When attempting to comply with OSHA standards and regulations, there are three common compliance mistakes that even some of the most sophisticated employers often commit.

First, employers do not develop written safety and health rules, communicate those rules to employees, take steps to discover the violations or ensure that employees who violate those rules are disciplined. As a result, employers are not in a position to find and abate certain violations or argue, in response to an OSHA citation item, that they could not have known of the violations, which is a legal defense to any OSHA citation item.

Second, employers do not properly track and, in a timely manner, implement corrective actions that are generated in response to incident investigations, process hazard analyses, compliance audits and other types of internal workplace safety and health analyses. OSHA often relies on a lack of timely implementation of corrective actions as a recipe for issuing citation items to employers.

Finally, employers do not review relevant OSHA interpretation letters, OSHA compliance directives, the OSHA Field Operations Manual or case law for guidance when determining compliance with applicable OSHA standards and regulations. Moreover, depending on the OSHA standard or regulation or complexity of the subject matter, employers do not consult with a legal practitioner for compliance guidance. By avoiding these three common pitfalls, employers significantly can reduce their compliance risk.