While the Occupational Safety and Health Administration may still be operating through the federal government shutdown, certain aspects of OSHA are on hold until the shutdown comes to an end.
One piece that will have to wait is the annual increase for maximum OSHA penalties. A few years back, legislators passed the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act Improvements Act of 2015, which keeps maximum civil penalties in line with inflation no later than January 15 of each year.
The increase goes into effect when a final rule is published in the Federal Register. However, even though OSHA is one of the agencies that is funded through the current government shutdown, the Office of the Federal Register is not. Therefore, the final rule cannot be published and the penalty increase cannot take place.
Once the new rule is published, here are what the new maximum OSHA penalty levels will be:
- Serious, Other-than-Serious, or Posting Requirement – $13,260 per violation
- Failure to Abate – $13,260 per day beyond the abatement date
- Willful or Repeated – $132,598 per violation
The Department of Labor has posted a “prepublished version” of the final rule on its website. This version is unofficial and will be reviewed and may be changed by the Office of the Federal Register.
The effective date of the penalty increase will coincide with the date of publication, so the increased penalty levels will apply to penalties assessed after the effective date, according to OSHA.
Update: The final rule was published in the Federal Register on January 23. It can be viewed online here.
A strong workplace safety program can protect your workers and help you avoid these costly OSHA fines. Contact the Workplace Safety Experts at SCT today for your free, no obligation consultation.