Workplace safety violations are serious things. Disregard for safety in the workplace can not only be deadly, it can also be quite costly. If those two things alone are not enough incentive to nudge you to ensure that extreme caution is observed in every working hour then this might. OSHA will be increasing safety violation fines for the first time in 25 years.
When the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act (CPI) of 1990 allowed most federal agencies to review and adjust their civil penalties one time every five years, OSHA was excluded leaving OSHA fines stagnant for more than two decades. Time has now caught up and OSHA is being required to increase their penalties every year in order to keep up with inflation. This increase can be as high as 80% for just 2016 alone. This translates as such:
“Willful or repeat violations could increase from a current maximum of $70,000 per violation to approximately $125,000 per violation.”
Not pocket change for sure and will most likely double fines of the past. Although there is some wiggle room, employers are being cautioned to expect the worst and is geared to eliminate the employers treating on-the-job injuries and deaths as a cost of doing business. Most of the sting to be felt from this “catch up year” will begin to be felt by August 1, 2016 and settle back into a more normal and fluid annual percentage increase each year thereafter somewhere around January 15th. Will the maximum penalties be assessed for each and every violation? No one can truly say for sure however, given that these penalties exist in order to place significant pressure on employers to keep workplaces safe, the likelihood is high.
These fines, however inconvenient and somewhat painful, are in place to help insure safety in the workplace. Stressing safety as a part of company culture is critical not only to your bottom line but more importantly to employee morale, well being and longevity. The time for a safety review to ensure you are in compliance is now in order to avoid costly fines, workers compensation headaches, lawsuits and even decrease in employee retention.
For more information about this increase you may visit http://ow.ly/UQk0j