Is There Personal Liability For OSHA Penalties?

Normally, OSHA citations are issued only against the corporations which employ workers, not the individuals who own or control them. Thus, corporate entities are generally liable for penalties under the Occupational Safety and Health Act (“Act”) as opposed to supervisors, officers, or directors. Moreover, there is no statutory authority to extend liability under the Act to supervisors, officers or directors individually. However, under the traditional common law doctrine of “piercing the corporate veil,” a court may put aside limited liability and hold officers or directors personally liable for the corporation’s actions or debts. Although the standard may differ from court to court, it typically requires somewhat egregious conduct to justify piercing the corporate veil. 

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