Upon receipt of the citations and penalties from the local area director’s office, I will undertake several actions. The first step I would explore is request for an informal conference to be convened. I will request a date that falls within the allowable timeframe of under 15 days. Any time later than 15 days from the date of receiving the penalties and the citations would jeopardize my schedules, I will, therefore, ensure that the informal conference is organized within the confines of the regulations and in line with existing regulations. After striving to set a date for the informal conference in liaison with the director’s office, I would consequently embark on through the abatement process; and will assemble a competent team and have a leader to oversee the abatement process.
While the abatement process continues, I would ensure all pertinent documents that will show that the company embarked on an abatement process at its earliest convenience upon receiving the citations and the penalties. Other than acting as proof that the company is doing everything within its means to remediate any gaps, the documentations will also act as proof that the company continues to harbor goodwill in ensuring employees’ safety is paramount. I will also have the right person, probably an engineer, and a safety and health officer accompany the conference because that is the platform where we would have our penalties and citations reduced.
If we fail to convince the director that we have gained some ground on the abatement process, there is a good chance that our citations and penalties would remain as is; while I acknowledge the fact that any reductions of the initial citations and penalties beyond 30% of the original figures would require an approval from a higher authority as outlined under the Act (1970), I will still go ahead and attempt to ensure that the company does not carry a tremendous financial weight as a result of any possible safety gaps that exist in the company.
Also, I would take it upon myself to write a notice of contest to the director’s office; in this document, I will indicate my disagreement with some of the citations presented to us; the goal here will be to bring to the attention of the director’s office some of the areas that might have formed their decisions, which as a company, we might feel were incorrectly captured.
I would also not hesitate to seek a reduction in penalties for some of the violations cited. Drafting a content letter and moving ahead with the contest process will not be done single-handedly; the exercise will bring onboard experts as well as employee representatives. After presenting our contest letter, we will wait for actions and remain upbeat that our requests would be considered in line with the view of Petersen (1979) with the hope the OSHA office would grant some of the employers request for the reduction of penalties and citations if the officer deems fit. Further, I would put forth a request to have our abatement exercises extended.
This petition, as observed by Petersen (1979), will be communicated to the area director’s office via email. An abatement extension is codified in law, and we will be acting with the limits of the law by exploring such a route. While working to contest some violations, I will, at the same time, contact the OSHA compliance division and continue with payment for the citations that we did not see the need to contest. All this while, safeguards will be put in place to ensure that employees are protected from harm as underscored by (Friend & Kohn, 2014). Lastly, it would be imperative to explore the abatement certification, which will show that as a company, we are on the right track in our attempts to reduce any violations.