OSHA increases fines for workplace safety and health citations

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Courtesy of Atlantic Environmental, Inc.

Consistent with OSHA’s Philosophy to increase enforcement activities, they have also increased fines associated with citations. In a memo dated April 22, 2010, OSHA’s Assistant Secretary David Michaels has increased penalties for violations of OSHA regulations. They suggest that fines for serious, repeat and willful violations will increase and the ability of negotiations to reduce fines will decrease.

It appears that the average citation amount will increase from US$1,000.00 to US$3,000.00 to US$4,000.00. OSHA intends to stop grouping serious violations and cite each one individually with fines up to US$7,000.00 for serious citations. They also intend on issuing a separate fine for each item such as 20 employees not trained on respirators will be 20 x US$7,000.00 or US$140,000.00.

The fact that they intend on increasing fines is supported by recent citations:

April 2010-OSHA proposes US$60,000.00 fines for Illinois Company for safety violations.

April 2010-OSHA proposes US$70,000.00 fines for willful violations by a Wisconsin Firm.

April 2010-OSHA proposes US$99,050.00 fines for 40 serous safety violations by Georgia Firm.

April 2010-OSHA proposes US$153,000.00 fines for 4 serious, 4 repeat and 1 other then serious violation by Idaho Company.

OSHA appears to be determined to improve health and safety in the workplace through citations and large fines.

This is certainly more incentive to strengthen your safety programs and increase inspections.

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