OSHA’s New Penalty Structure: Is Your Business Vulnerable?
Don’t let your business get caught with an OSHA violation. After August 1, 2016, the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act of 1990 expires, allowing OSHA fines to increase. This legislation allowed federal agency’s yearly fine increase to be based on inflation. OSHA is now expected to increase fines as much as 80% and to make yearly increases based on inflation rates going forward.
OSHA is also changing the way it handles inspections. Instead of focusing on trying to get as many inspections as possible, OSHA will conduct more thorough and in depth inspections. This means OSHA will be spending more time at companies searching for violations. It is likely that this new inspection method will find several violations at one location, increasing issued OSHA fines to companies.
With OSHA Fines nearly doubled, it is more important than ever that a business remedy any compliance issues.
Current OSHA Fines Compared to New Penalty Structure
A look at OSHA’s basic fine schedule reveals the current fine for any infraction of less severity than serious is $7,000. Under the new schedule, this will increase to $12,600. If the violation is classified as willful, the current fine is $70,000 which will jump to $126,000. An OSHA fine for repeat violations is currently $70,000 and will increase to $126,000.
Of course you want your business to remain in compliance when handling all hazardous materials, especially for safety reasons but the increase in fines gives even more incentive to remain in compliance at all times.
Is Your Business at Risk for Compliance Issues and OSHA Fines?
If your business is one that conducts business in an industry known to have a higher accident rate, then your business may be at risk for incurring fines under OSHA’s new fine structure. OSHA’s goal is to keep workers safe at the workplace and to ensure the environment is protected by safe handling of hazardous materials. In an effort to achieve this goal, OSHA is expected to begin with high risk industries such as construction and healthcare. The increased accident rates reported in these industries make them a high priority with OSHA, leading to frequent inspections.
Certain industries will most likely be hit harder by the new structure unless things change quickly. Smaller businesses will feel the sting of the new structure, as even a discounted fine is huge. If your company has multiple serious violations, a fine under the new structure can pack quite a financial punch.
Keeping your business compliant with OSHA standards is your best bet to avoid pricey penalties. The experts at Transportation Compliance Associates can keep you and your employees compliant with their training and certification course. Don’t risk the safety of your company and employees, call us today to find out how we can help you stay in compliance.