US employers must comply with stringent workplace safety regulations to provide a safe, healthy workplace for every employee. Failure to comply with applicable US OSHA health & safety standards can result in serious injury and even death.
The enforcement actions highlighted below provide insight into how and why OSHA assesses penalties for workplace safety violations. All violations mentioned are alleged unless we indicate otherwise.
See the 10 Most Cited OSHA violations of 2022 here.
We withhold the names of organizations and individuals subject to enforcement to protect their privacy.
WHO: An industrial loading facility
WHERE: Pueblo, CO
WHAT: Safety and training violations
RESULT: Two fatalities
For alleged noncompliance with Federal safety and employee training requirements, a facility in Colorado has been cited for two willful violations and one serious violation of workplace health and safety standards.
OSHA cited the company following an investigation into the tragic deaths of two employees who climbed on a pile of coal to check if equipment was functioning properly. The coal pile shifted, fatally burying the two workers. The company faces $304,556 in proposed penalties.
WHO: A construction contractor
WHERE: Edmond, OK
WHAT: Confined space hazards
RESULT: Two fatalities
An construction contractor faces $287,150 in proposed penalties for alleged violations at an Edmond, OK worksite after investigators determined that the employer failed to test oxygen levels in a confined space before workers entered it.
OSHA also alleges that the contractor failed to:
- Complete required planning and testing of a confined space,
- Train workers on confined space entry procedures,
- Obtain permits required by federal law, and
- Provide rescue equipment.
The employer was cited for six serious violations and two willful violations.
WHO: A retail store chain
WHERE: Matteson, IL and Richmond Hill, GA
WHAT: Repeated safety violations
RESULT: $728,000 in civil penalties
OSHA has cited two stores for a combined seven repeat violations, assessing civil penalties of about $365,000 for each store. The stores, located in Matteson, IL and Richmond Hill, GA, are part of a retail chain with a history of workplace health and safety violations.
Alleged violations at the stores include trip-and-fall and fire hazards created by blocked walkways, work areas, and exit routes; unsafely stacked merchandise, obstructed electrical panels, and (at one store) unsecured compressed gas canisters in danger of falling over.
According to an OSHA press release, Federal and state authorities have inspected the retail chain’s stores more than 500 times in the past five years, discovering more than 300 violations.