Maximum federal fines for workplace and mine safety violations are set to increase by 2.5 percent, the Department of Labor announced Jan. 15. The boost raises the highest allowable fine for a serious Occupational Safety and Health Administration violation to $13,260, up from $12,934 in 2018.
The 2.5 percent increase matches the Consumer Price Index’s growth for fiscal year 2018. The department has raised the rates every year since 2015 when Congress approved annual boosts. The higher fine structure takes effect once the ongoing government shutdown ends and the final rule setting the new limits appears in the Federal Register, the department said. Until then, 2018 fines apply.
The 28 states and territories with their own workplace safety agencies are expected to follow the federal government’s lead and raise their fines, the notice said. However, because some states require approval by legislatures to raise safety fines, state actions can take more than a year to complete. To the Max The new maximum OSHA penalties are: repeat, $132,598, up from $129,336; willful, $132,598, up from $129,336; serious, $13,260, up from $12,934; and other-than-serious, $13,260, up from $12,934.
Most employers won’t face paying OSHA fines close to the new maximums. Fines are based on several factors, including severity of the hazard, the employer’s safety record, and the number of workers at the business.