Failure to comply with OSHA regulations can lead to serious fines and legal problems. OSHA has a standard procedure for discovering violations and for treating violators.
If an OSHA inspector finds a violation, the agency issues a citation and proposes a penalty. The citation must be specific and detailed, and the proposed penalty will have a deadline. Along with a penalty comes a list of actions a violator must take to correct the situation. Penalties are scaled to the severity of the violation, which are labeled in different categories: “willful, serious, other-than-serious, de minimis (trivial), failure to abate, and repeated.”
As of January 2017, most fines are $12,675 per violation. A company failing to correct a problem could also be fined $12,675 per day. Companies showing a “willful or repeated” pattern could be fined $126,749 per violation. These are obviously nontrivial amounts.
To help companies navigate the enforcement policies of OSHA, the agency provides compliance assistance specialists in most of its area offices. These can be found here.
Companies have the chance to appeal any citations. These appeals are made to the OSHA Area Director and can address the citation, penalty, abatement dates or other details. Companies have 15 working days after receiving a citation to file an appeal.
general info: https://www.osha.gov/OshDoc/data_General_Facts/factsheet-inspections.pdf