OSHA Fines Associated with Lockout/Tagout
Complying with OSHA’s Control of Hazardous Energy policy can be difficult and the potential fines for violating the regulation can be severe. The following is an explanation of the common lockout/tagout violations an OSHA inspector may issue.
Other Than Serious
Unsafe situations with little to no chance of harming an employee and that are unlikely to produce major accidents or death are considered to be Other Than Serious. This could consist of missing labeling or damaged identification tags.
Situations that have a high probability of harming an employee or possibly lead to an employee death would be considered a Serious Violation; any safety issue the employer is responsible for recognizing and correcting is also considered Serious. Missing guarding, damaged lockout devices, or improper lockout procedures are all examples of serious violations.
Serious Violations can be fined up to $70,000 per incident. Companies willing to correct the situation or less serious situations/ may be issued lower fines.
When an employer knowingly disregards OSHA regulations or is aware of a safety issue and does not take corrective action, it is called a Willful Violation. Not having a lockout/tagout procedure or not correcting audit findings are some examples.
The minimum fine is $5,000 and $70,000 if no deaths occur. Criminal charges and a fine of $250,000-$500,000 will be issued for loss of life situations.
When a company is fined for a violation similar to a previous one, it is considered a Repeated Violation. Repeated Violations cannot be issued for pending violations or violations a company is currently appealing.
A fine of up to $70,000 can be charged for the violation, depending on the severity of the situations.
Failure to Abate Prior Violation
When a company fails to correct a previous violations, they can be charged with a Failure to Abate Prior Violation. A date will be given for when the violations must be corrected by.
Failure to correct the situation by that date will result in fines.
Fines of up to $7,000 per day can be charged.
De Minimis Violation
Minor violations of the OSHA standard that do not directly impact safety may receive a De Minimis Violation. They are not fineable or recordable acts. The OSHA inspector will typically provide a list if minor issues to the employer.