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Employer Responsibilities:

Employers' must:

  • provide a workplace free from recognized hazards and comply with OSHA standards
  • provide training required by OSHA standards
  • keep records of injuries and illnesses
  • provide medical exams when required by OSHA standards and provide workers access to their exposure and medical records
  • not discriminate against workers who exercise their rights under OSHA (Section 11(c))
  • post OSHA citations and abatement verification notices
  • provide and pay for personal protective equipment



OSHA conducts inspections without advance notice, except in rare circumstances. Indeed, anyone who tells an employer about an OSHA inspection in advance may receive fines and a jail term.


OSHA violations fall into four types, each with a distinct penalty.

  • Willful: A willful violation is a violation that the employer intentionally and knowingly commits or a violation that the employer commits with plain indifference to the law. OSHA may levy penalties of up to $70,000 for each willful violation, with a minimum penalty of $5,000.
  • Serious: A serious violation is a violation where death or serious physical harm would likely result from the hazard, and where the employer knew, or should have known, about the hazard. There is a mandatory penalty of up to $7,000 for serious violations.
  • Other-than-Serious: An other-than-serious violation is a violation that has a direct relationship to safety and health, but probably would not cause death or serious physical harm. OSHA may levy a penalty of up to $7,000 for each other-than-serious violation.
  • Repeated: A repeated violation is a violation that is the same or similar to a previous violation. OSHA may levy penalties of up to $70,000 for each repeated violation.

This article contains general legal information and does not contain legal advice. Rocket Lawyer is not a law firm or a substitute for an attorney or law firm. The law is complex and changes often. For legal advice, please ask a lawyer.

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