools and avoid similar situations in the future.

Author bio: SK. Moinur Rahman is a digital marketing analyst at CloudApper which is an amazing No-Code Enterprise Mobile Apps Platform. He’s on a mission to stamp out gobbledygook and to make boring business blogs sparkle.