October 25, 2021

Volume XI, Number 298

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October 25, 2021

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OSHA Fines Could Increase Over 80% Next Year

Congress recently passed the budget agreement which contained a provision which permits OSHA to raise fines significantly starting in August 2016.  The law permits a one-time “catch up” increase up to 82 percent, since fines have not been raised since 1990. This “catch-up” amount is tied to the inflation rate from 1990 to 2015.  After that, the maximum penalties would increase with the inflation rate every year.

This would have the following effect:

Citations

Current Max.

With “Catch-Up” Increase

Other than Serious

Up to $7,000

Up to $12,740

Serious

$7,000

$12,740

Repeat

$5,000-$70,000

$9,100 – $127,400

Willful

$5,000-$70,000

$9,100 – $127,400

Failure to Abate

$7,000/day

$12,740/day

While OSHA has the option of implementing an adjustment less than the maximum amount, Assistant Secretary David Michaels has pushed for years to increase maximum penalties so it seems unlikely that they would not take full advantage of this increase.

Based on the impending increase to OSHA fines (which would also be required of approved State Plans as well), employers are well advised to audit their compliance with applicable OSHA regulations to ensure that programs, policies and training are all up to date.

© 2021 BARNES & THORNBURG LLPNational Law Review, Volume V, Number 314
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About this Author

Mark Kittaka, Barnes Thornburg Law Firm, Fort Wayne and Columbus, Labor and Employment Law Attorney
Partner

Mark S. Kittaka is a partner and the administrator of the Labor and Employment Law Department of Barnes & Thornburg LLP’s Fort Wayne, Indiana office. Mr. Kittaka’s practice covers all areas of labor and employment law including federal and state litigation concerning discriminatory practices and retaliation claims, including, but not limited to: Title VII race, sex, color, and religious discrimination claims; the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) (disability discrimination, reasonable accommodation, interactive process); Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA); the Family and...

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