People in Columbus, Ohio may remember the terrible coal mining accident that occurred in April 2010. It left 29 men dead and would have certainly led to a large amount of wrongful death lawsuits if a settlement had not been reached recently.
The terms "willful violation" and "serious violation" have specific meanings in the context of this particular investigation. According to OSHA, a "willful" violation is committed with the employer's intentional, knowing, or voluntary disregard for legal requirements or plain indifference to the safety and health of employees. On the other hand, a "serious violation" is one in which death or serious physical harm can result from a danger that the employer knew about or should have known about.