OSHA Penalty Adjustments to Take Effect August 2016

OSHA Penalty Adjustments to Take Effect August 2016

In November 2015, Congress enacted legislation requiring federal agencies to adjust their civil penalties to account for inflation. The Department of Labor is adjusting penalties for its agencies, including the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

OSHA's maximum penalties, which were last adjusted in 1990, will increase by 78%. Going forward, the agency will continue to adjust its penalties for inflation each year based on the Consumer Price Index.

The new penalties will take effect after August 1, 2016.  Any citations issued by OSHA after that date will be subject to the new penalties if the related violations occurred after November 2, 2015.

Teague's Take on the the Adjustments

Ok so no doubt the majority of business owners are not thrilled about the 78 percent increase in OSHA penalties. I won’t disagree with anyone who says it is more difficult than ever to run a business because of all the regulations…but this is the hand we are dealt so instead of telling you why this is wrong and how I disagree here are some tips to help you prepare if OSHA shows up to your business.

When OSHA shows up, no matter what type of business you have, there are three written programs you better have and also have proof your employees have been trained on those programs:

  • HAZCOM – you must have a written HAZCOM program along with a SDS (use to be MSDS) on all hazardous materials your employees will come in contact with. The employees will need to be trained on your HAZCOM program, know where your SDS book is and how to use it. This must be done annually and with any new employee.
  • Lockout/Tagout – you must have a written LOTO program including a specific procedure for each piece of equipment you require to be LOTO, all employees must be trained annually and then the procedure must be done annually to make sure it is the correct procedure and that employees can do it correctly.
  • Forklifts - once again you will need to have a written program; but on forklifts, your employees who operate a forklift must have a license. It is good for three years and must be on file. You must also show that you have been doing a daily inspection on your forklifts. (INSPRO can conduct the required forklift training)

A few more tips:

  • If you are in the construction business then you will definitely also need a fall protection plan specific for each jobsite and proof of training annually and any new hires.
  • OSHA will also ask for three years of OSHA 300 logs, 5 years of safety training records, maintenance records on your equipment and inspection of the premises or jobsite.
  • There are many other written safety programs and information OSHA could ask for.
    • To truly be prepared I would recommend having a third party safety consultant or if you are any INSPRO customer, I will gladly come and do a mock OSHA audit.

As you can see these are some pretty hefty fines.  It is best to be prepared ahead of time rather than paying for it after the fact. Please contact me if you have any questions, concerns or would like to meet with me.


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