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 following is a guest post written by Laurence Banville, Esq.
Winter is here and with it comes dangerous situations that construction workers don’t have to worry about during warmer weather. Nearly everyone is aware that construction workers should dress warmly in order to prevent medical conditions like frostbite and hypothermia, but what are some of the frequently overlooked risks associated with winter weather?
When anyone sees a hard hat, they typically immediate associate it with construction. It’s the ultimate symbol of safety on the job site. We all know we should wear them, but it’s easy to get annoyed with the minor inconvenience that they cause and forget about the extreme consequences that could result if a falling object catches us when we aren’t wearing one.
OSHA gives employees many rights in the workplace and employers many responsibilities. One of those is the employee’s right to see the company’s OSHA 300 Injury and Illness Summary Log and the employer’s responsibility to post it.
When OSHA raised its citation penalty amounts for the first time since 1990 in 2016, it raised them 78% to catch up with inflation over that many years. It wasn’t just a one time increase, however, as the amended Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act of 1990 no longer exempts OSHA from its requirements.
With cranes being on many construction sites, it’s easy for workers to get complacent. Hundreds or thousands of construction materials can be lifted by cranes throughout the project, but all it takes is one time for a disaster to occur.
Getting your communications right is critical on any construction site. For effective planning and coordination, for efficient management of different teams and for health and safety, having a reliable means of keeping everyone in touch at all times is essential.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) recently released the National Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries in 2016. Among all industries, fatal work injuries rose 7% in 2016 (5,190 deaths) over 2015 (4,836 deaths). The fatal injury rate per 100,000 full-time equivalent (FTE) workers also rose from 3.4 to 3.6 year over year.
If you have not submitted your company’s OSHA Form 300A electronically through OSHA’s Injury Tracking Application (ITA) yet, you only have a few days left to do so.
The blowing snow of winter does not bring the construction industry to a halt. If you work in the winter, follow these tips to stay safe and warm.