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OSHA penalties to increase Aug. 1

July 25, 2016
by Steve Wilder, CHSP, STS
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In November 2015, Congress enacted legislation requiring federal agencies to adjust their civil penalties to account for inflation. The Department of Labor is adjusting penalties for its agencies, including the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

OSHA's maximum penalties, which were last adjusted in 1990, will increase by 78 percent. Going forward, the agency will continue to adjust its penalties for inflation each year based on the Consumer Price Index.

The new penalties will take effect after August 1, 2016. Any citations issued by OSHA after that date will be subject to the new penalties if the related violations occurred after November 2, 2015.

Adjustments to penalties

To provide guidance to field staff on the implementation of the new penalties, OSHA will issue revisions to its Field Operations Manual by August 1. To address the impact of these penalty increases on smaller businesses, OSHA will continue to provide penalty reductions based on the size of the employer and other factors.

State Plan states

States that operate their own Occupational Safety and Health Plans are required to adopt maximum penalty levels that are at least as effective as the federal OSHA's are.

For more assistance

There is no better time to make sure your safety management program is compliant. Several of our clients have experienced OSHA inspections in the past few months, and the commonality seems to be that the compliance officers have been very aggressive in looking for violations, ergo monetary citations. The SWA team, which includes former OSHA compliance officers, stands ready to help you assess your program, respond to an inspection, and remediate citations.

If you have questions, please contact me.

Stay safe and stay in touch!


Steve Wilder

Steve Wilder


Steve Wilder, CHSP, STS, is president and chief operating officer of...