OSHA-Violation-Penalties

OSHA Violation Penalties to Increase Significantly in August 2016

The Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) recently announced that maximum penalties for workplace violations will increase by 78% this August.

The increase is a byproduct of the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015 passed by congress last November, which required federal agencies to adjust civil penalties to account for inflation. Because OSHA’s maximum penalties were last changed in 1990, the legislation required OSHA to adjust for inflation changes over the last 26 years.

The new maximum civil penalties will go into effect after August 1, and any citations issued by OSHA after the 1st will be subject to the increased penalties if the violations occurred after November 2, 2015. Moving forward, OSHA will adjust maximum penalties for inflation each year in accordance with the Consumer Price Index.

The new maximum penalties and the corresponding violations are listed below:

Serious Violations:

A violation is considered “serious” when the workplace hazard could cause an accident or illness that would most likely result in death or serious physical harm, unless the employer did not know or could not have known of the violation.

Previous Maximum Penalty: $7,000 per violation

New Maximum Penalty: $12,471 per violation

Other-Than-Serious Violations:

An “Other-Than-Serious” violation has a direct relationship to job safety and health, but is not deemed serious in nature.

Previous Maximum Penalty: $7,000 per violation

New Maximum Penalty: $12,471 per violation

Posting Requirements Violations: 

When OSHA issues a notice, it must be posted at or near the location where each violation occurred to make employees aware of potential hazards. The notice must remain posted for 3 business days or until the hazardous issue is resolved, whichever is longer.

Previous Maximum Penalty: $7,000 per violation

New Maximum Penalty: $12,471 per violation

Failure to Abate Violations:

OSHA often conducts follow-up inspections to ensure violations have been corrected and required conditions have been met. Any hazards that have not been abated by the abatement date specified on an OSHA notice will be deemed as a “Failure to Abate” violation.

Previous Maximum Penalty: $7,000 per day beyond the abatement date

New Maximum Penalty: $12,471 per day beyond the abatement date

Willful or Repeated Violations:

Willful violations are defined as violations in which an employer either knowling failed to comply with a legal requirement or acted with indifference to employee safety.

Repeated violations are given if the agency has been cited previously for the same or a similar condition. For Serious or Other-Than-Serious violations, this includes any previous OSHA notice issued within the past five years.

Previous Maximum Penalty: $70,000 per violation

New Maximum Penalty: $124,709 per violation

OSHA Violation Penalties

You can find more information about OSHA’s penalty adjustments here. With the 78% increase in maximum penalties only a few weeks away, creating a safety culture within your workplace is more important than ever, and it’s also crucial to recognize the leading causes of workplace injuries in the U.S.

For the latest news, tips and resources on workplace safety, stay tuned to the U.S. Standard Products blog, and be sure to follow us on social media:

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