OSHA Announces Changes to Penalty Structure

Staring August 2, 2016 all OSHA penalties (fines) will increase by 78%. Paul Serafini, owner of Sotera Consulting, LLC and an experienced industrial health and safety professional states, “The statutory maximum for “Serious” OSHA violations (the most common type of OSHA violation) will increase from $7,000 to $12,471. “Willful” or “repeated” violations will increase from the current level of $70,000 to $124,709.” Keep in mind, these amounts are unadjusted and do not include discounts so the actual fine could be much lower.

Why are OSHA penalties increasing?

The penalty increases are a result of inflation over time. The current penalty structure is based off of consumer price index levels of 1990. Since then, levels have increased and OSHA is raising penalties to match 2016.  The penalty changes will take effect in all states across the US including states which administer their own OSHA programs, like Minnesota.

What should I do to comply with the increased OSHA penalties?

Organizations should continue to comply with OSHA requirements. Make sure all programs are implemented, that employees are trained and all OSHA forms are up to date (OSHA 300/301/300A, etc.). Also, Serafini reminds us to “Pay special attention to the most commonly enforced compliance areas like Lockout/Tagout, Hazard Communication/Employee Right to Know, and Fall Protection (fall protection is especially important in construction).” To learn more from Serafini about the change in OSHA penalties visit Sotera Consulting blog.

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