Not So Happy New Year: OSHA Penalties Up To Adjust For Inflation

Effective today, civil penalties in federal states for violations of OSHA standards and regulations increased to adjust for inflation.

In the Federal Register issued January 2, 2018, the U.S. Department of Labor published notice of increased civil penalties for a variety of regulated areas, such as Immigration, Child Labor, Wage and Hour, MSHA and OSHA. Beginning in January 2017, OSHA allowed an annual inflation increase that will be calculated on the Consumer Price.

The Inflation Adjustment Act requires the Department to annually adjust its civil money penalty levels for inflation no later than January 15 of each year. This provides a cost-of-living formula for adjustment of the civil penalties. Accordingly, this rule sets forth the Department of Labor’s 2018 annual adjustments for inflation to its civil monetary penalties

OSHA penalties for other-than-serious, serious and failure to abate violations increased by $319 from $12,615 per violation to $12,934 per violation. The penalty for willful and repeat violations increased from $126,749 to $129,336, an increase of $2,587.

The new penalty increase is effective January 2, 2018, and will apply to any citations issued from that date through the remainder of 2018. The 2018 maximum penalties are as follows:

  • Other-than-Serious: $12,934
  • Serious: $12,934
  • Repeat: $129,336
  • Willful: $129,336

The penalty increase applies to Federal OSHA states, however, OSHA expects states, such as Virginia which operates its own occupational safety and health program, will align penalty structures with Federal OSHA so such state programs are equally effective as Federal OSHA.

We can expect the Virginia legislature to take action in this year’s session and increase penalties for violations in Virginia. The legislative session convenes in Richmond on Wednesday, January 10, 2018.

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Steve Burt, Healthcare Compliance Resources

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Dudley F. Woody, Principal, Woods Rogers PLC