Many business people in the State of Michigan (which is a “state plan vs. federal plan state”) routinely consider a citation from MIOSHA to be a mere nuisance and no more intimidating than a slap on a wrist or a parking ticket. Nothing could be further from the truth. We have had companies cited for workplace fatalities where the Presidents of the companies were actually tried on manslaughter charges. There will be an increased federal push to go after corporate executives in serious workplace fatality injury cases from now on. Being cited for a willful or repeated violation is not at all uncommon. There is a very low standard for being charged with “willful”, i.e. you merely had to know that what you were doing was probably wrong to be charged with a willful violation. Currently the minimum payment penalty for a willful violation is $5,000. It will shortly jump to $8,908, almost a 53 percent increase. Similarly, the maximum penalty for a willful will jump from $70,000 per violation to $124,709 per violation. That should be enough to get any CEO or CFO’s attention. On top of that, it is not unusual for MIOSHA to itemize citations or violations such that if there were three injuries caused by the same situation, they could be cited as three separate $124,000 violations.
Bottom line: it is always cost effective to contact experienced MIOSHA/OSHA counsel as soon as you are in receipt of a proposed citation/violation from the State of Michigan. The sooner we can jump in the quicker we can seek to get the penalty eliminated or reduced. Even better, if you are aware of an impending MIOSHA inspection, call us at once so we can be there when the workplace inspection takes place and control the flow of information as well as the inspection.
A well placed phone call to experienced MIOSHA counsel can save you hundreds of thousands of dollars. We have handled hundreds of MIOSHA and OSHA cases in Michigan and all over the U.S. during the past 30 years.