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OSHA Fines to Significantly Increase in 2016

For the first time in 25 years, OSHA fines are increasing. The new Budget bill signed in November, requires OSHA to implement an initial penalty “catch-up adjustment”, which must be in place by August 1, 2016. A serious violation could be increased from $7,000 to $12,500 for each violation and a repeat or willful violation could grow from $70,000 to $125,000 for each violation. OSHA is required to announce the initial penalty amounts by July 1, 2016. After that OSHA is required to implement annual cost of living increases by January 15 of each year. Employers should be aware that state-plan OSHA states, like Minnesota and Iowa, will be required to adjust their state penalties so that they at least match those imposed under federal standards. To best protect against potential exposure to the new penalties, employers should conduct internal audits to determine their compliance with OSHA standards.


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