The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) of the U.S. Department of Labor has increased the maximum fines for violations of safety regulations by a whopping 78%. The new fines are part of the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act Improvements Act of 2015 and are the first increases the OSHA has made since 1990.
The increases went into effect August 1, 2016 and include a new maximum fine of $124,709 per violation for “willful” and “repeated” violations (up from $70,000) and a new minimum of $8,908 per violation (up from $5,000); a new maximum of $12,741 per day for “serious” violations, up from $7,000; and a new maximum of $12,741 per day for “failure-to-abate” violations, up from $7,000.
Note that the new fines are “per violation” or “per day,” meaning that violators could be fined hundreds of thousands of dollars (or even millions) for violations such as not providing protection from asbestos, inadequate asbestos removal, allowing untrained workers to remove asbestos, and failure to warn workers about asbestos. The latest headlines demonstrate just how quickly these fines can add up:
-Construction companies face nearly $2M fine over asbestos
-U.S. Department of Labor's OSHA fines employer more than $1.2 million for exposing workers to asbestos hazards without protection
-OSHA seeks $243,000 fine from asbestos cleanup firm
-OSHA fines five companies more than $185K for not warning workers about asbestos, not providing protection and allowing other hazards
-U.S. Labor Department's OSHA fines Danvers, Mass., construction contractor $136,000 for asbestos hazards at Beth Israel Hospital in Boston
If you suspect that a company you work for or have worked for is in violation of OSHA asbestos safety laws, contact the OSHA immediately. The OSHA can attach the new violation amounts to any citation issued after August 2, 2016, even for violations that occurred prior to this date.
Cancino, Alejandra. "Construction Companies Face Nearly $2M Fine over Asbestos." Chicagotribune.com. Chicago Tribune, 14 Aug. 2015. Web. 09 Oct. 2017.
"Department of Labor Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act Catch-Up Adjustments." Federal Register: The Daily Journal of the United States Government. National Archives and Records Administration, 01 July 2016. Web. 09 Oct. 2017.