OSHA has not increased its penalties since 1990, but as a result of the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015, specifically, Section 701, that is about to drastically change.
Although OSHA has yet to announce its intentions, the penalties must be increased by August 1, 2016. There will be an initial “catch-up” phase, wherein the penalties will likely be increased by 80%, although the Act allows for an increase of up to 150%. Following the “catch-up” phase, every January 15th the amount will be adjusted for inflation.
If increased by 80%, a serious violation will go from $7,000 to $12,600, and a willful or repeat violation will go from $70,000 to $126,000.
What does this mean to employers? Either increase your knowledge of safety requirements and potential hazards on a job site or else be prepared for a potentially expensive encounter with OSHA. Remember, OSHA guidelines are enforced to ensure the safety and health of you and your employees so compliance is always the best option.
For further help protecting your company, ensuring you are in compliance with OSHA, or if you have received a violation from OSHA, contact our firm at (631) 752-7100.
The Act can be accessed at www.congress.gov/114/plaws/publ74/PLAW-114publ74.pdf