In last year’s federal budget, a provision was included allowing OSHA to increase fines by approximately 78%, effective Aug. 1, 2016.
The provision also stated that going forward, OSHA fines will be raised each year, based on the Consumer Price Index (CPI).
What Are the Fines Now?
With the new fines in place, serious citations increase from $7,000 to $12,740. Repeat and willful violations increase from $5,000–$70,000 to $9,100–$127,400.
Why Are the Increases So High?
This dramatic increase in fines was described as a “catch-up” from the inflation rate in 1990, when they were last raised. Any citations issued by OSHA are subject to the new penalties, if the related violations occurred after Nov. 2, 2015.
OSHA also feels that the extreme increase in penalty levels will make more employers “take notice” of the safety violations that may be present in their workplace, and move to correct these hazards as soon as possible. “Unscrupulous employers often consider it more cost effective to pay the minimal OSHA penalty, and continue to operate an unsafe workplace, than to correct the underlying health and safety problem,” stated OSHA Director David Michaels.
Key Components of an Effective OSHA Safety Program
Don’t let your practice suffer the consequences of a lack of compliance with OSHA’s common-sense rules—designed to protect the health and well-being of your team. Here are the key components necessary for you to have for an effective OSHA Safety Program.
- Current job-hazard assessment
- Staff training to address any tasks performed or instruments used by your staff that expose them to safety hazards. (These are identified in your job hazard assessment.) You must maintain training records for the previous three years.
- Site-specific, written safety programs These should be updated annually.
- Current SDS (safety data sheets) catalog, and a hazardous chemical inventory list
- Appropriate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for staff
- Air sampling program, if your practice utilizes Nitrous Oxide