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Increases to OSHA Penalties Effective August 1, 2016

On November 2, 2015, Congress passed the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015. That Act required certain federal agencies, like OSHA, to adjust their civil money penalties based on inflation. Congress directed that the updated penalty amounts apply to all penalties proposed or assessed after August 1, 2016. OSHA will adjust its penalties annually thereafter by January 15 based on the Consumer Price Index. The last time OSHA raised its citation penalties was in 1990.

On June 30, 2016, OSHA announced that the amount of the new maximum penalties for violations of OSHA Standards will be increased by 78 percent. The new maximum penalty levels for all penalties proposed or assessed after August 1, 2016, will be:


Other than Serious violations:

$12,471 (currently $7,000)

Serious violations:

$12,471 (currently $7,000)

Willful violations:

$124,709 (currently $70,000)

Repeat violations:

$124,709 (currently $70,000)

State Plan OSHA programs will also adopt new penalties at least the same as the increased federal OSHA penalties, since OSHA-approved State Plans must have penalties “at least as effective” as the federal penalties. The new penalty levels will apply prospectively only to new and pending OSHA inspections.

Employers are advised to remain vigilant with respect to their compliance with OSHA requirements and their efforts regarding employee safety and health, as OSHA violations now will result in even higher monetary penalties.

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About this Author


Mike Glassman, a Partner in Dinsmore & Shohl’s Labor and Employment department and chairs the Employment Law Practice Group. He has practiced management side labor and employment law for over 30 years. Mike represents employers regionally and nationally in employment disputes and matters of all types in federal and state courts, administrative agencies and in arbitral forums. He advises on matters involving traditional labor and union issues, collective bargaining, discrimination, sexual harassment, wrongful discharge, OSHA, wage-hour, leave and other issues which...

Steve N. Siegel, Dinsmore, OSHA Matters Attorney, Environmental Policy Lawyer
Of Counsel

Leveraging a background in business with a measured, practical approach, Steve is adept at defending clients in a variety of environmental and Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) matters. He also routinely leverages his knowledge of environmental and OSHA regulations to advise clients throughout the country on compliance issues. 

Steve handles a number of environmental matters for clients, including compliance audits and working with Superfund sites, where he has represented individual clients and Potentially Responsible Party (PRP) groups. Because his clients are located in many parts of the country, Steve has a thorough knowledge of the environmental laws and regulations in a number of states, enabling him to efficiently steer clients toward a resolution. Understanding that environmental matters can present ever-changing issues for his clients, Steve takes a proactive approach whenever possible, working with his clients to identify, and mitigate, potential areas of concern before they become problems. He also has substantial experience working with various state and federal regulatory agencies to minimize his clients' exposure. Additionally, he frequently guides clients through environmental compliance audits, drawing on his industry knowledge to assist them in preparation and implementation of compliance strategies. 

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Joseph "Jay" L. Sallee, Jr. is a Partner in the Litigation Department. Jay's practice encompasses Kentucky and Ohio Workers' Compensation, Occupational Health and Safety issues, product liability, and general litigation. This includes hearings before Administrative Law Judges in the Commonwealth of Kentucky's Department of Workers' Claims, administrative hearings before hearing officers in the Industrial Commission of Ohio, litigation in various Ohio and Kentucky Courts, and appellate proceedings before Ohio and Kentucky Courts of Appeals and the Supreme Courts. In Ohio...

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