The OSHA Citation Representation Service

  • TOTAL VIOLATIONS DEFENDED: 4,496
  • TOTAL VIOLATIONS VACATED: 1,184
  • TOTAL VIOLATIONS DOWNGRADED: 314
  • INITIAL PENALTIES: $4,294,156.00
  • FINAL PENALTIES: $2,010,916.00

In 1986, the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC) sent Jim Sassaman to the OSHA Training Institute outside Chicago to become an OSHA authorized instructor. In the OSHA library, Sassaman discovered, How To Avoid OSHA, by Robert D. Moran. After signing the Occupational Safety and Health Act into law in 1970, President Nixon named Robert D. Moran as the first Chairman of the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission (OSHRC). As explained by Moran in his preface, “It is a book about avoiding the adverse impact of a government agency which has given occupational safety and health a bad name by instituting regulation run riot and oppressive enforcement under the guise of enhancing safety”. How To Avoid OSHA, p. v.

Moran’s book was a primer on litigating OSHA citations. Upon his return from Chicago in August, 1986, Sassaman created The OSHA Citation Representation Service which began as an “informal conference” based service to discuss settlement of citations at OSHA Area Offices. This initial approach was taken so that regulated employers could appreciate the Sassaman objectives and style. It soon became apparent, however, that the informal conference process was a system with OSHA’s best interests in mind, not those of the regulated employer.

In 1989, Sassaman left the informal conference set up, never to return. The OSHA Citation Representation Service became a purely litigation based service. Sassaman now dealt exclusively with OSHA’s attorneys at the Office of the Solicitor of Labor (SOL). Unlike OSHA, SOL understands OSHRC case law, the Federal Rules of Evidence, the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and OSHRC’s Rules of Procedure. Since Sassaman had already taught himself the rules and the case law, he was now in his element. OSHRC Rule 22 (a) provides that “[a]ny party … may appear in person, through an attorney, or through a representative who is not an attorney”. Moran and Sassaman met in 1989 and the former OSHRC Chairman’s message to Sassaman was clear: “Keep on fighting”.

Through the OSHA Citation Representation Service, client cases are contested, litigated and either settled or taken to hearings before OSHRC administrative law judges or directed for review by OSHRC itself. When requested, Sassaman LLC participates in the OSHA inspection itself. In any event, at the conclusion of each case, documents are prepared in compliance with OSHA’s “abatement verification” regulation.

Jim Sassaman in a 1978 graduate of Villanova University and a 1982 graduate of the Institute for Paralegal Training. Sassaman has been teaching OSHA-approved courses since 1986 and has been teaching at Drexel University since 1995. The OSHA Citation Representation Service has helped clients, not only with Federal OSHA, but also with many of the 22 safety enforcement programs run by the “state plan states” under Sec. 18 of the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970.