OSHA Violation Types & Fines (2023)

    December 01, 2020 7 comments


    • De Minimis: On the violation scale, this is the least serious of them all. In short, it is deemed a technical violation, and it has no direct implications on either health or safety. OSHA fines and penalties are not issued for these infractions.
    • Other-Than-Serious: These violations are issued for non-compliance related to health or safety that would not end in serious or fatal injury. These OSHA penalties can come with fines up to $12,934 per citation.
    • Serious: This type of violation occurs when an employer possesses knowledge of an existing hazard that could potentially affect their employees’ health or safety. They understand the hazard and do nothing to make corrections. These fines could possibly be up to $12,934 per violation.
    • Posting Requirements: If an employer fails to post required safety documentation in a work environment, then it is considered an other-than-serious type of penalty. Consequently, such OSHA citations could lead to fines up to $12,934 per violation.
    • Repeat: This type of violation is identical to a previous violation for which an employer was cited. You could face fines up to $129,336 per repeated violation.
    • Failure to Abate: A violation in this respect is issued when an employer fails to take care of the situation for which the company has been cited. These employers are allotted a certain amount of time to remedy the violation. If they do not act to remedy the situation, then a fine up to $12, 934 (per day) begins.
    • OSHA Willful Violation: The OSHA willful violation penalty is issued when there is a case of intentional violation. OSHA penalties for noncompliance of this nature are incredibly serious. If a situation linked with the violation becomes fatal for an employee, the offense is considered criminal. Companies and employers may face possible fines of up to $129,336 per citation as well as jail time.

    Some Types of OSHA Violations for which an employer may be fined.

    OSHA Fines for PPE Violations: Employers who do not provide PPE (personal protective equipment) and training to each onsite company-covered employee can be cited. And separate violations for individual unprotected worker or untrained worker may be issued. Keep reading to understand the fine specifics.

    • OSHA Safety Glasses Fines: If an employer does not comply with OSHA safety glasses and PPE standards, then their company can come up against some serious fines. Be diligent about eye protection for your employees. (See list above.)
    • OSHA Fines for Forklift Violations: OSHA takes equipment training seriously, and even though they do not have a training program for large machines, they do impose standards for training. Forklift training is critical to OSHA loading dock safety, and there are penalties for driving a forklift without a license. Investigations have yielded results that showed employees driving forklifts without licenses were at higher risk of causing fatal accidents and injuries.
    • OSHA Fines for Recordkeeping Violations: The goal of the recordkeeping rule has been to improve the accuracy and completeness of illness and injury data gathered by employees and reported. Sometimes, when employees are discouraged from reporting job-related illnesses and injuries, the information collected and published possesses gaps and inaccuracies. Learn more about OSHA recordkeeping requirements to stay compliant.

    Personal Protective Equipment

    OSHA regulations require employers to provide personal protective equipment (PPE) to each employee, depending on his job duties and position. PPE includes a wide range of items, from respirators to flame-resistant clothing. Training requirements under OSHA regulations are also broad, but generally apply to employees exposed to toxic substances such as asbestos, vinyl chloride, and lead.

    On January 12, 2009, OSHA published a final rule that, as a practical matter, significantly increases the monetary penalties for certain PPE and hazards training violations. The final rule, titled “Clarification of Employers’ Duty to Provide Personal Protective Equipment and Train Each Employee,” provides a simple “clarification”: Each violation of the PPE or training requirement results in a per-employee penalty.

    In the past, the failure to provide required training to a large team of employees was frequently treated as a single violation. Thus, if the penalty for failing to provide certain personal protective equipment was $1,000, the employer might have been assessed a $1,000 penalty, even if it failed to provide 200 employees with the required PPE. Now, the final rule amends OSHA’s regulations to clarify that a grouping of violations isn’t allowed. Instead, each employee who isn’t given the required PPE or training will count as a separate violation for which a separate penalty will be assessed. In essence, the fines increase exponentially under the “clarified” rule. Using the previous example, we can calculate the penalty under the final rule as $200,000 — not $1,000.

    OSHA Penalties: 2020 Annual Adjustments to OSHA Civil Penalties

    III. Minimum and Maximum Penalty Amounts.

    Table 1 summarizes the minimum and maximum amounts for proposed civil penalties:

    Table 1: Maximum and Minimum Amounts for Civil Penalties

    Type of Violation

    Penalty Minimum

    Penalty Maximum


    $964 per violation

    $13,494 per violation


    $0 per violation

    $13,494 per violation

    Willful or Repeated

    $9,639 per violation

    $134,937 per violation

    Posting Requirements

    $0 per violation

    $13,494 per violation

    Failure to Abate


    $13,494 per day unabated beyond the abatement date [generally limited to 30 days maximum]

    Gravity Based Penalty Amounts.

    The gravity of a violation is defined by the Gravity Based Penalty (GBP).

    • A high gravity violation is one with a GBP of $13,494.
    • A moderate gravity violation is one with the GBP ranging from $7,711 to $11,566.
    • A low gravity violation is one with a GBP of $5,783.

    For serious violations, the GBP shall be assigned on the basis of the following scale in Table 2: (Severity+ Probability= GBP).

    Table 2: Serious Violations





































    For other-than-serious violations, there is only minimal severity.

    Table 3· Other-Than-Serious Violations






    $1.000 - $13,494




    Serious Willful Penalty Reductions.

    The reduction factors for size for serious willful violations shall be applied as shown in Tables 4 and 5:

    Table 4: Serious Willful Penalty Reductions


    Percent Reduction

    10 or Fewer














    251 or More

    The reduction factor for history shall be applied.The proposed penalty shall then be determined from Table 5.

    Table 5: Penalties to be Proposed for Serious Willful Violations

    Total Percent Reduction for Size And/or History

    High Gravity

    Moderate Gravity

    Low Gravity









































    Tags: fines, osha, violation, violations

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