Guide to Iowa OSHA Citations

An Iowa OSHA Citation and Notification of Penalty (Citation) is a legal document notifying an employer of hazards alleged by Iowa OSHA, the penalty amount Iowa OSHA proposes, and the deadlines for abatement or correction of the hazards.

What to do After receiving a Citation

Carefully and immediately review the Citation to determine if you disagree with part or all of it.  Your time to challenge or amend the Citation is only 15 working days.  The Citation will not go away if you ignore it.  Post a copy of the Citation at or near the place of each alleged hazard.  A copy must remain posted at or near each place for three working days or until the hazard is abated, whichever is longer.  You may contact an attorney at your own expense.

Citation Options

The following options are available:

  • Correct the violations and pay the penalties.
  • Request an extension of the abatement dates and pay the penalties (PMA).
  • Settle through an expedited informal settlement agreement.
  • Settle at an informal conference.
  • Contest the citation, penalties or abatement dates.

Corrective Action

For violations you do not contest or settle with Iowa OSHA, you must notify Iowa OSHA in writing that you have corrected the cited conditions by the abatement dates set in the citation and on your abatement record form. Your notification should explain the specific action taken for each violation and the approximate date the corrective action was completed.

Petition for Modification of Abatement Date

Abatement dates are established on the basis of the information available at the time the citation is issued.  An employer that is prevented by uncontrollable events or circumstances from meeting an abatement date may submit a Petition for Modification of Abatement Date (PMA).

Complete the petition for modification of abatement date form and submit it as soon as possible, but no later than 1 working day after the abatement date.  To show clearly that you have made a good faith effort to comply, the PMA must include all of the following information before OSHA considers it:

  • Steps you have taken to achieve compliance and dates they were taken;
  • Additional time you need to comply;
  • Why you need the additional time;
  • Interim steps you are taking to safeguard your employees against the cited hazards until the abatement;
  • A certification that the petition has been posted, the date of posting and when appropriate a statement that the petition has been furnished to an authorized representative of the affected employees  The petition must remain posted for 10 working days, during which employees may file an objection.


Penalties must be paid within 15 working days after your receipt of the citation. If, however, you contest the citation or penalty in good faith, you need not pay for contested items until a final decision is made on your contest.

Expedited Informal Settlement Agreement (EISA)

You may be eligible for an EISA if you meet the following conditions:

  • The inspection is not due to an accident, fatality or catastrophe.
  • The citation does not include egregious, willful, repeat or failure-to-abate violations.
  • You have no other matters pending with Iowa OSHA.

If you are eligible for an EISA, one will be provided with the citation. You must agree to correct all violations and document that the violations have been corrected.

An EISA may only be accepted within the 15 working day contest period.  The 15 working day contest period is not extended because an EISA is offered.  If you accept the EISA you may not also file a Notice of Contest.

Informal Conference

You may request an informal conference with Iowa OSHA.  An informal conference is a chance to discuss a variety of OSHA issues, and it may result in a rapid settlement of your citation.  The employee representative must be informed of the informal conference and be invited to attend.

If you want an informal conference, please request it quickly.  An informal conference must be held within 15 working days after the employer receives the citation.  Requesting an informal conference does not extend the deadline to file a notice of contest.  If you file a notice of contest, you are no longer eligible for an informal conference.

Contest the Citation and Notification of Penalty

You have 15 working days from the date you receive the citation and notification of penalty in which to contest the citation, the penalty, or the abatement date. If you contest only the penalties, you must still correct all violations by the dates indicated on the citation.  To contest, you must notify Iowa OSHA (in writing) within 15 working days after receipt of a citation.  Working days are Monday through Friday, excluding state and federal holidays.  This written notification, called a Notice of Contest, must clearly state you are contesting the citation, the penalty, the abatement date, or any combination.  Filing a Notice of Contest means you are no longer eligible for an informal conference.

Employee Notice of Contest

An employee may file a Notice of Contest challenging the abatement dates.

Whistleblower Protection

Retaliation against whistleblowers is illegal.

Additional Inspection

Iowa OSHA may decide to perform a follow-up inspection.