(From the National Safety Council Congress and Expo in San Diego) The federal government’s fiscal year 2010 ended Sept. 30. That timing allowed OSHA officials to present preliminary numbers on 2010 enforcement at this year’s National Safety Council (NSC) Congress and Expo. As expected, the numbers are up, but by how much?
In FY 2009, OSHA conducted 39,004 inspections. The final count for 2010 is expected to be just over 41,000. That would amount to a 5% increase.
Companies received 87,663 violations from OSHA in FY 2009. That’s up to 94,103 in 2010, a 7% increase.
The average fine for a serious violation in 2009 was $970. It went up to $1,028 in 2010, a 6% increase. Starting Oct. 1, 2010, OSHA instituted changes in the way it discounts fines using such factors as history, company size and quick abatement. Those administrative changes are expected to boost the average serious fine to almost $3,000. OSHA administrator David Michaels said at the NSC conference that there are no further changes expected in fine calculations at this time.
The average serious fine issued by the 27 states that have their own OSHA program is about $800. OSHA says it plans to bring the states in line with the federal program on fines.
The number of significant cases — those with fines totaling more than $100,000 — was also up, from 120 in 2009 to 164 in 2010, a 37% increase.