Penalties for OSHA Violations to Increase by 80%

Authored by Adam D. Hirtz

Nov 16, 2015

For the first time in 25 years, Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) fines will increase – by 80 percent.

On Nov. 2, President Obama signed the new budget into law. The budget contained an amendment to the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act of 1990, striking the exemption that previously allowed OSHA fines to stay the same despite inflation.

OSHA will issue an interim final rule soon directing penalty increases across the board to account for current inflation levels. Fines are projected to increase by 80 percent in 2016. This means the maximum penalty—for willful violations—will rise to $125,000 from $70,000. For serious violations, the penalty will increase to $12,500 from $7,000.

The increase in penalties will not be a one-time occurrence. Going forward, OSHA fines will be adjusted for inflation annually.

Given the increase in penalties for OSHA violations, it is more important than ever for employers to have comprehensive, OSHA-compliant workplace safety plans in place to guard against the imposition of OSHA citations. In addition, companies should have an OSHA investigation plan for interacting with OSHA investigators and minimizing citations and penalties.

If you have any questions about OSHA, workplace health and safety or any other Employment Law matter, please do not hesitate to contact Adam Hirtz.

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