What are the Hidden Costs of an OSHA Citation?


OSHA citations are expensive in their own right. Within the last few years, Congress substantially increased the penalties the organization was allowed to levy against companies that violated safety regulations.

The maximum penalty for what’s considered a “serious” violation can now run up to $13,260 and the top price for a citation in the “willful or repeat” category garners 10 times that amount – more than $130,000.

However, the costs of violations don’t end there. An OSHA citation, especially if you start receiving multiple violations, can start a snowball effect. Monetary costs and other, more subtle, implications can mount from there.

Here are some of the hidden costs of receiving an OSHA citation:

Legal Fees

An OSHA citation doesn’t just appear. It comes as the result of a process…and the citation itself can spark a new round of other processes.

It’s a bureaucratic and legal morass that requires attention and expert advice. All the paperwork and consultation can wrack up a significant bill.

Costs to Fix the Problem

A citation means something needs fixing. Whatever problem prompted the OSHA intervention now needs to be corrected. Getting back into compliance will likely lead to some cost on its own.

You might need new equipment or updated training. You might have to change your operational procedures, which could lead to costly shutdowns or a reduction in productivity.

Loss of Business

Reputation is everything. If clients think you run a risky business, they may look for other providers. A poor safety profile can significantly diminish your sales potential.

You might see current clients start to doubt your ability to run a safe facility. Meanwhile, a questionable reputation may make it more difficult to draw in new clients.

Hit to Morale

Workers want to feel safe. Once that OSHA citation comes in, it can inject a sense of doubt. Workers might start to question your general commitment to safety.

The diminished morale can lead to productivity and output declines, as employees feel the need to operate more carefully in what now seems like a more dangerous workplace. It can also contribute to increased turnover, as workers look for other opportunities at facilities that don’t have a history of violations.

Harder to Recruit

Just like a bad safety reputation can hurt your standing in the eyes of current employees, prospective recruits might take it into account as well.

The sense that you run a non-compliant operation can make it difficult to bring in top talent. This will make the hiring process longer and more expensive. Also, it will impact long-term productivity, as the quality of your workforce deteriorates over time.

Safety begins with people. Having a competent and conscientious workforce makes it easier to stay in compliance with all safety policies and regulations. Partnering with a top recruiting firm, like DHR, makes finding this caliber of worker.

Contact DHR today to learn what they can do to improve your safety profile.

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