Client Alert — OSHA Fines to Significantly Increase

April 19, 2016

Client Alert – OSHA Fines to Significantly Increase
For the first time in 25 years, fines assessed by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) are increasing. OSHA is now required to implement an initial penalty “catch-up adjustment,” which must be in place by August 1, 2016. The catch-up adjustment is tied to the percentage difference between the October 2015 and October 1990 Consumer Price Index, which is forecasted to be approximately 80 percent. This means the current maximum fine for a Willful and Repeat Violation will increase from $70,000 to $127,000, and the current maximum fine for a Serious Violation will increase from $7,000 to $12,500. OSHA is required to pass an interim final rulemaking to finalize the catch-up adjustment. However, the increase is scheduled to be issued as an interim final rule. This means that OSHA does not have to issue a proposed
rule, which would be subject to a public notice and comment period before finalized. Instead, the rule will become effective immediately. After that, OSHA will be required to implement annual cost of living increases by January 15 of each year, with the adjustment tied to the year over year percentage increase in the Consumer Price Index.

If an OSHA inspection occurs prior to August 1, 2016 effective date, but the company receives the citation after the effective date the increased penalties will be assessed.

Please contact SESCO should you have any questions about this new change in OSHA inspections. For assistance, contact us at 423-764-4127 or by email at sesco@sescomgt.com.