New OSHA Penalties Take Effect August 1

Sentinel is advising clients to review their business’s OSHA compliance standards in light of the whopping 78 percent maximum penalty increase that is slated to take effect after August 1.

Congress acted last year to increase workplace safety fines for the first time since 1990, using inflation rates to set the new maximum penalties. After August 1, citations for serious infractions (such as fall protection; electrical and machine guarding violations) will increase from a maximum penalty of $7,000 to more than $12,000 per violation. Willful or repeated violations of a serious nature will go from $70,000 to nearly $125,000.

As a so-called “state plan state” North Carolina is not immune to the penalty increases, as the federal law mandates that state plans are required to adopt maximum penalty levels that are at least as effective as Federal OSHA levels.

As with all OSHA penalties, federal officials do have the authority to lower fines based on the size of the business.  For more information, click here.

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