Are you an employer who works in the warehousing, construction, maintenance, or public utilities industry? Then you need to make sure you’re up-to-date with OSHA regulations and changes to their policies and penalties. OSHA regularly updates their standards for worker safety. For 2018, they’ve increased their maximum penalties.
Violation penalties have increased by 78% since they were last updated in 1990. They will impact regulated areas including Immigration, Child Labor, Wage and Hour, MSHA, and OSHA. Here’s everything you need to know about the adjusted penalties now enforced in 2018.
Why the Increase in Penalties?
Back in 2015, Congress passed the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act Improvements Act. This act increases the penalty amounts that have not accounted for inflation over the years. The Act requires agencies to increase their penalties to adjust for appropriate inflation. The U.S. Department of Labor’s response to the penalties adjustment act was that civil penalties are meant to deter certain behaviors and actions in the workplace and public, and adjusting penalties to keep up with the pace of the cost of living will help to keep workplaces safe and provide a level playing field for employers who follow the law and those who don’t.
The Act was passed in 2015, final rules were published in July 2016, and the latest penalty numbers have been adjusted as of January, 2nd 2018.
What Are the New OSHA Penalties?
Every year from this point forward, agencies will be required to adjust their civil money penalties for inflation by the 15th of January. For 2018, OSHA penalties for other-than-serious, serious, and failure to abate violations have increased by $319 from $12, 615 to $12, 934. The penalty for willful and repeat violations has increased from $126,749 to $129,336, bumping up to $2,587.
Here’s a roundup of the OSHA penalties for 2018:
- Serious: $12,934 per violation
- Other-than-serious: $12,934 per violation
- Failure to abate: $12,934 per day beyond abatement date
- Willful or repeated violations: $129, 336
What Does This Mean for Employers?
Penalties now account for the steady increase in annual living costs and wage. This means employers who didn’t take safety standards and regulations seriously will feel the pressure to clean up their internal processes and protocols. They’ll need to improve the safety of their workplace for employees. Workers will be able to report injuries and accidents without worrying about being reprimanded by their employer. The increased penalties will make a stronger dent in the pocket of businesses, and will hopefully decrease the number of accidents that happen in the U.S. workplace.
If you’re an employer in the United States, providing the most up-to-date and comprehensive training for employees is crucial for improving the safety of your workplace and reducing accidents. OSHA-compliant training will deter investigations and penalties by equipping workers with the essential knowledge and skills they need to not only perform their tasks safely, but also remain compliant with all relevant OSHA regulations.
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