Safety and OSHA News

Trump administration allows automatic 2018 OSHA fine increase to go into effect

The Trump administration has OK’d the annual automatic increase in OSHA fines. How  much will they go up? 

A willful OSHA violation can cost up to $129,336 starting Jan. 3, 2018. That’s an inflationary increase of just over 2.04% from the previous $126,749 max.

In August 2016, OSHA fines increased 78 percent. That was the first increase since 1990. They increased slightly again in January 2017.

The bill that allowed the 2016 and 2017 jumps also allows annual inflationary increases. However, the government can also reject those increases.

Besides the new maximum willful penalty, these changes also take effect:

  • serious violation maximum: $12,934 (previously $12,675)
  • other-than-serious maximum: $12,934 ($12,675)
  • repeat maximum: $129,336 ($126,749)
  • posting requirement maximum: $12,934 ($12,675)
  • failure to abate maximum: $12,934 ($12,675), and
  • willful minimum: $9,239, ($9,054).

The new amounts can be assessed for any violations occurring after Nov. 2, 2017 as long as the penalty is assessed on or after Jan. 3, 2018.

Many companies aren’t assessed the OSHA maximums. Fines can be reduced by these four factors:

  • gravity of the violation
  • size of the company (reduction for smaller employers)
  • good faith effort to comply, and
  • history of previous violations (reduction for previous clean record in previous five years).

OSHA fines can be reduced in other ways, too. After they receive citations, companies have the option to meet with their OSHA area director to negotiate, or they can appeal to the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

For the mining industry, MSHA fines are also going up. The maximum for a regular assessment will now be $70,834 (previously $69,417). Flagrant MSHA violations now top out at $259,725. The MSHA fines went up the same 1.02% for inflation.

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