The Inflation Adjustment Act requires the Department of Labor to annually adjust its civil monetary penalties to adjust for inflation no later than January 15 of each year. Today, the Federal Register published the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act Annual Adjustments for 2020. This final rule increases civil penalties the Department of Labor assesses including those issued by OSHA based on workplace inspections and potential violations of safety and health standards. The rule is effective today and the increased penalty rates will apply to any penalties assessed after the effective date of the rule. So beginning tomorrow, OSHA civil penalties will increase.
Articles Discussing OSHA Violations.
Covered establishments are establishments with 250 or more employees that are required to keep OSHA logs, and establishments with 20-249 employees in certain designated industries with historically high rates of occupational injuries and illnesses.
Despite no federal funding, it appears that the Office of Federal Register is operational. Today, the Federal Register published the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act Annual Adjustments for 2019. This final rule increases civil penalties the Department of Labor assesses including those assessed by OSHA. The rule is effective today and the increased penalty rates will apply to any penalties assessed after the effective date of the rule. So beginning tomorrow, OSHA civil penalties will increase.
Shortly after issuing a citation to an employer, OSHA will often agree to reduce the penalty amount provided the employer agrees not to contest it. But could settling invite further trouble? For a number of reasons, contractors should give considerable thought before entering into an early settlement with OSHA.
In August 2016 we reported on the substantial increases to OSHA fines for violations of safety and health regulations as part of the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act Improvements Act of 2015. (Sec. 701 of Public Law 114-74). This law allowed OSHA a one-time “catch-up” adjustment for civil penalties followed by annual increases in penalties based on the Consumer Price Index. The “annual inflation adjustment” is required to be published in the Federal Register no later than January 15th each year. On January 18, OSHA published the 2017 annual inflation adjustment for OSHA penalties.
The first increases to Occupational Safety and Health Administration fines for violations of safety regulations since 1990 went into effect on August 1, 2016. The increases are substantial: the maximum penalties have increased by 78 percent. In addition, OSHA will adjust the amounts annually based on the Consumer Price Index.
Near the end of 2015, the Department of Labor announced that OSHA would be making numerous changes to its enforcement and policies for the year 2016 and beyond. Included amongst these changes is a dramatic increase in its monetary penalties for violations. OSHA’s penalties had previously remained unchanged since 1990. Pursuant to the federal budget signed into law on November 2, 2015, however, OSHA was authorized to increase its penalties by 78%. Additionally, OSHA will now continue to adjust its penalties for inflation on a yearly basis based upon the Consumer Price Index.
Under the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015 OSHA was required to adjust civil penalties for violations of safety and health standards on or before July 1, 2016.
Labor and business interests have dashed to the courthouse to launch lawsuits against the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s new silica standard, underscoring the controversy over the comprehensive health rule.
In its recent publication 16 Legal Tips: Handling OSHA Citations the Right Way, Intelivert asked 16 top legal experts for their tips to safety professionals who may find themselves on the receiving end of an OSHA citation. Three of those experts were Jackson Lewis attorneys – Carla Gunnin in our Atlanta office, as well as Tressi Cordaro and Nickole Winnett in the Washington, DC office.
Raising the maximum fine 400 percent for failing to timely report a work-related severe injury and increasing the likelihood for on-site inspections of employers who report a serious injury are among changes reflected in new guidance released by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.
Shortly before OSHA’s new injury and illness reporting requirements came into effect last January, OSHA issued “Interim Enforcement Procedures for New Reporting Requirements under 29 C.F.R. 1904.39.” These interim procedures served as enforcement guidance for Area Offices and compliance officers when issuing citations to employers for failing to report injuries under the new requirements. Last week the Agency issued revised enforcement procedures, “Revised Interim Enforcement Procedures for Reporting Requirements under 29 C.F.R. 1904.39” due to the “influx of workplace incident reports to OSHA and the field’s experiences with the new reporting requirements.”
Almost without exception, simply reaching for the checkbook to pay an OSHA citation upon receipt of the citation is never advisable. Indeed, one alternative way to resolve a citation is to immediately request what is referred to as an “informal conference” with the OSHA area director. The informal conference, which must take place no later than 15 business days of the employer’s receipt of the citation, is very popular because it presents an opportunity at an early stage of the process to negotiate a penalty reduction, extension of abatement dates, deletion of violations, and/or reclassification of violations.
In December 2011, a Maine roofing contractor was directed by federal court order to correct violations associated with 11 different OSHA citations and to pay $404,000 in fines and interest that had been imposed previously over the period 2000 to 2011. The 11 citations related to 11 different work sites, and the contractor not only never responded to the initial citations but also never corrected the underlying safety conditions or paid the assessed fines after the citations had turned into final orders. Now, the contractor could wind up in jail.