Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Employers Beware: Major Increase in OSHA Fines Just Took Effect

On August 2, the fines that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) imposes on companies who violate its regulations increased by almost 80%. According to OSHA’s website, the new penalty structure is:

Type of Violation
Current Maximum Penalty
New Maximum Penalty

$7,000 per violation
$12,471 per violation
Failure to Abate
$7,000 per day beyond the abatement date
$12,471 per day beyond the abatement date
Willful or Repeated
$70,000 per violation
$124,709 per violation

States that have their own occupational and safety health administrations, like Illinois, also must increase their fines to a level at or above those listed above.  

The increase in OSHA fines was part of the budget that Congress passed last fall. This was the first increase in OSHA fines in more than 25 years. The fines will apply to any citations for OSHA violations occurring after November 2, 2015. 

OSHA passes regulations which create and enforce health and safety standards in the workplace. Examples include labeling dangerous chemicals and providing proper training to employees who use them, performing tests in the workplace to make sure that air quality is safe, and providing safety training to workers in a language that they can understand. 

OSHA also requires employers to notify it of any major workplace accidents or injuries. In another major change involving OSHA, regulations that took effect last Friday will make it much more difficult for employers to drug-test employees after a workplace accident

As we have discussed, OSHA has recently issued regulations regarding transgender bathroom use. Ancel Glink will be holding a seminar discussing these regulations and others concerning transgender employees at Heartland Community College in Normal, IL on August 23, 2016. Contact us if you are interested in attending.