OSHA and Repeat Violations
Not everyone knows that OSHA has increased their fines this year. When I researched the WHY for the increase, I was informed it was a 'cost of living' increase'. !!!!! I still don't understand how a "citation/fine" system needs a cost of living increase. Does this make sense to you?
Anyway, the best way to fight the fines which might be issued by OSHA or in our case, Cal/OSHA is to make sure your business, employees and the ownership are all working together for the Safety of everyone in the company. Everyone goes home safe and returns to a safe work environment the next day.
One of the newest defense situations with OSHA is in Repeat Violation category and the phrase 'substantial continuity'.
The 3 factors of substantial continuity were addressed in the Sharon & Walter case...1. Nature of the business, 2. Jobs and Working Conditions, 3. Continuity of the Personnel. These factors were put to the test in the case Scalia v. Wynnewood Refining in the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals. There was a boiler explosion which killed 2 employees. After OSHA issued several 'repeat' citaitons (very high fines based on the idea the offense has repeated itself), the company cited began its defense. Basically, the company which received the initial citations and fines had been bought out fully by another company and their safety executives had implemented different safety guidelines for their supervisors to implement. Upon appeal, the court affirmed the decision to downgrade the violations from 'repeat' to 'serious'. Why? Because the newly purchased company was considered another entity with new executives in charge of divising the safety policies were not the people enforcing the policies and the third aspect of substantial continuity test was not met.
This is very interesting to know and file away for any companies which are undergoing a purchase or buyout from another company. Moving forward, all companies must always keep safety in the forefront of businesses because happy and safe employees means more profit .....and will keep those regulatory companies from citing/fining you.
If you need any help, have just received some Cal/OSHA citations and don't know what to do or just have questions, contact me to be your advocatethrough Compliance & Safety First......I WILL HELP.