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OSHA Fines Far More Expensive Starting in August | Construction News

The maximum fines levied by OSHA will skyrocket by up to 78% starting August 1, 2016. The rise is the first time in 26 years that the federal safety agency has adjusted the cost of fines.  

In November, 2015, Congress enacted legislation requiring federal agencies to adjust their civil penalties to account for inflation. As a result, the Department of Labor is adjusting penalties for its agencies, including the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

OSHA's maximum penalties, which were last adjusted in 1990, will increase by 78%. Going forward, the agency will continue to adjust its penalties for inflation each year based on the Consumer Price Index.

The new penalties will take effect after August 1, 2016.  Any citations issued by OSHA after that date will be subject to the new penalties if the related violations occurred after November 2, 2015.

Type of Violation      Current Maximum Penalty    New Maximum Penalty

Serious, other than          $7,000 per violation            $12,471 per violation
serious posting req.

Failure to Abate              $7,000 / day beyond           $12,471 / day beyond
                                     the abatement date             the abatement date

Willful or Repeated          $70,000 per violation           $124,709 per violation


Adjustments to Penalties
To provide guidance to field staff on the implementation of the new penalties, OSHA will issue revisions to its Field Operations Manual by August 1. To address the impact of these penalty increases on smaller businesses, OSHA will continue to provide penalty reductions based on the size of the employer and other factors.

State Plan States
States that operate their own Occupational Safety and Health Plans are required to adopt maximum penalty levels that are at least as effective as Federal OSHA's.

For More Assistance
OSHA offers a variety of options for employers looking for compliance assistance.

The On-site Consultation Program provides professional, high-quality, individualized assistance to small businesses at no cost.

OSHA also has compliance assistance specialists in most of our 85 Area Offices across the nation who provide robust outreach and education programs for employers and workers.

For more information, please contact the nearest Regional or Area Office.


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