In previous years, groups have argued that OSHA’s penalties for violations were not high enough to effectively deter violations. These groups proposed that if fines were higher, businesses would be less likely to commit violations.
OSHA has listened and as of August 1, 2016, the maximum penalties for workplace safety violations have increased by over 78 percent. The first increase since 1990. The penalty for serious violations has risen from $7,000 to $12,471 per violation. Additionally, the ceiling for each willful or repeat violation has increased from $70,000 to $124,709.
Although the penalty increases under these acts take effect on August 1, the higher penalties may be imposed in ongoing investigations if the violation occurred after November 2, 2015.
It is important to note though, that while OSHA can impose the maximum penalty for a violation, it does not mean that they will. OSHA addresses the impact of the penalty based on the size of the business. A small business would be less likely to receive a large, crippling fine than a large corporation. OSHA evaluates the violation on a case by case basis and imposes the penalties after considering a variety of factors.
In addition to increasing penalties, OSHA issued a new injury and illness tracking rule that will take effect on January 1, 2017. The rule will require employers that are covered by the agency's record-keeping regulations to electronically submit workplace incident reports. Some of that information will be available to the public on the agency's website in an effort to increase transparency.
These rule changes from OSHA make it more important than ever for organizations to take the necessary steps to prevent injuries and avoid associated costs. A key first step in this process is to make sure that your company and employees are aware of the OSHA safety standards and what constitutes a violation.
Doing an overall workplace safety assessment is a great way to ensure your organization is fully complying with OSHA regulations. An Arbill Safety Expert will conduct a detailed assessment of your facility and help identify gaps, deficiencies and other potential issues.
Schedule a free consultation today to discover how Arbill can help prevent injuries in your workplace.
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