As part of the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015, OSHA will increase its penalties for the first time in over 25 years. Although financial penaltiesare meant to be increased regularly to encourage compliance with OSHA regulations, OSHA’s current penalties have not increased along with inflation.
OSHA recently revealed that it will increase its current penalties by 78 percent. As a result, the maximum penalty for “serious” violations will rise from $7,000 to $12,471, and the maximum penalty for “willful” and “repeated” violations will rise from $70,000 to $124,709. Additionally, the minimum penalty for “willful” violations—OSHA’s only minimum penalty—will rise from $5,000 to $8,908.
OSHA stated that the increased fines will help to deter safety violations, which will lead to fewer injuries and illnesses in workplaces across the country. Additionally, the agency believes that the increases will also benefit employers with no safety violations, as there will be a more level playing field when competing with employers who do not stay in compliance with OSHA regulations.
The fine increases will become effective on Aug. 1, 2016, for any violation that occurred after Nov. 2, 2015. Additionally, OSHA will increase its fines annually beginning in January 2017. For more information on the fine increases, visit OSHA’s website.