If a one-percent increase in maximum fines doesn’t dissuade employers from committing worker safety and health violations, then we don’t know what does. OSHA’s and MSHA’s higher penalties became effective January 13th, but it is worth noting that they can be applied to alleged violations that occurred prior to that date as long as the employer was cited for them after January 13th. Congress authorized this increase in 2015 as part of the fiscal 2016 appropriation deal, which included a provision allowing several agencies to raise fines annually to keep up with inflation. This same bill allowed OSHA in August 2016 to make a one-time catch-up adjustment, raising its maximum fines by 78%.
New maximum OSHA fines:
- Repeat or willful violations: $126,749 (formerly $124,709)
- Serious or other-than-serious violations: $12,675 (formerly $12,471)
New maximum Mine Safety and Health Administration (“MSHA”) fines:
- Flagrant violations: $254,530 (formerly $250,433)
- Regular Assessment: $69,417 (old $68,300)
- Failure to provide timely notification: $69,417 (old $68,300)