It’s no secret: Companies hardly ever pay fine amounts that OSHA initially issues. Sometimes, the amounts are reduced significantly. Is that about to change?
The U.S. Department of Labor’s Inspector General has announced its audit targets for 2010. On the list, “Impact of OSHA’s Penalty Reductions.”
OSHA’s penalty structure is designed to provide companies with an incentive to correct violations.
Reductions in fines can come from several sources. An inspector can recommend discounts to the original fine amount. OSHA supervisors, including area directors, regional administrators and Department of Labor attorneys can further reduce the size of a penalty, which are often significantly less than statutory maximums.
Stated audit objectives include determining whether penalty reductions encouraged companies to correct violations.
No word on exactly when the audit will be completed.
Earlier this year, acting OSHA administrator Jordan Barab said OSHA’s current penalty structure wasn’t enough of a disincentive to force some companies to address safety hazards.
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