In November of 2015, Congress passed legislation that mandated federal agencies adjust their civil penalties to account for inflation.

This means that the Department of Labor is now adjusting penalties in 2016 for all of its agencies, including the good ‘ol Occupational Safety and Health Administration, more commonly known as OSHA.

The maximum penalties for OSHA, which were last adjusted in 1990, are now going to increase by 78%!

Now, OSHA will continue to adjust penalties for inflation each year based off of the CPI (consumer price index)

The new penalties will be taking effect on the 1st of August, 2016.

So any citation issued by OSHA after the month of July will be subject to the new penalties if the violation occurred after November 2, 2015.

Type of Violation  Current Maximum Penalty New Maximum Penalty
Posting Requirements
$7,000 per violation $12,471 per violation
Failure to Abate $7,000 per day beyond the abatement date $12,471 per day beyond the abatement date
Willful or Repeated $70,000 per violation $124,709 per violation

Adjustments to Penalties

To help guide the field staff on the implementation of these new penalties, OSHA will be issuing a revision to its Field Operations Manual on August 1st.

However, all hope is not lost. If you are a small business, OSHA takes this into account and addresses the impact of these penalties by providing penalty reductions based off of the size of the employer among other factors.

State Plan States

If you live in a state that operates its own OSHA, don’t think you are out of the water either as each state will be required to adopt a maximum penalty that are at least as effective as the federal OSHA’s.