Wall Street Journal Alexandra Berzon reported Wednesday that “Federal penalties for workplace-safety violations were increased this week for the first time since 1990, thanks to a little-noticed provision of the budget bill signed into law by President Barack Obama.”
“Workplace-safety experts said that they were caught by surprise by the new mandate, which they say will likely increase maximum fines for the most severe citations to $125,000 from $70,000 and for other serious violations to $12,500 from $7000.”
According to PMPA’s retained labor law firm Fisher Phillips, “That’s when we learned that the Federal Budget Agreement, which was quickly worked out behind closed doors and signed the day before, includes surprise provisions authorizing the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to increase penalties for the first time since 1990. To the surprise of almost all observers, the amount of the increase could be as much as 82%.”
“The initial penalty increases must become effective by August 1, 2016, but we can expect to learn well before then the extent to which OSHA will increase these amounts. The Federal Office of Management and Budget will issue guidance on implementing the bill’s provisions by January 31, 2016. Raising the maximum fines in line with the CPI for the catch-up boost requires OSHA to publish an interim final rule by July 1, 2016, allowing the adjustment to take effect by August 31.”
As manufacturers we can expect to receive the full attention of OSHA with our processes’ need for proper machine guarding, hazardous energy control, and lockout-tagout.
If creating a safety compliance culture has not been one of your top priorities, perhaps OSHA’s 82% higher fine and penalty structure will help you move Safety up on your list.
Thanks to the BBB for the photo