CAUTION: OSHA Fines Rising Over 80 Percent in 2016

February 10, 2016

The cost of unsafe working conditions Just. Went. Up.

Starting August 1, 2016, OSHA is increasing fines for workplace safety violations.

On November 2, 2015, President Obama signed into law the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015 which allows OSHA, for the first time since 1990, to raise the fines for violations to account for current inflation rates.

Then for 2017 and beyond, OSHA will be allowed to continue increasing fines on an annual basis to adjust for inflation. That means fines for serious violations may jump to $12,000 per incident. Fines for repeated and willful violations may increase from the current $70,000 to about $127,000.

The new law doesn’t say anything about the 28 states that run their own safety and health programs, and it’s early enough in the process that OSHA has not begun developing any guidance for the states. However, it’s anticipated that the new federal fine structure will be required by states so they will be at least as stringent in their own programs.

OSHA has not yet published the new penalty schedule but since the new increases are set to start August 1, 2016, it should be released soon. Watch for it here.

Because of these important new and proposed changes to OSHA’s recordkeeping regulations and penalties, employers should take care to determine whether they will be covered by the updated record keeping regulation and whether any given workplace injury is reportable.

Source: Lexology; OSHA