OSHA Defense

2020 OSHA Workplace Safety Penalties to Increase featured image

2020 OSHA Workplace Safety Penalties to Increase

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is increasing workplace safety penalties for 2020. The new penalties went into effect on January 15, 2020 and apply to any penalties assessed after January 15th.

OSHA increased the penalties to comply with the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act. The act was passed by Congress on November 2, 2015, with the goal of beefing up the U.S. civil monetary penalties to maintain the ability to act as deterrents. Prior to this act, many monetary penalties that had been originally set at a different time had remained the same over the years even as inflation continued to grow.  All adjustments are based on the Consumer Price Index for all Urban Consumers (CPI-U).

After passage of the Inflation Adjustment Act, OSHA began steadily increasing the monetary penalties for workplace safety violations. Originally, the Department of Labor enacted “catch up” adjustments for 2017, 2018 and 2019. Since these penalties have now been “caught up,” going forward the penalties will be adjusted each year by comparing the current year’s CPI-U to the previous year’s CPI-U to get a multiplier. The multiplier for 2020 is 1.01764 or almost 1.8%.

For 2020, increases in penalties for workplace safety violations include the following:

  • Serious violation for workplace hazards that could cause an accident or illness that would most likely result in death or serious physical harm
    • Maximum penalty increase – $13,260 to $13,494
  • Reported violation for an identical or substantially similar violation previously cited
    • Maximum penalty increase – $132,598 to $134,937
  • Willful violation, where an employer knowingly failed to comply with an OSHA standard
    • Minimum penalty increase – $9,472 to $9,639
    • Maximum penalty increase – $132,598 to $134,937
  • Other-than-serious violation/Failure to correction violation/Posting requirement violation
    • Maximum penalty increase – $13,260 to $13,494

Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.