Can civil and criminal penalties be imposed on an individual and/or to the company?

Civil penalties are typically issued to the employer while criminal penalties can be imposed on both the employer and employee.  There are situations where repeat offenders could incur a “Personal Liability” under the civil penalty laws.

Federal hazardous materials law has capped the civil penalty amount to $79,970 per day, per violation from its previous $78,376 (49 U.S.C. 5123(a)(1)). PHMSA has also set a $250 minimum as the civil penalty except for training violations which are set at $450.

If the violation(s) warrant the initiation of a civil penalty enforcement case, it is then referred to PHMSA’s Office of Chief Counsel (OCC). Once the OCC receives the violations an attorney prepares a Notice of Probable Violation. The company has two options once they receive the Notice of Probable Violation:

  1. Pay the penalty or
  2. Provide information in its defense

If the company submits information for their defense, it is then evaluated by the Chief Counsel. Should they determine a penalty should be assessed, an Order is issued which makes the formal findings a violation and a civil penalty is assessed. If the company still refuses to pay the penalty, the debt collection procedures are initiated.

It is important to understand your role and responsibilities.






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