Cha-Ching! OSHA increases the tab for violations
Most employers probably wouldn’t consider themselves to be “lucky” enough to be cited by OSHA in early 2016, but if they were, it was a lot less expensive than it will be later this summer. Effective August 1, 2016, the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act of 2015 requires federal agencies, including OSHA, to make a one-time adjustment of civil penalties to equalize with inflation – the first such adjustment since 1990. Much like the DOL will do with overtime salary thresholds under the FLSA, the Act also requires the impacted agencies to annually increase penalties for inflation.
The penalties have increased as follows:
Serious, Other-than-Serious, and Failure to Post Violations
Current Maximum Penalty: $7,000 /violation
New Maximum Penalty: $12,471/violation
Failure to Abate
Current Maximum Penalty: $7,000/day beyond the abatement date
New Maximum Penalty: $12,471/day beyond the abatement date
Willful or Repeated Violations
Current Maximum Penalty: $70,000/violation
New Maximum Penalty: $124,709/violation
States that operate their own occupational safety and health programs are required to adopt maximum penalties that are at least as effective as the federal penalties.