Look for Significant Increases in OSHA Penalty Amounts Starting in Aug. 2016
November 17, 2015
On November 3, 2015 President Obama signed the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015 into law. The budget agreement includes provisions authorizing the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to increase its civil penalties for the first time in twenty-five years. A one-time catch-up increase is expected to be around 82% based on the Consumer Price Index (CPI) between 1990 - 2015.
Effective August 1, 2016, OSHA’s new maximum penalties would change approximately as follows:
- Other-than-Serious Violation: Maximum of approximately $12,476 (Current maximum is $7,000.)
- Serious Violation: Maximum of approximately $12,476 (Current maximum is $7,000.)
- Repeat Violation: Maximum of approximately $124,765 (Current maximum is $70,000.)
- Willful Violation: Minimum of approximately $8,912; maximum of approximately $124,765 (Current minimum is $5000; current maximum is $70,000)
- Failure-to-Abate: Maximum of approximately $12,476 per day (Current maximum is $7,000)
After the one-time “catch-up” increase is implemented, employers should expect to see OSHA penalties increase annually with inflation. The Federal Office of Management and Budget is expected to issue guidance on implementing the bill's provisions by January 31, 2016.