Tech Talk Blog

2020 OSHA Civil Penalties Update

Current Civil Penalties for Unsafe Workplace Violations

In 2015, the Department of Labor (DOL) created a requirement to adjust maximum OSHA penalties for inflation by January of each new year. The new rates for OSHA were made public and have now taken effect for 2020.

Type of ViolationPenalty MinimumPenalty Maximum
Serious$964 per violation$13,494 per violation
Other-Than-Serious$0 per violation$13,494 per violation
Willful or Repeated$9,639 per violation$134,937 per violation
Posting Requirements$0 per violation$13,494 per violation
Failure to AbateN/A$13,494 per day unabated beyond the abatement date
[generally limited to 30 days maximum]
Specific penalty amounts, as of January 15, 2020, are detailed in the chart above

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Preparing For OSHA Inspections

OSHA inspections are a given in instances where an employee has been severely injured or dies in the workplace, but OSHA inspectors may also appear at your place of business when responding to a whistle blower, or as part of a OSHA emphasis program.  Proper planning can go a long way toward reducing the angst and anxiety associated with an OSHA inspection.

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An Introduction to OSHA’s Local Emphasis Programs

The U.S. government’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) was created to protect American workers from dangers in the workplace. To address issues that affect workers on a more local or regional level, OSHA started Local Emphasis Programs, or LEPs. These programs typically focus on a major industry within a region where injuries are prevalent.  The enforcement strategies for these programs are designed and implemented at the regional and/or area OSHA office levels, so a program undertaken in your region for your industry will likely result in closer scrutiny and a more prevalent period of safety inspections.

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OSHA Increases Fines for 2018

Creating a safe work environment by having your workers trained on and use proper fall prevention and fall protection equipment on rooftops and at heights throughout your company is a basic obligation. If you are not following the regulations however, and OSHA pays a planned or unexpected visit – this can be a costly mistake.

On January 2, 2018, OSHA increased its fines by 2% in keeping with the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act of 2015. That piece of legislation raised fine levels by 78% in 2016 and allows OSHA to increase their fines to match inflation by January 15th of each year.

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Did You Know?

According to OSHA, the distance from a leading edge does not mitigate the hazard? Any leading edge over 4 feet in general industry and 6 feet in construction is considered a hazard.