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Closing the Doors: OSHA and Business Shutdowns

December 20, 2021

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OSHA signs

OSHA can conduct investigations and propose fines for company violations. However, can it shut down a business?

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is a powerful entity. They can carry out investigations, report companies for violations, and even give out citations. These abilities keep workers safe during their shifts. They also help promote good business practices. However, is there a limit to OSHA’s reach? What if a company continues to promote bad work habits despite its citations? Could OSHA shut down a company? Let’s find out.

Can OSHA shut down a company?

The answer to this question is no. OSHA does not have the authority to permanently close the doors of a business. That power remains with the courts. OSHA holds the power to conduct investigations and propose citations to companies, but they are unable to force closures. It is an organization that is primarily focused on the safety of employees. The wellbeing of the business is not a concern of theirs. Rather, they are in place to make sure that a person is not needlessly subjected to a dangerous hazard.

What can OSHA actually do?

So, they are unable to shut down a company, but what can they actually do? As it turns out, they are given the authority to request that employees do not work with certain hazards. For example, let’s say that a work hazard poses too great a threat to an employee. Whether through company negligence, or just the nature of the job, this hazard prevents a serious risk of harm to even trained employees. In this case, OSHA is able to request that employees do not perform that job until the hazard has been neutralized or circumvented.

The reach of OSHA can be a complicated topic. It is very easy to feel intimidated or confused by the long list of powers that the organization has. At Hard Hat Training, we’ve developed a training program specifically for OSHA regulations. This training acts as an introduction to OSHA and can help curb confusion and build confidence when working with OSHA officials. You can find that training here as well as many other trainings at our main site.

Good luck and stay safe!

"Stop training the hard way. Do it the Hard Hat Training way instead!"
— Arthur Lee, CEO