OSHA Fines Increase First Time in 25 Years

In a surprise increase, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recently raised fine amounts for the first time since 1990. The fines were increased by a provision included in the recently signed federal budget bill, and were not discussed much prior to the bill’s passing. Because of that, many employers and health and safety experts were not aware of the provision prior to the bill’s passing. Regardless, many are praising the increase, which will bring OSHA fines in line with inflation rates over the past 25 years and will allow continued increases to keep up with inflation rates.

Stonehouse Signs OSHA Compliant Signs & Safety Score BoardsOSHA fines have not increased since 1990, because the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act of 1990 specifically exempted the organization from penalty increases based on inflation rates. Experts cited in the Wall Street Journal stated fines would likely increase 80% from their current rates. This would increase the maximum fine for severe violations from $70,000 to $125,000, and the maximum fine for serious violations from $7,000 to $12,500. However, the Journal also points out that OSHA fines still remain considerably smaller than other federal agency fines, such as fines that can be levied by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA.)

Regardless of your personal stance on the OSHA fine increase, the message to businesses is clear: OSHA is making changes to the way it operates to help its inspectors better enforce workplace safety standards. The fee increase announcement came soon after the announcement by OSHA that it would emphasize more thorough, quality inspections and de-emphasize the total number of inspections completed. So for businesses, now is the time to assess your workplace safety standards and your facilities to ensure your workplace is safe and in compliance with OSHA regulations.

Since its founding in 1863, Stonehouse Signs has produced high-quality visual communications solutions for various industries and the government. The company specializes in custom products for safety, information and accident prevention, and manufactures a full line of safety signs and facility signssafety tags, vinyl safety decals, and custom magnetic whiteboards designed for extended outdoor life, harsh environments and demanding applications. For more information call 1-800-533-9914 or visit www.stonehousesigns.com.

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