MNOSHA Compliance: Inspection citations and penalties
The investigator prepares a report of inspection findings, including the basis for all proposed citations and penalties.
Citations inform the employer and employees of the OSHA standards that are alleged to have been violated and of the date by which they must be abated. The employer will receive a Citation and Notification of Penalty by certified mail. The employer must post a copy of each citation at or near the place a violation occurred, for 20 days or until the violation is corrected, whichever is longer.
Penalties are based on the severity and probability of injury that is likely to result from an employee being exposed to the cited hazard.
A penalty for a violation may be credited depending on the employer’s good faith, size of business and previous violation history. Learn more about OSHA penalty credits.
The following are the types of violations that may be cited by MNOSHA and the penalties that may be proposed.
A violation is classified as nonserious where only a minor injury or illness has resulted or would reasonably be expected to result from an employee’s exposure to a violation of a standard. Penalties for nonserious violations generally range from $0 to $1,000, although the law allows for up to $15,625 to be assessed.
A violation is classified as serious where death or serious physical harm has resulted or would reasonably be expected to result from an employee’s exposure to a violation of a standard. Penalties for serious violations generally range from $1,500 to $15,625, the maximum permitted by law.
A violation that exposes employees to harm that the employer intentionally and knowingly commits is classified as a willful violation. To cite a willful violation, the investigator must collect evidence that the employer is aware a hazardous condition exists, knows the condition violates a standard or other obligation of the OSH Act and does not make a reasonable effort to eliminate it. Penalties of up to $156,259 may be proposed for each willful violation. The minimum willful penalty is $11,162 for employers with more than 50 employees; $5,000 for employers with 50 or fewer employees. No credits will be given for good faith on a willful violation.
A serious or nonserious violation that exposes employees to harm may be cited as a repeated violation where, upon reinspection, the same standard or a substantially similar standard has been found to have been violated at the same establishment within a five-year period and the original citation has become a final order. Repeated violations can bring a fine of up to $156,259 for each such violation.
Failure to abate violation
A failure to abate a prior violation may bring an additional failure to abate violation penalty of up to $15,625 for each day the violation continues beyond the prescribed abatement date.
If any serious, willful, repeated or failure to abate violation causes or contributes to the death of an employee, the minimum total nonnegotiable fine that must be assessed for all citations connected to the death of an employee is $50,000 if there is a willful or repeated violation and $25,000 if there is no willful or repeated violation.
The exception is violations of the General Duty Clause (Minnesota Statutes 182.653, subd. 2), which carry a maximum penalty of $25,000. Employers with fewer than 50 employees and no willful or repeated violations may be eligible for a four-year extended payment plan and possible waiver of part of the $25,000 penalty. For these employers, the fine may be waived entirely if the fatality victim owned or held a controlling interest in the business or enterprise.