Increased OSHA fines are now active for all safety violations

OSHA has new enforcement and penalty policies that became effective August 1st, 2016. Due to these new policies, companies with more than 250 employees can expect increased scrutiny and fines. Companies with fewer than 250 employees can receive a fine reduction of 20% from the OSHA area director.

The new fine structure for incidents increased by 80%, this sets a new maximum fine of $124,709 for each citation. This max fine can be applied to every employee involved in a citation if OSHA deems the violation egregious, including willful and repeat violations. Violations can be classified as willful or repeat violations for up to 5 years, increased from the previous 3 years. The new fine amount for serious violations, which are not classified as willful or repeat violations, is $12,470.

OSHA has also instituted a new rating system for inspectors to use when classifying violations. The inspectors use a points system to rank violations, due to this system it is expected that the number of violations ranked as egregious will increase.

Preparing for an OSHA audit is extremely important for your organization. In advance of an audit, you should determine who the point of contact will be for the OSHO inspector, if there is any classified or sensitive information or processes at your facility, and policies for handling records release and employee interviews with the inspector.  Read more on OSHA Audits: Why and How to Prepare.

The most basic steps that companies can take to mitigate risk and prevent an OSHA inspection are regular inspections and maintaining detailed inspection reports. In order to create effective safety plans, you first need to be able to use reliable data to identify safety hazards. If an accident does occur, these records can demonstrate due diligence and proof of compliance to OSHA inspectors. Your records should include inspections, code references, and logs of actions taken to address deficiencies or hazards.

If you need help instituting an active safety management plan, read more here and speak to your Life Safety Partner.

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