OSHA Penalties Greatly Increased by August 2016

The Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015, passed through Congress in November of last year, has increased penalties and made it substantially more expensive for businesses in violation of OSHA standards. This act has changed the requirement to adjust for inflation each year as well as eliminating the exemption for agencies such as OSHA to adjust a number of civil penalties every 4 years to account for inflation. These new penalties will go into effect no later than August 1, 2016—although OSHA will publish an interim final rule adopting these on or before July 1, 2016. Businesses that are inspected before the effective date, but receive citations once these sanctions are in place will have the newly adopted penalties adjusted to their citation. In order to prevent these increased fines from disproportionately impacting smaller business, OSHA’s penalty structure will provide a reduction factor based on the size of the employer. The last time OSHA’s penalties were adjusted was in 1990.  Read more here.