OSHA Penalties to Increase Annually

Date Posted
Jay Albert

OSHA penalties will increase for the first time since 1990, and are set to increase annually beginning August 1, 2016.

The Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015 that President Obama signed into law on November 2, 2015 contains the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Improvements Act of 2015 which outlines the increases.

The new law requires the Occupational Health and Safety Association (OSHA) to raise its penalties to match inflation rates, bringing it in line with other governmental organizations like the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

The initial increase that OSHA must enact by August 1, 2016 cannot exceed the Consumer Price Index (CPI) inflation rate from 1990 to 2015 or 150 percent of current penalties. The new legislations allows OSHA to minimize the increase in penalties by less than the maximum amount if the organization determines the adjustment will have negative economic or social impact. Increases in maximum penalties should match the CPI inflation rate over the previous fiscal year.

The current maximum fine for a Repeat and Willful violation is $70,000, and other violations like Serious, Other Than Serious, and Posting Requirements are $7,000 per violation.

The Federal Office of Management and Budget may issue clarification on this in January 2016. OSHA also has a July 1, 2016 deadline to publish its penalty adjustments.

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