OSHA Citations and Penalties for Veterinary Hospitals

We are often asked the question, “will OSHA really show up at my veterinary hospital and if so, what do their fines actually look like in practice?”

We typically respond with “yes, they will show up unannounced and the fines depend on your veterinary OSHA compliance practices.” 

OSHA inspections often detect violations that result in citations and penalties. As a veterinary practice owner or practice manager, it is important for you to be familiar with the different OSHA violation types, and to understand how OSHA uses the different violations to classify citations and the corresponding penalties. 

OSHA’s first step in developing a fine is visiting a facility. A Certified Safety & Health Official (CSHO) will visit your facility and report their findings to his or her office. Next, the area director determines what citations, if any, will be issued and what penalties will be proposed using the following guidelines:

Other than serious – this violation is cited in situations where the most serious injury or illness that is likely to result from a detected hazardous condition cannot reasonably be predicted to cause death or serious physical harm to the exposed employees. The maximum proposed penalty for this type of veterinary OSHA violation is $7,000.

Serious - A serious violation exists when it is determined that a substantial probability of death or serious physical harm results from a condition, practice, operation or process to which employees are exposed. The maximum proposed penalty for this type of violation is $7,000.

Willful - A willful violation exists when evidence shows that an employer commits a violation intentionally, or that the employer commits a violation with plain indifference to the law. The penalty range for this type of veterinary OSHA violation is $5,000 to $70,000.

Repeated violation – If an employer has been previously cited for a substantially similar condition, and the same hazard or condition is again found within three years of the original citation, an employer is cited for a repeated violation. Repeated veterinary OSHA violations can bring fines of up to $70,000.

Failure to Abate – An employer has not corrected a previously cited violation that had become a final order. Citations become final order when the abatement date for that item passes, if the employer has not filed a notice of contest. Failure to abate veterinary OSHA violations may bring civil penalties of up to $7,000 per day for every day the violation continues beyond the prescribed abatement date.

If you’re interested in learning more about OSHA fines in the veterinary industry, you can download our free, Top Ten Veterinary OSHA Fines ebook for free by filling out the form below.