What Do OSHA Fine Increases Mean For You In 2017?

Note: This article will discuss OSHA’s current fine increase as of 2016 & onward.

Future Changes

It has been 25 years since the Occupational Safety and Health Administration has made changes to their monetary penalties for safety standard violations. 

Below are listed changes effective this year.

OSHA was required to publish the plan for the first inflation adjustment by July 1, 2016, with fee adjustments that took effect on August 1, 2016.

Type of Violation Current Maximum Penalty New Maximum Penalty
Serious
Other-Than-Serious
Posting Requirements
$7,000 per violation $12,471 per violation
Failure to Abate $7,000 per day beyond the abatement date $12,471 per day beyond the abatement date 
Willful or Repeated $70,000 per violation $124,709 per violation

 Increases

In addition to the catch-up adjustment this year, the bill allows OSHA to continue increasing fines annually to keep up with inflation. Most statute violation penalties have been inflated every 4 years.

OSHA and a few select federal agencies were previously exempted from raising their fines under the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act. Going forward, businesses can expect to see annual increases by January 15 of each year.

In the past, there were specific OSHA fines that had no noticeable financial impact with respect to other costs or risks associated with running a business. However, these increases in 2017 could change how penalties and fines impact your business and operating expenses moving forward.

Safety experts believe that with these active changes now taking place, most companies will consider safety and OSHA standards to be more important in their day-to-day operating routine. Others have expressed: These fines are already high enough and will not make much of a difference.

Whichever side of this argument you decide to take is of course your choice. Regardless, there is no better time than the present to evaluate your company’s safety program and update the current procedures to comply with OSHA’s required safety standards for 2017.

Preparation

To prepare yourself for the 2017 business calendar year, it would be helpful to look over the following checklist:

  1. Check out OSHA citations (HERE) and ascertain if your workers are in violation of any OSHA standards. Reading OSHA’s Top 10 Most Frequently Cited Standards is a great first step in the right direction toward better safety preparation.
  2. Train your people on Hazard Recognition – Do your workers carry a 10-hour card & do your supervisors/managers have 30-hour cards? Make sure that everyone in the company is properly grounded in health and safety culture.
  3. Introduce your employees to Certified Safety Training Courses – Your workers should be trained properly on protection against hazards that could put them at risk. It is imperative that everyone in the company comply with health & safety legislation.

TriTech, located in Grande Prairie is in the best position to provide you with certified courses and keep you up to date with essential and relevant industry practices to prevent avoidable accidents and consequent fines from OHS officers.
For more information: https://tritechsafety.ca/courses/

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