Machine Safety: Has OSHA ever fined an employee for a safety violation?

Everyone knows that OSHA applies fines to employers for citable safety violations to its regulations. Yet, since OSHA also requires employees to be responsible for safety, has an employee that violates safety regulations ever been fined?


Everyone knows that OSHA applies fines to employers for citable safety violations to their regulations. Yet, since OSHA also requires employees to be responsible for safety, has an employee that violates safety regulations ever been fined?

OSHA logo

First of all OSHA has their General Duty Clause right up front in SEC. 5. Duties. Section (b) below is where you’ll see that OSHA clearly lays out the employee compliance requirement using undeniable language, “Each employee shall…..”.


      (a) Each employer --


(1) shall furnish to each of his employees employment and a place of employment which are free from recognized hazards that are causing or are likely to cause death or serious physical harm to his employees;
(2) shall comply with occupational safety and health standards promulgated under this Act.)  .


29 USC 654


     (b)  Each employee shall comply with occupational safety and health standards and all                           rules, regulations, and orders issued pursuant to this Act which are applicable to                                        his own actions and conduct.


You would think that this is such a powerful “right” and “requirement” that they would make sure that it’s listed in an obvious place. However, looking in all the obvious places it does not appear that OSHA has ever fined an employee for a willful violation of an OSHA regulation. In reading the General Duty Clause, it appears that employer and employee are equally treated in relation to the normative use of the word “shall”. We all know that employer’s are fined by OSHA every day of the year for various reasons. These fines are even highlighted in OSHA’s bi-weekly news letter, OSHA QuickTakes. So:


1.)  Has anybody ever come across similar information regarding equal treatment focused at the    employee?

2.)  How about this one – has anybody ever come across information where OSHA de- emphasizes their emphasis on the employee in the General Duty Clause?

3.)  Or, has OSHA ever re-defined employer versus employee stating that their “enforcement” action is only targeted at employers?

4.)  One more, has OSHA ever acknowledged that a willful act of one employee (to disregard an OSHA regulation) caused an injury to another employee and that no fine was cited?


Your comments or suggestion are always welcome so please let us know your thoughts. Submit your ideas, experiences, and challenges on this subject in the comments section below. Cannot see the comments box below? Click on the headline here: Machine Safety: Has OSHA ever fined an employee for a safety violation? ...then scroll down.


Related articles:

Machine Safety – without an injury, OSHA issues citations for $1M +

We’re Safe – We’ve Had No Machine Safety Accidents For A Long Time

Machine Safety – does OSHA reference consensus standards for compliance?


Contact: for “Solutions for Machine Safety”.

No comments
The Top Plant program honors outstanding manufacturing facilities in North America. View the 2015 Top Plant.
The Product of the Year program recognizes products newly released in the manufacturing industries.
The Engineering Leaders Under 40 program identifies and gives recognition to young engineers who...
Safer human-robot collaboration; 2017 Maintenance Survey; Digital Training; Converting your lighting system
IIoT grows up; Six ways to lower IIoT costs; Six mobile safety strategies; 2017 Salary Survey
2016 Top Plant; 2016 Best Practices on manufacturing progress, efficiency, safety
Future of oil and gas projects; Reservoir models; The importance of SCADA to oil and gas
Big Data and bigger solutions; Tablet technologies; SCADA developments
SCADA at the junction, Managing risk through maintenance, Moving at the speed of data
What controller fits your application; Permanent magnet motors; Chemical manufacturer tames alarm management; Taking steps in a new direction
Commissioning electrical systems; Designing emergency and standby generator systems; Paralleling switchgear generator systems
Package boilers; Natural gas infrared heating; Thermal treasure; Standby generation; Natural gas supports green efforts

Annual Salary Survey

Before the calendar turned, 2016 already had the makings of a pivotal year for manufacturing, and for the world.

There were the big events for the year, including the United States as Partner Country at Hannover Messe in April and the 2016 International Manufacturing Technology Show in Chicago in September. There's also the matter of the U.S. presidential elections in November, which promise to shape policy in manufacturing for years to come.

But the year started with global economic turmoil, as a slowdown in Chinese manufacturing triggered a worldwide stock hiccup that sent values plummeting. The continued plunge in world oil prices has resulted in a slowdown in exploration and, by extension, the manufacture of exploration equipment.

Read more: 2015 Salary Survey

Maintenance and reliability tips and best practices from the maintenance and reliability coaches at Allied Reliability Group.
The One Voice for Manufacturing blog reports on federal public policy issues impacting the manufacturing sector. One Voice is a joint effort by the National Tooling and Machining...
The Society for Maintenance and Reliability Professionals an organization devoted...
Join this ongoing discussion of machine guarding topics, including solutions assessments, regulatory compliance, gap analysis...
IMS Research, recently acquired by IHS Inc., is a leading independent supplier of market research and consultancy to the global electronics industry.
Maintenance is not optional in manufacturing. It’s a profit center, driving productivity and uptime while reducing overall repair costs.
The Lachance on CMMS blog is about current maintenance topics. Blogger Paul Lachance is president and chief technology officer for Smartware Group.
This digital report will explore several aspects of how IIoT will transform manufacturing in the coming years.
Motion control advances and solutions can help with machine control, automated control on assembly lines, integration of robotics and automation, and machine safety.
This article collection contains several articles on preventing compressed air leaks and centrifugal air compressor basics and best practices for the "fifth utility" in manufacturing plants.
Maintenance Manager; California Oils Corp.
Associate, Electrical Engineering; Wood Harbinger
Control Systems Engineer; Robert Bosch Corp.
click me