General Contractors and Subcontractors need to have some basic understanding of North Carolina’s Occupational and Safety Health Administration standards. Inspectors for the Division of Occupational Safety and Health, which enforces OSHA in North Carolina, conduct almost half of their inspections at construction sites.
OSHA requires usage of technologically superior and safer equipment to prevent injuries as opposed to paying for employee injuries through their workers compensation or general liability insurance policy. Civil penalties for violations of OSHA can be up to $7,000.00 for non-serious or serious violations. However, repeated violations can carry penalties of up to $70,000.00 for each repeated violation of the Act. Willful violations also can carry penalties of up to $70,000 as well as the possibility of criminal sanctions.
In order to establish a violation, the Commissioner must establish that a particular standard or regulation – either state or federal – is applicable; 2) a condition existed in contravention of that standard or regulation; 3) the employer’s employees were exposed to that hazard; 4) the employer knew of the offending condition or had sufficient notice of the irregularity such that a reasonably prudent person would have made further inquiry.
DOSH may issue a citation with a proposed penalty at any time within 6 months of the report of a violation. A reasonable time to abate the violation is a required component of that citation. Once a citation is received, an employer has 15 days to serve a Notice of Contest on the Department or to request an informal settlement conference. If a settlement is not reached during that conference, the 15 day deadline begins again.
Because of these short time deadlines, it’s important to quickly obtain representation if an inspection has taken place or a citation has been issued by DOSH. Contact Maginnis Howard, PLLC to schedule a consultation regarding contractor’s options and next steps to be taken in these situations. Maginnis Howard, PLLC is a Raleigh civil litigation firm with attorneys practicing in construction litigation and other civil matters. The firm takes cases in Cary, Wake Forest, Morrisville, Apex, Holly Springs, and the rest of the Triangle area. Contact the firm at 919.526.0450 to speak with a construction lawyer or submit a request through our contact page.