Saturday, November 7, 2015

OSHA Penalties on the Rise

Do you own a business? If so, you need to be aware that OSHA has been unleashed to increase penalties.

Congress recently passed the budget and it was signed into law on November 2 by the Obama Administration. The budget allows the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) penalties to be increased for workplace-safety violations.

OSHA will be reviewing their options as to how much they will increase the penalties. The increase could be from 52% to as much as 80%. The new fines are expected to be set sometime around August next year (2016), or sooner.

Experts and consultants like myself were caught by surprise by the new mandate. The penalties could likely increase to a maximum for the most severe citations (willful) from $70,000 to as high as $125,000, and for other serious violations from $7,000 to $12,500 for the first initial increase in 2016.

Moving forward, the new budget will also require OSHA to review the penalty structure every year for possible increases which will be based on inflation and cost of living.

Some large companies view OSHA fines as "just part of doing business." OSHA fines should never be looked at this way. Obviously, these type increases could be very damaging to small businesses.

So we see the increases are coming. We hope that OSHA never shows up at your doorstep, but we can reduce the impact by getting our houses (in this case, our workplaces) in order, so that if they do show, we will be ready.