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OSH Act Penalties Increase


The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has published a final rule that increases civil monetary penalties the DOL assesses and enforces, as required by the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act of 1990 and the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act Improvements Act of 2015.

The increases apply to penalties assessed after January 23, 2019 under the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSH Act), which the DOL is responsible for enforcing. The rule amends the OSH Act's penalty structure as follows:

Violation Type Prior Minimum Penalty Current Minimum Penalty Prior Maximum Penalty Current Maximum Penalty
Serious $12,934 $13,260
Other-Than-Serious $12,934 $13,260
Repeat $129,336 $132,598
Willful $9,239 $9,472 $129,336 $132,598
Failure to Abate (per day) $12,934 $13,260
Posting Requirement $12,934 $13,260

Effect on State OSHA Plans

Section 18 of the OSH Act requires OSHA-approved State Plans to have standards and enforcement programs that are, at a minimum, as effective as the federal OSH Act's standards and enforcement program. As a result, OSHA-approved State Plans are required to have maximum and minimum penalty levels that are at least as effective as their federal counterpart's. (For a map of State Plans, visit OSHA's website).

State Plans are now obliged to increase their penalties consistent with the final rule. The only exception is for State Plans in Connecticut, Illinois, Maine, New Jersey, New York, and the Virgin Islands, which cover only state and local government employees. The final rule does not apply to those State plans.

Posted In: Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA); Department of Labor (DOL)

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