By Lee Slaton, Vice President of Healthcare; Smart Training

We’re at the midpoint of the year—a good time to look out over the compliance landscape. One thing that stands out? OSHA fines.

OSHA fines are going up.

On November 2, 2015, Congress enacted the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act Improvements Act of 2015. Since that time, OSHA has adjusted all of its maximum penalties by January 15th of each year.

In 2019, they increased substantially. After applying the appropriate inflation modifier, here is what the maximum fines for 2019 look like:

  • Serious violations: increased from $12,675 to $13,260 (per violation).
  • Repeat violations: increased from $126,749 to a whopping $132,598 (per violation).
  • Willful violations: increased from $126,749 to $132,598 (per violation).
  • Failure to abate violations: increased from $12,675 to $13,260 (per violation/per day).

So far this year in Texas, 36 employers were issued citations over $40,000 each. Ten of them were over $100,000 each, out the door. The grand-prize winner was a citation for $530,392.

What triggers most OSHA investigations?

There have only been 22 dental practices nationwide inspected in the last 12 months. But of those, 17 (68%) were generated from complaints. By law, when OSHA receives a complaint, it has to investigate.

Practically all complaints are made anonymously. Most often, they come from disgruntled, concerned, or ex-employees.

The Takeaway

It doesn’t matter how many dental practices OSHA investigates; it just matters if it’s your practice. The bottom line is that you’re one anonymous phone call away from an OSHA investigation. And it’s a lot less expensive, less painful, and safer for you and your employees to do what’s supposed to be done in the first place.

Remember—compliance isn’t optional. It’s the law.

You can write Lee Slaton at Smart Training is in the business of making dental practices safe for staff and patients. If you’re not sure how your practice stacks up regarding OSHA and HIPAA compliance, you can contact Smart Training. TDA members receive discounts when they mention “TDA Perks.”