Exempt from penalty increases due to inflation since the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act of 1990, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) will be raising the cost of citations for the first time in a quarter century.
The Omnibus Reconciliation Act of 1990 was a measure to reduce the United State budget deficit, which, in turn, was the last time OSHA carried out a penalty increase. Now, the new budget recently approved by President Obama, allows a provision for OSHA to catch up with inflation for the past 25 years. Inflation in that time is estimated to be around 80%, which could equate to 80% increases in OSHA penalties for contractors. The final decision will have to be made no later than August 1st, 2016 according to the amendment, so it’s not necessarily final that all penalties will jump up the full 80%.
That’s not the end of the increases, however. The very next section in the budget allows OSHA the ability to raise their penalties every year, but the maximum increase cannot exceed the determined inflation percentage. The current maximum penalty from OSHA is $7,000 for serious violations, but can jump to $70,000 for repeated or willful violations. An 80% increase in those amounts would jump those to $12,600 and $126,000, respectively. Those numbers don’t sound that high, but if OSHA is coming to your job site for a reason, they probably aren’t going to only find one infraction.
OSHA fines to increase significantly | Safety and Health Magazine
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