The 6 types of OSHA Violations and their Penalties

The 6 types of OSHA Violations and their Penalties

In the US, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is vital to maintaining workplace safety in a variety of industries. OSHA rules are intended to shield employees from possible risks, and employers who violate these requirements may face harsh repercussions. There are six different sorts of OSHA violations, and each has a different set of penalties.

Types of OSHA Violations

Types of OSHA Violations

Serious Violation: 

A serious violation is when there is a reasonable chance that a workplace hazard will cause death or severe physical harm. Employers are supposed to be aware of possible risks and take the necessary precautions to reduce them. Serious infractions carry penalties of up to $13,653 each. To protect worker safety, OSHA stresses how critical it is to identify and address these hazards as soon as possible.

Other-Than-Serious Violation: 

Violations falling under this category may not cause immediate harm to others, but they still go against OSHA regulations. Penalties for non-serious violations can reach $13,653 for each infraction. Employers must show their dedication to upholding a safe workplace by promptly correcting these infractions.

Willful Violation: 

Willful violations entail a deliberate disdain for the health and safety of employees. Penalties for this serious offense can reach $136,532 for each infraction. If a Willful Violation causes a death, the offending parties may face criminal charges. Employers who actively address and prevent intentional negligence are highly valued by OSHA.

Repeated Violation: 

If an employer violates the same standard twice in five years, it is considered a Repeated Violation. Recurring infractions may also result in penalties that increase to $136,532 for each infraction. OSHA imposes hefty fines on employers who neglect to address previously reported issues to deter the recurrence of safety violations.

Failure to Abate Prior Violation: 

An employer is in violation of the law if they do not remedy a previously cited violation within the allotted time frame. Fines for these infractions can mount up daily, and if the abatement date is missed, the maximum daily penalty is $13,653. This emphasizes how crucial it is to address and correct hazards as soon as they are discovered to prevent penalties from getting worse.

De Minimis Violation: 

Technical infractions that do not directly endanger one’s health or safety are known as De Minimis Violations. Employers must still make these corrections even though they are not penalized. Resolving De Minimis Violations is part of an all-encompassing strategy for preserving workplace safety.

OSHA Violations: Criteria for Penalties 

OSHA Violations: Criteria for Penalties 

Penalties for violations are assessed by OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) according to several factors, including the seriousness of the infraction, the employer’s awareness of it, and the possibility of harm to employees. Among the criteria for penalties are:

Violation Severity:

Serious Violation: Where there is a reasonable chance of death or serious bodily injury, there will be consequences for the infraction. The amount of the penalty is determined by how serious the hazard is.

Other-than-Serious Violation: Penalties are imposed for infractions that violate OSHA standards but are unlikely to result in significant harm.

  1. Willful Violation: When an employer intentionally violates safety regulations and puts workers in danger, they will face harsher penalties.
  2. Employer’s Knowledge: Penalties may be increased if it is shown that the employer knew about the infraction and chose not to take corrective action. Employers must proactively address safety concerns, according to OSHA.
  3. Potential Harm: Likelihood of Harm: The possibility of harm as a result of a violation affects how severe the punishments are. Higher fines could result from the possibility of fatalities or major injuries.
  4. Repeated Violations: Penalties rise significantly if an employer violates the same standard twice in a short period. Employers are discouraged by OSHA from ignoring safety precautions.
  5. Failure to Abate: If an employer neglects to rectify a previously cited violation within the allotted time frame, fines may mount up daily. This promotes the prompt removal of identified hazards.
  6. Technical Violations and De Minimis Violations: Employers must remedy De Minimis Violations even though they are not penalized. These are purely technical violations that have no bearing on health or safety.
  7. Size of the Employer: OSHA takes the employer’s size into account when assessing penalties. Larger employers may be subject to fines because of their ability to handle safety-related issues.
  8. Good Faith Effort: Penalties may be lessened for employers who genuinely make an effort to abide by OSHA regulations. This reflects OSHA’s recognition of proactive safety measures.

Employers must understand these requirements and act proactively to keep the workplace safe. In addition to fostering a culture of safety, regular compliance assessments, employee training, and the timely correction of hazards that are discovered can help reduce the likelihood of OSHA violations and the fines that come with them.


In conclusion, employers must prioritize the safety and well-being of their workforce by having a thorough understanding of the six categories of OSHA violations and the penalties that accompany them. OSHA’s dedication to upholding these regulations guarantees the safety of workplaces, and adherence is essential to avoiding dire financial and legal repercussions. To provide a safe and healthy work environment for all employees, employers should remain up to date on OSHA regulations and take prompt action to address any violations that are found.


  1. A descriptive study of OSHA penalties and inspection frequency for musculoskeletal disorders in workers: