Firms face OSHA’s Failure-To-Abate awakening

So you’ve reached a settlement with OSHA. That’s great—but you’re not in the clear until you abate.
 
That’s what two New York-based firms learned earlier this month after OSHA slapped both companies with fines exceeding $200,000 each under its Failure-To-Abate conditions.
 
In one case a concrete company was penalized $210,000 for failing to eliminate fall hazards, and in the other a salad preparation company was fined $247,050 for failing to provide fall protection, machine guarding and hazardous energy control for workers at the plant. 
 
The fines follow OSHA inspections of the concrete company in 2008 and the salad company in 2009 and constitute a clear reminder OSHA is serious about following up on any settlement agreements it reaches with violators.
 
Failure-To-Abate penalties are severe, resulting in a maximum fine of $7,000 per violation, per day for each day the cited condition is not abated, for up to 30 days. Further, by being fined under OSHA’s Failure-To-Abate rules, an organization runs the risk of being targeted by OSHA’s new Severe Violator Enforcement Program (SVEP), a directive geared to focus on employers who have demonstrated indifference to OSHA obligations by committing willful, repeated, or failure-to-abate violations.
 
Companies included in the SVEP will face inspection after inspection, including follow-up inspections of sites found in violation, and proactive inspections of other company sites where similar problems are anticipated.
 
Don’t wait for OSHA to come calling: Implement a streamlined, software-driven safety management system now to eliminate the risk of costly fines and ensure the safety of your human resources.

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