OSHA Fines Increased As Of August 1, 2016

Posted by: Josh Quinter (jquinter@kaplaw.com)

President Barack Obama recently signed into law a bill that significantly increases the penalties relating to certain violations of the Occupational Safety and Health Act. Labelled as a "catch-up adjustment", the new law increases the maximum fines associated with OSHA violations by 78%. An adjustment to the fines was last made in 1990.

More specifically, the increase was measured as the difference between the Consumer Price Index in October 1990 and October 2015. This 15 year period explains the substantial increase. The statute also ties the maximum fines to inflation based on the Consumer Price Index going forward so that a new law does not have to be passed annually to increase the fines.

This change marks a significant adjustment in terms of gross dollars about which construction businesses should be aware. For example a "Serious – Other Than Serious Posting Requirement" violation goes from a maximum fine of $7,000 to $12,471. "Willful" or "Repeat" maximum fines go from $70,000 to $124,709.

These changes are part of OSHA's field manual already and are in effect. Accordingly, the ramifications for failing to meet OSHA standards are significantly more severe than they have ever been.

Original Article


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