Willful Violation Law & Legal Definition


A willful violation, in the context of workplace safety, is the most serious violation under the laws administered by the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).  It occurs when an employer knows that a hazardous situation exists and makes no reasonable attempt to eliminate it, commits such a violation intentionally and knowingly. It may also be found in flagrant situations when an employer representative was not aware of the OSHA requirements or standards, but was aware of a comparable legal requirement (e.g., state or local law) and was also aware of a condition or practice in violation of that requirement, and did not abate the hazard.

Repeated issuance of citations addressing the same or similar conditions may be usd as evidence of a willful violation. It is not necessary that the violation be committed with a bad purpose or an evil intent to be deemed "willful." It is sufficient that the violation was deliberate, voluntary or intentional as distinguished from inadvertent, accidental or ordinarily negligent.