Compliance and Litigation
Summary: We provide legal assistance in complying with
OSHA, legal advice and
assistance in handling OSHA inspections, and legal defense against OSHA
citations in all federal and state courts and administrative forums.
Compliance: We advise business owners and other employers
regarding their compliance duties under the Occupational Safety and Health
Act. We assist in determining the
applicability and requirements of specific OSHA safety and health standards
and assist with required training and documentation. Where strict
compliance is not feasible we can assist in obtaining a variance from an OSHA
timing and scope of an OSHA inspection, as well as OSHA's procedures during
the inspection, are governed by constitution, statute, regulation and court
case decisions. Employers who do not understand applicable legal requirements
and procedures may waive important rights and prejudice their position in any
subsequent citation contest proceeding. Sometimes it may be appropriate
to request a search warrant or to otherwise limit the scope or timing of an
advise employers regarding their rights and regarding correct OSHA procedures
during an inspection to help ensure that OSHA does not exceed its statutory
Citations: If OSHA
citations are not timely contested they become final and the employer must pay
monetary penalties and comply with OSHA's abatement requirements.
This is true even if the violations are not the employer's fault. Citations that have become final can be the basis for
enhanced penalties up to $70,000 for "repeat" or "willful" citations in the
future. We represent employers in
contesting and litigating the validity of citations before the federal
Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission and before various state
Safety and Health Review Boards.
Over the past twenty-five years,
we have handled in excess of 400 such citation contests from trial before the
Administrative Law Judge through appeal to the Review Commission and the
Workplace fatalities caused by OSHA violations may result in criminal
prosecution. In addition, an OSHA citation in a fatality case may be used as
evidence of negligence in a civil lawsuit against the employer. It is therefore
critical to involve legal counsel immediately whenever there is a workplace
fatality. We represent employers in OSHA fatality investigations, in defending
OSHA citations arising from fatalities and in related civil lawsuits.
Multi-Employer Citations: On
construction sites OSHA attempts to hold general contractors responsible for all
OSHA violations on the site. Pursuant
to its "multi-employer citation policy" OSHA frequently cites general
contractors for violations committed by independent subcontractors, even though
the general contractor did not create the violation and had no employees exposed to the violation. General
contractors need to understand that they may not be responsible for
subcontractor violations, and that they may increase their own liability at
common law if they assume responsibility for subcontractor compliance with OSHA.
We represent general contractors in contesting and litigating the validity of
citations based on OSHA's multi-employer citation policy.
Issues: We also
represent business owners and other employers on a variety of OSHA related
issues in state and federal courts and administrative forums.
These issues include administrative subpoena enforcement actions, OSHA search
warrant litigation, claims of employee discrimination under § 11(c) of the OSH
Act and actions to recover expenses and attorney's fees from OSHA under the
Equal Access to Justice Act.