Hold Your Horses, OSHA: You're Upping Fines?

The maximum OSHA penalties will go up by 78%.

There was recently a period of radio silence, wherein the Occupational Safety & Health Administration seemed less interested in handing out citations for safety violations and imposing fines, or so it seemed to us at Hendershot Cowart P.C. There were simply fewer of these types of cases over much of the past year.

But if the latest news is any indication, OSHA may be preparing to step up enforcement once again, or at the least, will have additional motivation: On Aug. 1, OSHA fines are set to increase.

Fines by type of violation:

  • Serious violations: These currently have a maximum penalty of $7,000 per violation. Come August, the new maximum penalty is $12,471 per violation.
  • Failure to abate: If OSHA accuses you of not remedying a safety hazard, you currently face a $7,000 per day penalty. Come August, that figure will be $12,471 per day.
  • In the case of willful or repeated violations, the current maximum penalty is $70,000 per violation. Come August, it will be $124,709 per violation.

The fine increases apply to violations after Nov. 2, 2015.

In roughly two short weeks, any violation that happened after Nov. 2 last year will be subject to the new maximum penalties, according to OSHA, which puts your business at greater financial liability.

So, the next logical questions are:

  1. How do you keep from receiving an OSHA citation?
  2. What can you do if you're facing an OSHA citation?