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
The lockout/tagout (LOTO) procedure has been one of the critical elements of electrical safety training on construction sites for a decade. Generally, it’s pretty simple: if you need to work on an energized circuit or piece of equipment, shut down the breaker, put a lock on it so no one can turn it back on, and place a tag on it with your information. OSHA is considering updating the standard now and is currently requesting information from interested parties.
As the United States just recently suffered another tragic and deadly construction incident involving civilians after a crane collapsed in Seattle over the weekend, we’re reminded that the bridge collapse on FIU’s campus in Miami in early 2018 still has many unanswered questions.
For the past 3 years, Seattle, Washington has had the most construction cranes out of any United States city. But, as we know, from various videos and news stories, a crane collapse can have absolutely devastating consequences. On Saturday, a crane collapsed in downtown Seattle onto an open road below, killing two construction workers, 2 pedestrians, and injuring several others in the process.
All trench collapse deaths are preventable. As soon as everyone on a job site starts believing that we might actually make some progress. In just the past 10 days, there have been 4 trench collapse deaths across 3 separate incidents, further highlighting how far we still need to go.
Falls on the jobsite is the leading cause of injuries and fatalities in construction. Keeping up with housekeeping on your site is a great way to reduce risks of falls, but other protections, like rebar caps should be installed when rebar is exposed. A young construction worker recently found out the hard way what happens when rebar is left exposed.
On April 3, a congressional appropriations hearing was held to discuss the U.S. Department of Labor’s Federal funding for fiscal year 2020. During the hearing, the secretary of Labor, R. Alexander Acosta, told the committee how OSHA plans to spend their budget and how the agency fared in the previous year.
Safety training in the construction industry is necessary to build worker awareness – not to mention that it’s legally required – but it can be extremely time consuming and expensive to have completed. There are many companies out there looking to make money off of keeping workers safe, which is why it’s great when a company offers training free of charge, like Procore’s Safety Qualified program.
Cranes collapsing on-site are serious business, especially since many of them resulted in the loss of life. A recent crane collapse on a construction site in Alpharetta, GA was caught on camera after it caught fire, but luckily no one was injured.