The penalties levied against employers for safety violations by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) have gone up, effective Jan. 24. The increases only apply to citations issued after that date and for the remainder of 2019.
The 2019 penalties are:
- Other than Serious violations, $13,260 (up from $12,675 in 2018);
- Serious violations, $13,260 (up from $12,675);
- Repeat violations: $132,598, (up from $126,749);
- Willful violations, $132,598 (up from $126,749);
- Failure to abate (per day), $13,260 (up from $12,675 last year).
The penalty increasse apply to federal OSHA states. Nonetheless, OSHA expects that the 26 states operating their own occupational safety and health programs will align penalty structures with federal OSHA so that such programs are equally effective.
“While this is OSHA’s expectation there has been little adjustment from various state plans to align with the increase in penalties,” notes Tressi L. Cordaro, an attorney with the law firm of Jackson Lewis PC. “For example, North Carolina and Kentucky still maintain a $7,000 maximum fine for serious violations and $70,000 for willful or repeats.”
In the future, DOL is required to adjust maximum OSHA penalties for inflation by January 15 of each new year.