Your efforts to ensure employees comply with OSHA regulations are now worth even more to your employer.
Reason: OSHA just published a final rule in the Federal Register increasing its fines for safety violations by an average of 1.8%, effective immediately.
The final rule was mandated by the Inflation Adjustment Act of 2015, which requires federal agencies to raise penalty amounts based on the rate of inflation and cost-of-living adjustments.
That means maximum OSHA fines for each different type of violation have gone up as follows:
• Willful and repeat violations – to $134,937 from $132,589
• Serious and other-than-serious violations – to $13,494 from $13,260
In addition to higher penalty amounts, OSHA has given other indications that it’s ratcheting up its enforcement efforts.
For instance, during a recent meeting of the National Advisory Committee on Occupational Safety and Health, Loren Sweatt, OSHA’s acting administrator, said that the agency is currently hiring more inspectors and targeting its enforcement efforts at employers in high hazard industries and at those with higher-than-average injury rates.
What it means to you: Make sure everyone in your organization understands that despite the anti-regulatory mood in Washington, OSHA, which is led by career bureaucrats committed to worker safety, has no intention of backing away from its statutory obligation to penalize employers that expose their employees to hazardous conditions.
(From the Jan. 27, 2020, issue of OSHA Compliance News)