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What Happens When an Injury Is Reported to OSHA?

Sat Dec 16th, by Work Injury |

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) helps ensure that workplaces across the United States are safe for employees to work. When injuries happen, one of the first steps for the injured and their employer is to report the injury to OSHA. Understanding what happens when an injury is reported to OSHA, and when to connect with a North Carolina OSHA lawyer, are critical to upholding an employee’s rights.

Initial Reporting

One of the first steps in the process of recovering from a workplace injury is to report the injury. OSHA requires all employers in the country to report all severe work-related injuries within 24 hours. These reports help the organization revise its own guidelines and recommendations to prevent injuries from happening again in the future. Examples of severe workplace injuries include workplace amputation incidents, in-patient hospitalizations, or any other traumatic injury that is above a minor cut or bruise.

If anyone has died on their shift, OSHA requires employers to report the fatality within 8 hours of receiving the news. The reporting can be done either directly to OSHA’s hotline or through its online reporting portal.

What happens when an injury is reported to OSHA?

Evaluation and Response

Once the report is received by OSHA, its staff will evaluate the situation based on the extent of the injury, the number of employees who may still be at risk, and how the organization has ranked on safety in the past. Based on this assessment, OSHA may intervene with new safety guidelines for the organization that must be implemented, or its agents may come on-site and conduct a comprehensive inspection of the workplace.


If an on-site inspection is deemed necessary by OSHA, a compliance officer will likely show up unannounced. This is to prevent the company from having time to prepare for the visit and make certain processes or procedures appear different from what they usually are. The inspector will:

  • Take a look at where the incident took place.
  • Examine the conditions of the overall workplace.
  • Interview certain employees.
  • Compare their observations with OSHA standards.

Citation and Fines

If the OSHA compliance officer spots any violations during their inspection, they will likely issue a citation or fine as a penalty. The severity of the observed violations will determine exactly how hefty the penalty is, along with whether the organization is a first-time or repeat offender. An employer is given the right to contest the findings, or they can agree to the agent’s observations and accept the penalties assigned to them.

Post-Inspection Actions

Once the inspection is over and the employer has agreed to the terms of their punishment, the employer is required to post whatever citation they received near the exact site of the original incident until the hazard is fixed. This is to keep all employees informed of what happened and prevent them from engaging in the same behavior that resulted in the original employee’s injury.

Understanding OSHA’s role and these procedures in workplace safety following an injury report is key, as it helps an organization maintain a safe and healthy environment for the rest of its employees. While any incident is unfortunate, the recommendations and penalties that come from OSHA can help set an employer up for success in the future.

Connect with a Concord Workers’ Compensation Lawyer to supervise any interactions with OSHA and an employer to ensure that no unlawful conduct is overlooked.


Q: Can You Get a Settlement From OSHA?

A: Individual employees are not able to get a settlement directly from OSHA for any injuries or illnesses they suffered from work. OSHA’s role is to enforce safety protocols and health regulations. It is a different body of government that issues workers’ compensation relief to injured employees.

In addition to any funds that you are able to acquire from the workers’ compensation system, there is also the possibility of filing a private claim against the organization or any third party that might be at fault for your injury, like an equipment manufacturer. Working with a Concord workers’ compensation attorney can help expedite this process and maximize your relief.

Q: How Much Money Is an OSHA Violation?

A: The final cost of an OSHA violation depends on how severe the incident was. Serious violations could result in penalties of up to $14,000 per violation as a first-time offender. If an organization faces repeated violations, which should have been prevented due to previous OSHA interventions, it could face fines of well over $100,000 or risk being shut down.

These figures are impossible to anticipate down to their exact dollar, but they are certainly a significant financial hit to any organization for something that can be prevented.

Q: What Happens If You Ignore OSHA Violations?

A: There are significant consequences for ignoring any violations that have been issued from OSHA, including the suspension of the organization’s operations. If OSHA discovers that an organization has ignored the initial violation, it will likely impose additional fines or take legal action. The penalties are likely to increase, which could mean an even higher fine to pay or the possibility of facing criminal charges that were not part of the original penalty.

The other risk to the organization is that ignoring OSHA’s recommendations to make their workplace safer could create an opportunity for even more injuries to happen, which then would put more responsibility on the organization and its leaders for new claims to hold their ignorance accountable.

Q: Can an Employee Request an OSHA Inspection?

A: Yes, employees have the right to request an OSHA inspection of the organization they work at if they have reason to believe that there are unhealthy or unsafe conditions being overlooked. OSHA will keep the identity of this whistleblower confidential to protect them from any retaliation efforts.

If the leaders of the organization suspect who made the call to OSHA, despite the agency’s efforts to keep the identity confidential, employees are also protected by the additional layer of whistleblower laws, which will shield them from any unlawful termination or demotion for filing a complaint.

Contact M. Reid Acree, Jr., Attorney at Law, Today

If you have any questions about how OSHA operates or need assistance dealing with it, contact our firm in Salisbury today. We have been honored to aid in the safety of employees in North Carolina and look forward to continuing that work with your case.