OSHA to Increase Fines in 2016
The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recently made an announcement that there WILL be an increase in fines for companies that break safety code, where employees, customers, etc. are hurt or put in danger. This will be the first increase that the U.S. economy and industry has seen since 1990.
Specifically, the fine schedule goes as follows: Severe penalties are increasing from $70,000 (which it was) to $125,000. Serious penalties see the same percentage increase from $7,000 to $12,500 now. The major increase in the fines represent the cost of inflation over the last 25 years. It is believed that fines will now continue to increase with inflation on more of a consistent level and not take on a 25-year silence, like that previous.
Why is OSHA all of the sudden making this huge jump? The answer rests in political agenda of the U.S. current presidential office, which includes the Assistant Secretary of Labor, David Michaels. He was recently quoted, while speaking before the House Committee on Education and the Workforce Subcommittee on Workforce Protections in October, 2015. Michaels said, "Simply put, OSHA penalties must be increased to provide a real disincentive for employers accepting injuries and worker deaths as a cost of doing business".
So, moving forward, it is very important for any business (especially in the construction industry) to take incredibly seriously the idea of up-to-date safety training seminars, safe procedures and protocol and efficient health and accountability programs to protect their company, staff and clients from harm or even death. If they don't take their stance seriously, they will have to forfeit major financial penalties as a result and possibly have to 'close shop' forever.
Source: Marino, Frank, J. "OSHA to Raise Fines in the New Year". CRCA Today. Fall 2015/Winter 2016.
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